FOCUS on imaging 2011
On Sunday 6th March I visited FOCUS on imaging in Birmingham. As this was my first camera convention, I was not too sure what to expect. However, having been to many magic conventions my expectations were high.I didn't get off to the best start after leaving my pre-booked ticket back in Brighton, DOH! Luckily, the registration desk was helpful and understanding and having given them my confirmation number they re-issued the pass so I didn't need to pay to enter. It was £10 if you had not pre-booked.
The Birmingham NEC was hosting the event - and it was big! After the initial overwhelming awe of it all, reality set in and I started to spot problems such as speakers vying for attention and to be heard. One way this was combated in magic conventions was to have speakers in a separate hall where everyone could benefit and where speakers could be heard.
I was surprised to see that, given that it was a photographers' convention, there was not that much available to photograph in terms of models or subjects. In fact, only one store actually made it possible to shoot models properly - that was WESTCOTT. They did some amazing lighting set-ups and had some beautiful ladies for us to photograph. Needless to say, the stand got a lot of attention.
It was obvious that as a cost-cutting exercise there were little or no freebies available, and very few 'bargains' were to be had, I expected there to be more considering the vendors who attended - I understand that maybe there will be some bargains available on Wednesday (the last day) which I wont be able to take advantage of, which is a shame.
The fact that Canon were absent was very evident and Sony and Nikon seemed happy to fill the gap they left. It was a pity as I would have liked to have seen more gear and to actually handle the cameras and lenses properly - most of the other stalls had the cameras inside display cabinets, out of reach.
While at the show I thought it prudent to look at which vendors would be the best to work with, and which have the high quality I expect. Below is a selection of the vendors who stood out to me and which I will be pursuing further in order to offer my clients more quality options.
Kaleidoscope offer a complete framing service and they have a great range of frames and prices. They stood out to me as one of the best options offering stylish and modern frames.
Superframe have a fantastic range of contemporary acrylic framing solutions - the quality definitely separated them from other acrylic suppliers and their direct prints looked amazing as it prints white ink onto black acrylic.
Ultimat have some nice albums - not all to my taste, but their frames were very nice indeed.
Loxley have great albums on show and as I use them already, I was aware of their product range - nothing new to add.
Asuka Books are new to me and were recommended by Jasmine Star. They have a new range of albums and the company operates out of Japan. The quality was very high and they are another album stockist I may be using in the future.
Exclusive 7 have launched a great new product. A stylish mirror-finished digital photo frame which allows you to lock the images that are uploaded into it - it also allows you to show an Animoto slideshow on it.
Lastolite were showing off their huge range of fantastic products, most of which I want!
Speakers of note, for me, were Brett Harkness who was talking open and honestly about his approach to wedding photography - I'm sure I am going to go on one of his workshops. Also, Mark Cleghorn of Photo Training 4 U had put together a variety of speakers and several demos for us to enjoy.