Posted February 26, 2012 by Gavin Hoey in Articles

Focus on Imaging 2012

FocusThere’s just one week left until the doors to UK biggest photography event swing open once again. Focus on imaging is a four day feast of camera, lenses lighting, albums, software… in fact if it’s connected to photography you’ll probably find it at Focus on Imaging.

The show runs from Sunday 4th to Wednesday 7th March at the NEC in Birmingham. It is primarily a giant trade show with hundreds of smart looking stands and helpful sales staff ready to sell you your dream lens or that “must have” gizmo you’ve never heard of before.

Over recent years I’ve noticed an increasing number of stands offering free training demos which can really make a visit to Focus a great way to gain some free education and inspiration.

This year I’ll be there for the full four days and I’m thrilled to be representing Adobe UK once again. You’ll find me on the stands of various suppliers passing on my Photoshop know how. I hope to give you exact times and places very soon.

So if you’re planning to make a visit to Focus (or any trade show around the world) here’s my top tips.

Register online
The queues to get in to Focus can be long, but if you’ve already registered in advanced and have received your show entry badge then you can glide past the queues and walk right in. There’s still time to register (just) if you go here.

Research and budget
There really are some bargains to be had at the show. Discounts, offers and free extras are very common, but it makes sense to do your research before you go. If you’re looking for new kit, narrow the choice down by checking internet reviews. Have an idea of the best internet price before going to the show. Once at the show you’ll be able to get  your hands on the real thing and make an informed decision.

Choose a day
Focus on Imaging starts on a Sunday and it’s not surprising that it’s also the shows busiest day by far. The Wednesday is usually a bit quieter, but by then the exhibitors are exhausted and sometimes they’ve sold out of that one thing you really wanted. The flip side is there are often some great end of show bargains to be had on the Wednesday afternoon.

What to wear.
It’s a long day and you’ll be on your feet a lot, so comfortable shoes and clothes are the order of the day. Don’t weigh yourself down with heavy bags either.

Camera or no camera
Although it’s a camera show there’s really not much to photograph. Yes some of the stands will have mini studio shoots and models, but they’re always swamped with people and you’re unlikely to get anything more then a grab shot. Unless you need to bring your DSLR for a specific reason (e.g. for a sensor clean or to try a new lens), do yourself a favour and leave it at home.

Eat & Drink
Food and drink at any trade show or conference is always going to be pricey and the NEC is no exception. Bring a packed lunch and a drink and spend the money you save on photo goodies. Just remember the car park is huge, so if you leave your lunch in the car you’re in for a long walk.

Arrive early
Focus gets busy, really REALLY busy but if you get there as the doors open you’ll find you get to talk to three or four key suppliers in the first hour of the show before the really big crowds arrive.

Listen to the talks
For me the very best part of any trade show is the free talks that many exhibitors lay on. Famous and talented photographers are on hand to pass on their knowledge and techniques throughout the day. It’s a great way to pick up new skills and see different styles of photography.

Gavin Hoey