Way more than a trade show.
The year 2020 is starting off with a bang, as the staff of MacSources traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Imaging USA, an extended learning conference geared towards photography. Today, was the official beginning of the conference, even though there were some pre-conference classes that attendees could choose to attend. If you are new to photography, Imaging USA is hosted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and it features the largest photography expo in North America.
The event dates back to 1880 and draws 10,000 photographers to it each year. The conference features tons of learning sessions, special events, and, of course, the expo. The goal of the conference is to help photographers GROW with more than 80 business and photography classes, DREAM about awesome gear at the expo, and CONNECT with other photographers. For more information, on PPA or Imaging USA, visit imagingusa.com.
DAY ONE: Learning, General Session, & Opening Party
We started our morning at ImagingUSA with an 8:00 a.m. learning session titled Great Clients are Made, Not Found with speaker Steve Saporito. It was part of the Bridging the Gap track of learning sessions provided for attendees. The session was designed to teach the secrets of how to find clients that value you and want to spend on artwork willingly. You can read Jon’s review of that here. This session actually took place before the Opening Keynote Program, Master Your Memory: How to Optimize Your Brain Power. The Keynote speaker was Jim Kwik, the founder of Kwik Learning and a widely recognized world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning.
During the Opening Session, Kwik talked about his history with traumatic brain injuries, how those affected his memory, and how he developed tools to enhance his memory power. The session was supposed to be 75 minutes long, but it was a little more than 90 minutes. This ended up causing a slight problem, as we were unable to catch the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Expo Show Floor. Length aside, the discussion was interesting and some of the tools he provided — mnemonic devices for the most part — have turned out to be quite helpful as we network with other attendees here at the conference.
Kwik stated that unforgettable moments are made when information is combined with emotion and emphasized that all learning is “state-dependent,” which means that memory retrieval is most efficient when an individual is in the same state of consciousness as they were when the memory was formed. He walked us through an exercise where we tapped different parts of our body while calling out a grocery item. The idea was that if we have a physical movement that coincides with the memory that when we repeat the physical movement it will be easier to recall that information. While this may not work for all persons trying to memorize something, it did seem to work for today as our group was able to recall the ten grocery items he taught us in that session hours later.
After the Opening Session was over, we moved to the Expo. The show floor for ImagingUSA is nice and easy to navigate. We have been to shows like CES, where no matter how fast you walk, you could not see it all in the week. We started off with our favorite bag maker Think Tank Photo and then stopped by QNAP, Tamron, Zeiss lenses, and our favorite retailer, B&H Photo. We decided after catching B&H that we would save the rest of the show floor for tomorrow so that we did not see it all in one day. This is possible with Imaging USA and one of the things that I really enjoyed about this expo — you feel like you are actually making progress. Another thing that I really like about Imaging USA, so far, is that we actually have the opportunity to take learning sessions. While they are offered at CES, it feels as though you never have a chance to take advantage of them because all your time is dedicated to the show floor.
Finally, we attended the Welcome Party this evening. It was held in the same large ballroom that the Opening Session was held in, but instead of classroom-style seating, the crew had reset the room to include cocktail height tables, round tables, and a dance floor. There was a live band on the stage playing a wide range of music. Imaging USA provided some heavy appetizers for attendees. We enjoyed talking with some of the other attendees, enjoyed a free conference T-shirt, and the food was also pretty good. Our group of three ended up leaving a bit early to take in some of the scenery at the Opry Mills Resort and to simply relax before Day Two began.
I can definitely see why this is a beneficial conference for photographers. The classes we attended on the first day coupled nicely with the Expo floor experience. Even though it’s only been one day, we have met some wonderful people; I’m really looking forward to what the next two days will bring. Imaging USA is definitely a show to attend if you are in the photography business.