The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) show, Imaging USA ran last week in Nashville, TN. 8,000 members came to Music City for education, fun and to forget the pandemic.
PPA has produced annual get-togethers for photographers for over 120 years. This year, the 5-day conference covered pre-conference classes, certification workshops to certify members as Certified Professional Photographers, present degrees and bestow a lifetime achievement award.
The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Eric Meola along with an honorary Master of Photography degree.
Grand Imaging Award
The 2023 Grand Imaging Award went to Ben Shirk, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., for his image, “Theft of Innocence,” in the Illustrative and Commercial category. Shirk’s photograph was selected from over 5,000 entries by a jury of 76 professional photographers.
The Expo Hall and trade show had everything from backgrounds, and props, to costumes — even angel wings. Several photo labs had beautiful displays of prints in exhibition sizes. Lighting gear was on hand. Rotalight, Westcott, Nanlite and Profoto all had displays. Sigma showed new lenses and offered cleaning for customers’ lenses.
B&H featured everything. Dell computers for imaging, lights from different vendors and too many wonderful temptations for every photographer’s dreams.
Hoodman featured landing pads for drones along with their RAW Steel line of memory cards. Hoodman’s Bob Schmidt said, “It’s so good to be back doing trade shows and seeing so many friends and making new ones.”
Canon had a large presence. They had three shooting bays side-by-side featuring photographers demonstrating techniques for attendees.
A full range of camera gear from the new mirrorless pro camera, the Canon EOS R3, to the hybrid mirrorless still and cinema R5+C, were there for people to hold. Canon reps also demonstrated and answered questions about the offerings.
Notable by their absence were both Sony and Nikon. Fujifilm had a solid representation, which helped offset the two missing companies.
One of Imaging USA’s signature features is the classes for members. This year the range covered commercial product photography, shooting real estate, a deep dive into boudoir and many others.
Business and inspiration sessions were also available. David Trust, CEO of PPA, explained that having a positive attitude toward one’s self was as important, if not more important than photographic ability.
Trade shows are back
Over 8,000 attendees were engaged with learning, networking and most of all, very happy to be back with their peers. Most of the people I talked with were excited to be in Nashville at Imaging USA and looked forward to the 2024 edition to be held the last week in January in Louisville, Kentucky.