How to Make the most out of attending Imaging USA

Early in my career I attended Imaging USA. It was my first time at a major national photography convention. One of the companies I worked with asked me if I would come to Imaging and work with them in their booth. I jumped at the opportunity.

I love big photography conventions like Imaging USA, WPPI and PhotoPlus Expo. The energy and camaraderie, the environment and the atmosphere, all blend together to create an electric feeling that charges my creativity.

Pinhole Pro booth at a recent tradeshow.

In recent years I have had the opportunity to speak at Imaging USA, both from the stage with platform presentations and also on the tradeshow floor at various booths.

As a speaker my perspective hasn’t changed. When I’m not speaking, I’m eagerly moving from seminar to seminar seeking nuggets of wisdom that I can apply to my business and further position myself for long-term success.

There are two things I find extremely useful to do when it comes to conventions:

1. My advice is to browse the speaker schedule now and pre-select two or three seminars each day. Bring a note-pad and go with the intent to learn. It’s January, the start of the year, the slow season for most of us and there is no better time to make adjustments and improve your business. Find inspiration and walk away in a better position than you’ve ever been before. There is no better investment than investing in yourself.

2. In recent years there seems to be a divide between the old-school photographer and the new photographer. Whether it’s a division based on photographic style or business style, it exists and anyone who doesn’t notice it is blind.

Many times I’ve heard young photographers say, “I’m not going to listen to this photographer because their work and my work couldn’t be more opposite.”

Point made, but the reality is, very few 90-minute seminars are going to teach you how to shoot differently. The old-school photographer is here today because of years of doing it right. Long-term success in this industry does not happen accidentally. And the inter-generational conversations that can take place between new and old-school photographers are worth their weight in gold.

My recommendation is to seek out photographers who are more experienced than you are, listen to them, learn from them, and if they’re willing to impart knowledge, be a sponge and soak it up.

It has been my good fortune over the years to rub shoulders with countless more-established photographers and numerous industry giants. It has happened sometimes at their seminars or sometimes through an introduction by a mutual friend. Some have taken interest in me and even invited me to dinner or coffee.

I remember one specifically, who casually invited me to dinner after we bumped into each other in the hallway. I graciously agreed and then walked around the corner, pumped my fist in excitement and called my wife back home to tell her the good news. That two-hour dinner changed my entire approach to business and gave me the focus and determination I needed to grow faster, push harder and climb higher.

Stop by and see the Pinhole Pro booth in Atlanta and have a chance to get a Pinhole Pro Swag Bag!

My wife Joy and I are super-excited about Imaging USA 2013 and we hope you are too.  Look us up and come say hello. I will be delivering a platform presentation on Sunday afternoon, and on Monday I will be speaking at the Pinhole booth. I look forward to meeting you!

Garrett and his wife, Joy,  have their own photography business in Chattanooga, TN. They focus their attention on those who can help them continue to grow: wedding planners, venues, bridal salons, florists and other vendor partners. Their work has been published in more than 50 wedding and industry publications, and they were recently named one of the top 20 destination photographers by Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine.

Join Garrett Nudd and wedding planner Lisa Stoner at the upcoming Imaging USA in Atlanta when they deliver their platform presentation on January 20, 2013, at 5 pm titled Friends with Benefits, Leveraging Vendor Relationships to Grow Your Wedding Business.

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