Photography Tips

Photo Plus Expo 2017: 6 Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography

PPE marketing-Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography

If you’re a photography nut like moi (or less so but pretty enthusiastic), and in New York City this week from Oct 25-27, consider going to Photo Plus Expo (PPE) at the Javits center on Manhattan’s west side. It’s the largest event of its kind in North America and a great opportunity to immerse yourself in all things photography with a bunch of other photo geeks. Whether you’re a professional, amateur, student or beginner, here are 6 reasons why you should go.

1. Give those close to you a break

Yes they love you, but do they really want to deal with your photography obsession 24/7?  Give your spouse or special someone a break from your incessant photo-centric chatter and hang out with other people who love to talk about it too.

The details 

Photo Plus Expo is both a trade expo and a conference.

An Expo Only ticket usually costs $25 if you register online before the doors open, and $75 at the door.

Use the promo code: “ENJOY” to get the Expo ONLY pass for FREE.  

The Expo Only option gives you the opportunity to walk through hundreds of booths many with their own lectures and presentations you can benefit from, free.

The conference price is more expensive but packed with opportunities to get access to keynotes, master classes, seminars, workshops and photowalks. Prices vary depending on how many days you plan on attending. Look here for various packages and options.

(FYI: The premiere virtual/augmented reality expo on the east coast: NYVR Expo 2017 is also on site and produced by the PPE folks.  More info on that here. )

2. You’ll find your favorite brands and new products

Putting the art of photography aside for a minute, I admit, I’m addicted to gear and PPE is my favorite dealer. There are hundreds of vendors across all genres of photography that are showcasing their new or soon-to-be launched products and services, and most favored fare.

All the big camera brands will be there: Canon, Hasselblad, Nikon, Olympus, Sony….you name it. Last year more than 200 exhibitors and brands were represented, and over the three days of the show, more than 19,000 attendees from over 64 countries. From cameras, lenses and filters to lighting, bags, and backdrops. Not to mention the latest in storage, digital imaging or presentation options. The expo is a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with new brands and get caught up with your favorites.

3. Learn from the best

If you opt for including the conference in your ticket you’ll have access to over 100+ seminars, masterclasses, photo walks and portfolio reviews, most of which are included in your registration fee. No matter your focus: street, photojournalism, landscape, portrait, fine-art, travel….you’ll find something worthwhile. (FYI: If you only opt for an expo ticket you can still take part in the seminars etc., but you must buy each one a la carte.)

These are some of the seminars that caught my eye: (Descriptions are from the PPE Website.)


Art & Advocacy: Using photography to Promote Positive Change

As a result of the current political climate, we’ve seen inspiring growth in grassroots activism around many environmental and social causes. What role can and should photographers play in fighting for these causes? What are the opportunities and pitfalls of using photography to advance an issue? What are the current trends in photojournalism and visual advocacy? These are just some of the questions that will be explored during this discussion on how photographers use their art for good. During this seminar you’ll hear from seasoned photographer-activists and learn best practices for how to use your art to advocate for good.

The Content Creator’s Guide to Working with Top Brands and Destinations

Join TEDx speakers and sponsored adventure filmmakers Kody and Kyler McCormick (of The Outbound Life) as they share exclusive insight on the business of content creation and social influencing. This unprecedented panel will give an intimate look at the relationship between world renown social influencers and content creators as well as top brands and travel destinations. Special guests to be announced! This panel discussion will illustrate the working relationship between content creators, social media influencers and some of the top brands and destinations in the world.

PPE Javitz--Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography
Emerald Expositions

Updated! The Quick and Simple Portrait

Join portrait photographer Drew Gurian as he shows you a variety of real-world examples shot for clients like Red Bull, the Associated Press and Rolling Stone that demonstrate just how easy this whole lighting thing can be. Learn the simple solutions that let you achieve what you need. Lighting can be really confusing—as we’re constantly bombarded with more and more gear—but at the end of the day, less is usually more.

Overcoming Fear: How To Have The Career You Want

Too often our fears block our path to success. Freelancers, especially those in the creative fields, take that fear to a new level. You do not have to fall victim to this. You have more power than you think. This seminar will share practical tips that can be used to get past whatever is preventing you from achieving your goals. Learn tips and techniques to overcome your fears and increase your chance for success.

Photojournalism Outside the Box with VII

Photojournalists today—veterans and rookies alike—share common elements unique to the profession: a desire to tell stories, to explore the world and to effect change. Today there is a fragmented media landscape, diminishing financial value and an overabundance of imagery, and finding a way to not only survive but thrive is a challenge for us all. In this seminar, VII photographers will explain how they have used alternative approaches to support and execute their projects and will motivate attendees to find their own successful path to a sustainable career as a photojournalist.

Scouting, producing, shooting & editing: Becoming a ‘shreditor’

“Shreditor” is an umbrella term for scouting, producing, shooting and editing professional film. Join Johnathan Edwards in this introduction to shooting film as a freelance director, working with agencies, brands and clients. He will discuss work styles, techniques, shooting and color grading, as well as social media, marketing and brand awareness. Learn about a wide range of gear and when to utilize the correct tools.

PPE Photo walk-Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography
Emerald Expositions

Creating a Sustainable Career (free session)

(A special program geared for Students and Educators)

When you’re starting out as a full-time photographer, getting your first clients and living shoot to shoot, thinking ahead ten, 20 or 30 years may seem impractical. But what are some steps you can take early on to make your career not only successful, but enduring? In this panel for students and educators, presented by PDNedu, you’ll learn how to build your future in photography with longevity in mind from three Nikon Ambassadors: commercial fashion photographer Dixie Dixon, world-renowned celebrity portraitist Matthew Jordan Smith and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice. The panel, moderated by PDN editor Holly Hughes, will be followed by a reception with the opportunity to speak with the photographers.

Strategic Staying Power-Maintaining a Photographic Career in an Ever-Changing Marketplace

Andrew Hetherington will lead a panel of successful photographers in a discussion on what it takes to maintain a career and stay relevant both creatively and commercially. Photographers will discuss their strategies for being competitive, how they’ve navigated and adapted to a rapidly changing marketplace, and tips on leveraging personal projects to get clients, self-promotion and social media, bidding and contracts, shooting video, networking and more. Participants can expect to get an honest look at what it takes to run and grow a successful career.

Unlock the Power of Lightroom CC – Edit and Share Photos Anywhere, Anytime

Julieanne Kost will demonstrate how to add personal style to your images by mastering the Lightroom tools needed to enhance, refine and add creative effects. Explore Lightroom’s powerful global and local non-destructive image adjustments including color and tonal enhancements, custom conversions to black and white, and special vintage and traditional darkroom effects. Learn how to create presets to quickly apply these effects to multiple images and prepare your images for final delivery. Discover how photographs are seamlessly managed across devices and the cloud. This session will be a mixture of practical techniques and inspirational tips that will help photographers of all levels.

PPE Taking notes -Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography
Emerald Exposition


Divining the Personal: How to Bring Your Life to Your Projects

Learn how photography can help you make sense of your world and reveal personal patterns. Jennifer McClure will cover strategies for using your emotions and experiences as a basis for a compelling photographic journey. The most important item in your toolkit is your unique point of view. McClure will show you how to translate your interior narratives and passions into concrete photographs, focusing on subject matter, composition, lighting and editing.

How to Use Social Media to Build Your Career (fri)

Today’s photographers have powerful career-building tools in social media apps, yet it can be challenging to stand out in the crowded feeds of followers. In this seminar, hear from photographers who use social channels to market their work, connect with clients, raise funds for books or other personal projects, and sell prints directly to their audiences. Panelists will also explain how they price and manage Instagram takeovers and other social media assignments, and the different ways they are using app features to create compelling stories. This seminar offers photographers at all levels actionable ideas for marketing, fundraising and reaching new clients and buyers.

Iconic Portrait Lighting

Brian Smith will break down the lighting he’s used to create iconic portraits of Hollywood’s A-list and Fortune’s 600. Learn how to control the quality of light and how the choice between hard light and soft light allows you to control the mood. Learn which lighting modifiers he uses to control and shape light and shadow, to sculpt light in the studio and how to overcome harsh daylight by blending strobe with ambient light on location. You’ll learn how to work quickly under pressure, on both small and large productions to make everyone you photograph look and feel like a star.

What Photo Editors Want Now

Photo editors will explain what skills and styles they’re looking for,  and how photography and video serves their editorial mission and style of their brands in print, digital, social media or mobile applications. Using examples of work they’ve recently assigned or published, they’ll explain all aspects of their work, including: finding photographers, generating ideas, conceiving and planning shoots, communicating and negotiating with photographers, and selecting and sequencing images for different readers, uses and brands. The panelists will share their experiences finding new talent, evaluating pitches from photographers, and communicating with photographers to produce work that fits their editorial needs.

Seeing the Story: How to Design Visual Stories (and Stop Making Montages)

We hear stories all the time. Seeing them is another story. Once the story is known it’s time for the visuals. Visuals enhance and support the narrative. What the audience sees compels and drives the understanding of what it hears. This session explores methods of describing a story in terms of what is seen. Participants will learn to describe the story in terms of what is seen so even if nothing is heard, the message comes through.

PPE demo-Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography
Emerald Expositions


Ditch the Pixel – Finding Passion in Print

It’s hard to find passion in pixel, but much easier to find passion in prints. Peter Coulson earned the title of “modern-age, black-and-white master of photography” by looking at his photography as art, not as a pixel. In today’s industry, it seems the photography world has turned pixel obsessed. Coulson will discuss why taking your photography back to art will change your perspective and photography practice, resulting in creating your own photographic style.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Use the promo code: “ENJOY” online to get the Expo ONLY pass for FREE.  [/perfectpullquote]

4. Photo walks

A fantastic way to hone your skills while having fun is joining a photo walk. If you’re not familiar, a photo walk is a group activity typically led by an experienced and sometimes famous photographer.  Depending on his/her’s focus, you may stroll around NYC shooting architecture or people or who knows what. All the while, the lead will give you tips, provide inspiration and answer questions. A photo walk is also a great place to meet other photographers who share your interests.  (Click here for some tips on from Photo District News on how to get the  most out of a photo walk).

My photo walk picks at Photo Plus Expo 


Finding The Best Light For A Portrait Wherever You Are  (Thrs)

During this Photo Walk, Charles Chessler will go over all the basics: the exposure triangle, dynamic range, quality and direction of light, exposure compensation, when to increase ISO, background, subject-to-background distance and more. You’ll pick your settings for the light that is occuring that day. Then, the real fun begins: learn how to engage with your subject to get something real and unforced.

How to Shoot Portraits in Ugly Locations That don’t need Photoshop!

Reignite your love and excitement for photography by seeing how Peter Coulson works outdoors, commercially and during his own creative photoshoots. Learn Coulson’s techniques for how to find the perfect light in the ugliest locations, with any model or client, creating flawless beauty portraits and fashion photographs. Learn how to create photos that do not need any Photoshopping!

Authentic Street Portraits with Kenna Klosterman

This Photo Walk is for photographers who want to get comfortable connecting with people on a more intimate level. Kenna Klosterman will lead photographers through the streets of New York City, teaching by example how to approach strangers—even those that don’t speak the same language. This is not about using your 70- 200mm lens to capture someone from a distance; this is about connection. Using body language and eye contact, and finding commonalities before you shoot, you’ll learn how to improve your portraits by putting yourself out there and conquering fears!

PPE At a booth -Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography
Emerald Expositions


Capturing Action with Small Flash

Learn how to capture motion with a small flash on this outdoor photo walk with Tony Gale. Participants will learn how to improve available light by using one or several small off-camera flashes, as well as when and how to use HSS (high-speed sync), TTL or manual settings on your flash. This photo walk will feature live models and participants will be encouraged to test out the ideas and tips they learn.

The Wild West Side

Manhattans’s midtown on the west side is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in New York City and has been in an state of change since the turn of the last century. From the world-famous High Line to construction of the new Zaha Hadid building, to the extension of the 7th avenue subway, this urban landscape offers so much to see in a very concentrated area.  And as you might expect, it is a treasure trove of visual imagery. Join André Costantini on this exclusive photography walk as we explore street photography and the architecture and forms of the wild west side.

Urban Landscapes-Light, Shadows & Utilizing Architectural Backgrounds

Be part of Michael Grecco’s renowned Urban Landscape Project by joining him on an exciting hands-on photo walk through the greatest city in the world, New York. He will show you how to hunt for light, manage shadow and use the great architectural background of the city to shoot your own urban landscapes. You will walk through some of his favorite spots, known for their dynamic design, and learn to shoot strategically from the magic hour and into darkness.

5. Listen to your heroes (maybe you’ll even meet one)

I derive a lot of inspiration from other photographers and their work and I jump at the chance to hear the best in world talk about their process. While all the photographers showcased at PPE are great at what they do, here are a few celebrities that stand out from the crowd.


In this two-hour session, a whole new world of flash will be discussed, interpreted, explained and demonstrated by Joe McNally. Radio controlled TTL flashes are the current standard in Speedlights, and Joe explores and explains this new technology. A professional model will be present, and McNally will also pull subjects from the crowd. He will show examples of light and light theory, while engaging the audience in an ongoing Q&A and offering tips, tricks, stories and survival strategies derived from many years on location in over 60 countries and all fifty states.

Jay Maisel—Perception, Light, Gesture, Color and New Work

Light, gesture and color are synonymous with all of Jay Maisel’s images. These elements, coupled with an awareness of figure-ground relationships or photographic optical illusion, constitute a crucial part of image presentation. In this seminar, Maisel will show you how and why images challenge perception and why you do not always see what you think you see. The emphasis will be on perception, not manipulation. Maisel will also discuss how he uses digital technology to enhance the way he works and will show new work on several themes.

Art Streiber—The Big Picture: Editorial Photography Behind the Scenes 

Find out what it takes to produce a photo shoot for leading magazines, and what goes on behind the scenes from pre- to post-production. Learn how to scale up production for group shots of five to 100+ subjects. In this seminar, photographer Art Streiber will reveal how some of his images for Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek and Vanity Fair came together. He’ll also discuss how to edit, manage, and store your editorial archive, the importance of custom printing, and how to negotiate your way through the creative process, hammer out the details of pre-production, refine post-production, get your next assignment, and utilize the web for editorial growth. Great for beginner and intermediate editorial photographers, as well as advanced photographers looking to refine their process.

Gerd Ludwig—Minus 2/3 – The (nearly) Invisible Strobe 

Gerd Ludwig will share a wide range of strobe uses, from utilizing strobes at high-speed sync in broad daylight to enhancing extreme long exposures at night by firing the flashes multiple times. He will share his methods and show examples both from his personal projects and his many years of photographing on assignment for National Geographic. Ludwig will also share his secrets to surviving in today’s marketplace, using crowdfunding and social media (he has 300K Instagram followers) to get personal projects financed and seen by a wider audience.

Jeremy Cowert—Re-Discovering Yourself After Career Burnout 

Celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart will discuss his career—the highs, the lows and what he does when it comes time to reinvent himself. He’ll also discuss the importance of diversifying your income and interests in this super in-depth, honest look at what a photography career looks like in these changing times. Attendees will walk away inspired, with ideas on how to diversify their income.

Deanne Fitzmaurice—Visual Storytelling: How to Gain Trust and Access to the Human Story

Deanne Fitzmaurice, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, will show you how to capture people in their authentic moments, via documentary-style photography. She will discuss valuable photographic techniques and tools you can use to connect with your subjects, and will give a brief introduction to the value of audio and video. Whatever your assignment or project, be it personal, editorial, corporate or non-profit, discover how these techniques can create opportunities for you.

PPE portrait demonstration --Photo Plus Expo: X Reasons You Should go if You Love Photography
Emerald Expositions

6. You may get a good deal

This isn’t official or across the board, but some of the brands run specials during the show. A few have a small inventory in their booths but most offer their discounts for products they’ll ship to you later.

B & H Photo and Video, a large retailer on 34th Street and Ninth Avenue, not far from the Javits center, will have discounts on some merchandise. Tamrac will be introducing seven new lines and showcasing a new international roller at PPE. B & H will be offering 10% off the roller for expo attendees.

At the B & H booth (across from Tamrac), salespeople will be on hand to answer questions and sell gear from their website. If you’re leaning towards more instant gratification, the store will have free shuttle buses running between their brick and mortar location and the expo all day on Wednesday and Thursday and until 2pm on Friday.

Tips for getting the most out of PPE. 

Where to enter 

The Jacob Javits is huge and there are often multiple expo/conferences taking place at the same time. If you’re walking or taking a cab, enter at the southern end of the building between 35th and 36th streets on Eleventh Avenue at the top of the hill.

Download the PPE 2017 App*

The app allows you to personalize your schedule by synching with the activities you’ve signed up for during registration. It has a personal inbox; you can assign favorites to specific brands; take notes; take surveys; network with others and post photos.

*The app can only be used once you’ve registered for the expo / conference. You’ll be sent a registration I.D. and an access code via email to log in.

Go early and get the lay of the land

Some seminars start at 8:15am, if you’re making the conference part of your experience. Otherwise, the expo doesn’t open until 10am. On my first day, I always take a quick walk up and down the aisles to get the lay of the land and then figure out my game plan from there.

Don’t forget your business cards

PPE is a wonderful place to network with other photographers and possible professional contacts. Don’t forget to bring plenty of business cards.

Where REALLY comfortable shoes

As I mentioned above, the Javits is huge and the floor is hard. Wear really comfortable shoes if you want to spend time strolling through all the booths. Otherwise you’ll regret it and your lower back and feet will hate you.

Don’t worry about the weather

There’s a coat check and they’ll check bags too, though I wouldn’t leave them anything truly valuable. Last year the price was $3/coat.

The wifi is free (sort of) Javits offers visitors free wifi up to 256k of bandwidth. After that you have to purchase a single or multi-day use package. See here for details.

It can get chilly 

In past it’s been necessary to wear a cardigan or long sleeves at the expo. The air con is maxed out due to all the attendees.

There’s plenty of things and places to eat at the Javits but….

Like airports or other places where you’re captive, the food choices may be plentiful but they’re expensive. Eat before or after if that is a concern.

Taxis are hard to come by when you leave

Use apps like Uber and Lyft to get where you’re going if you leave at key crunch times. Taxis are hard to get. Or try the following:

  • Take the 7 train at 34th street at 11th Avenue east to Times Square. There are more than enough public transport options to get you where you want to go.
  • Walk east on 34th street to 8th Avenue and pick up the the A/C/E subways or enter Penn Station. Or walk further east to 7th Avenue to Times Square.

Here is the PPE FAQ if you have any questions not addressed by the tips above.

Other photography – related articles you might like

How to Shoot Street Photography with Renowned Photojournalist Peter Turnley

A Lesson in Light with Famed Photographer Timothy Allen

Pro Photographer Shares 9 Tips for Taking Great Portraits when You Travel

How to Make My Super Easy, Ridiculously Cheap, DIY DSLR Rain Cover

A Photographic Workshop: Is it right for you?

Categories: Photography Tips

6 replies »

  1. I go to Photo Plus every year. Always a lot of fun and an inspirational day too. Plus with the High Line and Hudson Yards right across the street there’s plenty of shooting to do after the show!

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