July 15, 2024

It’s fair to say that I had a blast at the 2024 Photography & Video show in the NEC in Birmingham. About the only thing I’d change for the next one in Birmingham is to get an earlier flight back! More on that later. In case you’re not familiar with the show, it’s the biggest UK photography and video trade show. It replaced the much loved Focus On Imaging show and is run by Future, the company that own Digital Camera World, the magazine that I write for. They’ve had no problem filling the shoes of their predecessors, despite things like Covid and Royal breaks.

This year, my aim was a combination of networking and social interaction. While I definitely took time to look at gear, I was there to meet. And meet I did. It was only really on the last day that I remember to take selfies.. for that matter, I do need to take more general shots for this like this article.

I had a great chat with Scott Kelby over on the Rocky Nook stand. I wrote for Photoshop User Magazine for around 15 years, so it’s always great to talk to Scott. Scott Cowlin was obviously there on the Rocky Nook stand. He’s a gent and always great to talk to. If you have a book idea and an audience, don’t be afraid to pitch to them.

Closely related (in spirit) to both Scott’s were Dave Clayton and Peter Treadway. Dave is Kelbyone alumni and Peter is just an upstanding bloke. Dave is the person that introduced me to Scott Cowlin, which led to my Lightroom Classic CC/6 book with Rocky Nook. Forever grateful.

I’ve messaged and chatted with Julianne Kost many times over the years, but this year was the first time I got to meet her in person. Even just watching her class on compositing was so inspirational and educational. She was lovely, gracious and generous with her time. I was there with Tigz Rice and Andy Kruczek.

Tigz was fangirling so hard.. sorry Tigz. I’m kidding really, because I was so delighted to meet her as well. Tigz is a phenomenal empowerment photographer and retoucher. Her book Strip | Tease is just a gorgeous testament to her work. Andy is top hair and beauty photographer doing amazing composite work. He writes for Professional Photographer magazine and we originally met doing some work for The Photographer Academy.

The only problem talking about the cool people I met is that I’ll definitely leave some of them out unintentionally. So apologies in advance. I’d only made one or two definite plans on meeting. The first was with Brian Worley. We have great Canon/Fuji banter and are both lovers of flash photography. I really wish I’d gotten more time with him. The other was James Abbot, another writer for Digital Camera World. We’ve messaged back and forth a lot, so it was great to finally meet in person. We chatted about life, drones, photography and writing. A great hour or two.

One person I also spent a fair bit of time with was Mark Duffy. Mark was working on the Vanguard stand, but I had lunch one day and then spent time going to stands with him the next. I know Mark did an instagram live about talking to brands, but it was interesting to see it in person. Mark does what he does really well and his content is fantastic and well produced. Honestly, the brands are getting the better end of the deal with the quality of his work.

The best craic of the event have to be the glorious Cathy Baitson and Julie ‘Bubbles’. Great ladies with dyed hair, tattoos, attitude and great photography. Banter, banter, banter. They were kind enough to introduce me to the distinguished gentleman that is Tony Harmer. Tony was doing a talk on Adobe Express. And I love Adobe Express.

Ross Grieve did some photos of me on the Hobolight stand-gorgeous retro continuous lighting. He’s trying to get me on his podcast. Maybe.

Gearwise I was there to hold the Fujfilm X100VI. I’ve wanted an X100 for a long time and it’s time. The Limited Edition looks like it could be the one, should I be so lucky. As I’d not booked any check in bags, there was no buying for me at the show. I did see some things I’d have bought. A shallow 5 foot Octabox from Photomart looked great, as did some of the bags from Think Tank.

I chatted to Chris George from Future and am doing a few more articles for them. I also chatted to some magazines and will pitch to them as well.

All in all it was a great show and I’m looking forward to next year in London.

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