I’m just finished with Interbike, the big bicycle trade show in Las Vegas. I try to go every year to catch up with industry friends and keep in contact with those that can and do hire me to create images for them. It’s important, especially in this economy, when the dollars to hire photographers are being held onto tightly by some companies.
My background is in the bicycle world, it was what defined me as a teen and what I first started shooting two decades ago. Things have come a long way since then, and I’ve made a lot of friends in the industry. It’s kind of cool to think that your friends now were your heroes growing up. There’s a lot of respect for longevity in an industry, especially if you’ve been doing good work and taking care of people and relationships along the way. That goes a long way in helping you AND others in weathering these financial storms.
Trade shows have been hit by the economy, and many companies can’t afford to go to as many as they used to. But any trade show, whether international or even regional, is a great chance to see many clients and potential clients since they’re all in the same place.
This year’s Interbike was no exception. Though there was an obvious slowdown with the economy, there was barely (if at all) a dip in crowds and the show was still full of vendors. Lots of innovation, including a lot of electrical bikes and electric assist bikes (you pedal and a motor adds either a specific amount of power to make your job easier or a computer figures out when you need help and how much). Some were whole systems, including a solar power option to pull the bike completely off the grid. This area was obviously an interest of mine, building on the work I did with Zero Motorcycles. Thanks to going to the show, I will likely get to work with one or two more battery-powered companies.
You’ll find out about all kinds of great new products by attending trade shows. GoPro announced their new Hero HD camera. It’s pretty amazing from the samples and specs, shooting up to 1080p (also 720p and 960p and 60fps in some modes!), all in the same size as the original GoPro Hero Wide. There’s even an optional LCD screen and extended batteries. Hoping to get a chance to test one soon, more on this after I finish testing the VHoldR Contour HD camera that I’ve been putting through its paces.
Talking and hanging with old friends is always good. There are people that live and/or work within a relatively short drive from me in Los Angeles, but I only see them at events like this. And Interbike is a good opportunity to go to Las Vegas, where I have a few friends already. There are also a couple of beautiful places to photograph, like Red Rock Canyon and The Valley of Fire when I’m there and have time.
I didn’t have time for that, unfortunately, but the show was successful in that I connected with several old friends, found out what kind of business is available these days from them, and even set up some work for the near future. Well worth the time and expense of going to Vegas for a day or two.
Whatever your industry or area of photographic expertise, trade shows are important. Find out when and where they are in your industry and GO! You’ll make new contacts, new friends, and will likely get more business. Keeping in touch with clients and potential clients and staying in front of them as often as possible keeps the work flowing, and often referrals. People like referring people they know and trust and can count on to deliver the images they need.
While you’re there, pick up the trade journals and magazines related to the industry so you can subscribe and keep up with events, people and trends. Become involved, more people will get to know you. It not only will keep you working and shooting more of what you love to shoot, the friends and the involvement will make life more enjoyable.