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Tradeshow photography shifting to end-user control

Demand for tradeshow photography has decreased in volume over the past few years. An exhibitor’s individual marketing need trumps all else in recent trends in photography.

Collectively, professional photographers assert that the move to digital at the consumer’s hand has changed the overall face of the industry.

For 2014, photographers say that many exhibitors have stories to tell and capturing the image of their booth gives industry executives and outside onlookers a glimpse into their stories.

There is, however, a need for the right photograph to tell the right story at the right time, according to Bob Christie, president, Christie’s Photographic Studios.

With five national offices, Christie’s company has exclusively been doing tradeshow and event photography since 1982.

“In the last 10 years, the volume has decreased specifically on exhibitor booth photography. The reason as we see it is due to people’s comfort level with digital photography,” said Christie. “Overall tradeshow photography, such as editorial storytelling, has increased as people are more aware than ever in the ability on how a dynamic photo can impact a company’s marketing, especially when multiplied many times over through social media channels. But it has to be the right photo telling the right story.”

The right story, according to Las Vegas-area photographer Jim Moniz, is the exhibit booth itself, which also has changed over the years.

“Exhibits have gotten far larger, more interactive and more elaborate over the last several years. Fortunately, photographic technology has been able to keep up,” said Moniz. “The basic principles of photography still apply. You need to get the shot properly set up and get the right exposure. You also need to be efficient.”

Keeping up with changing trends also means knowing how photography interacts in a social media environment. Rebecca Hinsdale, account executive, Orange Photography, stated that the influx of social media has allowed delivery expectations to change.

“With the more ‘now’ approach of digital photography, there is an urgency, a more immediate expectation of images and the need to provide high-quality images with little-to-no editing in extremely tight deadlines. Live Twitter feeds, live blog updates and Facebook have all opened brands up to virtual interaction like never before, which puts a large weight on the quality of images presented,” said Hinsdale.

Orange has been doing tradeshow photography since 2001, and Hinsdale added that the extra step of anticipating one’s social media needs and desires can help alleviate some of the pitfalls and challenges that photographers encounter.

“A big challenge we see in working with various events is anticipating the actual logistics of jumping from place to place and event to event in these large engagements,” said Hinsdale. “Orange makes a point to work with event planners to foresee these issues before getting onsite and working with the onsite team to facilitate the most realistic expectations and increase staff and coverage as needed, a real advantage with working with an agency that has a large staff at its disposal.”

An inherent challenge is also staying on top of emerging technology. Photography teams must know the client’s expectations and also must stay abreast on the latest technology that photographers have at their disposal, according to Bob Christie.

“We must also stay on top of technology exploiting all of a camera’s or software’s benefit for the benefit of the client and the story they want told,” added Christie.

The turn in general consumer photography has infiltrated commercial tradeshow photography. Adapting to the changing trends will help exhibitors to visually enhance tradeshow marketing.

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