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Speaking up: PMA 08 attendees talk about their experiences.

PMA 08, held this year from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev., featured an eclectic array of attendees and exhibitors. Ranging from industry veterans to first timers, photographers to framers, people traveled near and far to attend the annual PMA show. With more than 200 educational sessions, two levels of exhibitors and 20,000 expected attendees from different backgrounds, experience levels, and perspectives, PMA 08 left a different impression on everyone.

Susan Giles of Ted's Camera Stores, Adelaide, South Australia, attended PMA 08 as the newest Australia Young Achiever of the Year. The Australia Young Achiever program offers younger people in the industry a chance to hone their skills while being recognized as developing leaders. Each Australian state recognizes a state champion, and then the national winner is chosen. A trip to the international PMA show is given as a grand prize to the national winner. Giles won the state championship last year, but the national title went to another competitor.

She attended PMA last year after her near victory, and "went to as many sessions as I could to learn as much as possible," she said. Giles, along with her younger sister Linda explored the trade show floor at PMA 08 in search of new ideas for Ted's Camera.

"We offer lots of custom photo products, but I want to learn more," said Giles. "We're looking into updating our kiosks, too."

Giles has always enjoyed photography and began working with Ted's Camera after she completed high school. After competing in the 2007 PMA Young Achiever competition, but missing the overall win, Giles was determined to come back with more knowledge than ever this year - and she did.

"I think our whopper-sized prints [poster sized] are the biggest-selling item right now," said Giles.

She was interested in learning more about photo books and online sharing sites. Giles also wants to become a little more familiar with social networking and how that can help on the promotional, marketing, and relationship-building side of business.

PMA 08 marks the 10th PMA show Duluth, Ga.-based TSS Photography President Joe Lindenmayer has attended.

"I enjoy the relationship building and networking aspect of the show," he said. "Meeting with different suppliers and attending educational sessions is a great benefit to my company. Finding new business solutions and innovative ideas at PMA 08 is priceless."

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TSS Photography, also known as The Sports Section Inc., is a sports, youth, and school events-focused photography company. TSS offers on-site printing capability; an Internet ordering option; and a variety of custom photo products, such as sports equipment, pennants, and mugs.

"I'm interested in looking further into the photo book area for our company," said Lindenmayer. "It seems to be a growing trend that has lots to offer the sports and school markets."

Roger Varland, a photography professor at Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, Mich., attended his first PMA show this year. Varland, a member of the Photo Imaging Education Association (PIEA), thought the trade show was much larger than he imagined.

"The numbers of vendors involved with photo book making surprised me. This seemed to be the hot trend of the year. My personal favorites were the new products for geotagging photos," said Varland.

Varland attended most of the PIEA sessions, where he found various teaching ideas. While he enjoyed the trade show, Varland found the PIEA sessions most valuable to him.

Roger Christian, owner, University Camera, Iowa City, Iowa, went to his first PMA convention in Chicago at the Hilton in 1973, he thinks, and has attended every show since 1985.

In addition to networking, Christian was interested in looking for something to supplement some products he has in his retail store, like bags.

He typically attends PMA shows looking for equipment; but this year he was interested in "book making, some camera gear, networking, good food, and good times."

While at PMA 08, Christian attended various sessions. On Feb. 2, he attended "Key Issues Facing Specialty Retailers," led by Alex Goldfayn, The Technology Tailor. "He was entertaining and had some different ways of looking at things ... the overall experience was pretty positive."

Andy and Denise Ishikawa have been in the business of photography for 30 years and were attending their 15th PMA show. The couple, hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, began Ishikawa Photography Inc. by concentrating on the wedding and portrait market. They have since turned their business into a sports and school photography-focused company.

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The couple came to PMA 08 to "explore new products, such as custom photo products and anything unique we may be able to offer our clients," said Denise.

The couple, not interested in new cameras or photo equipment, isn't only focused on generating profits. "We want to be different, to stand out," said Denise. "Using new product ideas we find here can help."

Margaret Remy, owner, Quick Prints, Meridian, Miss., thought PMA 08 was "an exciting show. I think PMA provides an excellent platform for showcasing products, sharing information and, most important, networking."

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Remy, who has attended every show since 1986, noted the "informal conversations in the aisles, hallways, and receptions are quite valuable. I met many new friends, found partners for projects and services, and re-enforced my belief that ours is the most exciting industry in which to be involved.

"I was looking for partners for outsourcing photo retail products, and reinforcing relationships with vendors and with friends in the industry," she said. "One of my main objectives this year was publicizing the PMA Dixie Division annual meeting."

Between networking and enjoying her 22nd show, Remy found time to check out new products. "I like the new Kodak document and shoebox scanner. I found partners for website design and photo gifting, as well as expanded greeting card offerings. I also joined IPI at the show.

"The show seemed overall very upbeat," Remy said. "I am more enthusiastic about being aggressive and putting into practice many of the marketing ideas presented."

Paul Rentz of Rush Hour Photo & Wireless, Corvallis, Ore., said he's been to about 15 PMA shows. "To begin with, I came [to PMA 08] for the DIMA Board meeting and sessions. I came to see in person some of the new products from HP, as well as to network with IPI members and others I know in the industry," he said. "I came to find out more about improving cameraphone technology that will move the printing of those photos.

"This show impressed me as much with technology as with hardware," said Rentz. "LifePics moving towards social networking and allowing customers to back up all their pictures, at full resolution, at a reasonable rate, with ability to order any of those photos from a kiosk in my store, is incredible."

Rentz was also impressed with other products and services he found at PMA 08. "HP offering a DVD that will help customers back up their photos virtually automatically is interesting. On the hardware side of things, Sony showing the 24-megapixel DSLR prototype was fantastic! The new 'dry' printers from Noritsu, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, and others were impressive. And in both software and hardware, and numerous photo book solutions were probably the hottest items at the show."

In addition to finding new and interesting products on the trade show floor, Rentz made time to attend several DIMA sessions.

"The most intriguing session to me was during DIMA, the 'Turbo-Charge Small-Business Marketing with Social Media.' Paul Gillin presented some great reasons to use social media tools, blogs, and photo sharing sites as an inexpensive way to reach customers. I learned about the power of social networking!"
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Title Annotation:PMA 08
Comment:Speaking up: PMA 08 attendees talk about their experiences.(PMA 08)
Author:Yeager, Amanda
Publication:PMA Magazine - Connecting the Imaging Communities
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2008
Words:1275
Previous Article:2008-2009 association leadership.
Next Article:Prepare for the future: PMA 08 Official Business Sessions cover visionary views, viral communication, and the importance of teamwork.
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