November 2, 2018

PhotoPlus 2018, The Photo Industry Evolves

About The Show

New York….PDN PhotoPlus Expo started in 1983, and is the largest photography and imaging event in North America. The show is located at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Our Show Video


RODE SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit

RODE SC6-L Mobile Kit

The PDN PhotoPlus Expo video was shot with both my iPhone 8 Plus (the intro and outro) using a new RØDE Mobile Interview Kit, including one SC6-L and two smartLav+ lavalier microphones.

I found it to be the perfect solution for effortless dual audio recording on the go, using my iPhone or iPad. It was designed for run-and-gun interviews and ensures a quick and easy setup, and flexible recording options for crystal clear audio.

The Future of Photography

I have been attending the PDN PhotoPlus Expo for about 20 years now and covering this show for IPA since 2005.  Each year we see changes in the show, some good and some not so good.   Years ago we all had cameras that shot film. The exhibits included a section for film and print processing equipment sold to processing labs.

 It was great bringing our negatives to the show and having some of them printed on Epson commercial printers at no cost.  We would then take the prints to another exhibitor that sold print lamination equipment who would laminate those prints.  I still have some framed hanging in my house.

“But Them Days Are Over” 

The digital age and all the new technology, has changed everything from taking the images to producing breathtaking images. As you walk through the show and see all the  beautiful photos that graced the walls of this show you can understand that the art we call photography has advanced beyond anyones wildest imagination.  

Today we find photographers both professionals and amateurs posting stunning photos taken with their new generation Samsung or iPhones.  Documentaries and home grown movies are shot with phones today and the results are amazing.

The new iPhone Xs can cost as much as a good digital camera ranging in price from $1100 up to a whopping $1500.  However once you have the new phone, there is no need for additional lenses, cumbersome tripods and in many cases lights or even sound equipment.  Being a Mac computer user from one of the earliest model iMacs made, I am an iPhone user too.

So Much Work Covering The Show In The Past…This Year It Was Different

Our PDN PhotoPlus Expo show coverage this year differs from the last 7 years.  In the past I would attend the show with our crew that included Andy Peeke and others. By having a correspondent enabled me to add a professional look and feel to my projects.

In the past we were fortunate to find a number of companies that sponsored us at the show.  This helped to offset our costs of production.  I would pack all of my gear, tripod, LED lights from Rotolight and others, lightstands, brackets, sound gear from Beachtek and of course all my lenses from Tamron.


Rod Gammons of Rotolight with IPA correspondent Andy Peeke – 2015 PhotoPlus

My Job Was To Direct & Shoot

I am usually the guy behind the camera and the one that edits the video and photos. However, Andy has so much experience that he tends to direct me…even taught me how to hold the iPhone using my forfinger and pinky.  

So shooting the video and photos then spend days editing and producing the videos for the show and for our sponsors is a time consuming job. Finally writing the article that would be published in our four online publications and promoting it through our online publications and social media sites take a great deal of time an deffort. 

Manfrotto from past shows…not at this years PDN Show

For me, each year brought new challenges and an opportunity to test new equipment at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo.

I was fortunate to have companies that allowed me to work with their gear and publish my findings on our websites.  

This year things changed and the PDN PhotoPlus Expo show has a new company that ran the show.  Our friends Scott Heath and Lou Desiderio from Synergy Communications ran  the show and worked with the media to make sure we all had what we needed to get to the companies we wanted to see at the show. There was also a nice gift bag at each show that I always looked forward to.

This year many companies that exhibited at past shows, were no longer participating.  Each year for the past few years, we have seen this decline and change in exhibitors, products and services.  

Was this decline in exhibitors due to the enormous cost to exhibit?  Was it the decline in product sales?  Or was the technology changing so rapidly that yesterdays hot products became obsolete, by the new technology and the professional photographers that attend the show stopped coming.

Well my conclusion was it was all of these factors. 

Companies In The Past Were Gone…But Not B&H Photo 

 Last years we interviewed many companies that weren’t at this years show.  Some of our favorites were: Tamron, Manfrotto, Dynalite, Tiffen, Zeiss and even some of the accessory companies.  

This included  album companies, software companies with photo editing applications, camera bag companies and accessory manufacturers. Today however, many are no longer exhibiting at the show.

Tamron Long Time Favorite and IPA Supporter

One of our must see companies, has always been our friends at Tamron. Tamron is the world’s largest producers of lenses and the only lenses I use. Visit their website to see their latest offerings.

Tamron continues to innovate and every year, when I visit them at Photoplus I look forward to seeing all of our old friends. Unfortunately this year, Andy left the show early so we weren’t able to interview Tamron.


From 2017 PDN PhotoPlus Show

International Pavilions Were Gone

In the past the show had many exhibtors from other countries. They had a country pavilion aisle with included manufacturers from Germany, China and other countries as well. This year only one if you can call it a pavilion.  

It was the “Chinese Pavilion”  which I think had only one company there.  Last year there were a number of companies from China and I was able to score on a cool flash at the show from one of them.  

There was so much space between the aisles at the show and yet the throngs of photographers, pro and amateur showed up in the thousands and waited on long lines in the lobby to register.

Beseler Enlarger

I noticed that many of the smaller companies that produced accessories were gone.  Beseler the company that produced the photo enlargers so many years ago was present and displayed two enlargers, one that I used 40+ years ago.  I loved my Beseler enlarger and produced many prints with it in my basement darkroom.

They claim that film is not dead and neither are they…Kodak might be gone but Bessler is still with us.

Lighten The Load…Nothing New To Feature This Year

Equipment I Used To Take To Shows….

I decided to lighten up this year and only brought what I thought was necessary.  I left most of the heavy gear in my car in the event I might need it. As it turned out I didn’t need the extra equipment and made due with my camera, iPhone, RODE phone mic and a monopod.

I walked through the floor of the show with my camera, external flash, iPhone and a the monopod and tried to get some footage and photos of what was going on at the show.  

No interviews planned, and most of our favorite companies we have featured in the past were no longer at the show.

Andy Peeke & Tabisam Mir Joined Me

Andy Peeke our correspondent and new IPA correspondent Dr. Tabasum Mir a Bravo TV celebrity joined us for a fast intro and outro.  Without knowing in advance of any new companies or products we really didn’t have a solid plan to interview and specific company.  

I had hoped our old friends would be there and we would just grab them for some short interviews.  Unfortunately most were not at the show this year.  I decided to simply do an overview of the show because Andy and Tabbi left early so I walked the floor of the show trying to find anything that would impress me.  Unfortunately that was not the case.

No Longer Exhibiting at PhotoPlus

In the past we always loved to visit Manfrotto because their line of photo equipment was vast and exciting, this year they were gone. Tiffen, Datacolor, Dynalite and so many others now gone from the show.  Organizations, photo schools or even those selling photo albums gone.  

You can revisit some of our past PhotoPlus reviews on this site to see all the interviews we have done in the past…now that is a thing of the past.  Each year as the smart phones get better and photographers begin to use them for serious projects. Yes the photo industry is being hurt.  

Many of the accessory manufacturers are pretty much gone and forgotten.  Sales on pocket camera or even the advanced amateur cameras as well as DSLR’s are substantially down from previous years.  Where will it end?

B & H Photo NYC

B&H Photo Dominates The Show

Their ability to take orders at the show meant exhibitors that were doing business with B&H could actually sell their products through the many B&H Photo salespeople.   The orders were entered on computers and in seconds were in the que to be shipped.  

I decided to buy my first drone at the show.  I had a chance to fly it and realized I could actually become a drone pilot so I placed an order with B&H and spent $600.

B&H Ships Fast, Received Drone Next Day

It took me about 2 hours after the order was placed to get home and I went to the B&H website to check the reviews on the drone.  Ater reading the reviews, I decided it would not be a good fit for me.

 I called B&H immediately to cancel the order only to find out it had already been shipped and I would receive it the next day.

 It did arrive the next day, but unfortuately FEDEX just dropped it at my door and rang my bell.  I couldn’t refuse it, so I contacted B&H and they were happy to send me a return label and even agreed to not charge me the $10 return fee.  No wonder these guys own the photo retail business.

Manfrotto We Missed Them…

BeFree Advanced Aluminum Travel Tripod

Photo from 2017 Review

What can I say, I have always loved the Manfrotto products and own quite a few from camera bags, tripods, lights and other gear. Sorry not to see them at this years show…

Thanks for reading this article and watching our video.  Please join us at International Press Association so you too can enjoy covering events as our members have over the past 28 years.

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About the Author

Len Rapoport
Len Rapoport
IPA Editor-In-Chief, ID: 1000 • I am an internationally published photographer and the founder of International Press Association. As president and editor-in-chief, my duties at IPA are extensive. For over 40 years I have written articles, had my photos published in millions of publications, record album covers, books, and in the digital media. I was senior marketing and sales executive for major corporations, including my own and as a corporate communications consultant. I have taught photography and formed IPA 20 years ago. I currently work from my home office and continue to actively cover media events in addition to all of my other IPA and IMPress responsibilities.



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