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I’m just back from The Photography Show in the NEC in Birmingham, UK. I pulled an allnighter after working on Sunday to get over to Dublin for a 6:40am flight. It wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. I was going over looking at new product and did some video as well for a vlog, which I’ll be editing shortly.

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First stop in the door was…The Fujifilm stand. Yes, I was there to check out their new Medium Format GFX50S Camera. It was beautiful. In fact, I probably should’ve spent a lot more time on the stand. I had a good chat with Marc Horner and with Kevin Mullins before wandering around.

The show was pretty vast-so much so that I didn’t get to everything I wanted to see. I missed Ryan on the Palette Gear Stand. I did get to finally meet my publishers, Scott Cowlin and Ted Wiatt from Rocky Nook. Absolute gents the pair of them. My book sold out on their stand and on the CBL Distribution stand as well. Yay!

I made some purchases at the show. A Rode SC4 so I can use my Sennheiser MKE400 mic with the Osmo Mobile setup for vlogging was a necessary purchase-great show price, so had to happen. I got a Lensbaby trio-which is a great fun lens on my X-T2 and a cool strap from 1901fotographi. I grabbed a mini tripod on the Dorr stand for travel. There are a few more bits that I’ve ordered since that I saw including a turntable.

Highlights of the show? Chatting with great people. Joe McNally and Annie Cahill for one. Glyn Dewis, Brian Worley, Gavin Hoey, Dave Clayton (numerous times), Christina Lauder, Wayne Johns, Jake Hicks. Hugs with Damian McGillicuddy..And of course all my photo mates, Mac, Barrie, Julian, Liz, Vicki, Finn, Seamus, Brian Hopper.. I’m sure I’ll have to add to this list. Oh.. Ryo Love was there as well with Dan.. Great to see her. She’s probably the best model I’ve ever worked with.. and I was rather ill that day. I had lunch with the Photographer Academy crew with Mark, Jay and Sam. We were joined by the fabulous as always Michelle Spazk. Google her work if you like motorbikes!

Saw some great talks. Sean Conboys architectural talk on the Hasselblad stand was really inspirational. I missed his SWPP talk last year and heard it was great, so it was a joy to see that. I got to see Hannah Couzens rocked out with HSS on the Profoto stand. Han you’re a total speaking pro as well as a photo pro.

Of course I saw Joe McNally aka the Boss a few times. Annie got me to shoot a few shots at the Lastolite stand. Interesting using a Nikon! One meeting that nearly didn’t happen was catching Ben Brain, the editor of Digital Camera World, at the end of the show. I’ve been writing for them for ages, and haven’t seen him since I started!



I saw some new gear that really impressed me (beside the GFX50S), including the Matterport camera that does 360 work with floorpans and 3d layouts. Really cool stuff. The Laowa 15mm Shift Macro as well-which I’m buying. The Mavic Pro that I want so badly. I did look at a bunch of wall art material for clients as well. News on that as I do more session based work.

I stayed in the Hampton by Hilton in the north of the city, about a mile’s walk from New Street Station. I’ve never, in all my years going to the NEC, seen the city centre before. It was gorgeous. Loads of interesting architecture.. and no tripod for it, so loads of handheld details shots were done instead.

I really should do the whole weekend and get to more talks.. and maybe do some talks there as well. Perhaps next year Dave Clayton!

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I went to The Photography Show the first year after Focus on Imaging finished, and really enjoyed it. It was a great show, but for various reasons I haven’t been since. Sometimes it was work related, last year it was because I was writing ‘The Indispensable Guide to Lightroom CC’ under deadline pressure.

This year, I’d no such commitments and was really itching to go. I loved speaking at The Societies Convention in January. It a great chance to network and see new gear, but the trade show is smaller than with The Photography. I’m not giving out about the Convention- I love going to it! It really is a wonderful few days at the start of the year, and I always come away buzzing with new ideas and fresh insight. I highly recommend it to any photographers.

The timing wasn’t great still, so I finished at job at 2am and drove to Dublin for a 6:25 flight. I met loads of Malahide Camera Club members in the airport. Big shout out to Joe Doyle, Michelle la Grue and the crew. The flight was painless though there was a bit of a wait the other end!

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Being so big, The Photography Show is a great place to catchup with people, meet people you only know from on
line and see new gear (of course). So this post is about that, and probably will bore the pants off non photographers. You have been warned. I will be talking about the great people I got to meet. If you think it’s name dropping, umm, sorry, it’s not meant to be.

Fujifilm were one of the main sponsors and the stand was right inside the entrance. I spent a bit of time there chatting to the fabulous Nathan Wake as well as grabbing coffee with him and the equally wonderful Gary Astill (formerly of Lastolite). This is a big part of why I go to trade shows. Meet great people, play with new gear. I got to play with a few cameras on the stand, like the X70. Tempted as a pocket and BTS camera, but at the price, I would seriously consider a 2nd X-T10. There was a mockup of the EF-X500, but I didn’t get a play with it. Next year I need to make a list and have a better plan of attack. As with the SWPP show, Fujifilm were doing free cleaning, so I got my X-Pro1 cleaned. Yay for free cleaning. Of course this meant that I didn’t take many photos.

The Photographer Academy were helping on the Flaghead stand, so I got to talk to Jay and Sam for a bit, and of course had to take part in Mark Cleghorn’s 101 beards at the show. I was somewhere in the mid 40s of that section. That was done on The Flash Centre stand, using Elinchrom, my lighting of choice in the studio and for more powerful lights on location. I chatted to Simon Burfoot there, and tried to convince him to let me talk there next year (hey, I can only ask!). John Moors was there as well, helping away.

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I met plenty of Buxtonites (a special group of people-we really did form a bond at these training weeks run by Paul RG Haley), and hung with them after the first evening. That may not have been a wise choice from the wine point of view, but it was a lot of fun. So hi again to Mac McBride, Paul Brown, Michelle Heseltine, Jennie Miles, Claire Elliot, Julie Oswin, Iona Long and all the others I bumped into. It’s like an extended photographer family really. Many of the attendees have gone on to become trainers in their own right. I really love going to these and am looking forward to the next event in May.

I spent a little time at the Lensbaby stand and there’s a Sweet Optic in my near future. I haven’t decided on the 35 or 50 yet, as the 35 is my main lens on the Fuji, but I’m thinking of it for portraits. I just love how they look. Both Jake Hicks and Adam Robertson, two photographers I know and admire, use them from time to time. I do have the 24mm & 90mm TSE tilt shift lenses for Canon, and I can use teleconverters and adaptors for these on Fuji, but they’re really cumbersome. The Composer Pro is really light and easy to use. I’ve loved this look for years and first saw it with the editorial portraits of Mark Tucker– with his infamous Plunger Cam. This was long before Lensbaby of course.

My book was for sale on K52, so I popped along to meet Jane and Pippa from CBL Distribution. Scott Kelby was signing books there, so I chatted to him for a bit. I write for the Kelbyone magazine ‘Photoshop User’, so it’s nice to bump into the boss at these shows. Scott also had me do a quick chat to camera so hopefully that will air at some stage! The camera was run by Dave from 3 Legged Thing and helped along by Dave and Peter from Hybrid Photography.

Book on sale 25% off any stand K52 at #ukphotoshow

A photo posted by Sean McCormack (@seanmcfoto) on

Remember I did that post showing my speedlight modifiers? Well the ring flash softbox was on sale at the show.. for £120. I kid you not. Save your money and get it for $30 instead. Maybe I should start rebranding and selling them myself!

The highlight of the show for me was meeting Julian Calverley. He’s a commercial and landscape photographer and I’ve genuinely been in love with his work for years. They say never meet your heros, but he was a total gent. Great to finally meet you in person Julian (despite my hangover!). He did a talk at the Linhof Studio stand, under the On Landscape magazine banner. Julian’s personal work is shot on an Alpa, but he also uses the iPhone as well. It’s a full spectrum difference, yet one has come to inform the other for him. The #iPhoneonly book is a delight and a worthy purchase for any landscape photographer. It’s also come full circle and is available as an iBook! If you’re getting it, go for the print version. The print and paper make it worth it. I really wanted to ask loads of questions, but didn’t want to keep interrupting!

I didn’t get to catch up with Ben Brian, editor of Digital Camera World, this time. I did however get to meet Richard Hill for the first time. He’s the Operations Editor on the magazine and is the person I deal with most. Total gent and it was a delight to meet him, albeit unexpectedly! I also met Chris George, the man in charge, and he too was a gent. Don’t forget to catch my monthly column in the magazine!

Scott Wiggins has been doing a Follow Friday with me in it on Twitter for quite a few months, so it was great to meet Tigz Rice, one of the other that’s regularly in that same tweet. Her work is fantastic, and so is she. She was doing demos on the Wacom stand, showing a mix of stuff from Lightroom and Photoshop using the tablets. Follow her.

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I also got to chat to Lara Jade about being an author at a networking event for pros run by 3XM. She was lovely and very social, as was Sinbad that joined us a bit into conversation. This was the event where the wine issue came in (mentioned earlier). I hadn’t intended on having anything, but decided to have one glass of white wine, despite being really tired. Then the replacements glasses arrived, and next thing I was signing happy birthday over the PA to 3XM boss Ronan Ryle. Sorry Ronan, I may be able to do sound, but I’m not much of a singer!

I've got 15 seconds on #thegrid tonight at 8.. Here's @scottkelby with @hybriddave, Hybrid Peter @itsdaveclayton, being filmed by Dave from @3leggedthing

A photo posted by Sean McCormack (@seanmcfoto) on

I mentioned Scott Kelby, so I definitely need to talk about Dave Clayton! Dave was running the Live Stage, and what a busy affair that was. You’ve heard me talk about total gents, well Dave is another one. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing photographers don’t like to do more than bitch about other photographers, but there are plenty of people in the business that like to see people succeed, and Dave is one of them. Dave is the man that gave me the connection to Rocky Nook in the first place.

Final mention should go to the Adobe peeps: Gavin Hoey, Richard Curtis, Dave Mallows and Eric Renno. Eric was showing off his Surface Pro 4. Now if only Apple would run OS X on an iPad Pro.. Can’t someone write an emulator app for that?

It’s a week later now, and it almost seems like a lifetime ago already. I’ll have to go for longer the next time. Too much to see, and too much fun to have!

I love speaking.
I don’t mean the process of opening my mouth and uttering words. I mean the processing of imparting knowledge learned over my 15+ years of photography. I find it utterly satisfying to have people stop me in the corridors of a hotel to thank me for my class, and to say it one of the best they attended this year. It’s really satisfying.

So the annual Societies Convention is over for another year, and after weeks of preparation, my Masterclasses are done. I kicked off with a talk on Landscape photography on Thursday morning. I go loads of great questions, and of course got to show off my work as part of talking about composition and processing. I really put a lot of work into this class and it really reminded me that I should finish the ebook I started creating way back in 2010. It’s time.

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My second class was on location lighting, showing off editorial setups to get that studio look on location. The class opens with a discussion of what makes light good, then goes on to talk about on camera flash, before going off camera. Again the layout of the class would make the basis for a nice speed light ebook. A big part of the response to this class is that you can do a lot without breaking the bank and still have gear that works really well, as well as looking better than the cost. Things like my 120cm Octa (yes I was able to fit this in a case for Ryanair!), and the Meking ring light for speed lights. Of course as well as the value for money modifiers, I also demoed my favourite modifier, the Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa, and the MagMod system. I’ve done a post about the modifiers I used here.

The final class is the topic I’m so well known for: Lightroom. In this I explored Develop, looking at things like portrait retouching, landscape processing, as well as things like Smart Previews and Profiles. Of course I have a book about Lightroom out right now! I also showed the Palette, and I think people got straight away what a time saver it is.

The Convention isn’t about me though, it’s about the choice of hundreds of classes with world class speakers. I never sleep well out of my own bed, and this week was no exception (though packing one of my own pillows really did help). I should point out that this wasn’t due to late nights at the bar-I was in bed by midnight! It meant I missed some classes I really wanted to see, like Sean Conboy or even Jared Platt.

Still, I got to see some great classes. London based family photographer (and friend) Panikos Hajistilly did a great class on family posing, lighting and product. Very enjoyable. I’ve shot in his studio and it really was a delight to be at his first convention talk. Great stuff Pani!

Probably one of my favourite classes to go to was that of Stuart Wood. Stuart shoots loads of TV related stuff, shoots Elinchrom, and is moving to Fujifilm. I went to the class last year and loved it. Having had spoken to Stuart briefly in the bar, I knew that he’d have loads of new work to show. And it really was compelling viewing. It’s funny that you can really know and use stuff, but when someone describes it in a different way to how you think of it, it really drives it home. And last year it made me start to light a little differently for editorial work. I brought out techniques that I hadn’t used in a while, so for me it was a great class. This year it gave me a better way of directing the shots. Cheers Stuart!

I popped by Damian McGillicuddy stand more than once. Despite the fact that I did have an Olympus E-M5, and changed to Fuji, doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate these quality of m43 cameras. They really are fully featured and great tools. Damian regularly shows techniques in a particularly entertaining fashion, and I really do believe that good teaching is a performance. Engagement is critical and the Big Dog has showmanship in spades. There’s always a new idea to glean from this master-like with Stuart Wood, just because you know something, doesn’t mean there isn’t some new angle that you’ve missed. And Damian is great for that.

Speaking of Damian, Damien Lovegrove was there as well and his portrait masterclass was a great watch. I met Max De Martino there as well. Even more Fujiness.

I got to hang with my buddies from The Photographer Academy too. I love that bunch so much. They’ve given me a lot, and we’ve sorted out a way for me to get a lot more content over for the site, which is a relief to me. Time is tight enough, so anything that eases it is fantastic. Mark Cleghorn has so much energy and passion for training, it’s always amazing to see him at work.

You can probably guess there’s a lot of networking going on too. There’s always great people to meet, and I got to meet some incredibly talented photographers like Terry Donnelly, Kevin Mullins, Vicki Boulter, and a host of others. Not to mention mates like Nathan Wake from Fujifilm or Seamus Costelloe, or even the Gavtrain himself, Mr Gavin Hoey.

I write for the Kelbyone magazine Photoshop User, so it was great to bump into a gang of peeps from there. Glyn Dewis was speaking for The Flash Centre, and Dave Clayton was around. It’s Dave’s fault I got to work with Rocky Nook on my last book! Rich Harrington was on the Lucid Perfectly Clear stand, as was Vanelli and Eric Renno. Great to chat to those guys.

As for the time I did spend in the bar, it was in the company of some great people, like the Whitmores, or the Photographer Academy group (including the birthday girl Michelle Szpak). I had a great conversation with Richard Curtis from Adobe and nice chat with Damien Lovegrove as well. There was a huge Fujifilm connection going on throughout the convention, so it really felt like home. Yes, I did get to fondle the X-Pro2, and it really is a magnificent beast. No budget for one as yet, and being a working pro isn’t about the latest and greatest, it’s about making money on the gear you have, and working it for all you can get from it.

Here’s my funny Fuji story. I did mention the lack of sleep thing already. Anyway. Fuji were doing a free sensor clean offer, so I put the camera in for a clean. The trade show closes at 5, so I was told to collect it near end of day. I wanted to go to a Photowalk (with the Photofocus guys) at 5, but was tired, so I lay down at 3, with the alarm set for 4:20. Plenty of time to collect the cameras and get a tube over to the walk. The alarm went off. Perfect. I rolled around to check the time again… and it was 5:19. I’d unknowingly dozed right off again. Cue jumping into my clothes and running to the trade show to beg my way in. The Fuji peeps were still there-just, so I was able to get my cameras. They looked pristine too-they’d cleaned the outside as well, so were looking practically brand new. Of course the firmware was reset too, so I had to redo my custom dials, but that was fine. Phew.. close call. Still missed the photowalk though 🙁

For me this was one of the best conventions. I will be putting in proposals for next years too, and I’ve a better idea of ancillary stuff I want to do for it. I’ll post to my newsletter when I know what’s happening. Do sign up, I’ll have more freebies coming soon, so it’s worthwhile. No selling your details, or spamming, just quality content from behind the scenes to tips and tricks.

There is one thing that I didn’t do that I wished I had.. and in ironic fashion, I wished I’d taken more photos!

Well. It’s been a month since I posted. I did mention that I’m posting photos daily over at http://lostconcepts.aminus3.com, so if you’re not looking over there, you’re missing out on about 40 photos at this stage.

On the news front, I’ve just launched LRB Exhibition, a new plugin for Lightroom that creates websites for photographers. I also discovered that I could create a basic shop page on E-Junkie, my download delivery provider, so I set one up.

Last weekend, I made the trip to Cong/Clonbur woods to recce locations for shoots, and for potential landscape photos. While it was a bleak day I still made some nice discoveries.

Next weekend, I’m a little tied up as I have the first of 3 Saturdays doing a beginners course in makeup. I know it’s an odd enough choice, but I think it’ll really help with Beauty photography, something I love doing.

I’m prepping for a talk on Lightroom at the Phototraining4U stand at Focus on Imaging in Birmingham next month. It’ll be a talk on Lightroom 3 Beta.

I’m also onto Chapter 5 of my book on creating web gallery plugins for Lightroom.

That’s the short of it anyway.

Over the last few years, I’ve been progressively staying longer at Focus on Imaging. It started with do it one day, 4 flights and hanging around in aiports. Next, it was one overnight, then this year, I stayed 2 nights. I arrived into the hall about 3pm on Monday, and by closing, I’d done most of the things on my list. That list? Look at the new Elinchrom Ranger Quadra system, get the Drew Gardner DVD, look at Portrait Albums and frames. I was also meeting Lightroom Author and fellow Lightroom Help Mod Richard Earney. One other person I met was Jonathan Bailey, Associate Publisher at GMC.

So with that done, I was essentially free for the next 2 days! As well as meeting Richard, I also met Rod Wynne-Powell and John Beardsworth. John seems very straight and serious on the web, so it was a delight to find him a gentle giant. As the show ended, he offered to drive me to my hotel. After a while of getting lost, I turned on data roaming on the iPhone and got us there in the end. From there we found a great little pub for food and a pint. After the food we moved to let the local darts contingent have our table!

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent doing generally looking about and taking in seminars, something that’s not possible on a single day trip. I saw quite a few interesting ones including those from Damian McGuillicuddy (a few times!), Doug Gordon, Joe Cornish, Duncan McEwan, Paul Gallagher, Chris Burfoot and Adam Duckworth. Quite a mix there between people and landscape, my 2 main photographic interests.

I also managed to meet Dublin art nude photographer Ciaran Whyte, someone else I know from online forums. It’s always good to put faces to names and Ciaran was no exception.

From a networking point of view, it was great to meet Mark and Debbie Cleghorn. Mark is with the same publisher as me, so it was great to get advice and help from them both. I also met with Mike McNamee and will be starting a new article for Professional Imagemaker on Lightroom addons. Just before leaving I was also talking to Brian Kruse from onOne software. 4 of their 6 plugins are now usable with Lightroom via round trip, similar to the current Aperture plugin system.

By Wednesday afternoon, I was pretty bored and spent a bit of time talking with some of the models at the SWPP stand, both socially and for getting contacts for future work. All in all though, it was great, but next year I’ll only be doing 2 days.