Site Overlay


We’re over a week on from the show and I’ve only just felt the need to write a few words on this year’s show, more on why later.  It was immediately evident from walking from the hotel across the NEC grounds that the site was busier.  As I’ve mentioned previously, with the show held in September the NEC itself was dead with hardly anyone around.  Not the case this year with several other exhibitions taking place at the same time.  I still believe this is one of the reasons for moving the show back to its usual March slot.  We arrived to the hall about 5 minutes before opening and was pleasantly surprised to see that the holding area was already full, and we had to wait just outside the entrance before being scanned it.  It was clear this was going to be a busier show than the last couple of years, and there was a definite buzz around.

Day One

Having looked at the programme prior to day one there was a decision to be made in terms of which speakers to see.  Unfortunately, it just worked out that some big names were either on at the same time across the various stages and exhibitors or one finished and the other started straight after, making it impossible to get across the hall in time.  For example on the morning of the Saturday there was Joe Cornish, Scarlet Page, Gavin Hoey and Jack Lodge.  All of which I would have liked to have seen, but could only choose one.  So I made a bee-line at opening for Joe Cornish, knowing that I would need to be there early to get a seat.  As expected it was a great talk from one of our best landscape photographers, and his popularity did not go a-miss with plenty of people standing to listen in.  It was great to see Adam Gibbs on the Kase filters stand, but seating was limited to maybe a dozen people which was a shame for such a big name in landscape photography.

It was immediately clear that this show was better attended from an exhibitor stand point and visitors.  It’s hard to say whether it compares to pre-covid in terms of exhibitors, but the hall definitely felt more full.  I can only see the show gaining momentum from this year as it bounces back from Covid.  Canon had a re-vamped stand and fresh look.  I was keen to see what Canon were showing in terms of cameras and lenses, particularly as I made a bold prediction they might go mirrorless only!  I wasn’t quite right, but I wasn’t far off!  SLR’s were limited to the short end of the display and only showing the 5DMKIV and 1DX MKIII.  It was interesting that people were still paying attention to this models, but as expected people were clamouring to get their hands on the mirrorless bodies and cameras.  As a Canon shooter myself, I regrettably didn’t pay too much attention to the other brands, but one thing that was clear was a lack of compact cameras.  Hardly surprising with how the smartphone has monopolised this space.

It’s not all about gear, far from it.  In fact some of the talks are probably what sticks with me most from these trips.  But also there are some great galleries to admire, and I spent some time in the afternoon checking out the images on display.  There seemed to be more than previous years, of which I’m not complaining.  Sometimes as photographer’s we lose our ‘mojo’ and an inspiring image in a gallery, or from a speaker is enough to re-ignite the flame…

Day Two

The second day was definitely a day of speakers.  There is only so much gear you can look at and lust over and realise you can’t afford it.  1st up was an interesting interview panel of Alan Hewitt and Rachel Bigsby.  They touched some interesting and important topics around photography and conservation.  Whilst it was great hearing from these two great wildlife photographers it was a shame there were not a few more images to accompany the talk.  Without doubt probably the highlight of the show was Nick Page on the Canon Spotlight.  I’ve followed Nick on Instagram for some time, but I have never actually followed his YouTube channel.  I’ve seen talks from photographers before that have amazing images but unfortunately they are not great presenters.  Well, this wasn’t the case with Nick.  Not only is his work outstanding, despite the obvious nerves, he was extremely passionate and engaging to listen to.  This was followed by a photographer I had not heard of before, Roie Galitz.  Roie again was a great presenter, with amazing images.  It makes a huge difference when speakers can express their passion and enthusiasm in an infectious way.


Overall I thought the show was excellent.  The move back to the traditional March slot obviously paid off.  Perhaps it coincides with approaching spring and photographers being prepared to dust off their gear?  Talking of gear, there didn’t seem to be any shortages like previous years due to supply constraints and as a result of better supply it definitely appeared that the show deals were more generous.  

So what was not so good?  The only real downside for me was the clashing of speakers and because the seating areas are not huge for some of the stages/stands it means getting to talks 20-30 mins early if you want to guarantee a seat.  A vast majority of talks I either attended or walked passed had many people standing, which not only wears your legs out over the day you don’t always get a good view of the speaker or the images.

So why has it taken me awhile to put some words down?  As we came away from our weekend away we discovered the show was to move to the ExCel in London for 2025 and return to the NEC in 2026.  I’m left somewhat annoyed by this decision, it is for me from the South West, time and cost prohibitive in terms of travel and accommodation.  So much so I have decided there will be no 2025 show for me.  I’ve no doubt the show will have a great turnout in 2025 with the population density the South East can offer.  My concern for the future is that the London show is a success in terms of the numbers and the organisers resort to a permanent home at the ExCel.  The NEC is located in the ‘midlands,’ an ideal location for most parts of the UK to attend with good transport links, there seemed little reason to change unless there has been big pressure from the brands?  Either way, my next show will (hopefully) be 2026.  

I’ll leave you with a few images from the show…