“Since 1869…and we aren’t going anywhere”—Imaging USA 2017 Day One

1/8/2017

by James Yates 


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You want to talk about sunshine and warmth on a cold and cloudy day? We've seen it and it's Imaging USA 2017. Terrible weather and travel delays couldn't stop the 10,000 photography professionals who have descended upon San Antonio, Texas for Imaging USA! It may have taken some doing, but now that (mostly) everyone is here, it's on! 

The world's oldest and best photography convention is happening as we speak. If you weren't able to get out of the snow and make it down to the Lone Star state, have no fear. You'll find plenty of info here and on the Imaging USA social media to make you (almost) feel like you're here with us! (we really, really wish you were here with us). 

The final day of Pre-Con on Saturday brought with it the New Member Meet & Greet and...WOW. Hundreds of new PPA members attended the event which saw Board Members and Newbies alike, mingling and having a great time breaking the ice. It may have been freezing outside, but inside the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, everyone was warm and having fun networking with their new photography friends.

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Today was the first "official" day of Imaging USA 2017 and, as the weather improves and flights clear, the cold January doldrums are melting away and the party is really taking off! Everyone got an immense jolt of inspiration this morning at the Keynote Presentation with author, CNN star and motivational speaker Mel Robbins taking stage. Mel comes from four generations of small business owners and has photographer family, so she was uniquely capable of relating and speaking to the packed house. She acknowledged that being a small business retail owner is one thing but it's an entirely different thing when your small business is also your passion. Mel's signature idea is that you're your biggest obstacle. You know exactly what you need to do and you can begin to take control of your life using the "5-second rule". 

Attendees were also welcomed by PPA CEO David Trust and President Lori Craft. David really 

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stirred the crowd with his call to FIGHT for your small business! With the Print Movement, the Drone Zone and the grassroots campaign for Small Claims, there are major signposts that point to professional photography's best years being ahead of us. PPA has been an association of professional photographers just like YOU being there for each other "since 1869...and we aren't going anywhere." It was very exciting to see a video message from Rep. Judy Chu (CA) who urged everyone to call or write your congressman to ask for co-sponsorship of the Freedom for American Small Creators Act. 

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There's nothing like the Imaging Expo, of course, and President Craft cut the ribbon immediately following Mel Robbins. This writer hasn't had the chance to really take it in yet, but I know I'll find amazing gear there along with the Print Theatre, IPC exhibit and Merit Cafe. Can't wait!

Finally was the Business Challenge class themed "Four Things You Need to Know to Be Successful". It was led by Angela Kurkian, Mary Fisk-Taylor and Gregory Daniel and it was such a bountiful session for small business photographers at any level. The hosts took the audience through the testimonials of four current Business Challenge participants, relating each one to one of the "Four Things You Need". Be sure to sign up for the next Business Challenge, which begins Feb. 1st. 

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Whoa. The Opening Party just started! And guess what? The weather is getting better each day at Imaging USA 2017. By the time we leave San Antonio, it will be a sunny 80 degrees. I'd like to say we (along with Louis and Annabella, pictured) brought the warmth. 

photos by Alex the Photo Guy