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Free Trade Show Pass and Tips for Getting the Most from the PhotoPlus Expo 2018 in New York City

2019 UPDATE! Looking for a Free Expo Pass for the 2019 PhotoPlus Expo being held in New York City from 10/24-26, 2019? Check out my article about the 2019 show HERE. Or to go right to the page with the free passes (available online until Wed. 10/23 and then $25 on-site at the show), visit THIS PAGE.

It’s that time again! The PhotoPlus Expo 2018 is returning to New York City from Thursday, 10/25 to Saturday, 10/27/2018. It’s always one of the highlights of my year, and if you are interested in just about anything related to photography and/or video, I think you’ll really enjoy the show. It’s the largest photography trade show in North America (over 200 exhibitors), and it’s always filled with gear, free expo floor talks, model and still-life photo opportunities, photo walks, workshops, and much more. I should also note that even if you can’t attend the show, you can sign up for updates on the show site (link to the show newsletter is on the bottom right of PhotoPlusExpo.com) to get news updates and special offers from PDN (Photo District News) and photo-related companies.

With that, I have a few items to share with you below. The first is a short video overview of the show which should give you a feel for what you might see and experience at the show. Also, here’s a link to a great article about the show from the folks at Fstoppers, one of my favorite photo blogs. That article also has a code for a free three-day trade show pass when you register online, as well as info on how to save if you decide to sign up for any of the workshops or related opportunities that are available. However, the Conference Pass is completely optional. I’ve found the paid conference seminars to be excellent, but there are many educational opportunities available right on the show floor.

And this year, for the second time, the PhotoPlus Expo will be co-located with the NYVR Expo. Your Expo pass allows you to see what they have on their show floor.

A FEW QUICK TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST FROM THE SHOW

The ability to see different papers, print processes, try out different cameras, lenses and other equipment on the show floor are main reasons why many people come to the show. I highly recommend bringing a few extra SD and/or CF cards to put in any cameras that you’d like to test out so that you can bring the photos/videos home with you (just make sure they don’t have important images on them and make sure the cards are not too important/expensive, because you may forget them when you move to the next booth!).

I also recommend having a card with a few high-res images that you’d like to have printed if the opportunity presents itself. Also, I highly recommend having a safe and dust-free place for your current lens to go while you are testing other lenses (if you are putting lenses on your camera, which is a perfect way to see if a specific lens might be right for you). And to keep track of papers, printers and print processes that you see and that you’d like to check out after the show, I recommend having a notebook and pen ready to jot down your favorites (or you can do that digitally via a notes app or by sending yourself text messages. Keeping track of all the names can get confusing!

PREVIOUS SHOW REPORTS

Here are a few of my previous show reports that I believe can be very helpful when deciding what booths to visit during the show:
2017 PhotoPlus Expo Show Report
2016 PhotoPlus Expo Show Report

SPECIAL NOTE – EPSON PRINT ACADEMY

This year (like last year) Epson will host their “Print Academy” in Booth #707. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from many icons in the world of image editing, printing and photography. The people who are scheduled to speak (schedule shown below) are: Vincent Versace, Julieanne Kost, Matt Kloskowski, John Paul Caponigro and Mac Holbert. I’m honored to say that Mac Holbert is one of the guest artists featured in my book, 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques. To see the full release about the Epson Print Academy (including some special glasses they’ll be demonstrating for drone photography), visit this page.

AN EXHIBITION NOT TO BE MISSED

This year, there will be an exhibition of art prints at Icon Gallery (Booth #1103) by John Paul Caponigro and NYC Dance Project’s Ken Browar and Deborah Ory. If the exhibition is anything like last year’s show that featured the work of Robert Farber (a photo can be seen below from that exhibition), it will be spectacular.

Exhibition of Robert Farber’s work at the Icon Gallery at PhotoPlus Expo 2017. photo © Andrew Darlow

The exhibition prints and finishing from the 2017 and 2018 Icon Gallery shows were produced by Blazing Editions (they are in Booth #1113 at this year’s show). It’s difficult to express in words the quality of the printing and finishing (mounting, framing, custom cutting, etc.) by Blazing Editions. I highly recommend taking some time to visit the show, as well as the Blazing Editions booth. They specialize in metal printing, and they have samples of the same image printed using different finishes, which can help a lot when deciding on the look for a particular project that you (or possibly one of your clients) might have in mind.

The PhotoPlus Expo only comes around once a year, and I hope to see you there!

All the best,
Andrew

P.S. I also welcome you to join any of our Meetup Groups if you would like to be invited to attend other events like photo walks, workshops, etc. in the future.

P.P.S In case you missed that link to the Fstoppers article to find the code for the free 2018 PhotoPlus Expo trade show pass, here it is.

The Art of Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom

Piscataway, NJ
506 Members

This Meetup Group will build on its reputation of providing high-quality Photoshop, Lightroom and other photo-related events and workshops (primarily in central New Jersey, Ne…

Check out this Meetup Group →

New Jersey Nature, Landscape and Wildlife Photographers

Rumson, NJ
1,105 Passionate Photographers

Hello and welcome to the New Jersey Nature, Landscape and Wildlife Photographers Meetup! Meet other local Digital Photographers who like to get out and do what we love, and to…

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NY/NJ Photoshoot Social Club

Somerset, NJ
740 Photo Friends

If you are a model or photographer, or just love the idea of taking beautiful photos while attending awesome locations then this meetup group is for you! We will be planning m…

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P.P.P.S. If you don’t receive my ImagingBuffet.com newsletter updates and would like to receive them, as well as some Lightroom and workflow videos, you can sign up here.

Excire Search: A Groundbreaking Search and Auto Keyword Tool for Lightroom – Hands-On Review

For the past 15 years or so I’ve been helping people organize, backup and print their photographs. And the one thing that has been a challenge for almost everyone (including me!) is keywording. It’s just not a lot of fun (for most people) to go through thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of images and videos and assign appropriate keywords to them. But keywording images and videos can pay huge dividends in the long run because having a collection with good keywords means that you can more easily find images for personal projects, client work and stock photography licensing.

Face recognition inside of Lightroom and other programs has helped quite a bit, but it’s far from perfect. And of course, not every photo has a recognizable person in it, so we have been faced with a problem in need of a solution. Until now.

The solution I’m referring to is a Lightroom Classic CC plug-in called Excire Search. And it does more than just automatically create keywords.

What it Does

Excire Search works via a Lightroom plug-in to “initialize” or look through your image collection one image at a time so that it can then use the image information to both create keywords and allow for creative searches by keyword or even via a sample image uploaded from your computer. It can initialize 10,000-20,000 images per hour (according to the software’s developer), but it depends on your system and whether you have already created Smart Previews. I didn’t time the process exactly, but Excire Search Pro initialized just over 400,000 images in my catalog on a MacBook Pro over a period of 4-6 days (I stopped the process a few times to take my computer with me, and I had very few Smart Previews in my catalog before starting the process). While it was initializing, I was still able to work on my computer and inside Lightroom. You can run a new initialization at any time, and it will quickly recognize which photos have already been initialized.

In case you’d like a quick look at how good the automatic keywording can be, I was very impressed by what the software came up with for one of my photos that included hot air balloons (click on the image to see the keywords much larger):

Getting Started

Installing the Excire Search Plug-in, setting preferences and starting the initialization process takes just a few minutes, but it can be a bit confusing. After downloading the plug-in (it’s available for Mac and Windows), I would recommend viewing the following videos for step-by-step instructions. I’ve also included a screen shot of the main settings below:

Caption: I chose to use the Fast initialization option because of the size of my catalog, but you might choose to uncheck that box if you make a lot of edits (especially if you convert a lot of images to black and white without first making Virtual Copies). Because I don’t use many stacks (stacks are very useful if you shoot a lot of panoramas in sections or multi-image HDRs), I unchecked the third box. And because I have generated a lot of Smart Previews over the years, I chose to “Prefer” them when initializing because the makers of the application say that can speed up the initialization process.

As you can see in the above video, searching by example photo is like magic! You just choose an image from your library (or an external image), then navigate to Library>Plug-in Extras>Search by Example Photo (or choose one of the other two Search by Example Photo options). Choosing Search by Example Photo with Previous will use the Previous Settings, such as how many results to display and whether to reference the example photo’s content or color. You can also search by Keyword or for Faces. In case you are wondering what “Update Photos” means (it’s the last item on the list under Excire Search), if you make large color or density changes (or convert images to black and white), you may want to choose the photos on which you made those edits and select “Update Photos.” The Excire Search engine will then look at those photos again and create new keywords.

The Faces dialog box is so incredible to me. You can choose from a wide variety of different criteria, including the number of faces, an age range, male/female, and even whether or not people are smiling. I’ve included a screen shot below, and in my testing, it was extremely good at showing me images that closely matched what I requested (click on the image below to see the dialog box much larger). That being said, it was better at distinguishing between male and female faces for adults compared with children, which is very understandable (even the iPhone X’s face detection is less accurate with children’s faces compared with adult faces).

Pricing, Language and Availability (Plus a Special Offer for Our Readers)

Excire Search is available in two configurations: Excire Search (US $69) and Excire Search Pro (US $119). The plug-ins are identical except for the fact that Excire Search Pro draws from a larger group of keywords (about 500 vs. 125), and it also offers the ability to transfer keywords (individually or in bulk) that it creates into the Keyword List inside of a Lightroom catalog. For my workflow, the ability to transfer keywords is essential, so I am using Excire Search Pro.

Currently, the software is available in English and German. If you’d like to test out Excire Search or Excire Search Pro, visit this page for a free, fully functional 15 day trial. Also, if you decide to purchase Excire Search Pro, the company created a special 10% discount code for my readers: Just enter “AndrewPro10” (no quotes) at checkout.

I also noticed this text from the company’s site re: giving back: “A small portion of every purchased Excire Search download will be held in a special fund for support to a variety of nonprofits in the United States market. We’ll be developing our own Giving Back Advisory Board who will help us decide each year on a different charity needing more support.”

Conclusion

It’s difficult to express how happy I am with Excire Search Pro. It was like someone out there was listening to my prayers. (turns out it was a lot of very smart engineers!).  I was told that the company is always doing research and working on how they can improve the software, and I look forward to seeing how it develops over time.

Related Articles

One of the best things about the internet and blogs is that I can reference other articles about Excire Search that I found useful. One review of Excire search that’s at the top of my list is by Bryan Esler that appeared on the excellent photo website: photofocus.com. You can read his review here.  I’ve also had the honor of having a number of my articles published on the site over the years. There’s also a comprehensive article by the people who make Excire Search on the topic of speed and accuracy with different technologies that automatically generate keywords. You can find that article here.

If you’d like to test out Excire Search or Excire Search Pro, visit this page for a free, fully functional 15 day trial. And if you like it and decide to purchase the plug-in, there’s a special 10% discount code for our readers: Just enter “AndrewPro10” (no quotes) at checkout.


(Full Disclosure: Apart from being provided a license code for Excire Search Pro, I was not compensated in any way for writing this article. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links to the Excire Search website, which means that I may be compensated if a purchase is made after clicking through or by using a promo code. If you would prefer not to use my links, just visit your favorite search engine and type in: “Excire Search.”

Photo Gallery and Info from the Epson Digital Couture Project Event in New York City, Plus News About the 2018 Event

Epson Digital Couture Event

At the 3rd Annual Epson Digital Couture Event. Designer: Daniela Hoehmann. Photo © Andrew Darlow

I’ve been photographing people as a professional photographer and writer for over 25 years, but I’ve always focused more on catalog, advertising, product reviews and beauty salon-related work than runway shows and similar events that often occur during Fashion Week in Manhattan in February every year. However, last year I could not pass up an opportunity to attend an invitation only special event sponsored by Epson called the Digital Couture Project. On February 6, 2018, the 4th Annual Epson Digital Couture Project is happening once again, and I expect it to be just as impressive as the 2017 event.

Since this is not a topic I cover a lot here on imagingbuffet.com, I think I should mention who I think will get the most from this article:

• Anyone who wants to see cutting-edge fashion from designers around the world. To me, it’s like a global art exhibition, but with the designers expressing their art through their textile designs, and with male and female models serving as moving canvases. Two words kept coming to mind as I was looking at the wide range of textiles, color palettes and unique approaches to fabric printing: “Truly Incredible!”

• Anyone who has an interest in any type of garment printing, from direct-to-fabric printing (using printers like Epson’s SureColor F2000 and F2100), to dye-sublimation transfer printing (using printers like Epson’s SureColor F9370, F6200 and F7200). Once you see how these machines work, it’s easier to understand the technology and capabilities. I’ve included a YouTube video from Epson below that shows how an image can go from artwork on a screen to a design on fabric by first printing on a dye-sublimation transfer paper (in this case using an Epson SureColor F6200 printer), and then using a heat press to transfer the art to a fabric.

The video below offers a sneak peek into the 2017 event, and I especially like how they interview the designers who created the clothing:

Epson created an excellent overview of the 2018 event, its designers and the printers used for the project HERE.

Also, below is a GIF (courtesy of Epson) showing many of the featured collections from the 2018 event, as well as a list of the designers who participated:

  1. Brazil – Lua Luá (Michele Gevaerd)
  2. Canada (Toronto) – Hayley Elsaesser
  3. Chile – Karyn Coo
  4. Ecuador – Stephanie Ruiz
  5. Guatemala – Eduardo Figueroa
  6. Mexico – Emilio Mata
  7. Paraguay – Ilse Jara
  8. Peru – Ana María Guiulfo
  9. Colombia – Lina Cantillo
  10. United States (Los Angeles) – Candice Cuoco
  11. United States (Miami) – Fernando Alberto
  12. United States (Philadelphia) – Thomas Jefferson University (Alexandra Pizzigoni and Patricia Franklin)
  13. United States (New York) – threeASFOUR (Gabriel Asfour, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil)

A selection of the fashions created by the designers listed above for the 2018 Epson Digital Couture event

For More About the Tech Behind the Fashion

The Epson SureColor printers listed earlier can also be used to print on transfer paper that can then be used with a heat press to create dye-sublimation metal prints (extremely popular these days), jewelry, snowboards, skateboards and much more. This page has much more on that, including information on how to request a free printed sample. Below is one of the Epson SureColor printers that was set up at the Digital Couture Project. It shows a few designs printed on dye-sublimation media prior to transferring the images to one or more fabrics using a heat press.’

An Epson SureColor F9200 Printer at the Digital Couture Project event. Photo ©Andrew Darlow

Fashion designers and professionals (such as those who run print service bureaus), who are interested in Epson’s digital printing technologies can visit www.proimaging.epson.com for more information.

The Photographs

There are a few things that I should note about these photos. First, I used a Canon EOS 6D full frame 35mm DSLR for all of them. The 6D is outstanding in low light, allowing for the use of about ISO 1200-3200 with little to no visible noise in the shadow areas. If there is noise, it tends to be very “grain-like” without a lot of different colors, so it’s easy to reduce in Lightroom or other software. To increase my odds of getting sharp images, I used a combination of Shutter Priority Mode (set at between 1/1oo and 1/200 sec) with Auto ISO because I was relying on available light that was constantly changing, and not on or off-camera flash or LED lighting. I like the natural look that results from that approach, but it did mean that many of my photos had to be taken at ISO 3200 because the lens’ maximum (most open) aperture is f/4.5-6.3, depending on where in the zoom range the photos are being taken.

I also used just one lens for the entire shoot. It’s a beast of a lens due to its size and weight (approximately 4.1″ x 8.6″ (10.41 x 21.84 cm) and 4.33 lb (about 2 kg)), but I love it: the Sigma 50-500  f/4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM OS Lens For Canon EOS (it’s available in other mounts as well). It’s incredibly versatile due to its range, and I found the results to be very sharp at all focal lengths. As you can probably see from the images below, I enjoy taking photos from different angles, including from the back, as well as close-ups of items like shoes, which may or may not have been digitally printed like all of the other clothing. Some of the footwear by some of the designers was definitely printed digitally, which you can see in the video overview posted above. I believe that taking photos from behind a model, or when just one out of three of the models is facing forward, works very well because clothing is usually designed with attention to all of the “camera angles.”

And in case you are wondering here is the photo info for the image that opens this article and that shows designs by Daniela Hoehmann: 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200.

Designer: Susan Wagner, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200, Photo © Andrew Darlow

Designer: Ricardo Pava, 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 1600, Photo © Andrew Darlow

Designer: Sarah Richards, 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200, Photo © Andrew Darlow

Designer: Vanesa Krongold, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200, Photo © Andrew Darlow

Designer: Susan Wagner, 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 1250, Photo © Andrew Darlow

Designers: Daniel Del Barco and Sonia Chang, 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 2500, Photo © Andrew Darlow

Designers: Miguel Moyano and Alex Polo, 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2000, Photo © Andrew Darlow

(Right Photo) Designer: Leonardo Mena, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200, Photo © Andrew Darlow