Now that we've all had a little time to digest everything we saw and heard at PMA 2002, let's review what we've learned. (For future quick reference, I'll just refer to this handy list as the "Dos & Don'ts" of attending photo trade shows.)
Do - Do eat something before you leave for the
airport to take a 7:20 am flight from New York to Orlando, Florida.
Contrary to popular belief, there will be nothing, not so much as a
stinking Saltine, to eat on a morning flight out of LaGuardia
Airport that is scheduled to take an hour and a half but will take
over three hours when turbulence along the eastern seaboard causes
the plane to buck wildly like a crazed drunken rhino.
Don't - Don't try to pack half a dozen nice shirts, a cashmere sports coat, three pairs of slacks, four pairs of socks and your new digital SLR into a borrowed suitcase designed to be used only as a carry-on bag for toiletries and other non-perishable items.
Do - When you arrive at the hotel in Orlando to find they've mistakenly canceled your reservation, do agree to be upgraded to a palatial suite at the regular hotel room price, and then use the extra space to scatter your belongings everywhere until it looks like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride took a wrong turn at Disney World and crashed through your hotel armoire.
Don't - Don't pretend you know how to Swing Dance (when you really don't) at the HP party at House of Blues and then stupidly slam your elbow into your partner's cheekbone as she shimmies and shakes in front of you to the music of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Do - Do bring a pair of comfortable yet stylish shoes. They'll need to be comfy for those miles of aisles you'll be walking in search of the latest 6+ megapixel digital SLR or all-in-one kiosk, but don't go wearing that old pair of Keds just because they fit nice. A colleague of ours, who shall remain nameless, insists on sporting a pair of beat up old tennis shoes with a jacket and tie. Sure, that may work for David Letterman, but when you make $14 million a year for doing "Top Ten Lists" and "Stupid Pet Tricks" you're allowed a few eccentricities. In the photo trade biz, you'll just look like a slob.
Don't - And finally, under no circumstances whatsoever, do not have that third martini at the Digital Focus mini-trade show no matter how comely the bartender looks or how cool it feels to order another drink from a bar that has been carved out of a block of real ice. You've got to get up at 6 o' clock in the morning to attend a press conference tomorrow and you're a serious journalist, gosh darn it.