Since we have been attending Le Book Connections for so many years, we are often asked for tips on how to get the most out of the event. Many people (mostly those who have not attended) wonder if it is overwhelming to walk around, meet so many new people and review new work for a full day. On one hand, the answer is yes. And as much as we don’t like calling it a trade show, it is. And, what trade show doesn’t have a lot to review and experience?
On the other hand, it is the one of the best places to see first hand what new work is happening in our industry. Le Book has done a great job at evolving with the industry and showcases the creativity of photographers, directors, CGI artists and countless other content providers -all under one roof. So, rather than be overwhelmed, understand what you are attending and make the most of it!
Given how hard all the vendors work to make the event a success and how high expectations are of the attendees, I thought it would be helpful to share some survival tips to get the most out of the event.
1) Come Prepared. Take a few minutes to preview the website and invitations tp see which vendors will be present. It will be helpful to know ahead of time who will be there so you know which booths to stop by during the day. If you wait until you arrive, you may not be able to process all that is there and may not get to review everything you want to review.
2) Make a Plan. Are you working on a specific project? Do you need a photographer or a director? A CGI artist? Or, are you here just to be social, which works too! If you have a plan you can easily navigate the myriad of booths in search of exactly what you need. Be sure to grab a map when you arrive so you can know where you are headed.
3) Utilize the Banners. Each banner has a list of the artists showing as well and thumbnails of their work. The vendors make sure that the thumbnails represent the categories of the artists being shown. Do you want to review food photography? Look for the banner with a food image. How about product photography? Same thing. And, of course not every category can be represented so be sure to ask the agent. (Note: we have suggested to Le Book that they color code their banners some how to make for easier searching, so hopefully soon they can address that)
4) Bring Business Cards, Lots of Them. You will meet many people and everyone passes out cards. It was just how it is done. And, frankly, it is the easiest way to keep track of whom you meet. As an agent, it is so helpful for me to have your card so I get your information correct, especially if you are asking me to follow up with you with something you need.
5) Have a System for Collecting Samples. Le Book always hands out bags for collecting leave behinds and so do many booths. You can always bring your own bag too- this is San Francisco after all, we all have them!
6) Know That it is OK to Pass a Booth By. Not every booth has something you need. Do not feel badly walking by. We totally understand and so not expect everyone to stop by every booth. If you are not interested, just say that the work isn’t relevant to what you are working on and move on. We get it.
7) Budget Time to be Social. Building relationships is the key to the success in our industry. It is fun to see old friends and make new ones. Le Book is very social, which is part of the power of the event. How else could you see so many important people in one day? Take the time to say hello, catch up and meet new people. It is called Connections for a reason.