The 2019 IPI Conference (aka ‘EPIC IPIC’) was held in Las Vegas last month, with a healthy contingent of Australian participants.
The Australian prolab industry was well represented by Paul Maietta from Fitzgerald Photo Lab in Perth; Rob Scheeren, the new proprietor of Pixel Perfect Prolab in Sydney; and Lawrrence Horsburgh, operations manager for Photo King, Sydney.
Other Australians to make the trip over came from the ranks of photo-printing oriented retailers, including Carly Michael, who heads up Michael’s photo lab in Melbourne, and her brother David; photo-retailing doyen, Phil Gresham (Fotofast in Brisbane); and Camera House retailers including Louise Miller (Griffith Camera House), no less than four members of the Tran clan, who operate Camera House stores around Sydney; and Bruno Polito, marketing manager for IPI’s Australian partner, iPhoto.
The Australian contingent is known for making its presence felt – in a good way – and this year was no exception, with Paul Maietta, Carly Michaels and Phil Gresham all presenting at the conference.
While the bulk of attendees come from the US, IPI has members in Canada and the UK as well as Australia who attend regularly. In terms of age, gender and ethnicity, IPIC probably reflects the industry as a whole in becoming more diverse each year.
The IPIC conference now follows a well-honed template, with keynote sessions each morning followed by a series of smaller, sharply-focussed seminar/workshops (IPIC University Session) through the day. With up to 10 sessions at any given time, there is plenty to choose from. So for instance, this was the schedule on the Tuesday, from 11-12:
– Film Processing – It’s a Growth Business (including Phil Gresham and Carly Michael);
– Augmented Reality and Printing;
– 10 New Ideas to Rejuvenate your Business;
– Social Media Content Best Practice;
– Generating Referrals to your Business;
– Navigating the Baby Boomer bust;
– Everything you need to know about SEO (Dakis);
– Colour Process Control for Photo/Fine Art (X-Rite);
– Strategies to Connect with Millennials;
– What you don’t know about SEO that’s hurting your website.
With the post-conference glow faded after a few weeks back at work, we asked first-time attendee and relative newcomer to the industry, Rob Scheeren (pictured right, at the conference), for his impressions of the show:
‘It was absolutely worth every cent for me being new to the industry,’ he said. ‘I would be there again in a heartbeat.
‘All the sessions were beneficial to me, and when I get time I will check out the ones I missed.
‘I chose very carefully as I didn’t want spend time in a session that wasn’t relevant to me. I did think they were all very good. The speakers were very knowledgeable. I appreciated the colour management aspect as that’s something we are very big on here. The SEO and other marketing talks were all very informative for me too.
‘I liked the interaction with other lab owners a lot. It would have been good to speak to more owners that were specific in what we do in working with high-end photographers, but that just means getting around and speaking to more people I guess…The opening sections in the morning were a little cheesy but they have to pay for it somehow…most of that sponsor stuff isn’t relevant to us Aussies I guess.’
‘The activities were good too,’ he concluded. ‘All very social which is great! All-in-all very worthwhile for me personally.’
All workshop/seminar sessions were videoed and IPI has generously given Inside Imaging access, so we can compile reports on the sessions we think are most relevant to our readership.
We will kick off with a look at the dark arts of SEO in the next week or so.
– Keith Shipton attended IPIC as a guest of IPI and our advertising partner, iPhoto.