Swag Bags at the PhotoPlus Expo 2012 – by Ingrid Spangler

Ingrid Spangler
Ingrid Spangler is a freelance social media consultant living in New York. She’s been snapping pictures since she was a child and involved with social media since before it was called social media. Before going out on her own, she handled the social media for AdoramaPix, the photo lab division of Adorama Camera, for four years. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, flickr, 500px, Google+ and Pinterest.

What’s the next best thing to coming home from a trade show with a new piece of equipment? Coming home with a big ol’ bag of swag! That’s right, Stuff We All Get! Those freebies that vendors keep visible in the booths to entice you out of the aisle and into their waiting arms! Sometimes it’s a small (but welcome!) bit of candy for some quick energy, but sometimes it’s something that lasts longer than a sugar rush. Here’s what we got that’s cool:

Bags: Well, five years ago there were the yellow plastic Nikon bags and not much else. Now lots of vendors have jumped on the “bag-wagon” and are giving out these reusable bags that are great for not only carrying your purchases (or the loads of swag) away from the show, but are very smart to take with you shopping for groceries or other small items. Or you could just use one of them to carry all the other bags home from the show; we counted 16 different bags up for grabs at PPE. Our vote for Best Reusable Bag goes to Adorama. It was by far the highest quality bag, very durable, and even somewhat water resistant. They’re for sale in the Adorama store for only 99¢ too!


Candy! Lots of vendors offer candy, cause what’s better than a little something sweet to carry you through long hours of looking at scantily clad models and a dizzying array of photo gear? Lollipops and hard candy are the most popular for obvious reasons.

Sigma M&Ms

Canon: Kudos to Canon for having the foresight to give out small flashlights! I made good use of mine during the two+ days we didn’t have power from Sandy. Sort of makes you wonder if they were paying attention to the long, LONG range forecast when they were ordering these giveaways…

Canon flashlight

Canon Professional Services

Canon Professional Services was also giving away these USB drive lanyards to their members.

Datacolor: These cute little rubber spiders are the same material as the stress balls, but more fun to squish since they’re all spidery. I asked if they were 50% grey, which would have been sort of clever, yes? No.


Digital Transitions: Lanyards. This is a great idea for vendors to get their name around the show, also love these lanyards for keeping spare sets of keys organized around the house. You could also clip a small flashlight to one and wear it camping or when the lights go out.

Digital Transitions lanyards

DriveSavers: Also got lots of use from this little keychain flashlight from DriveSavers. Actually the one on my keychain now is from last year’s show, but they were giving the same one out this year along with a matching branded screen cleaning cloth.


PeachPit: Yay for temporary tattoos and cute camera pins! This publisher of books and videos for photographers and graphic designers had these items in their booth, as if the fab books on the table wasn’t enough of a draw! The camera pins were cool because they had a variety of cameras represented and you could pick your fave, though I chose mine on the basis of color alone: dreamy blue!


Squarespace: this company offers templates for online galleries and websites. They had some small notebooks, always a good thing to have on hand, as a freebie. Bonus ruler on the edge of the book!

Squarespace notebook

Vulture Equipment Works: This company makes rugged straps for photo gear along with some other accessories. They had rubber bracelets and these badass vulture stickers.

Vulture Equipment Works

What is your all-time favorite piece of swag from a photo show? List them in the comments!

Please support The Photo Brigade!

You're awesome and that's why we work hard to bring you quality content, gear reviews, and guides. If you're interested in purchasing any of the equipment or services mentioned in our posts, please use our links as we will receive a portion of the sale to help run the blog. You can also search for gear directly via Amazon, B&H, and Adorama.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and listen to our podcasts on iTunes!