Sam Stanton, who calls himself “button pusher” on his business card from Dallas-based redbutton.tv, is one of the foremost purveyors — and evangelists — of the digital photography revolution. Redbutton.tv (www.redbutton.tv) has also become the official digital event production company for the Insurance Conference Planner's Association's national meetings. We caught up with Stanton at ICPA's 2003 meetings in New Orleans and Orlando and asked him about digital photography trends.

ICP: What's the big deal with digital photography? It's faster since there's no time needed for development. But a picture's a picture, right?

Stanton: Oh, no! The advancements in digital are transforming typical, ho-hum conference photography into one of the most talked-about parts of a program. Attendees get the instant gratification of seeing themselves on screen moments after a photo is shot. Beyond that, some planners are asking us to pre-shoot their conference destinations for pre-program marketing. On site, these images are used for everything from giant posters of the locale behind the registration area, to photo “confectionaries” used as pillow gifts.

ICP: What else is hot in event photography these days?

Stanton: E-postcards are white hot right now and very simple to use. Attendees can walk up to a computer kiosk, choose a photo, type in a message, and zap! — they've sent event-branded photo e-mails to all their not-so-fortunate friends who didn't make the conference. At the ICPA Annual Meeting in Orlando, we projected that attendees [there were about 540] would send 200 to 400 e-postcards during the four-day event. The final count was more than 2,000!

We're also getting more requests from planners who want to use digital photography credits as room gifts. We give what we call eCredits that allow attendees to order photos on site, or eVites to use after they return home. The eVite gives attendees easy-to-follow instructions telling how to order online at home, and the planner can set up all sorts of gifts, from individual prints, to photo albums, to pictures imprinted on merchandise.