photokina: 18.–21.05.2022 #photokina

EN Icon Pfeil Icon Pfeil
EN Element 13300 Element 12300 DE
EN Icon Pfeil Icon Pfeil
EN Element 13300 Element 12300 DE
Search Contact Tickets

photokina 2020: The image lives

photokina once again opens its doors in Cologne from 27 to 30 May 2020. Seldom in its 70-year history has it been awaited with as much excitement as in this year. An intensely changing market environment, as well as societal and economic processes of transformation are confronting manufacturers, professionals and trade fair organisers with big challenges. However, the enjoyment of the image continues unabated or is even increasing; a paradox that representatives of Koelnmesse GmbH and the Photographic Industry Association (Photoindustrie-Verband e.V.) will intensively discuss in the presence of and with the journalists on location in the context of the European Press Conference on 6 February in Amsterdam. At the same time, the outlook on this year's event shows that emotions, impressions and experiences revolving around the image in Cologne will also once again find a worthy home in 2020.

Imaging in its various facets has become a fixed component of our daily life. We use devices like route planners, smartphones, wearables, televisions and touch displays for purchasing everything from public transport tickets to burgers. Application areas for imaging are found in the health care system, the security and surveillance sectors, in the automotive industry, space flight, architecture/real estate, as well as for research in general. Even our communication is in many cases only defined by images, whether we are sharing beautiful moments, impressions, etc. via social networks or news services or uploading a GIF on Twitter instead of a verbal reply. The 1.4 trillion photos taken each year worldwide continue to lend wings to the success of the photo finisher. Suppliers of photo books, wall images, etc. also score points through the use of AI, new designs and the option of creatively preserving beautiful memories for the future.

Industry facing contradictions
"Although the market figures sometimes allow us to forget it, at present we are experiencing an absolute golden age of photography“, says Kai Hillebrandt, Chairman of the Board Photographic Industry Association. "Never have more photos been taken, never have so many people been photographers, and never have more people given thought to how they can better stage photos than today." In an apparent contradiction with this is the market development: the sales market for the camera core market recently experienced losses in the double-digit range, while consolidations are impacting the industry. "Why do we see so few of these fabulous prerequisites in the market figures? I still think that we aren't entering into anywhere near enough dialogue with customers and are not adequately managing to activate step-up users“, Hillebrandt surmises. "Not only camera and accessories manufacturers need to find ways to utilise the gigantic potential of the photography boom. Services revolving around photography, for example, photo printing suppliers, are experiencing possibilities we didn't dare dream of ten years ago", is how he describes the chances offered to the industry.

Effects on photokina
This market development is also having an effect on the leading trade fair of the industry, as Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, explains: "Trade fairs are always reflections of the market, and markets change. Many other trade fair formats, which have been successful over many years, are now facing the challenge of having to change in order to address the new needs of their target groups." Not only photokina faces the challenge of encountering driving forces, like eventification, digitalisation and processes of overall societal change, with new concepts. "Trade fairs are ultimately products that require continuous adjustment or sometimes even a new edition, in order that they can address the needs of the market and of customers", according to Frese.

Koelnmesse as organiser and the Photographic Industry Association as industry sponsor continue to believe in the potential of photokina. "photokina has always been a fascinating place, because manufacturers encounter an extremely enthusiastic clientele there with their innovations", according to Hillebrandt. "The public at the trade fair is unique: where else can one find such loyal, honestly interested end customers with a density even remotely close to this?" The organisers therefore see photokina 2020 as the starting point for entering into an open dialogue with all participants in the discourse, meaning associations, exhibitors, trade and private visitors, and for rethinking the trade fair. "As the leading trade fair for the image, photokina must keep up with dramatically changing needs and provide an international platform for new themes, growth areas and formats", according to Oliver Frese. "At the same time, we face the challenge of harmonising a quite heterogeneous group of stakeholders and their different event interests."

Emotions and experience
Only four months prior to the next photokina, the attention of Cologne residents is now primarily directed to a successful event in 2020. "We will experience a photokina that seamlessly connects with that for which photokina has stood since 1950: enthusiasm for images and image technologies, intensive discussions with like-minded people, impulses for one's own actions, new knowledge revolving around the theme of the image for various target groups, hands-on product innovations, inspiration through examples and stars of the industry, photo art“, according to Christoph Werner, Senior Vice President Koelnmesse GmbH.

Koelnmesse invests at the same consistent level as in 2018 and works with a large team on the continuing development of the event programme. There will thus once again be an official opening of photokina for the first time, with an inspiring keynote from an internationally renowned guest on the theme of transformation.

Impulses for pros
the new edition of the IMAGING LAB by photokina offers an ideal environment for the presentation and exchange of new concepts, technologies and business ideas. Here, start-ups, innovation leaders, universities, developers and think tanks meet to discuss the challenges of the image industry. Presented are innovative technologies from the photo & video, mobile and digital imaging segments, VR/AR/mixed reality, apps, 3D, artificial intelligence (AI), software, cloud services, imaging business models and much more. The new, central placement in hall 4.2 underlines the importance of the platform and has been very well accepted by start-ups. Minister of the Economy of North Rhine-Westphalia, Andreas Pinkwart, is also assuming patronage responsibilities for the IMAGING LAB in 2020.

With the Imaging Innovation Conference by photokina, a new format has now been created in the context of photokina, with which experts from all relevant specialist areas and the entire world can exchange ideas about these changes. The range of themes has deliberately been kept very broad in order to illuminate the entire theme. In combination with a visit to photokina, a holistic picture of the state of the industry thus arises, and an important impulse for one's own actions is provided.  The Imaging Innovation Conference is the further development of the annual Imaging Cologne business forum, which last took place in March 2019 and has established itself since 2009 as an important platform for trends and innovations in the international imaging industry. "We are working on designing the event programme for pros in such a way that it inspires them to return home from photokina with more knowledge for their own work and valuable new contacts", explains Christoph Werner. In 2020, international experts will submerge deeply into top themes revolving around photography and film on the stages: on the Professional Stage, professional photographers from around the world provide insights into the themes that are currently resonating not only with professional photographers. On the Motion Stage, film pros present important knowledge on video processing and production, on storytelling, but also on YouTube as a marketing channel. The new strategic partnership with the Deutscher Kamerapreis completes the offering of photokina revolving around the theme of videography and film. The prize will be awarded on 29.5. in the Tanzbrunnen, the winners will hold lectures about their projects on Saturday at photokina and thus provide important impulses for semi-professional and professional filmers.

The next step for step-up users
However, the organisers are also focusing on young target groups that enjoy photography, but first need and wish to be guided to many technologies. This is because it has long since stopped being about fun and a quick snap with the smartphone for this target group. The Instagram channel of photokina has also been so successful since the relaunch in 2017 because the concept of curating young, international photographers and coming to terms with their work methods is very well-received in the target group. This is shown by the increasing numbers of subscribers and a high level of commitment. "We already began orienting our marketing to this target group several years ago, with a noticeable effect on our visitor structure: the under-30 visitor share in the meantime lies at 30 percent", according to Christoph Werner.

We also continue to trust in strengthening the connection between the digital offering and the experience on site. New in 2020 is therefore the Creators Lounge, in combination with the Rental Point powered by Gearflix. The concept is simple: live at the trade fair ands on its channels, creators explain how they use their equipment and the new products of the exhibitors for their productions. Visitors can then directly borrow these new products at the Rental Point and try them out with their newly acquired knowledge. "In this way, we create a new interaction point for visitors, and, at the same time, photokina and its exhibitors acquire more digital range", is how Christoph Werner explains the concept and continues: "Many young creators have a great interest in talking about their work at photokina and see photokina as the self-explanatory place-to-be. Our Communities Stage is almost completely booked up already."

Interaction and photo experiences for the target group of under 25-year-olds are offered for the first time in 2020 by photo spots on the fair grounds, where one can live it up with a camera - reminiscent of successful photo experience concepts that are currently attracting thousands of young visitors all over Europe.

Photo culture in Cologne
Inextricably linked with the overall experience of photokina are photo exhibitions on the fair grounds and in the city. Cooperation with the Internationale Photoszene Köln festival, which maintains the long tradition of photo exhibitions in Cologne with a great deal of expertise and a large network of renowned artists, will be intensified once again in 2020. Those who travel to photokina also have the extraordinary opportunity to visit around 100 photographic exhibitions throughout the entire city area of Cologne or to participate in an extensive workshop programme. More information under .

The German documentary and portrait photographer, Manolo Ty, exhibits photographs from his new illustrated book "Pakistan Now", which have also already been shown in the National Gallery of Pakistan in Islamabad. The "The Future Now - My Photo for Expo 2020" youth talent competition on the theme of sustainability has been brought to life in cooperation with the German Youth Photography Award and the German Pavilion at EXPO 2020. The 16 winning photos (one photo for each German federal state) will be shown at photokina and in the German Pavilion in Dubai. Also dedicated to young photographer talents are the ProfiFoto New Talent Award powered by Canon and the German Youth Photography Award.

Hall allocation for photokina 2020
With a view to the market development, as well as renovation and construction measures on the Koelnmesse grounds, the hall allocation will differ in 2020 from that of 2018: based on the current status of exhibitor applications and forecasts for the coming weeks, photokina will take place in halls 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2 and 5.2.

Koelnmesse – Global Competence in Digital Media, Entertainment and Mobility: Koelnmesse is an international leader in organising trade fairs in the Digital Media, Entertainment and Mobility segments. Trade fairs like photokina, DMEXCO, gamescom, gamescom asia, INTERMOT and THE TIRE COLOGNE are established as leading international trade fairs. Koelnmesse not only organises trade fairs in these areas in Cologne, but also in other growth markets like, for example, China, Singapore and Thailand, which have different areas of focus and content. These global activities offer customers of Koelnmesse tailor-made events in different markets, which guarantee sustainable and international business.

The next events:
photokina - IMAGING UNLIMITED, Cologne 27.05. - 30.05.2020
THE TIRE COLOGNE - Empowering the entire business, Cologne 09.06. - 12.06.2020
gamescom - The world's largest trade fair and event highlight for interactive games and entertainment (25.08. trade visitor and media day), Cologne 25.08. - 29.08.2020

Note for editorial offices:
photokina photos are available in our image database on the Internet at in the “Press” section. Press information is available at:

If you reprint this document, please send us a sample copy.

photokina in Social Media

Downloads attached to this press release

Judith Leyendecker


Judith Leyendecker
Communications Manager
Tel. +49 221 821-2486
Fax +49 221 821-3544
Write an e-mail