Photography conferences are a great way for photographers to gain useful knowledge, learn about new products, and network with other photographers. Whether you are attending your tenth photography conference or are a first time attendee, these five tips will help you get the most out of your photography conference investment.
1. Research to Find the Best Fit For You
Not all photography conferences are the same. Some are geared towards specific photography genres, other’s are geared toward new photographers or seasoned pros, some are geared toward the business aspect of photography, and other’s are geared towards gaining more technical photography knowledge. Researching what each photography conference offers will allow you to make the best investment for your business.
2. Come Prepared
Bring along a notepad or laptop to take notes on all the valuable information that you will be learning. If you are participating in a styled shoot or shoot out, you will want to bring along your photography equipment. Having some business cards with you will let you continue to connect with photographers who you meet after the event. Also, having some cash on hand can be helpful when you visit the trade show/vendor area or if you need to grab a snack or lunch.
3. Plan Your Event Participation Accordingly
It's important to sign-up for events, classes, and/or shoots with your business and your strengths and weaknesses in mind. There are a ton of different speakers, presentations, and shoots that happen during a photography conference and you won’t be able to attend every single one. Put some thought into what it is that you need for your business. Is there an aspect of your business that you want to improve or a topic that you aren’t as knowledgeable about? Those are the classes and events that you should enroll in. Don’t just enroll in an event that is taught by a photographer/educator that you love if it is something that you already excel in. To get the most out of your conference, you will want to focus on topics and events that will help push you forward in your business in areas in which you aren't as knowledgeable or skilled.
4. Ask Questions But Don’t Hog the Conversation
Most speakers and presenters will welcome questions at the end. If there is something that you need clarified or something that you want to know that wasn’t covered, don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up! Most of the time someone else will have the same question as you and your question can help the whole group. However, don’t hog the question and answer section. Allow the speaker to answer you as well as allow other photographers that may ask questions.
5. Dress comfortably and for the Weather
Dressing comfortably is often overlooked but it is very important for you to get the most our of the conference. Conferences are long and are often held in conference rooms that are either too hot or too cold. Dressing in layers will help you stay cool or warm so that you can focus on learning. Comfortable shoes are also a must! Between the different class locations and trade shows, you may end up walking a lot and you'll be on your feet for a good portion of the day. This means, the more comfortable the shoe, the better!
BONUS TIP: Put What You Learn Into Practice!
This may be the most important tip of all! Don’t come home from the conference and put your notes aside. To make the most from your conference investment you will want to implement what you learned into your business. Feel free to take a few days off and relax with your loved ones but don’t put that notebook away in your desk and forget about it! If it’s a little too overwhelming looking at all of your notes at once, break your notes into sections or categories and start tackling them one at a time.
About Jasmine Norris
Jasmine Norris-Dixson is an award winning and published wedding photographer for the romantic and joyful couples who want their wedding day to be authentic. Rooted in the belief that an image should last a lifetime, she captures the joy and love, the laughter and tears, the little details and the big events not just for her couples but for the generations to come. Her work has been featured in over 100 publications including The Knot, Bridal Guide, Rock n’ Roll Bride, Gay Weddings, Huffington Post, and more. In her spare time you can find her traveling the world with her husband Devin, fixing up their 100 year old Victorian home, or curled up on the couch with her cat Dior.