5 Takeaways from a Photography Conference
Are you ready to level up your photography skills and grow your business? There is never a shortage of things you could spend money on when you are a professional photographer and want to grow. There is always a newer camera body, a different lens, a piece of studio equipment, or another online class. As much as I am tempted to buy gear, every year, I budget to attend at least one photography conference. A couple of days ago I returned from Imaging USA 2023 held by the Professional Photographers of America in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are five things I got out of it.
New Photography Techniques
One of the things I look to get out of a photography conference in particular is learning new photography techniques. There are photographers all over the world whose work I regularly view and admire. Some of them are also educators that teach at conferences. Some teach lighting, some posing, and others editing. There is so much for me to learn and explore. While there are plenty of online tutorials, there is no better way for me to learn than by watching someone demonstrate and explain in person. It is even better if I get to participate. My time at Imaging USA gave me the opportunity to not only attend featured classes on photography techniques, but vendors and exhibitors at the trade show offered additional classes throughout the day.
We live in a rapidly changing world. Advances in photography technology and software, and changes in industry trends regarding clients’ tastes and expectations keep us pivoting. While this was addressed in some of the featured classes I attended, the trade show exhibitors excelled at presenting the latest technology and business trends. Knowledgeable vendors were busy throughout the conference answering questions, demonstrating their products and services, and letting photographers give them a test. You can get your hands on items that normally you can only peruse on a website. I even had a great opportunity to try out one of Fujifilm’s newest cameras on a sponsored photowalk with trained models.
A favorite thing of mine about attending a professional photography conference is the opportunity to network. A phrase often heard among professional photographers is, “community over competition.” And I love the photography community for that. It’s great meeting so many other enthusiastic photographers and people in the industry and building those connections of support. During this trip to Imaging USA I got to meet in person people I had been following and engaging with on social media for years. I even met one of my favorite photographers from Japan. At the conference I made new valuable connections and deepened existing ones, and that will benefit all of us.
I believe it is important to surround yourself with positive, success-minded people. And if you want to reach a high level of expertise, you need to surround yourself with people that are currently at a higher level of expertise than you. A photography conference is the perfect place to do that for the professional photographer. Watching a skilled photographer work and hearing about their path to success motivates me to be better. Imaging USA also has the Grand Imaging Awards where you get to see the best images and their creators from the International Photographic Competition as well as the World Photographic Cup top 10 Finalists and Best of Nation winners.
Photography Conference Fun
I’ve had fun at every photography conference I have attended. People are in a great mood learning about and doing what they love. I usually get to travel, eat with my peers, and do photography together. It’s always a happy vibe and I leave with good memories. Imaging USA 2023 even included a live DJ to keep the mood exciting and added a couple of parties into the schedule.
View a musician photoshoot I did in downtown Nashville while I was in town for the conference.
Photos ©2023 John E. Lowry. All rights reserved.