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 10th 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 the different conferences to find the one that is right for you.
Not all photography conferences are the same. Some are geared toward specific 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 toward gaining more technical photography knowledge. Researching what each photography conference offers will allow you to make the best investment for your business. Eventbrite is a helpful resource to search for conferences and conventions, since many planners register their conventions on their website.
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 connecting with photographers who you met after the event. Bring some cash along so you can purchase items from the trade show that will help your business.
3. Plan your events/classes/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. Really think about 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? Then those are the classes and events that you should enroll in. Don't just enroll in an event that is taught by a photographer/teacher 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 that you aren't as knowledgeable or skilling in.
4. Do ask questions but don't hog the conversation.
Most speakers and presentations 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! 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 of the presentation and allow the speaker to answer you as well as allow other photographers to 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 out 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 be on your feet for a good portion of the day.
BONUS: Put what you learn into practice!
Don't just 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. To make the task a little less overwhelming, tackle one item at a time.