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Getting the Most Out of a Conference

Some of you may think this isn’t relevant because the pandemic ended conferences and conventions. However, as things slowly come back to some level of normalcy, you’re going to start to plan those trips again.

ClickCon in Chicago, WPPI in Las Vegas, Photoshop World (online), and what I think will be the biggest, IUSA in January are all coming up. So, I’ve started a series of tips to help you get the most out of any conference you attend. At the same time, whether attending LIVE or Online, these are tips to help you build a more substantial business too.

  1. Get a coffee and take an hour and think about your skillset. Where are your weak links? Be honest with yourself on every aspect of what it takes for you to make a “wow” print. A “wow” print is an image so good that it’s the only thing you’d have to show to get hired! When it comes to classes – remember, growth only happens OUTSIDE your comfort zone.
  2. Look at all your gear. What do you need – I’m NOT talking about what you want to play with, but the gear you honestly need to create better images. And if you’re short on cash, consider renting high-end equipment before you invest. Better yet, look at leasing programs with a buyout.
  3. Look at your network. Everybody should have a handful of people you can call when you’re in trouble. Trouble could mean anything from equipment failure to the flu. Who would you call? This is about the people in your network, and it’s one of the key reasons for attending every conference you can make it to.
  4. Business and marketing. Where do you need the most help? There are a bunch of us in the industry who are always available to help. And don’t forget your contacts at Marathon. They talk to hundreds of photographers every week and have an incredible depth of experience regarding the challenges in today’s business environment.

Last but not least, plan every trip, whether it’s outside your studio/office or at a conference in cyberspace. You wouldn’t get in your car and drive across the country at random without a bit of planning first.  You’d get your car tuned up, fueled, check the tires, etc. Attending any conference is no different, but it all starts with you thinking through why you’re about to invest your time!