Whether you’re brand-new to the photography business or seeking to diversify into new markets, you can find plenty of ideas and inspiration at one of the national (or international!) photography conferences planned in 2010.
Just as it makes sense to expand your photography business in new directions, each of these conferences has been steadily diversifying their educational programs in order to serve a broader pool of attendees. If you visit the conference websites, you’ll also see that most of these events offer additional learning opportunities ranging from intensive, two-day pre-conference seminars, all-day photo safaris, and hands-on computer labs to business boot camps, print exhibitions, and portfolio reviews.
Imaging USA: Jan 10-12 in Nashville
This conference, organized by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is known for providing valuable business advice to photographers in markets of all sizes. Sessions have traditionally focused mostly on portrait, wedding, and sports photography. But this year, sessions will also discuss how to pursue opportunities in décor, commercial/advertising, and stock photography. In addition to learning about sales, pricing, marketing, studio operations, and productive workflows, you can attend inspirational sessions on the creative art of photography. Imaging USA features the world’s largest annual print exhibit (and it’s open to the public). More than 2,300 elite images will be on display, mostly General and Loan Collection images from PPA’s International Print Competition.
PMA International Convention and Trade Show: Feb. 21-23 in Anaheim, CA
For the first-time, a full-day Pro Photographer Business Boot Camp will be held on Feb. 20, prior to the start of PMA Conference. Designed for professional photographers with less than two years’ experience shooting portraits, weddings, sports, and events, the boot camp will cover basic business practices, posing and lighting, legal issues, website development, and how to develop new product lines. Photographers can attend the seminar by buying an All-Conference Connection Pass which includes sessions at these five conferences: The Photo Marketing Association (Feb. 21-23); The Digital Imaging Marketing Association (Feb. 19-22); the Professional School Photographers Association (Feb. 20-22); the Sports Photographers of America (Feb. 19-22); and Professional Picture Framers Association Conference (Feb. 21-23).
The PMA Convention provides a “big-picture, future-focused view of overall changes in the consumer markets for photography products and services, with “What’s Next?” sessions such as “The Print Is Dead! How 20-Somethings Use Photography.” and keynotes such as “Delving into the Mind of the Sports Photography Customer.” The PMA conference is attended by photographers, photo labs, retailers, and developers of photographic equipment who want to better understand how to develop and promote all types of photography-related products and services.
WPPI: March 8-10 in Las Vegas
This conference, which focuses primarily on the wedding and portrait photography business, offers an wide array of seminar formats, including two-day PLUS classes on March 4-5, a Business Institute March 6-7, small-group Master Classes, and 50 two-hour Platform classes on March 7-10. The Platform classes include tracks on business, Photoshop, portraits, weddings, lighting and posing, photojournalism and commercial photography, and video. Many of these sessions are led by successful, entrepreneurial photographers who describe the many different techniques they’ve used to build their businesses.
Photoshop World: March 24-26 in Orlando
Led by 35 Photoshop experts and professional photographers, this event sponsored by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals is focused squarely on the creative production and use of digital images, using a combination of solid photography skills and post-processing and design techniques in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and CreativeSuite. Events held in conjunction with the Conference include a photo safari, an on-location wedding shoot, and portfolio reviews. Courses range from beginning-level Photoshop and image correction and compositing, to creating video with DSLR cameras and using rich media in social-media marketing. Some sessions show you how to integrate photography with basic grpahic design to create print-ready products such as posters.
Photokina: Sept. 21-16 in Cologne, Germany
Held every two years, this massive show features 1300 exhibitors from 50 countries and typically attracts more than 160,000 visitors. The goal is to present the complete spectrum of the global imaging market, including the latest products and trends of tomorrow. A special “Meet the Professionals” area in Hall 4.1 will feature educational forums and products for imaging professionals, including computer-generated imaging and large-format and fine-art printing. The Visual Galley will include ten photo exhibitions by internationally renowned photographers as well as the work of up-and-coming young artists. In early 2010, international organizations, associations, publishers and clubs will be invited to apply for an exhibition area at Photokina. The terms and conditions of the competition will be posted on Photokina’s website in January.
PDN PhotoPlus Expo: October 28-30 in New York
Three full days of seminars cover nearly every aspect of the art and business of photography. This year, seminar tracks covered new techniques in lighting, Photoshop, color management, editorial, portraiture, marketing, business management, and tools for expanding your network of clients. Because of its location in one of the art capitals of the world, some of the sessions focus on breaking into the fine-art photography market, presenting exhibitions, and working with gallery owners.
Tell Us Which Conference You Prefer. No matter which conference you attend, these types of events provide great networking opportunities. And the accompanying expositions provide a convenient way to see demonstrations of dozens of new products.
If you’ve attended one or more of these photography events in the past, we encourage you to drop us a note and tell us which one(s) you like best and why. We meet so many great people and learn so much at every conference and show we attend. But we’re always curious to hear more about what types of photography-related training and education you like most.