A new year means new possibilities. Each year, most photographers put aside money for specific items such as gear, repair, equipment, and more. The one item many forget is education. This is an important part of growing as a photographer and needs to be addressed each year to keep the creative mind flowing.
Education is a huge part of growing as an artist. Without it, we either fall into a slump creatively, or we keep producing the same images over and over without really learning new techniques. Whether you decide to learn from the comfort of your own home or journey out to meet up with like minds, education should be part of your business.
A few conferences and retreats always come to mind, but there are a few that may be new to the list for you. The order is purely chronological. Each photographer finds themselves more comfortable learning in different environments, so choose the ones that work best for you. I have either taught or been to these specific conferences and retreats, which is why I personally recommend them.
Conferences and Retreats 2019
Imaging, held in Atlanta. The longest-running photographic conference, this event brings in over 10,000 photographers with a long list of speakers. Peter Hurley, Stacie Frazier, and Joe Grimes just to name a few.
February 25- March 1
WPPI, held in Vegas. The conference has an amazing list of speakers from Lindsey Adler to Rebecca Yale and so many in-between. The conference trade show is one of my favorites, as I always come home armed with a list of new vendors that will jump start my new year for my client albums.
Mystic Seminars held from Port Canaveral Fl to Havana Cuba. This is a bit different as the conference itself is being held on a cruise ship. This is definitely a unique experience to not only learn from expert photographers but also get the chance to cruise to an amazing location.
Shutterfest, held in St. Louis, MO. The idea here is that this is the un-conference. The aim here is less classroom settings and more involved hands-on classes. With over 70 educators, this event is geared for those who want the hands-on experience.
Camp Do More, held in Haliburton, Ontario. This is basically a summer camp for adults. A camp setting with cabins, a lake, and so much more. This is for photographers in the boudoir/intimate lifestyle photography genre or those wanting to start this part of their business. Learn from some of the top photographers in this area in a relaxed setting out of the classroom. This type of getaway is designed for those who really are not about the crowds or classroom, but more about making relationships in the industry and learning at the same time.
ClickCon, held in Chicago. This conference has it all. The idea was formed from focus groups to learn more about what the photographers wanted in a conference. Loaner demo gear, photo walks, and conference passes give you access to all classes and workshops. These workshops include underwater, video production, editing software, and more.
AIBP held in San Antonio Texas. This boudoir retreat is much more for the creative soul. Speakers include Natalie Kita, Marco Ibanez, Jenn Bruno-Smith, and Jacqueline Tobin of Rangefinder Magazine. Closer to the dates, they will announce surprise breakout speakers to add to your experience. Your pass includes meals, classes, shootouts, and more. Everything from body topics to contracts and numbers in a smaller setting for those who like the more intimate settings.
While there are some amazing conferences all over the world, this list is purely US and Canada-based. If you recommend any other conferences around the world, feel free to add them to the comment section to help other photographers!