If there's one place that you ought to invest your time and money into, it's education. This 4-day event is an interesting one for creatives as it's a mix of international photowalks and online training sessions led by experts.
As much of the world is opening back open, sniffing at normality, we can look forward to the return of community events. As photographers and creatives, one of the cornerstones of our industry is events, and so it's encouraging to see them resurfacing and yet embracing the pivot to more online learning.
The Visual Storytelling Conference is a business, creativity, and photography training event for photographers and content creators. It is free of charge, though there are VIP options with perks that more than offset the cost. To register without paying a penny, click the link at the start of this paragraph. It's frankly amazing that an event of this size and caliber can give the option of being free, but it does and there are some superb talks arranged by some of the big names in the industry.
There are a number of speakers ready to impart their wisdom and it's an impressive roster. First and foremost, one of the five keynote speakers is our friend and incredibly talented landscape photographer, Elia Locardi, who created the Photographing the World series with us. In addition to Locardi, you have National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and visual creator, Mike Libecki, Navy Seals veteran and photographer, Darren McBurnett, Content Director, Valentina Vee, and digital and social media expert, Anthony Shop.
Outside of the keynotes, there are 20 or more other speakers, including names you're likely to recognize. For example, there is landscape photographer and YouTuber, Serge Ramelli, bestselling author and creator of the YouTube series "Advancing Your Photography", and many more leading professionals. There is a smorgasbord of different topics being discussed, ranging from creativity through to business.
The schedule for the event itself kicks off on May 15th, though the photowalks are arranged for May 14th 2021. There are some brilliant lectures scheduled for each day of the event, and I'll pick out just a few from all three days that interest me the most.
On May 15th, there is Mike Libecki's keynote talk at 12pm on how to gear up for exploring the unexplored earth, which is frankly unmissable. However, other interesting talks are Andrew Ford's "10 Ways To Get More Views on YouTube", Luisa Winters' "How To Make Money With Your Drone", and the All Star Panel's discussion of NFTs and how photographers and artists can monetize their work, a topic which has been passionately discussed here on Fstoppers over the last few months.
On May 16th, there are two keynotes, one by Skylum on storytelling, and then Darren McBurnett on how a Navy Seal and certified warrior became a photographer. Then, some highlights are Nicole S. Young's "Backyard Macro Photography" which is exactly how I got started in macro photography, Serge Ramelli's "Build a Photography Business Shooting Property", and Frederick Van Johnson's "How To Be a Professional Podcaster."
On May 17th, the two keynotes are Valentina Vee on how she became a full-time director in Hollywood which is the pièce de résistance for most directors, and Anthony Shop on "Marketing in the Age of Disruption." Outside of those two, the talks that jump out to me are Skip Cohen's "Website = Sales. Blog = Passion. Why You Need Both" — something I have written about on numerous occasions, Nate Torres and his "Using Local SEO To Get More Clients for Free", and finally Vanelli's "Controlling the Light: The Secret To Better Photos".
After far too much time locked inside, most of us are keener than ever to get our camera in our hands and head out into the world. If you've never been on a photowalk before, they can be a little misunderstood. I was initially hesitant as I was worried it was for amateurs or that everyone would come away with the same shot; I was wrong. It's a brilliant way to network, to learn, and see that everyone views the world differently, both inside and outside of their viewfinder!
There are a number of photowalks arranged currently, with most of the U.S. covered. Of the promoted photowalk hosts, I would have to suggest Bryan Esler. I have met him once or twice on various press trips and he's a lovely person and a great and knowledgable photographer. His walk meets up in Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and runs from 6pm to 7:30pm EDT.
The VIP Bundle
While anyone can sign up and enjoy this conference for free, there is a VIP package for $99 which has some perks which equate to nearly $1,000. If you sign-up as a VIP to the Visual Storytelling Conference, you get the following:
- A full license to Luminar AI photo editor and plugin (Value $99)
- Full Access to Excire Foto Image Organizer (Value $89)
- Access to all 80 VSC Session Recordings for 365 days (Value $399)
- Access to the Best of Future Media Conferences Recording Bundle (Value $199)
- Automatic Entry to the VIP Raffle – Grand prize a Dell Workstation
- Future Media Conferences Networking Group
If you were thinking of buying the brilliant Luminar software, buying the VIP package seems like the perfect time and method to do so, given just how much comes with it!
In addition to the ridiculous amount of content you can get for being a VIP and for free by signing up for this event, there is also a raffle with a chance to win a Dell Precision 5750 Mobile Workstation valued at $7,464. The spec on this laptop is staggering; it has a 17-inch screen, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB graphics card, Intel Xeon 6 Core 2.8-5.1 GHz processor, a whopping 64 GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512 GB M.2 SSD, and a second M.2 SSD with 256 GB storage.
This is an incredibly high spec laptop, with enough memory and power to ensure even the most taxing of video renders or pixel-shift edits do not slow you down. As far as a portable creative workstation goes, you can scarcely improve on this.
It's pretty much a no-brainer to sign up for an event with this much content and educational material when it costs you nothing. It's great to see conferences starting up again, and with most of the VPS available to view online, you don't have to leave your desk. The event will be delivered live using Zoom's desktop sharing platform.