Attending a photography conference or workshop is one of the best investments you can make in your photography business.
For example, in 2014 I paid $97 to attend a 2 hour album sales workshop.
As a result of that class, my album sales grew by an average of $478.
If I would have done it one season earlier I would have made $19,120 more!
One of the best pieces of advice I can give to a photographer who isn't where they want to be is to attend a workshop.
Workshops and conferences are shortcuts to success.
They allow you to learn from the people who have already done what you're trying to do so that you can grow faster.
That's why I decided to host my own workshop twice a year called Abundance: Maximizing Joy, Meaning, And Profits.
Whether you attend my workshop or someone else's, the important thing is that you invest in yourself. That's how you'll explode your business.
Below is a list of every photography conference and workshop I could find in 2018 sorted by date.
Photography Conferences and Workshops 2018
In addition to this resource list, I also want to provide answers to some common questions photographers have about conferences and workshops.
With the most frequent being...
Are photography conference and workshops worth the investment?
With so many photography conferences and workshops, how do you know which one to pick and how do you decide whether or not it is worth the investment?
In order to answer this question, we have to look at what the benefits are of attending a conference/workshop.
- From a creative standpoint, at the end of each year, I am exhausted. My creative energy is drained and I often feel like I have been making the same images over and over. When I surround myself with other photographers, it recharges my energy and gives me new ideas and inspiration for next year.
Take The Fast Lane
- There are no magic bullets in business, however the absolute fastest way to grow is by learning from others who have come before you. Conferences and workshops give you access to this fast lane to learn any part of the business or creative side that you could imagine.
Network / Community
- Some of the marketing ideas, tips and changes that have made the biggest difference in my business came from normal conversations, late night talks, or random meet ups from like-minded photographers dedicated to helping one another grow.
- It's a wonderful thing to be surrounded by others who are going through the same struggles as you. These relationships extend far beyond the conference dates. When you get back home and need that pick-me-up, or want pick someones mind on a tricky situation, the relationships you have formed can be tapped back into to keep growing.
ROI Is a really tricky thing to put on a workshop because there is so much to be gained outside of direct monetary gain.
The best I can do is tell you this...
Every time I have been apprehensive about whether or not to attend a workshop/conference I have received invaluable knowledge that has consistently lead to exponential growth in my business.
My only regret is that I wish I would have attended sooner.
How to choose the photography conference that is right for you
When trying to decide which photography conference that is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my biggest struggle?
- What is the number one thing I could learn to help increase profits for my business?
- What do I need to learn to make my business more sustainable?
- Which photographers do I look up to? What do they have that I need to work on?
- Who is speaking at this event? What do they have to offer me?
- Do I need more help with my business or creative?
- Where is it located at? (the best live events are worth traveling for but seeing which workshops and conferences are near you could play a role in which one you choose)
More expensive isn't necessary a bad thing. My encouragement is that if you attend a more expensive event, that you make sure to come away with an understand on how to me more profitable with your business
Should you attend a conference or a workshop?
You will also want to distinguish between what a workshop will offer you that a conference might not (and vice versa).
With workshops being inherently smaller and more intimate and you get much more hand on attention.
This more direct teaching method results in greater honing in and focusing on mastering a particular subject matter.
There are certain things that tend to be better suited for smaller workshop attention, primarily In-Person Sales, and Off Camera Lighting.
One of the main benefits to Conferences is just how many photographers and vendors they can attract.
This is great for networking, getting to experience a taste of a bunch of your favorite photographers, and getting to test, hold, and experience products first hand at the tradeshow or vendor room.
My personal favorite conferences...
Mystic Seminars - I love Mystic because it challenges me from a creative standpoint more than any other conference. Mystic attracts some of the most talented photographers from around the globe to Portland, Oregon.
There is not a massive vendor room like what you would see at WPPI, but they do attract some great vendors.
Some of the vendor perks I always enjoy when attending Mystic:
- You can get your Canon/Sony lenses and cameras cleaned for free
- You can flip through, touch, and test out a couple different print and album companies products like Miller's
- You can experience live demonstrations of some of the greatest software and services (like Fundy or ShootDotEdit)
It is a little bit edgier in tone and can be intimidating to an outsider looking in, but the energy and vibes at Mystic are all about building into one another.
Lastly, the parties and wild nights are a thing, so come prepared to go out and enjoy yourself as well!
WPPI - Wedding & Portrait Photographers International is one of the largest conferences, if not THE largest in the industry.
Because of the magnitude and size, it pretty much attracts everyone and offers everything.
You will even notice all of the smaller conference groups will treat it almost as a mini meet-up.
One of the great things about WPPI is that they have a MASSIVE tradeshow room.
When I say massive, I mean that in past years it was its own building.
This means that if you want to try out ANYTHING... it will be there.
Nearly every print lab you could imagine, camera accessory company, industry leaders, will be in attendance.
There are a ton of people who literally attend WPPI purely for the trade-show component.
There is so much to learn at WPPI and again because of its size, there are so many class options to attend.
They really hit a wide range of the spectrum and offer classes on any aspect of the industry you can think of, not honing in on any one thing.
If you are intentional about the classes you take, you will walk away with a book of knowledge.
Lastly the location alone invites a ton of amazing opportunities. It is held in Las Vegas NV, which means two things:
- Beautiful styled shoot locations in the red rock dessert or the Las Vegas strip
- Amazing parties are thrown every night at WPPI
Showit UNITED - When I think about what makes a conference GREAT it all comes back to one thing, people.
UNITED is run by some of the most wonderful people in the industry.
If you combine that with the fact that it is held in a gorgeous location in the desert of Arizona and brings together some of the industries most highly regarded photographers (Jasmine Starr, Justin & Mary, Kaitlin James), you will see why it holds a special place in my heart.
UNITED is all about community and lifting each other up. It is a great conference to attend where from day one
It is honestly even a great conference to bring you husband or wife too and for them to see and understand why you love this job so much!
UNITED does have a very small group of vendors but of the three conferences listed here it is the smallest.
However, no one attends UNITED to check out at the latest lenses on the market, they attend UNITED because they want to grow as a person and as a photographer.
Did I miss one?
Leave a comment below and let me know of any conferences or workshops you think should be included on the list