I just got back from the Out of Chicago Conference, a photography conference devoted to hands-on learning. I’ve been going since its inception four years ago, and have been a part of the staff for the past two years. Last year we added a conference in New York, and this October, we’re heading to Acadia National Park.

Conferences and workshops like these are a great way to learn your craft. But they’re also a wonderful opportunity to pick up some business and marketing skills.

Out of Chicago prides itself on hands-on experiences. You’re not just a number; instead, you get to meet the instructors and spend individualized time with them.

If you take advantage of your time at conferences, you can pick up quite a few ideas along the way. You can make relationships with fellow attendees and instructors, and pick their brains, coming home with some new ideas that you might be able to apply to your photography marketing.

Conferences can also help you develop connections, further helping you to market your services. In my years at Out of Chicago, I’ve made several connections, and some of those have led to some job referrals.

There are a plethora of opportunities out there, small and large, for you to take part in. Below are some upcoming conferences where you can hone in on your business and marketing skills.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse at Nine Quarter Circle Ranch with Levi Sim

Aug. 20-26, 2017 – If anyone knows how to promote and talk to people, it’s fellow Photofocus author Levi Sim. While this workshop will focus on the Total Solar Eclipse at the Tetons, cowboys, and fishing, there’s no doubt that you’ll come away with some ideas to enhance your photography and marketing. I’ve seen Levi in action countless times at Out of Chicago, and he always goes out of his way in making his subjects feel interested and comfortable. Skills like these can develop your social skillset, something that’s important when dealing with new clientele. Visit website >

Focus Summit

Sept. 26-28, 2017 – Out of Chicago instructors and street photographers James Maher and Scott Wyden Kivowitz have teamed up to present a one-of-a-kind business and marketing conference, specifically geared towards photographers. Everything from local marketing, email marketing, legal issues and pricing will be covered by speakers like Rachel Brenke, Blake Rudis, Corwin Hiebert, Nick Pappagallo and more. If you want a conference that’s totally geared to business and marketing for photographers, you can’t miss this. Visit website >


Oct. 23-26, 2017 – Right on the heels of Photo Plus Expo, WRKSHP takes live shoots, large presentations and small talks and combines it into one action-packed conference. There’s a few business-oriented classes, including “Shut Up and Hustle,” taught by Jon and Brittani Hon, and “Creating a Better Client Experience,” with Samm Blake. Visit website >

Photo Plus Expo

Oct. 25-28, 2017 – The Photo Plus Expo (PPE) has been around for a while, and it’s boasted as the largest photography and imaging show in North America. I’m especially excited to hear more about Debra Weiss’ seminar, “Overcoming Fear: How to Have the Career You Want.” In addition to Debra’s class, you’ll get to hear from business experts Ilise Benun, Andrew Fingerman, Holly Hughes, Jeff Sedlik, Andrew Hetherington and more. Visit website >


Conferences are a great way to get out there and develop new ways to promote and market your business. Depending on the conference, you’ll learn everything from developing a business plan to using social media and writing a press release. In today’s day and age, promotion is key, and attending conferences and workshops can help you develop those skills!


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