We’ve waited, maybe patiently, maybe not, for our lives to return to some sort of what it used to be. Most of us have been missing traveling. We missed being at in-person workshops, photo tours and photography conferences so much this past year.

Whether you are an attendee or the organizer of these events, we are guessing that you’re itching to get back out there.

Is it too soon for in-person tours and workshops?

This may be a bit of a loaded question depending on where you are in the world. We’re curious how you are all feeling about this in general. There have been some tours and workshops that have continued on throughout the pandemic, or they appeared to. Some took a few months break at the beginning of it all but were fairly quick to start back up. Having seen images posted on social media of groups together with no social distancing and no masks, really had us wondering about it all.

The main photography conferences were all either canceled or became virtual versions. These are completely different experiences when handling larger crowds, classroom sizes and exhibit areas. We are seeing plans for this fall from a few of them who are getting back to in-person experiences. 

Some of the conferences that transitioned to virtual were KelbyOne, Adobe MAX and Imaging USA. One of the big benefits of this is that you may have added access (sometimes for an extra fee) to the recordings of course which you wouldn’t necessarily have with in-person conferences. The pandemic has also inspired new online opportunities such as the Visual Storytelling Conference coming up next month; this is a hybrid of online training and in-person photowalks.

Many of the smaller and local camera clubs also hosted their meetings and photo contests online. It was something we adapted to for the most part quite well. Sure, we missed in-person instruction and hands-on work but we were still able to learn and meet others who share our interests.

Precautions in place

Slowly, the world is getting back to a place where we can feel comfortable getting on an airplane again. Maybe we start back locally instead. Search out your local photographers who lead workshops and tours. Most will be keeping their course and tour sizes limited. Some may go as far as to require attendees to have been vaccinated. 

A few tips when considering heading back to events:

  1. Be aware of travel restrictions both in the region/state/country you are traveling to and also check what they are for returning to your home region. 
  2. Check airline and state health websites to know up-to-date restrictions if there are any. 
  3. Contact your workshop/tour host or check their website to find out what their requirements are.
  4. For larger conferences go over their website for restrictions and what precautions they are taking. If there is something you can’t find, contact them directly.
  5. It’s all up to you. If you’re not comfortable with how an event is being run and organized then wait until next year. 

Alternative options

Many of us took to the internet, led virtual tours, online workshops and classes. A testament to how quickly pivoting and being creative with your business can help you sustain during unexpected times. It also gave those of us craving tours, workshops and conferences, a way to travel from home and continue our photography education. Of course, it’s not exactly the same but you at least can still connect with other photographers and learn.

It’s quite possible that because of the pandemic more online learning opportunities will continue to be available. After some recent conversations with a few other photographers, this may not always be a great option. People have ‘screen fatigue’ after a full day of working from home sitting at their desks in front of their screens, the last thing they want to do is stay there for learning, conferences or even processing their own images.

We all have varying levels of comfort surrounding this past year. If you do your research and ask around in the photography community, you’ll find the right events for you during the transition back to ‘normality.’ Really, we should all be doing this sort of research when choosing to invest in these experiences anyway so we know we’re going to get out of it what we want or need. 

What do you think? Are you ready and feeling good about getting back to tours, conferences and workshops? We’d love to know your thoughts.

Free business & creativity training for photographers and online video creators

Join us May 14-17, 2021 for a multi-day, multi-track, hybrid training conference featuring immersive, engaging content with experienced photographers and content creators in the field. The conference kicks off with a local photowalk in cities across the world, followed by three full days of live and interactive online sessions!