I\u2019m photographer Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens, and in this video and article, I\u2019m going to look at photo conferences, photo\/video conferences. Are they dead? Are they going to happen this year? Is it kind of the nail in the coffin for conferences? Because they were sliding before. Where exactly are they at? What\u2019s going to happen and what can you expect coming in 2021 and 2022? I just went to WPPI, and it was a lot of fun to be there. It was great to be with other photographers again, to be able to sit in the classes to hear people talk about their businesses, show their work, and really teach photography principles. But it was so small. They had only about under 4,000 people that registered and about 3,000 people actually picked up their badges (at least, that\u2019s what I heard). So it was a very small show. The conference was lacking so many players. Sony wasn\u2019t there. Nikon wasn\u2019t there. Just a whole group of people that didn\u2019t come. So you might think, \u201cWell, conferences are dead. There\u2019s no place for them any longer.\u201d I don\u2019t believe that\u2019s the case. I think we\u2019re in a building process here. They had taken a year and a half off because of COVID, so this conference came at a time when most people aren\u2019t used to having WPPI \u2014 it became a reset conference. And I think if you look at it in that way, I think it\u2019s going to grow and be back on track in the future. Why should you go to a conference? I think there\u2019s a lot of great reasons. 1. You get information at conferences that is very difficult to get anywhere else. How often do photographers open their doors and allow you to look at their business practices and understand exactly their process? Show their process, teach, and mentor. You don\u2019t really get that in any other place except for clubs and conferences, the kinds of places that bring photographers together and allow you to be able to work together and learn together. And I think because of that it\u2019s a really valuable experience to have. 2. There\u2019s nothing like a hands-on to grab something and to be able to hold it. To use the camera, to understand it, and to be able to get a sense of whether it\u2019s going to work for you or not. And I think all this kind of equipment is really about that. What innovation is out there? What are the cameras that are coming out? What do you want to test and hold and see and figure out? And I think that\u2019s one of the reasons conferences are so important. But really the main one for me is #1, a kind of mentoring at a distance. People are teaching their process and talking about what they do. And I think that is really the foundation for helping you to grow in your business and be able to get new ideas to get excited again. We all become a little stale sometimes and it\u2019s hard for us to keep going. But conferences give us a little jolt, a little heart pump to keep you going. So here are some of the big conferences: Shutterfest We just had Shutterfest on September 8th-10th. Shutterfest is a great conference. It\u2019s a small intimate conference in a great location in St. Louis \u2014 the building is just so fun to shoot in. And people go there to shoot. They have models. You can go down and check out a model and go shoot. And people bring their gear. They bring their strobes and they come to shoot, and that\u2019s what made that conference so really enjoyable. You have great speakers, you have a great location, and you get to shoot. Cine Gear Expo Next, we have Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles, which has been a favorite show of mine for years. It has always been at the Paramount backlot, but this year it\u2019s going to be at the LA convention center, which is unfortunate because the whole vibe of that show was outside at the lot, the place where so many famous incredible movies were made. So many actors walked that lot and those buildings. But the expo will still have vendors and speakers and people coming together to talk about the industry and to be able to share their thoughts and views on what\u2019s happening in the market. I think that\u2019s really important. PHOTOPLUS (Cancelled) Going on from there, we have PHOTOPLUS, which had been scheduled for September 30th\u2013October 2nd in New York City in the Javits Center. They have gotten rid of all their education, which is a little unfortunate \u2014 I feel like that really was the backbone of PHOTOPLUS. The strength of that show was you got to hear speakers in a lot of commercial applications, and it\u2019s really a trade show. It\u2019s a three-day trade show that brings in a lot of great vendors. What has happened is, because that education is not out in the different lecture halls, all the vendors brought that education onto the trade show floor and you\u2019ve got great speakers in all the different booths. They and the vendors create a great vibe. NAB (Cancelled) Moving on from that, we have NAB October 9th \u2013 13th. I predict that NAB will bounce back to being a very strong show. We know NAB has been great in the past. We want it to be great in the future, and I think vendors are going to show up and they\u2019re going to make it happen. And I think if we will come and support it, it\u2019ll be a great show again one day. WPPI Going into the new year, another is WPPI in February. ImagingUSA We also have ImagingUSA, which going to be in Washington DC from January 16 to 18. I have not been to ImagingUSA, but it\u2019s something I\u2019d like to do next year just to be able to see exactly how that shows going and what\u2019s going to happen there. If you\u2019re on the East Coast, that\u2019s a great show to take in near Washington DC. There are my thoughts on photo conferences. Are they dead? I don\u2019t think so. I think they\u2019re going to continue. I think they may pare down, and I think a lot of them may go to a hybrid where you are in person but they also have a lot of online Zoom classes that are shared afterward. They\u2019ve been trying this for a long time, trying to get you to buy the classes afterward or to buy a package. I wish they would do that, offer a package where you spend X number of dollars. For an extra 100 bucks, you get all the classes as Zoom classes or all of them as recorded video classes you can go back and look at because there\u2019s always great information there. Grab your face mask and go to a conference. You\u2019ll have a great time. About the author: Jay P. Morgan is a commercial photographer with over two decades of experience in the industry. He teaches photography through his company, The Slanted Lens, which runs a popular YouTube channel. This article was also published here.