Photography conferences you need to attend: SHUTTERFEST
The second definition of the word, "cult" in Merriam-Wesbter's Dictionary reads, "great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work". Make no mistake, Shutterfest is a cult.
Let's start with the theme/motto/way of life, both of/at Shutterfest, "Shoot. Learn. Party.". How can you NOT get excited about that? Shutterfest is a photography conference that happens each Spring in St. Louis, MO at the incomparable Union Station Hotel!
If you want to take photos, of anything and everything, then Shutterfest is definitely for you. Want to learn shooting off camera flash (OCF)? There are classes for that, not to mention the after-hours OCF you can learn and do once classes are over.
Want to switch genres and build a new portfolio in just a couple of days? Shutterfest is definitely for you. A couple of years ago I was up for about 38 straight hours doing 14 different sessions, trying to build up my portfolio of bodyscape photos. If you currently specialize in weddings but would like to shoot headshots, what better place than with a couple thousand photographer friends who hate having their photo taken as much as you do?! Pair up and get some practice in!
Are there models? Yes, there are models. Literally, TONS and TONS of models, just begging to be photographed. If you happen to be a model, or would like to see if you have what it takes to model, then you should bookmark this blog, check for updates because I will post a link so that you can come back and apply to be a model at Shutterfest 19!
Another great advantage of Shutterfest is the private Facebook group. The group is unique among many photography groups on Facebook in the fact that many of the people in the group have met in person. There is a certain accountability to one another, and for the most part, the group polices itself, and the group members, (Shutterfesters) are more than helpful with technical and business questions.
So many speakers and so many classes, how can I choose them all?! You can't. That's part of the charm, disguised as chaos. Each year the Shutterfest Facebook group goes into a frenzy when the schedule is announced. Then, that frenzy goes 10x when it comes time to choose classes. Yes, you have to sign up for the classes you want to take. No, you may not get your first choice. Suck it up and choose another class, there will NOT be a shortage of classes you will want to take! As a speaker the last couple of years, I have been on both ends of this, I've been shut out of classes I've wanted to take, and I've had people not be able to get into a class of mine they've wanted. We've always found an alternative, and we're still breathing today!
Many conferences are family, and although it's in April, to me Shutterfest is the drunk Uncle you see every year at New Year's Eve. You have an absolute blast, but there is no way in hell you could handle it more than once a year! It's just too intense. The shooting, the learning, and the partying. The buildup is incredible, and usually starts the second week of January. You will count the 'wake ups' every day before you head to St. Louis. But... if you feel the need to get that fix before the next Shutterfest, there is Project Lunacy, which is in Houston, TX this year!
So, when you hear the enthusiasm with which 'festers speak about Shutterfest, understand that it is because part of the reason they are so excited is that they can't quite put into words this idea, this movement, this cult. They can't wait to get back next year and be with so many like-minded people to celebrate something each of us is so passionate about, Shooting, Learning, and Partying. See you there!