Enlighten, Inspire, and Strike: Imaging USA 2023

I woke up enlightened, inspired, and a little skeptical. I was raised by Simon Baileyguide by Lindsay Adlertaken by Mark Mannand chat with Peter Hurley. I watched artificial intelligence write, curate, and edit; and I’ve been partying all night with over 10,000 photographers. Is this every photographer’s fantasy taking place in my sleep? No, it was my first trip to Imaging USA. In this article, I will recount my favorite notes and highlights from Imaging USA. Alas, it’s not all flashy: I’ll also share the closing speech that left the crowd shocked and outraged. Review my first trip to Imaging USA.

Day 1: Purpose, sales and finding your ideal customer

Simon T. Bailey: Sparking Customer Experience (Keynote)

United States image kick off events with an emotional keynote speech by the keynote speaker Simon T. Bailey. He’s been candid about how he’s built a successful and profitable business, but he’s left out what’s most valuable: his family relationships. “Toxic hustle culture” has been a hot topic for a while, and Bailey has boldly talked about it. He also asked us to hastily try to jot down all of his wonderful phrases for later digestion:

“How do we find ways to embrace our customers with our words?

Anything you don’t deal with will eventually work out for you.

Bad customer service kills great marketing.

The importance of empathic listening rather than selective listening.

He is inspirational, humble and makes the whole room chuckle with his infectious laugh. He offers a Change your Brilliance evaluation, which I look forward to doing.

Allison Tyler Jones: The Art of Selling

After leaving with a notebook full of details to open later, I reached for “The Art of Selling” with Allison Tyler Jones. The cheerful superpower has given us a vast sales arsenal. Jones provided mindset assessment tools to identify beliefs that might be limiting our sales, as well as practical strategies for getting the money we deserve in the future. each scene. Here are some favorite notes from her session:

Don’t ask friends and family for advice on your pricing. Talk to your photography friends at the same level as you.

Sell ​​solutions to their problems through your photos and let them know how they will use the images.

Write down your fears about overcharging and address them yourself before the discovery call.

Damian Dizard: How to Find Your Ideal Client

In this hands-on talk, Dizard provides possible steps to booking for more ideal customers. From writing an ICP (Ideal Client Profile) to placing a call-to-action above the fold on your website, his tips are concrete steps to attract more target customers. My favorite contribution of him is his introduction of Chat GPT, an AI writing tool. He showed how we can use this free AI writing tool to compose content that can be adapted and used for everything from Facebook ads, Instagram captions, to websites.

Day 2: Synthesize Photoshop, Lightroom Masking and Commercial Photography

Julieanne Kost: The Art of Collage in Photoshop

Photoshop is releasing new upgrades faster than the single computers bingeing a few blocks away in downtown Nashville. If you’re like me, you’ll try to keep up with the tsunami of updates, but sometimes it’s overwhelming. expense made us both Photoshop gods and feel like we were at a stand-up comedy club. It is impossible to summarize her detailed teaching in this article, but I will direct you to This free resource on her page about photo collages. She is officially my new target for Adobe software updates.

Julieanne Kost: The Power of Masks in Lightroom Classic

After her excellent presentation on Photoshop, I don’t think anyone left the chair because of her back-to-back talk on Lightroom masks. It is so wide that I will once again direct you to her website for more, but I’ll also share a function she showed us that left the entire audience gasping in awe.

Have you noticed that Lightroom now shows faces in a small circle in the mask panel?

If you click on this face, Lightroom will automatically mask all the different groups of the face — skin, iris, lips, teeth, hair — onto different layers for you to edit.

She also demonstrates how to use the High Resolution feature. This command quadruples the resolution of the image, which is useful when working from a low resolution or cropped file.

Taylor Brumfield: Opening of a Commercial Photography Business

There was very little at the convention that focused on commercial photography, so we were all in that space hoping that two specialized workshops would be productive and Brumfield did. She gave a comprehensive talk on all related topics, from props to licensing. She and I both agree that next year’s conference will benefit from the entire licensing and copyright segment. The unexpected contribution she references is a resource called “Business expense calculator” by Dr. Tomayia Colvin.

This is a resource that photographers can use to help them evaluate assignments. In addition to her multitude of practical tools, I’ve heard many waiters come out to discuss how they’ve been inspired by her bold and unrepentant resolve as a waitress. an artist. During my school days, we had a saying, “more is caught than taught,” and although she didn’t explicitly teach it, we were all reminded to be patient. determined with the value and cost of producing his image.

Day 3: Agency Work, Portrait Lighting and Tone-Deaf Closing Speech

Christina Peters: How to Get Consistent Work with Ad Agency Clients

If you’ve been in the photo community for a while, you’ll know that in general, commercial photographers charge more than all the other photographers in the room. But how does one actually get a coveted spot on an advertising agency’s listing? Peters offers practical advice from her experience as an agent. Companies want to see jobs they’re interested in hiring you for not once, but multiple times in your portfolio. Therefore, the first step is to create a strong and focused workgroup. She also outlined a game plan for using print and online resources to liaise with agencies and creative directors. Peters details a systematic capture process for image stacking used in commercial work. She left us with a clear revelation: it’s not as easy as it looks. I doubt anyone at that conference would look back at a McDonald’s ad and say, “I could have shot it.” It’s clear why the barrier to entry is so high and the price so impressive. Commercial work requires a lot of specific knowledge, not just general photography skills.

Chris Duncan: One Light, Ten Portraits

I entered the room of this class a little before the start time to get a good seat, knowing that there would be a trial session. I was shocked when I entered: the room was packed with people who had lined up against the wall and crouched on the ground. I turned to look at the door. Did I accidentally walk into a Garth Brooks private concert? I squeezed my lucky little body into the chair, wondering what miracle everyone had gathered here. I quickly understood why Duncan’s fan club appeared. He is an absolute genius with light. Take it down to the most basic setup: one light, one softbox. He easily rotates the light from left to right, rotates it, feathers it, diffuses it, and creates 10 different looks in about 30 minutes.

Julie Solomon: Closing speech with no melody

After two days of methodology instruction, practical business strategies, and inspirational messages, podcaster Julie Solomon delivered a closing speech. She began sharing her life story, which led to an emotional point that brought her to tears: the moment when she accidentally ran into over $30,000 in shopping debt that her husband had to pay. over. She describes it as the lowest point in her life. The room was uncomfortable and quiet, a kind of unbelievably perplexity as we held our breath to see where this was going. The “Imaging USA 2023” group chat lights up. Memes about white privilege started flying. Her keynote continued down a bragging hole and ended with an uncomfortably long pitch to her training programs. I interviewed more than a dozen attendees afterward, and the responses ranged from insensitive to clearly outraged. However, sentiment was unanimous: it was not good. One group took Reel from Solomon’s Instagram, which she posted the week before the conference, boasting: “So last week I got a $25,000 transfer to speak on stage in about 60 minutes.” We can all fill in the blanks about who she is referring to. At least her speech is uncomfortable and lacks emotional intelligence.

Thankfully, followed by a lively dance floor with drinks and dancing to end the night in style. Hundreds of photographers drank cocktails, danced, laughed and shared the night of an inspiring conference.

Other Highlights of the Conference

After watching the seminars when I signed up, I expected to meet the speakers above, as well as with dozens of others listed as teachers. What I didn’t expect were excellent demos on the show floor with giants: Lindsay Adler, Marc Mann, Peter Hurley, Creative Soul, Vanessa Joy, etc. Canon has a bold monochromatic red room, a a wall-to-wall reflective mylar room and a simulated countryside wedding room where photographers can learn and practice. It is very attractive.

Conferences allow me to improve my latest gear: from tethering to off-camera lighting. I even cleaned my sensor. I was able to get up to speed with the latest AI technology: selective and retouching AI. It’s both fascinating and scary at the same time. I could write more about the amazing happenings at American Imagination, but the article is likely never-ending and you’re probably slow to edit.

What I want to see next year

There are a few themes that I think will be great topics next year. One thing that I mentioned earlier is licensing and copyright. In addition, the conference attaches great importance to portrait and wedding photography. On the contrary, there is little focus on food and product photography, both of which are booming industries right now. Nothing for photojournalism. A product photography and food photography demo would be great.

If you’ve never been to the Imaging USA conference, I recommend postponing it to January 28-30, 2024. It will be an invaluable experience. Thanks to PPA and Imaging USA for this amazing event and thanks to all the speakers who shared their time and talent.

Have you attended yet? If not, what has stopped you? As for me, I don’t know what’s going to happen, that’s why I chose this year to go head-to-head and bring the news to our Fstoppers family. If you’ve been, I’d love for you to share more of your experience in the comments section below.


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