You might have missed it, but last night, the earth cracked and shifted a little in the world of the photo community. The “Stand Out! Photographic Forums” launched and details the first of a series of events that promise to offer up some of the most exciting photographic speakers I’ve seen in a long time. Not only that, but the price is ridiculously low to hear them talk. Something special is afoot, read on to get the full scoop.
What would you pay to hear the likes of Mark Seliger, Greg Crewdson (check out this great movie on Greg), Melissa Rodwell, Benjamin Von Wong and Fstoppers.com very own Pratik Naik and John Schell talk for about an hour on what makes them and their business work, what drives their passion and what's allowed them get to where they are today? What if you could hear them all, under one roof, in one day, and pay just $10 for each talk?
This is precisely what the Stand Out Photographic Forums is bringing to California next month for the inaugural launch. It’s a brand new forum for those in the world (or looking to be in the world) of professional photography.
The two events, one in LA on October 15th and the second in San Francisco on October 18th, aim to fill a gap within the photographic education sector by actively being positioned as “by professionals, for professionals”.
Colin Patrick King, US Marketing Director for Phase One, and the chief organizer for the event (as well as the brains behind the successful “Shoot NYC” photo expo experience), spoke to me briefly to detail what this new forum was all about.
“This is really and truly aimed at the serious professional or someone aspiring to get into the industry. It’s not a “fluffy” event. This is a “heart and soul crowd”, for professional working people (or those who aspire to be), and giving them the opportunity to hear and learn from some of the industry leaders, and people who are just doing really cool stuff”.
With events like these, I'm always keen to learn more of what the main aim is for those who might be attending. Colin was pretty clear:
“It’s simple. I want to use this forum to build a community, to become part of the wider photographic community and become a valuable resource for that community.”
The event certainly looks promising, standing out from other events in a number of ways:
Diversity Amongst The Speakers
It looks like there is a going to be a great breadth not just in speakers, but what they will discuss, with it all being rooted in a passion for professional photography, and the commercial awareness needed to ensure longevity in the business. Subjects being taught will include essential commercial skills, including negotiation, branding, client relations and marketing. For anyone running their own business, or hoping to, you’ll know just how critical getting this “nuts and bolts” stuff can be.
All of the speakers are successful, working full time pro’s. There is interesting diversity too - some are well renowned in the education circuit, some aren’t. Gregory Crewdson and Mark Seliger for instance, are two outstanding photographers I would pay dearly to hear talk. Whether they are circuit people or not, a quick look at who is talking and you can see that all of the speakers are people we can all learn something from and they are all exceling in their own areas of business.
Less Focus On The Technical
The forum is not really aimed at the technical know-how, Gear-Acquisition-Syndrome crowd. This is great, as while tools are important, running a successful business or creating and successfully selling your work and services is much more than about the gear we buy, or how hot the latest lens is.
The Regional Focus
There is nothing like this in the US regions at the moment. It really has the opportunity to pull cities and regional areas together to build a great support network of other photographers, assistants and retouchers you may want to connect with.
It’s Not For Profit
The $10 for each talk covers production costs. The speakers have volunteered their time. The focus seems to be maximizing everything for the benefit of the community rather than making money out of those attending.
Great Value Portfolio Reviews
25 minute portfolio reviews for $50 by some great reviewers iseems like fantastic value. If you’ve been meaning to get some fresh and experienced eyes on your portfolio, this might be exactly the opportunity you have been waiting for.
Free Camera Cleaning
This only applies to digital medium format systems, but, if you own one and want it cleaned by professionals, you’re eligible to bring it in for a free cleaning at the event (Pre-Registration required here, to allow the team at Stand Out to process times for everyone)
With 11 workshops in LA, 10 in San Francisco, and promotions for attendees from the likes of Zenfolio, Wacom and Capture Integration amongst others, this looks set to be a great kick off event for the new Stand Out forum. I’m half tempted to try and book some time out of my schedule and head out to California, but I've been told that - subject to these events doing well - we can expect East Coast variants in the not too distant future.
If you're in California and planning on attending drop a comment below and let me know what you're hoping to get out of the event, I'd love to see more of these expos and I know Colin is interested in hearing from the wider community. As someone who personally benefitted tremendously from Shoot NYC a few years back, the vaule of events like these, which are relatively cost of entry for those of us interested in attending, are immeasurable.
If anyone is open to helping bring something to the event or to more Stand Out Forum events in the future you can get in touch with Colin at the “Partner With Us” page at the Stand Out! Forum website.