Photography conferences are an incredible way to build your skills, find new inspiration, and network with like-minded people. The Click Away Conference is one great option if you are seeking ways to expand your photographic experience and business acumen.
Photography conferences have played an important role in my growth as an artist over the years. I never walked away from one without renewed inspiration and motivation. They have frequently connected me to people who have made a difference in my art or career and have sparked new directions in my work. As a result, I always recommend conferences to anyone looking to seriously improve their photography in any number of capacities. No matter what type of photography you do, there is likely a photography-focused conference out there for you. I recently had the chance to chat with Deven Travelstead, the Director of Events for Click & Company, the company behind the Click Away Photography Conference, to find out more about their particular conference.
History of the Conference
The Click Community was originally started as Clickin Moms and was simply an online resource and, well, community. The founders wanted a place for women to come and cultivate their love of photography, in part because of how male-dominated the industry has been. Then, in 2010, they started a school, offering a variety of classes to students at different levels. They expanded even further in 2012 by creating a magazine.
After all that, they realized that something was missing. The leadership felt that a physical, in-person event would heighten the community, allowing them to nurture and inspire even more than they had done online thus far. They recognized how important in-person connection could be and started the Click Away Conference in 2014. I asked Deven what makes their conference different and worthwhile, and she explained that:
Click Away is a chance to liberate ourselves from our creative slumps, from the limitations our daily lives can put on us, and from the expectations of others. It’s a chance to unleash our creative powers. Our goal is to have the conversations, the classes, and the exhibits truly permeate every aspect of your artistic self so that you leave Click Away thinking about your art in some exciting new way, ready to shoot more, to experiment more, and to learn more.
Because of all the other offerings the Click Community had, they already had connections within the photography industry, which enabled them to build a robust first conference and have thousands of attendees. Since 2014, the conference has been hosted in a different city each year, with the past two years being remote-only due to the pandemic. In 2022, from July 8-10, they are bringing back the in-person conference, which will be located in Chicago.
One of the most valuable aspects of any conference, in my opinion, is the people that you meet. The networking is important, yes, but you also generally form genuine friendships at events such as this. Given the reason behind starting the conference, it is exceptionally clear that community and connection is key component of the Click Away Conference. Deven told me that one of the mantras of the conference is that you may come alone, but you won’t leave alone. It can be intimidating to attend a conference if you don’t know anyone else attending, but the Click Community even helps people ease into that. They have a Facebook group for people attending to connect before the conference even starts, helping people feel a bit more comfortable and connected before arriving. That Facebook group is also there to help with finding rooms to share and transportation sharing as well.
The class and event offerings of the Click Away Conference are incredibly extensive. Over the three days of the conference, they cover everything from basic, introductory photography courses to more advanced options and even extremely specific genre classes like underwater photography and working with instant film. They also have many options for business-related sessions and even social media-focused classes covering things like how to use Instagram Reels and Tik-Tok. The classes also range from lecture-type sessions to fully hands-on options.
While most classes are geared towards the bread and butter of the Click Community, family, and lifestyle photographers, there are plenty of courses to keep you busy if you focus on a different genre or even are just a hobbyist. When I asked Deven what types of photographers would most benefit from the conference, she said:
Whether you pursue photography as a professional endeavor, or use the camera as an extension of your voice, or are simply compelled to create something beautiful, we want you to literally leave the event, Clicking Away.
Beyond the classes, there will also be a few networking events and parties, critique offerings, and a vendor showcase. In the past, they have offered gear rentals and gear cleaning as well, but some of that is still to be determined at this point as they wait to assess what necessary COVID-19 protocols may be in place come next summer.
In terms of access, there are different levels of ticketing, allowing attendees to pick what is right for their schedule and budget. You can even purchase standalone tickets to individual classes if that is more to your liking. Certain events are only open to the Click Pro membership-based community, but other than that, the conference is open to anyone and everyone. You do not have to be an existing member of the Click community to attend the conference and even though the event is geared towards women, it is open to all. Deven told me:
We are committed to inclusivity and diversity across every aspect of Click Away, including our instructor lineup, breadth of programming, and the attendees who have historically represented a vast range of interests, skills, genres, and perspectives from all 50 states and dozens of countries across the world.
If you are interested, you can find more information about the conference, look at the schedule, and purchase tickets on their website.
Have you attended a conference that has made a difference? Share your experiences in the comments if so!
Images used with permission of Click Away.