Make no mistake: there’s a lot to take in at this year’s Imaging USA. Take some time before the event begins to plan your schedule. Block out time for attending classes, visiting the Expo, and taking part in the many celebrations and networking opportunities offered throughout the 3 days of the virtual conference. Keep in mind that you can replay classes on-demand through January 31, but if you want to ask a speaker a question during their post-class Q&A, you’ll need to attend the session live. Another way to prepare for the virtual conference is to set a budget to spend at the Imaging USA Expo. You might consider creating a list of vendors whose virtual booths you’d like to visit, along with questions you have about their products and services.
Find a distraction-free space with a reliable internet connection. If you’re attending the virtual conference from home, it’s up to you where you want to set up. Maybe you want to sit at a desk or table with a notepad next to you and your schedule laid out. Or maybe you want to go for a more casual approach and attend from your couch. It’s up to you! The main thing is that you minimize distractions as much as you can so that you can focus on learning (hint: don't forget to charge those wireless headphones!).
Another thing to do before the virtual conference begins is to log-in early to make sure your equipment and software work. The Main Lobby of Imaging USA will open on January 14, so you will have time to start exploring and building your agenda on the platform before the show begins. Take this opportunity to make sure your computer is ready before the first day of the convention. If you’re taking a pre-con class, be sure you have the newest version of Zoom software installed on your computer.
Although it’s not an in-person conference this year, you might consider dressing as if it were one. This will help you be in the right mindset when you attend classes, events, and network with vendors and fellow photographers. After all, you’re representing your business at Imaging USA! But also remember that you should feel comfortable. We jokingly say “no pants, no problem,” but sweatpants paired with a business-casual shirt are a great way to stay comfy while appearing dressed up… after all, who will ever know the difference!
Another way to make the most of your virtual conference experience is to purchase some snacks and beverages such as your favorite tea or coffee to enjoy while attending Imaging USA. You’ll need to keep your mental energy up, so consider that when you decide on which snacks to buy. You might also consider making the 3 days of the event a truly special occasion by making or buying your favorite delicacies. And if you're looking for an excuse to pop that bottle of bubbly, look no further than the PPA Award and Degree Ceremony on Sunday, January 17.
Keep your camera and other photography equipment nearby while attending the conference so you can quickly test techniques and ideas you’ve learned. Taking notes is always a good idea, but look for chances to apply what you’ve learned using your camera as this will help you remember more than you would simply by taking notes.
While you have your camera out, snap a few selfies of yourself watching the show, wearing one of this year’s t-shirts, or even a pic of your Imaging USA watch station (give us a peek into your world!). You can use #ImagingUSA or tag @ImagingUSA on Facebook and Instagram for the chance to be featured on our feed!
If you haven’t already, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for live updates before, during, and after the virtual convention!
With such a variety of classes available, there’s something for everyone to learn, no matter what your specialty is or where you are in your career. This year’s online format gives you the ability to replay classes; that means you have time to watch sessions on-demand and to explore topics that are new to you. Learning about a subject or specialty outside of your own is a great way to look at your business from a new perspective. And who knows? Your biggest “a-ha” moment might be where you least expect it.
Imaging USA is packed to the brim with networking opportunities to give you the time and space to connect with fellow attendees. Take advantage of the various Networking Lounges that occur during the main 3 days of the conference and stop in to chat with other photography lovers. You can also chat 1-on-1 with other attendees and direct message them. The virtual platform lets you share contact information with the people you meet. Stop by the Imaging USA Expo from 9am to 5pm ET on January 17-19 to visit vendor’s booths and chat with the exhibitors one-on-one. This is the perfect time to ask them questions directly and to begin building professional relationships that will benefit your business for years to come!
Plus, beginning at 5pm ET on January 19, you’ll be able to replay sessions on-demand through January 31. So, log back in after the 3 main days are over, and catch the classes and events you missed the first time around!
Stand, stretch, take a walk around the block: whatever you do, be sure you’re getting a little exercise! Each day of the convention is jam-packed with happenings, so you’ll inevitably be sitting in front of the computer a lot. Taking a little time to do something as simple as standing and stretching can do wonders for your mental stamina and keep you in a focused, learning mindset.
Whether it’s a fellow photographer or a vendor you’re excited to work with, be sure you keep in contact with the connections you make during the show. Consider sending them a friendly (but professional) email or LinkedIn message after the show is over to remind them of who you are and how you could potentially collaborate together in the future.
As with a traditional convention, you will get as much out of a virtual event as you put into it. With a little thought and planning, you can have a great experience at this year’s Imaging USA and leave the event with brand new knowledge and connections that will help you succeed in 2021!