SB3 Review

I have just returned from the ASMP’s Strictly Business 3 conference, and several people have asked me to report on the worthiness of the event. I can say with real enthusiasm that it would be quite helpful for professional photographers of any level.  Whether you are just starting out or have an established business, there is a lot to benefit from.

In some ways the event was mis-branded.  It’s not just a continuation of the earlier SB1 and SB2 events, because that’s not what our industry needs. We are facing huge changes, and the conference is really geared to helping photographers understand and survive the seismic changes we are currenly undergoing.  Details after the jump.

The need to shoot and deliver video is becoming part of many photographers’ business plans.  The conference helps you understand the market, the economics of video production, industry roles and practice, terminology, and the technology of video.  You have the opportunity to see presentations by – and talk informally to – people like Tom Kennedy, Richard Harrington, Gail Mooney and Jay Kinghorn.

Best of all (for people like me), it’s all presented from the perspective of the still photographer making the jump.

The Culture of Free
This has been a huge topic in the ASMP boardroom for a number of years. And ASMP’s understanding of and reaction to this development is not a simple “just say no”. Used properly, there are great ways to promote your business by making some stuff available for free.

You can learn how to know what is a good idea and what is a bad idea in approaching the culture of Free by these nuanced discussions. Richard Kelly, Blake Discher, Colleen Wainwright and more address this issue head on, often channeling the excellent thinking of people like Seth Godin.

Marketing in a wired world
As always, there are great marketing presentations. But these are all now written with a new understanding of the market landscape.  How do you think about the various roles of Blog, Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, email?  Which make sense for you and your business?  And how do they interact with the old-fashioned tools of phone, networking events and mail promotions?  Rosh Sillars, Blake Discher and more can really help you craft your own strategy.

And the Rest…
Of course there are great presentations on copyright how-to, branding strategy, DAM and other stalwarts of the ASMP oeuvre.  Don’t miss the Saturday night round table market session created by Shannon Fagan.

Best of all
And undeniably, one of the most important parts of  a conference like this is simply taking the opportunity to spend a weekend thinking about your own strategic business plan.  In particular, doing this in the company of hundreds of other photographers who face similar issues is a very fertile environment indeed.  It’s also a lot of fun.

Thanks to Susan Carr (and other ASMP staff) for all the hard work putting this together

ASMP leader – $175 (huge bargain for chapter volunteers!)
$250 – ASMP member – (That’s about a buck each for actionable ideas, I’d guess)
$400 – Non-member (join ASMP and you can get the member price)

Two more events: Philly 2/25-2/27, Chicago 4/1-4/3

Sign up here.