Is Click Away your first photography conference? Or are you a seasoned conference goer?

Experienced or not, check out these tips that will help you plan what to pack and make sure you get the most out of your time away!

Okay, so you are all signed up for Click Away and thinking October can’t get here fast enough, right? It’s okay to admit that you’re not only star-struck by all the awesome speakers you have admired for years (and you actually get to meet them in real life!), but you carefully selected your schedule so you can get as much out of the conference as you can. Once that is all squared away, it’s time to think about how you can plan for the conference!

So, first there’s the question of what to bring to the conference. Let’s try to avoid that situation where you get to the middle of your first demo and you realize you you didn’t bring your {insert item you can’t live without} with you. Doh!

Related: Photography Conference Packing List: your free downloadable

what to pack in your camera bag when going to a photography conference by Lisa Tichane

Image by Lisa Tichane

What gear to bring to the conference?

If you’re anything like, well, most of us, it’s hard to narrow down what gear to bring. you’ll want to bring EVERYTHING you own with you. But it is best to at least make an effort to limit your gear. You don’t want to lug every.single.lens you own with you. You could possibly say “I wish I had my XYZ lens!” but you also don’t want to suffer from a sore back from lugging your gear around all day long. Take into account the specific types of classes you are attending to help you decide what to bring.

Must have photo gear:

  1. Camera.
  2. Wide angle, long lens or Lensbaby depending on the classes you’ll be taking.
  3. Speedlight if you’ll be attending a studio light boutique session (a limited number of speedlights will be available in these programs if you don’t have one to bring).
  4. Extra batteries (camera battery and AA’s for speedlight).
  5. Extra space on your phone for quick phone snaps.
  6. Fast prime for shooting in the evening.
  7. Memory cards with lots of capacity.
  8. A bag trolly might be nice if you have a heavy bag that doesn’t have wheels.
  9. Finally, make sure you check the description of the classes you’re taking to see what equipment the instructor suggests to bring along.

Related: 10 tips for traveling with your camera equipment.

what clothes to wear to a photography conference by Kelly Rodriguez

Image by Kelly Rodriguez

How to dress for a photo conference?

Being comfortable is paramount! Wear comfortable clothes and throw in a couple light layers in case you end up in a cool room or if you get chilly outside after the sun sets. And think about your clothes – only you know how they wear throughout the day. Although that certain pair of pants looks great first thing in the morning, after a few hours (and especially after lunch, LOL) they can be a bit uncomfortable around the waist. So dress for a long, fun-filled day. Think about bringing a light raincoat or windbreaker in case it rains and a light sweater in case it’s chilly indoors.

While it’s tempting to wear the cutest shoes you own, you want to be sure that you avoid sore feet and blisters – there will be lots of walking and tons to see. The last thing you’d want is to have to sit out because your feet hurt too badly. Comfort comes first!

Footwear recommendations:

  1. Boots. Although comfortable, they may get heavy after a full day of wearing them.
  2. Ballet flats. A great option for Seattle in October, but make sure they offer some support.

What to bring besides gear?

Bring a good sized camera bag/tote/purse/backpack. If you’re bringing a tablet or laptop with you, you want to be sure it has a padded section or is in a sleeve so it doesn’t get damaged. You also don’t want to fill your bag with so much stuff that it becomes a backache after walking around with it for a few hours.

Some like to keep their laptop locked in the hotel room so they can download photos at the end of the day (comfy in their PJs). To keep things light and comfortable during the day, some prefer just throwing a notepad and pens in their bag. And don’t forget the usual purse items such as a photo ID (you’ll need your ID to get your conference badge!), cash, credit card, chapstick, hotel key, etc.

It’s also a good idea to leave some space in the bag for any goodies you might pick up during the conference. No matter how hard you might try, you will come home with a few new things.

Must haves for your camera bag:

  1. Snacks. Throw some snacks in your bag in case you need a little energy boost during the day. I like to keep my snacks in a little ziplock bag so they aren’t all at the bottom of my purse/camera bag being squished by all my other things. I also throw some gum/mints in that little ziplock also – makes things easier to find!
  2. Water or tea. With such a fun and busy day, you need to remember to take time to rehydrate. Plus, your mouth gets really dry from all the talking you’ll be doing. And, if you bring a refillable bottle, you’ll be able to refill for free (oh, and it’s good for the environment, too).
  3. Business cards or Social Media calling cards. It’s so much easier to hand out a card with your contact information on it to a new friend than to have to write down your information over and over. And I’d bring a lot so I’m sure I won’t run out. A bonus if the cards have a little photo of you on them, it makes you even more memorable! I like to have a little ziplock or pouch to put business cards I receive in (so they aren’t all lost and floating in my bag).
  4. Tylenol and band-aids. You don’t have time to let a pesky headache or blister get your way. Pack items that you may need in a pinch and will let you continue to enjoy the conference.
  5. Miscellaneous items. Equally as important to have on hand are phone/tablet charger, tissues, chapstick. sunglasses, sunscreen, visine, and hand lotion. Trust us.

How to prepare myself and calm my nerves?

Let’s be honest. It’s a little bit nerve wracking going to a huge conference where you may not know anyone, or perhaps you only know them online but haven’t met them in real life. Even if you are outgoing and traveling with your BFF it is okay to be a little anxious about Click Away. It is important to remember, no matter who you are, whatever level of photographer you are – if you’ve just picked up a camera for the first time last week or you’re a seasoned photographer looking for new perspectives and techniques to inspire you – you WILL benefit from a photography conference. Things you hear and see will stick with you, will inspire you, will help you grow. Everyone (every.single.person!) at the conference began somewhere and grew from there. It’s all about the journey. See the conference as an opportunity to grow and network with new friends.

What to remember at the conference?

Smile! Introduce yourself, ask others about themselves, hand out your business cards, tell them you enjoyed meeting them.

Don’t forget to focus on what YOU want to see and get out of the conference. It’s easy to get carried away with new friends and what they are doing. While that spontaneity is fun, you don’t want to go home not attending something you had your heart set on. You can always meet up with your new friends after you participated in the classes you wanted to attend.

And… don’t forget to have fun! You are doing this for yourself, enjoy it!

Haven’t signed up for Click Away yet?  Grab your ticket now!