Insights from Imaging USA 2020

Last month, our Founder and CEO Kelly Ann Settle attended Imaging USA 2020; the longest-running photographic conference, trade show, and exhibit in the United States. Over 10,000 photographers joined her in Nashville for six days, to connect and learn over their shared passions in this industry.

Our marketing specialist, and fellow Midwest-based photographer, Erin Poppe has never attended Imaging USA and wanted to know why Kelly invests in it every year.

E: I took a look at your schedule, and there was so much going on! What stood out?

K: The opening keynote speaker, Jim Kwik, was great. He spoke about memory and how to optimize your brain power. Dan McClanahan’s program about post production was full of so much useful information to help me speed up my work flow. Also the closing keynote, given by Vanessa Van Edwards, was about using positive words to communicate to your clients.

E: What is something you walked away from the keynotes with?

K: Kwik talked about “Killing ANTs,” or how to deal with automatic negative thoughts. I’ve always believed in the power of positive thinking, so his insights and brief outline of the ABRA technique (wherein you acknowledge, breathe in, release, and align back to reality) were really powerful.

E: What do you get out of going to this conference that keeps you coming back?

K: The best thing about going to Imaging USA is reconnecting with my creative friends from across the country – and making new ones! This business can be isolating, so seeing all these creatives face-to-face is rejuvenating and inspires me.  

Connecting with creatives in a commercial photography mentor group!

E: Outside of relationships, how does Imaging USA help you develop as a photographer?

K: I focused more on the technology and business side of photography this year at the conference. I spent an entire day learning new features in Lightroom and PhotoShop, to make my processes more efficient and creative in these Adobe programs.

I’m also very inspired by new, cutting-edge techniques and trends. This year I got really pulled into lighting patterns and how to use color in light to create specific moods.

E: What is one tip or trick you picked up from these learning sessions?

K: Adobe is constantly updating their programs; it’s hard to keep up. Uncovering new features to make my editing more efficient was great. Also being more organized with my files will save me time.

Learning more about post production work flow from Dan McClanahan!

E: Attending big events like conferences can be as exhausting as they are exciting. Where did you find the energy to remain engaged?

K: I really drew energy from being around other creatives and recognizing the struggles we all have are similar. Through this we naturally make the connections we need to support us in what we do. Plus, watching other photographers create is always so inspiring and energizing.

E: How did you prepare for making the most out of this conference?

K: I cleared my calendar and studied the schedule to identify the classes that interested me the most. After last year’s Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) classes and exams, I was ready to just sit back and enjoy what the conference had to offer. It was super exciting to see my goal achieved from 2019 & have my name listed on the Certified Professional Photographers.

Can’t wait to catch up with everyone and everything again next year!

We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference in Grapevine, Texas! Want to see us there? Registration for Imaging 2021 is already open, just follow the link for more details:

Have some questions about this event? Kelly would be happy to answer them in the comments!