Out of Chicago IN-DEPTH!
Able to the back to another episode of this week in photo. I. Am your host Frederik van Johnson today. I'm sitting down with my friend and fellow Chicagoan Mr Chris Smith Chris and I. Talk about the latest out of Chicago Conference and how that win is pivot virtual all that stuff, and then how how he's planning to move forward in the future amidst this whole sort of sea change in the conference space. Chris. Math. Welcome to the show man how you doing. I'm great. Thank you Frederick great to be here. Thank you very much. Is Good to have you on man I'm excited to chat with you for a lot of reasons, some of which will become clear during this conversation but Yeah, that's a cliffhanger. So. Say to chat with you so. For the folks that may not have heard of out of Chicago the conference, what is out of Chicago give us the quick. Elevator Pitch Origin Story of that conference. Sure. So out of Chicago originally was my blog like I think has been like eleven or twelve years now but eventually, we started doing conferences in Chicago. This would have been the seventh annual get together conference downtown Chicago where was this eighth year I don't know but but that was what we did for a long time and then. You know we've. Seen over the years that coming in person all the way to Chicago because people would come from around the country around the world to it that we found that it's better to go. To the destinations where people want to shoot. So we've started now our conferences are around the country we're going to MOAB and Acadia National Park this year and Death Valley next year. So all sorts of different places and really have gotten a little bit away from doing the downtown out of Chicago Conference. But this year we did it online instead and it was fabulous and basically the response we got from everybody was don't go back to how you did it before this is awesome that we can do it. In our pajamas from home, and then you know just just get to see all the general things because because originally the conference was kind of all different. Genres I mean you've been an instructor in the past and we would have portrait people Lindsay Adler, we would have people you know doing landscape we had kind of everything lots of street photography, and now instead it's like, okay, we're GonNa go to the botanic. Garden. And we're just GONNA do flower and garden photography or we're going to like I said, Acadia National Park and when we're doing. Landscapes in creative nature photography. So so that's kind of how we've changed. But yeah, everything's totally different for everyone now right. So yeah. So everything's really changed the last couple of months. Yeah, and it's sort of it's a I. think that change was coming anyway you and I've had offline conversations sort about the state of the of the photo conference in Education Online Education Industry and how that's converging and The old school conferences are the attendance was going to getting lower and lower, and now after this latest adventure with co vid Can't conferences are getting getting canceled and moving online much like yours did yours was able to pivot a lot easier than some of those bigger conferences in my from my external opinion. And you correct me if I'm wrong largely because you'd already built sort of this next generation conference that wasn't, Hey, come check out these massive array of boats that that people spend gazillions of dollars on. Downstairs go to the education. You're kind of flip that on its head. Can you talk about that a little bit sure. So I mean when we decided to run our first photography conference, we were running it and I had never been to a photography conference before I'm like, I don't know what would you do it a photography conference well, you'd go out and shoot. You'd get to hang out. With the you know all these people that you follow online, it's like a really great networking opportunity and yeah, we'll teach them classes too but it was really different especially like a set like eight years ago most places like you come you watch one lecture then stay in watch another lecturer then watch more and go home or whatever, and then go to the trade show or whatever. So What we built was really based around shooting, and so we did a lot of the street photography and the downtown architecture photography in Chicago but. But by switching it that way, it made it a whole lot easier to go virtual. Well, that's kind of ironic because we're doing the shooting but it we didn't have this huge big infrastructure behind. We're just a very small company. I have a few people to help me run it and they're awesome by the way and. Is. A great team that I have and and we were able to it was unbelievable when this all hit and we didn't cancel another conference. We weren't planning on doing this normal out of Chicago conference. We were going to do something that was just architecture. which we weren't able to do of course but. But instead. We said. We've got all these instructors. We had seventy instructors at the thing I said I've got a list of. All these people we could email them immediately, we can ask, Hey, do you WanNa do this while in the best part of it was that they were all stuck at home and so they're like, yeah, I got nothing better to do. So all these years. Yeah. All were like excited about it and I mean it was really it was really meant as something that we wanted to do. But it was also a benefit foot benefit for our instructors who had to cancel all of their workshops I mean, that's I mean that's their livelihood is going around the world teaching, and so we did this instead to help you know cover some of those costs for them that they that they're