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Hanging at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference – Part III

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We’re still reeling from the Google+ Photographer’s Conference experience, but I thought I’d put together a few final thoughts on this unique experience.

Photographer Erik Valind teaches a class on lighting.

Photographer Erik Valind teaches a class on lighting.

This was two days of jam-packed sessions that started at 9am and ended at 9pm, with everything from panels to live shoots going on at any given time. The conference was relatively intimate, held in a space that, while spacious enough for everyone, wasn’t sprawling. You didn’t get exhausted walking from one room to another, nor were there so many attendees that you felt like you got lost in the crowd.

Moose Peterson looks on, larger-than-life, during Trey Ratcliff's conversation with Scott Kelby

Moose Peterson looks on, larger-than-life, during Trey Ratcliff's conversation with Scott Kelby

Photographer Ivan Makarov said it best: ” It seems like my whole G+ feed was there live, and instead of +1 or re-sharing stuff, I was able to talk to them in person.” That’s really what it felt like to us too.

Scott Kelby talks to Trey Ratcliff in "An Evening With Trey Ratcliff," the final session of the conference.

Scott Kelby talks to Trey Ratcliff in "An Evening With Trey Ratcliff," the final session of the conference.

We’re used to seeing Trey Ratcliff, Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion, Catherine Hall, and Brian Matiash pop up on our G+ feeds. Seeing them in person was another experience altogether. It was a reminder that, for all of the social media activity we all engage in, photography is a pursuit that’s carried out by real people, in real life (IRL).

Colby Brown, Trey Ratcliff, Brian Matiash, and Catherine Hall on a conference panel.

Colby Brown, Trey Ratcliff, Brian Matiash, and Catherine Hall on a conference panel.

The sessions at GPlusPC reinforced this. Every speaker who had a session on Google+ talked about using it to forge real connections, with real people. Even the conversations on building brands and developing strategies focused on connecting with people, rather than creating marketing plans.

Scott Kelby, wrapping up the conference.

Scott Kelby, wrapping up the conference.

You got this sense that there was an effort to explain to folks that Google+ isn’t necessarily where you market to your clients, but rather, where you connect with other members of the photo community. I saw no sessions on how to increase your revenue or reach new clients – this was a conference about connecting all of us through Google+, then using those connections to become better photographers.

We had a blast at GPlusPC, and we hope they bring it back next year. We look forward to meeting folks there, but in the meantime, make sure you follow us on Google+ as well!

 

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at sohail.me as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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