Christian Heilmann

Going snappy at conferences? Where are your results?

Monday, September 6th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Whenever I go to conferences I see lots of people running around with impressive SLR cameras snapping away furiously at everything that moves. When I get back from the conference and check the normal sources for these photos (Flickr, Facebook, heck even Picasa…) I get almost nothing. This wasn’t the case a few years ago – almost every conference was well documented by amateur photographers and yielded lots of great comments and conversations on Flickr.

I am not alone in my analysis – @yaili complained on Twitter:

@yaili: Flickr needs more @dConstruct 2010 photos. How am I supposed to feed my post-conference blues?

And I agreed:

@yaili over the last year less and less people upload photos from conferences. annoying. Everybody runs around with SLRs and shoots a lot.

I did talk to people with impressive photo gear and a lot of them agreed never to upload much. There might be a few reasons for that:

  • People take photos in high resolutions – and wireless at conferences is not able to cope
  • People who spent a lot of money on massive cameras aspire to be a real photographer and are reluctant to upload photos that haven’t been perfected in Aperture or Lightroom
  • People just forget as by the time one event is over the next is on.

This aim for perfection leads to a lot of people missing out. Why not upload lower resolution photos as “raw” or “live” to Flickr and at least allow people to join the fun. It sounds to me like Worth1000 vs. B3TA – both had the same goal – funny photoshop manipulations. Whilst Worth1000 had strict quality control and only the most impressive stuff got released b3ta is all about the joke, then the technique. B3ta left its mark on mainstream media with magazines republishing content and some TV ads being made by artists who started at b3ta. Worth1000 is still a web community and seems to dwindle down to another “make better photos” resource. Allow yourself to release non-perfect products – and more people will find you.

Interestingly enough the post-conference follow-up fail goes even further. As Stuart Robson pointed out it takes too long to get the slides:

StuRobson @codepo8 I wonder what they’re doing with these photos at home. I’m just forever waiting for the slides to go up. #Iwillgettoaconference1day

Both of this is a real shame, as organisers, speakers and the amateur photographers miss out a massive opportunity to create more buzz about the conference and themselves.

  • Conferences create a lot of buzz on Twitter – your photo could give that a visual add-on. If you license your photo with CC large blogs and newspapers could use them and have to mention your name.
  • Slideshare is a large community and your slides being featured as part of a conference channel or even on the homepage has quite an impact. This could be as simple as your presentation being the first to be uploaded for a large BarCamp
  • Speakers who do publish their presentations and blog about the conference always look for good photos of themselves. As it is hard to shoot those whilst you speak (I normally give my camera to a friend) I for example troll Flickr immediately when I get back from a conference. If you shot a cool photo of me, I will use that and link your name.
  • People who missed the conference will get an idea of what was covered and how much fun people had – and will get a ticket next time.

So, please share, folks – the web needs you!

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