Jason Groupp April 11, 2018 News

Shutterfest 2018 FTW!

Shutterfest 2018 is in the books! While this is only my second year attending, most of you know I’m no stranger to conferences.

I have to say though, for all the years I’ve been traveling the world taking part in various conferences and tradeshows, this year Shutterfest had more energy than I can remember. The last time I felt energy like that was probably in 2011, right before WPPI sold to the Nielsen Corporation. It had that same kind of frenetic energy – photographers racing from one event to another and then partying the night away until the place shut down!

Sadly, many of the recent conversations I’ve had revolve around the topic of a dying tradeshow business in a declining market, which cannot support a large conference. Well folks, I can honestly say that is completely false! There’s no doubt that surviving as a photographer in today’s market is really hard, but it’s still the greatest job on the planet!

So what’s different?

Shutterfest, without a doubt, is something unique. Something our industry hasn’t seen before. Why? Because its core is the community that has become the driving force. Sal and his team have no doubt done an outstanding job in lifting you guys up into an incredibly powerful voice, and you have evolved not just individually, but as a beautiful, unique, and loud community. I mean, let’s just talk about that FB group! Who can keep up? And if that one isn’t enough, there are 100 other small ones that try to keep you in touch! It’s wonderfully maddening!

Here’s the thing:

Yes, there are many educators who teach at Shutterfest, but I would have to say that only half of the education comes from an “official class”. The other 50 percent comes from everyone else who creates/participates in late night shoots, get-togethers in the bar, hotel rooms or wherever a spot may be found. This kind of “tribal knowledge” being shared is the most valuable asset any conference wishes to have. These are things that happened at the WPPI of old that I see reappearing at Shutterfest.

While others have lost their way worrying about attendance numbers, keeping vendors happy, or who their next boss is, the Shutterfest crew has kept their mantra simple: Lead by example, lift their members up through positive reinforcement and education.

Sounds pretty easy right? Nope. It requires constant engagement and keeping your head down so as not to lose focus.

The people.

As with any successful group, you guys are the ones who make it great. Check out this amazing slideshow created by Andy Strong. I met him late on Monday evening as he was making his way through the bar area. I was admiring his smile as he worked the room taking portraits of everyone. When he came around to us, I asked him if he would create a slideshow of the work he was doing and share it with us. He smiled and said, “Yes sir, I’d love to do that for you! I promise I’ll have it done early next week!” I thought to myself next week? Meh, no way! Right on schedule, I see he posted this first thing Tuesday morning in the SF group. That kind of mentality of “get shit done” is what makes this community so special.


Bravo Andy Strong! Check out this slideshow he made! Not only did he get ‘er done fast, the work is stellar! You have a great talent Andy to be able to create such wonderful portraits on the fly like this!



Register now for Shutterfest 2019!

Finally, I want to thank all of you who we got to meet at Shutterfest! We can’t wait for next year and wanted to remind you that early bird registration is open! I’m pretty sure this year will sell out soon so don’t get left out!


Welcome to Fyrfly-Songfreedom Community!

For those of you who have become new members of Fyrfly-Songfreedom we thank you! We promise to employ that same hard working ethics instilled upon you that is Shutterfest and hope you’ll kick some ass with our wares! As always I am here to serve you and you can always reach me: jg AT songfreedom DOT com