PUSH…An Alumni’s Perspective

The lineup for PUSH 2018 was announced Wednesday and for those that have never attended and wondering about it…here is a 3 time alumni’s perspective.  Let’s be honest, I know you are asking yourself…is it worth it?

Image Credit:  Greenwood Photography

YES! YES! YES!  I believe so with every fiber of my being, and it is so refreshing to hear from countless others who believe in investing in their business by attending in person conferences.  Showing up is half the battle.  The other half is utilizing the information you are given.  I pour my heart and soul into PUSH each year to give you a lineup that is relevant to the industry for the coming year.  I put the topics in front of you that will be the hot items and this year is no different.

Let’s hear what a 3 time PUSH alumni has to say. The following is from Jen Buchanan’s perspective of Sunshine Soul Photography.

Image Credit:  Greenwood Photography

Image Credit:  Greenwood Photography


“It has been nearly a month and my heart is still full.  I’ve been to the PUSH Conference all three years and I’m already having anxiety over the thought that I’ll probably miss out next year due to our big move back to the states.  Some of my photographer friends tease me a little bit about how many conferences I go to.  I’ve been to nearly ALL of them.  So, believe me when I tell you that PUSH is one of the best the industry has to offer.  Yep, I come all the way from Japan just to go to PUSH.  It’s just that good.

Why was PUSH so amazing?  So many reasons, but I’ll try to put down just a few of why you don’t want to miss out on the PUSH Conference next year.  

PUSH offers a completely comprehensive educational opportunity.  There’s something for everyone.  Vickie does an amazing job of putting together a speaker lineup and range of topics that are super relevant to today’s senior portrait business.  She takes exceptional care in building a curriculum designed to give you actionable items to help you stand out in your market.  She tackles hot-button issues and packs the schedule full of education that’s not only built around what’s affecting the senior portrait industry in today’s market, but what is forecasted to affect its future and help you to better position yourself as a frontrunner in your own community.  

No matter what you want to work on for your senior business, there’s something for you.  The incredibly diverse range of topics and industry expert speakers are truly incredible. Wherever you are in your business, you can benefit from attending.  Even if there’s a topic that you feel super comfortable with, listening to another point of view can only broaden your depth of knowledge.  It’s also pretty cool to look towards the back of the room during a session only to see all of the speakers riveted to the presentation and taking their own notes.  

The atmosphere of the PUSH conference is one of family.  From the speakers to the attendees, there is a sense of “We’re all in this business together – let’s elevate all of our businesses and the industry as a whole while we’re at it.”  The spirit of community is something that can be felt from the moment of arrival at the Inn at the picturesque Depauw University in Greencastle. 

Having access to that many top-level industry experts in one place is pretty amazing.  So far, I’ve experienced nothing but willingness to answer questions and a sense of genuine interest from the speakers I’ve encountered over the years.  The speakers have been completely willing to answer follow up or any individual questions I’ve had during break or over lunch.  

There is also a sense of welcome and openness from the attendees that so far has been unmatched in my other conference experiences.  I have developed many friendships over the years that have helped me feel less isolated in the industry and have given me a true sense of community.  Let’s face it – this industry can be pretty lonely.  I probably would have given up many times over without my friends that truly get what it’s like to be a senior portrait photographer.  In addition to the amazing speaker lineup, the list of attendees is pretty awesome, too.  Sitting down to lunch with other attendees has inspired some pretty big shifts in my business and given me some really great ideas.  Everyone is there for the same reason – to learn and better their business. 

The PUSH conference is jokingly referred to as “sleep optional.”  The after hours lighting pods are just one more reason not to miss this conference.  The hands on opportunity to play with studio lighting setups and receive additional instruction tailored around your specific questions are pretty awesome.  If you’re not into studio lighting and it’s really not something you’re interested in, there is always a group of photographers gathered in a corner of the inn to join and discuss business strategy with.  

PUSH also offers some amazing styled shoots without any pressure to turn in images.  For me, that means I can sit back and watch the shoot leader or organizer go through his/her posing methods and ask pointed questions.  I mean, I know how I would pose and what I would do with a model, but I’m there to learn from others and how maybe they can change the way I see something to broaden my posing and shooting skills.  I’ve learned some pretty awesome tips just by listening to how others work with the models.  

I am sitting at my desk reviewing my notes and I have so many actionable items to implement to better my business.  It’s almost hard to start because there are just so many, but I’m in the process of prioritizing my list to figure out what’s going to work best for my business.  Sometimes, I think that’s the hardest part of PUSH – coming home to do the work.  

So, even a month later, I am still feeling inspired.  My heart is still full and I’m excited to implement some new business strategies to push my business to the next level in the year to come.  I highly recommend you plan now to put it into your continuing education budget to attend PUSH – I promise you won’t regret it!”

-Jen Buchanan

Image Credit:  Greenwood Photography

Image Credit:  Greenwood Photography

Want to read what others thought about PUSH 2017?  Head on over to the blog HERE!

Image Credit:  Greenwood Photography

I really look forward to meeting our attendees for PUSH 2018 this year.  This is a very special week each July in our industry.  And where else will you get all these amazing speakers under one roof and be able to hang and ask questions?  It truly is a educational bubble that is personable and meant for everyone to grow educationally.