Updated: Jun 1
School Photographers of America (SPOA), will be holding their annual International Conference on School Photography & Yearbooks on July 10-14, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency in the beautiful downtown of Greenville, South Carolina. More than lighting and photography, SPOA focuses on teaching business owners how to grow their companies successfully. This conference is truly the who’s who of the industry.
SPOA, the national trade association for school photography and yearbooks, successfully hosted their inaugural conference last summer in Houston, Texas, and the event is on target to double in attendance size this year. "This year's conference has dozens of targeted training sessions from experts to ensure this is the best and most elite conference and training the industry has to offer," says David Crandall, Executive Director of SPOA.
Sessions will be offered on sales, operations, marketing, leadership and HR, as well as photography. There will be national trainers from Dale Carnegie and Sandler, both internationally recognized training companies that coach at the highest level in leadership, sales, customer service and more. Along the same lines, SPOA has partnered with Bambee HR to lead sessions helping companies ensure they are HR-compliant and have incredible training and resources for their teams.
“SPOA is a unique conference in that I get to network with other like-sized businesses to benchmark our work against industry excellence. This year a number of our team members are attending so that they can meet other peers across the industry to learn and share best practices,” says Mark Hommerding, president of American Photo Marketing, Inc.
“For our company, the SPOA CONFERENCE is where we have elected to invest in attending a conference because the return can be measured in real life solutions,” says Lou Esposito, managing partner of Nationwide Studios.
During Thursday’s general sessions, the local Greenville County Schools superintendent will open up the morning with an educational update. Keynote speakers will include Arthur Greeno of Chick-fil-A, speaking on company culture and customer service; Sony Artisan Jean Fruth, on her art as an accomplished sports photographer; and John Bradford, a state house representative and entrepreneur, sharing ways for businesses to advocate their interests at the state level.
Even before the conference officially begins on Tuesday, July 11, there will be a number of pre-conference offerings. One of these is SPOA’s new Operation School Smiles service project, in which a team of volunteers will beautify a local Title I elementary school. Another is MVP (Master Volume Photography) User Group, a one-and-a-half day conference held by one of SPOA’s top business partners, PhotoLynx, in conjunction with the SPOA conference. Pre-conference attendees can also opt for additional training under Dale Carnegie or Sandler, offered at steeply discounted rates.
That Monday and Tuesday will also include two in-person sessions of SPOA’s ongoing Volume Photography Boot Camp, a program aimed toward those just starting out in the school photography industry or looking to scale up. The boot camp is free for any company that is both a member of SPOA and attending the conference.
“As former wedding photographers, we've learned over the last two years, there's a lot that goes into owning and operating a successful school photography business. As a member, SPOA has provided the resources for us to catapult our business in a short period of time. With SPOA's Conference, we're looking forward to learning about additional solutions for our business and clients, networking with executives from other companies, attending incredible training and so much more,” says Lindsay Walters, co-owner of Black Iron Photography.
A trade show in the Exhibit Hall will boast a wide range of industry suppliers. The show will feature dedicated exhibit hours, and meals will be served in the Exhibit Hall. Exhibitors are also welcome to join all general and breakout sessions. If your company wishes to meet with the leading companies in the school photography and yearbook industry, you will not want to miss out on this opportunity.
The conference will close that Thursday evening with a beautiful Industry Awards Banquet celebrating the best that school photography and yearbooks have to offer — from creative photographers to innovative thinkers, from veteran leaders to rising young talent — and end the evening with the inaugural induction of the Industry Hall of Fame.
“One of the most important aspects of SPOA includes educating photo companies on the importance and currently needed business practices such as specific insurances, data protection policies, employee practices, and much more to be discussed at the SPOA conference," says Cindy Gallien, CEO/Owner, Photo Texas Photography.
If you are in the volume photography market, yearbook market or are a supplier of these markets, this is a conference you will not want to miss. SPOA has replaced the former PSPA and is the leader of industry knowledge and training. Their mission is to educate, advocate, promote, protect and preserve the great traditions of school photography and yearbooks.
Book your tickets today by going to: www.schoolphotographersofamerica.com/conference.
Book your hotel room by going to one of the below:
For those staying the full conference: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/GSPRG/G-PHOT
For those staying less than three nights: https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1676053000975&key=GRP&app=resvlink
*For those flying in, Delta and Southwest Airlines have the most options to GSP - Greenville, Spartanburg Airport.
For more information on SPOA visit: https://www.schoolphotographersofamerica.com