When and where: Islington Metalworks, EC1V 1NQ // London // Feb 12th // 10:30-15:30

What: Speak Now is an non-profit event designed to inspire and facilitate women and fellow underrepresented groups into more visible roles within our industry such as teaching, ambassadorship, award competitions and general mischief.

Who: Everyone is welcome to attend. Even if you are not a woman, photographer or interested in becoming a speaker, this will still promise to be an awesome and supportive gathering with transferable skills to other aspects of your business!

Why: The last few years have been peppered with events which have made more people take notice of the inequality in visible roles within conferences, trade shows and ambassador programs. Companies are looking to right this wrong, but we need to be ready to step up and seize these opportunities. A chat amongst friends has made it apparent that in the UK, even when there’s opportunities, many women confess they still feel barriers such as a lack of self-confidence, fear they don’t possess the right skills, or uncertainty over how to navigate their desired path of growth.

Speak Now is here to smash all that up.

Here’s how we are going to do it:

Step 1: See a bad ass sister crush it.

Representation is important for motivation. Or maybe we all just want to hear what it’s like to shoot a mother of dragons. Either way, Nikon ambassador Helen Sloan, THE Game of Thrones photographer is flying in to share her work and story with you.

Step 2: Skills up!

It’s a well quoted statistic that women are less likely to go for jobs they feel under qualified for, so we’re throwing out some tangible skills and knowledge to let everyone know THEY GOT THIS SHIZ.

You might already know Laura Babb from her head honcho-ing of Snap Photography Festival, her RF30 win, or for her general awesome dress sense… but you might not know that she is a qualified trainer with the institute of leadership and management and NCFE. Babb will be teaching us how to prepare quality presentations and to give insight into what conference organisers look for in speaker applications.

We are blessed to have Canon ambassador Emma Wilson’s unique knowledge and life experience. After many years in video journalism working as a newsreader for the BBC, there’s no one better than Emma to teach us how to present into a camera/live. This is going to be such a valuable session for everyone! Even if you aren’t interested in speaking at conferences, video Instastories has become a key marketing tool for any freelancer.

Nadine Van Biljon is one of the fastest growing wedding photographers who, within the last few years has racked up numerous awards and has taught the Art of Selling at several major photography conferences. With her unique background is sales, Nadine will share with us her experience of working in a male environment and how to develop the confidence to sell yourself to both clients and within the industry.

Step 3: A.M.A (Ask me anything)

Let’s remove the glamour and get real about the experience of making a mark as a female photographer. All the set speakers will join to form an AMA panel who will share their honest and open experiences about the various paths they’ve taken. This is your chance to find out absolutely anything you wanted to know, from how to deal with social media, to the best ways to approach a camera brand and even how to survive fudging up on live national TV to millions!

Step 4: The Forum

Amongst the biggest reported inhibitors for women are their personal fears and doubts surrounding public speaking. The daunting reality is even when you’ve been invited to speak, it’s entirely possible that the first time you deliver the talk to a big audience is at the conference.

That’s why Speak Now is holding an open mic style forum where anyone can stand up and have a go. It could be to practice a bit of a talk or workshop you’re mid-preparing, or simply a 10 minute slideshow about your dogs: The content and original purpose doesn’t matter, the whole point is that Speak Now is a friendly, informal and non-judgemental space where you can put the feelers out to see if this is for you, a chance to gain some personal confidence, or to just generally try something new

Forum topics are:

Event photography
Business planning

Step 5: Wine and whine throughout the day

(not actually whine as that is a very negative stereotype, but I couldn’t think of anything else that worked in this pun…)

Speak Now is a non-profit community drive event, so any money leftover will be put towards cheerful liquid refreshments for the networking sesh. Hopefully the room will be filled with wonderful people all motivated towards similarly progressive goals, so there will be time to chat and make new friends for some future mutual raising up.

If there’s even a single penny leftover it’ll be donated to the Helen Bamber Foundation, a women’s charity that provides medical, legal and therapeutic assistance to survivors of traumatic human rights violations.

How: This all sounds amazing, how do I get there!?

Tickets are only £35 through the link below. Yeah, I know right?! £35 is a bargain to hear all about the Lannisters, let alone all the other good shiz! You’re of course very welcome if you’re interested in getting into teaching/speaking etc. but you’re equally welcome if you’re not interested but wanted to have a fun day out soaking up some #empowerment vibes!

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If you’d like to sign up for the Step 4 Forum, please follow this form!

Boo hoo: I can’t come but wish I could!

This is a community focused non-profit event so regardless of whether you’re able to come it’d be infinitely helpful if you were happy to yodel about the event using the buttons below. Thank you!