Hotel Information

Where will the event be held?

The event will be held at the incredible St Louis Union Station. Once again, we have the entire facility (apart from the aquarium) to ourselves – dedicated to ShutterFest.

Should I book my hotel?

Yes. DO NOT WAIT! It will be announced in the Facebook group when the room block opens and will also be posted on the registration page. Union Station and the Hilton Ballpark ALWAYS sell out in record time. We have pre-negotiated an amazing rate at the host hotel – take advantage of it. There will be networking and events all day and night being at the host hotel is well worth it.

What hotels are the host hotels?

Union Station and the Hilton Ballpark are the host hotels.

Are there other hotels nearby?

Yes – there are quite a few hotels nearby within walking distance, and some people use Airbnb. But if you want to be as close to the action as possible AND help support the event, you’ll want to be at one of the host hotels!

Am I required to stay at the host hotels for a certain length of time?

Yes. In order to book at our negotiated rate, the hotel will require you to book a minimum four night stay from April 1-5, 2024.

When should I arrive & Leave?

We strongly recommend getting in the day before to settle in, get your badge and start networking!

How do i get the shutterfest room rate?

The easiest way to ensure you get the ShutterFest rate is to book through our links.

The host hotel is sold out. what should i do?

First, double check our links for room availability. Make sure you are booking for the dates listed above. Second, check out the ShutterFest Facebook group. Someone may be looking for a roommate or giving up a hotel room. Third, call the hotel periodically! Rooms open up last-minute all the time.


I’m not sure if I have a ticket. How can I check?

Log in to your account and check your order history. Click on the order to see the details of the ticket purchased. Unless your ticket was purchased by someone else, if you do not have an account, you do not have a ticket. If you’re absolutely sure you did purchase a ticket, try logging in with a different email address. If someone else purchased a ticket for you, it would be in their account. 

If you’ve tried everything above, and are still unable to locate your ticket information, email support@behindtheshutter.com.

After I purchase my ticket what should I do?

Well, start counting down the days (or hours). But, get plugged in to our Facebook group. You will get a link in your receipt to the private ShutterFest group with a community of photographers who have built a positive environment for sharing and learning with one another.

Can I register more than one person?

Yes. The entire point of ShutterFest is to connect. Bring your team, your second shooter and make them part of this amazing event and lifetime experience. Just make sure you use a unique email address for everyone you register.

Can I buy a trade show only ticket?

No. A General Registration ticket is the only way to get access to the trade show, due to how classes, the venue, and security are structured. 

I don’t have a ticket. Can I just show up?

Nope. Don’t show up at the door, don’t show up with a sob story – we love all photographers, but for this event, you need a ticket!

Can I transfer my ticket or get a refund?

No. This has been outlined dozens of times and it’s even listed on the site before you order your tickets. There are a multitude of reasons why we have this policy. Here is the main reason – the event is THE most inexpensive educational event on the PLANET bar-none. The event is also limited in size – once it sells out – it’s sold out! We are offering you hands-on shooting, portfolio building, top-level educators – would cost $1k at other events. You know what you paid for your ticket. Well, in the beginning, people were buying 5 tickets at a time and selling them on eBay for $300-$500 and that goes against the event and why we created it. Hence, no transfers or refunds. This ensures that no one can scam the system and we keep your ticket price affordable. So death, charities, mission trips, terminal illness, can’t afford to come, and the dozens of requests or reasons for a transfer or refund, our sincerest apologies, but this is a policy that has no wiggle room. We hope you understand the in-depth explanation we have provided. While we want everyone to be happy, we have to protect the interests of the community of photographers who want to see the event ticket prices remain low.

I can’t find my receipt/never got one in my email. Help!

Log in to your account on shutterfest.com (click on My Account at the top of any page) and navigate to the “Orders” section. Click on an order to view the details, including what ticket was purchased. 

I need to update the email address on my ticket.

Please email support@behindtheshutter.com and we will get you taken care of!

The ShutterFest App & Signing up for classes


The schedule of class times will be released via the ShutterFest app. You will have about a week to browse the schedule and make a game plan before class signup begins.

I downloaded the app, but It won’t take my email address.

The ShutterFest App is updated each year with new information and a new list of attendees. Once it’s ready, you’ll get an email invitation via Guidebook, with plenty of time to browse the schedule before class signups begin. You won’t be able to log in without that invitation!


We will announce the exact release date in the Facebook group. Generally, you can expect to receive your email invite to log in to the app two weeks prior to the event, but it may be earlier or later. The app will be available for Android, iPhone and web. Please note – the app (and registration for classes) will NOT be available on desktop computers, so plan accordingly!

About the event

How do I register?

:) Click here.

What should I expect as an attendee?

Expect to learn more than you have ever learned before. ShutterFest is like no other conference out there. Not because we say so, but because your peers have said so. At this one-of-a-kind event you will have access to speakers like never before. They are here because they care about our industry and want to share EVERYTHING they know. No rockstar mentality. You will network with your fellow photographers, make friends for life, and enjoy access to some of the best education available.

What is the class format like?

The conference kicks off with a welcome session with Sal that you won’t want to miss! After that, there are alternating class times (breakout sessions) and vendor times. Vendors also host photo walks and demos in their booths throughout the day. Don’t see a class you like? You can use our Rent-a-Human program or visit vendor shooting bays during class times as well.

Do I have to take classes during every class time?

Of course not! One of the best things about ShutterFest is the ability to create your own schedule. Take classes, shoot, network, party, whatever you like.


Yep! That’s what makes ShutterFest so unique. You will have access to Shooting Bays all over the trade show floor. You will also have access to hands-on courses being taught by our incredible speakers. In addition, you will be able to grab a model and go out and shoot your own ideas and concepts.

Is there an extra fee for any courses?

NOPE! Another amazingly unique feature of ShutterFest. No hidden fees. Your General Registration ticket gives you access to ALL THREE DAYS of courses, Photo Walks, and Rent-A-Human.

Will I be able to use images in my portfolio?

Of course you will. We have heard horror stories of other conferences placing limitations on how the photos can be used, forcing you to use the conference logo, etc. We find that to be ridiculous. All models have signed a model release form giving you the ability to use your images in your portfolio, website, social media, etc.

What if I want to shoot the entire time?

Have at it! ShutterFest has a flexible schedule with a mix of hands-on instructor led courses, shooting bays, models, and of course, platform classes. You can create a schedule that works for you and your educational needs.

Is there a certain skill level I should be?

Absolutely not. Come one, come all. That’s our motto. We all start somewhere, and you will find that ShutterFest attendees are open and willing to help and our instructors know how to teach to every level of student. We categorize our classes into Beginner-level, Intermediate-level, and Advanced-level so you can see what to expect.

What topics will be covered?

Our speakers cover almost every aspect of photography across many genres! Check out the class lineup to see the details.

Will there be a party again this year?

YES! (Our motto is Shoot. Learn. Party, what did you expect?!)

Where will event information be posted?

Everything is on the private FB group for ShutterFest. The link was sent to you with your receipt. If you don’t have it – look up the group and apply to get in.

How come I was not emailed any information?

As was stated on the sign up site and in the email receipt – all communication happens via the ShutterFest Facebook group. Why? We don’t want to spam you and in the past, we have had numerous communications go to junk mail, incorrect email addresses, or just not read. Again, this was communicated right from the beginning that all comms would happen via the Facebook group. We are doing exactly what we said we would do.

What gear should I bring?

Some people bring entire rolling carts full of gear, and some pack light. Bring whatever you want to shoot with and can reasonably travel with — camera bodies, lenses, flashes, tripods, etc. 

Will there be gear to rent at the event?


Can I buy gear at the show?

Yes. We will have retailers at the show with the latest and greatest equipment available to purchase.

What do I need to check in at the event?

Your driver’s license. You will not be able to check in without it. Not even if your dog ate it.


Want to be a speaker?

If applications are open, you can apply here! 

I am not an official speaker, can I teach my own class?

No. ShutterFest has paid for and rented all of Union Station. We have paid for security, insurance and permits to ensure the event is safe, fun, and educational for all who attend. In addition, we have spent thousands advertising, promoting, and coordinating the event. Lots of hard work by a lot of people went into creating the event and an atmosphere for photographers to come and learn and grow. If you want to be an instructor – apply to speak. If you do not get the nod to teach this year, by all means, come and enjoy the event as a student. There will be a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. If you are caught teaching, assembling private workshops, advertising in the FB group, you will be asked to leave the event immediately without any further discussion.

I’ve seen other instructors teaching workshops at the same time as shutterfest. Are those part of the event?

NO. Only classes published on the ShutterFest website or offered by vendors AT ShutterFest are official event classes. Any other workshops are NOT officially part of ShutterFest. 

Goodie Bags

Is there a goodie bag this year?

Yes! As a thank-you to attendees who stay at the host hotels (sorry, locals) we give you a goodie bag with vendor specials and speaker slides.

In order to be on the list to receive the goodie bag, you must be staying at the host hotel IN OUR ROOM BLOCK, before the cut-off date one week prior to the event.

If I book through a third party like hotels.com, booking.com, etc. will i still get the goodie bag?

NO. If you book through a third party, the hotel will not be able to place you on the goodie bag list. You must book directly with the hotel.


Aptly named by our comedian from ShutterFest 2014, Pat McGann, this is the name of our model program.

What is Rent-A-Human?

This is our FREE modeling and portfolio building program at the event. Since ShutterFest is a hands-on and shooting conference, we realize the need for lots and lots of models. This year, we will have over 300 models at the event across all different genres. High School Seniors, families, babies, children, glamour, boudoir, weddings, general portraits, fashion, fitness and same-sex.

Does it cost extra to use rent-a-human?

Nope! Rent-A-Human is 100% FREE.

How does it work?

There are two ways to use Rent-A-Human: Classic and Express. For classic, you will form a group of 2-5 photographers, request a model, and go shoot anywhere in Union Station for one hour. For Express, you will be able to request a model on your own, without a group, but you will only have 30 minutes to shoot, and can only shoot in the Westcott Creator Lab area, Boudoir Sets, or the East Patio area right outside the Rent-A-Human station. 

These areas in Union Station are off-limits for shooting:

  1.  The Aquarium
  2. All public restaurants
  3. Mirror Maze
  4. ON the trains during RAH hours. You may shoot in the area around the trains. If you want to arrange something directly with Union Station to be on trains after hours, you are allowed to do that.

Wherever you go, be mindful of your time! Wandering too far will eat into your shooting time 🙂

After-Hours Shoots

Shooting after hours is not only encouraged, it’s expected. ShutterFest is something that goes on all day and into the late hours of the night. You will have to coordinate with models directly on this because each model has time and travel restraints


We will have over 300+ models at the event. To apply to model, click here. The models will have signed release forms prior to the event – so you have been cleared to use these for your portfolio, website, etc. THEY DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING FOR YOU DIRECTLY for shoots during classes, photo walks or Rent-A-Human.

You are encouraged, to share your contact information with the models. We have instructed them to do the same. In addition, each model will have a model card with their contact information for you to take a test shot.

In return, you are expected to share your images with the models for their portfolios. That’s the deal. You will be agreeing to this in your request form. We do not expect you to track down every model you shoot. ShutterFest will have a sharing site where the models can grab their images for their portfolio.

Hair & Makeup

We will have hair and makeup artists volunteering their time and resources to provide hair and makeup for the models to ensure your shoots are top-notch!


We have a few local bridal shops that donated 60+ wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses for you to use on your shoots! Models will be instructed to bring other outfits for their shoots, however, if you are looking for a stylized shoot, feel free to bring an outfit or two that you have been dying to shoot.

If you would like to bring an outfit or other clothing accessories for the models, you are more than welcome to do that. Don’t forget, we have wedding dresses available on site for bridal and the male models have been instructed to bring suits.


Beginner: Just starting out or relatively new to a given subject matter. Basics will be covered and the course will move at a slower pace. The instructor will spend a little more time trying to explain concepts to ensure everyone is following. On a scale of 1-10 consider this level a 1-3 on the given topic.

Intermediate: Has a grasp of some basic concepts. This course level will move at a faster pace and assume you have basic knowledge covered on the given subject matter. On a scale of 1-10 consider this level a 4-6 on the given topic.

Advanced: You have working knowledge of the given subject matter, but are looking for more fine-tuning and some advanced topics to take your work to that next level. DO NOT expect instructors to explain basic concepts in this course. On a scale of 1-10 consider this level a 7-10 on the given topic.

Class Types


These are shooting courses. You will be shooting and working. Bring your camera, gear, or whatever you need for the course and to create create images. Expect to have some level of shooting.

Live Demonstration

These are instructor-led courses where you will see a live demonstration of what the instructor is teaching. You can still bring your camera to these courses and you can photograph, but the goal of the course is NOT for you to shoot or to ensure you get a shot. The goal is for you to see how and why the instructor does what he/she does in order to get the final result.


These are non-shooting courses. Typically classroom-based, bring your laptop and notepad and focus on learning!