Photos by gré-Kelly Segré
There are many different types of workshops available in today’s photography market, the trick is determining which one is best for you. But how do you know if you have never taken a workshop before? Here are some tips to think about before making your decision.
Who is putting on the workshop? This is an important question but not the only question. There are several “well-known” photographers who teach workshops all over the country, some of them are working photographers who take time out of their schedule to teach limited workshops while others tour around the country only teaching workshops. They are all valuable as long as you know what you will take away from each individual workshop.
If you are going there to learn how to shoot a specific style, then make sure they can accurately teach you the style you wish to learn. If you are going there to learn about business and marketing make sure you do your own research on the instructor(s) to make sure they themselves are practicing what they preach!
Whatever you do, always make the decision for yourself and for your business! Don’t believe the hype! Hype is something used to create excitement and make you want to impulsively buy a spot at their workshop “only 10 spots left” “the last one sold out in record time, get your spot today“, before you believe the hype, picture a used car salesman saying those words and see if you still believe it. This is not always the case, sometimes the seats do sell out, but then make the decision for yourself, are they trying to teach me something or sell spots? It does not have to be a cynical question, it does have to be an honest one.
One of the latest crazes is online workshops. These can be very informative but only if it is something that you do not need hands on instruction for. Sometimes having someone there in person makes all the difference in the world! For some the online environment is exactly what they are looking for. Online courses are more expensive than a book on photography but at least someone is there explaining it to you!
There is another thing out there called a “Groupshoot”. This is where several photographers come together and all shoot the same models, usually at the same time. This is usually not a learning environment, usually these types of events are geared towards the host and the models charging photographers a lower rate to shoot in a studio and with models that they could usually never afford separately. These should definitely not be confused with workshops!
For the person who is a little more “Hands On”. There are some photographers out there who do offer one on one mentoring. These photographers actually charge about the same as you would pay for some online courses or full on workshops but the difference is that you get the full attention of the instructor and some of them will assist you with an actual shoot in either your studio or their own. This way you learn exactly what you want to learn!
With all of the different choices out there the best thing you can do is to educate yourself before spending a lot of money on any workshop or mentoring session. Most legitimate instructors will happily answer any questions you have about what it is they are teaching, so send them an email if you have any questions. Just remember, when you attend a workshop you are a client and you are allowed to ask questions before you make any purchase.