Match your goal with the workshop
- Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- Digital Wildlife Photography
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 22
- Improve Your Wildlife Photography
Know the workshop specifics
Know the required experience
- Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- Photojojo!: Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas
- The Print and the Process: Taking Compelling Photographs from Vision to Expression
- Learn & Master Photography
Geared for the challenge
Be aware of the sales pitch
- 110 Perfect Photography Tips for Beginners!
- The Complete Photo Manual: 300+ Skills and Tips for Making Great Pictures
- 50 Photo Projects - Ideas to Kickstart Your Photography
- Photo Op: 52 Inspirational Projects for the Adventurous Image-maker
The real payoff
- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group PortraitsSelling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
Photography workshops are beneficial learning experiences for thousands of aspiring photographers at every level. There are many scheduled throughout the year in hundreds of locations (even small towns) covering every conceivable concept, technique, equipment and photography genre. In addition, just as many, if not more, business seminars on sales and marketing, finances, insurance, human resources and a myriad of other topics are available to professional photographers who want to learn how to operate their businesses more efficiently and profitably.
Because of the number of workshops, seminars, presentations, etc., you must be judicious, and invest your time and money in those that have the most value for you. The following 6 tips will help you do just that.
Start by having a clear idea of your photography goals, in general and specifically. You want to attend a workshop that matches the genre you like to shoot and to learn how to improve your skills in that genre. Finding yourself at a portrait workshop when your goal is to become a better landscape photographer is easily a waste of your time and money. You may learn a few interesting pointers, but not everything the landscape workshop would have taught you.
As with many of the other tips in this article, you must also invest some time in researching the workshops you’ve targeted. Most of have Websites or literature that will make it much easier to pick the right workshop for you. Don’t hesitate to ask the people conducting the workshop for a few references to contact. Typically, the best workshops are eager for you to talk to previous attendees; those that won’t or can’t provide you with references should be deleted from your list.
Your research should also help you determine how the workshop is conducted and under what conditions. You want to know in advance if you will be shooting photographs or learning in a classroom environment. Will you have the opportunity to handle and examine equipment, position lights and pose subjects or is it a theory course? You also want to be sure you are dressed and equipped appropriately, especially if you’ll be shooting outdoors. As an extreme example, some workshops, such as those hosted by Visionary Wild, are often a total adventure trip: rafting the Colorado, days hiking through a desert or a jungle, etc.
Another way to waste your time and money is to attend a workshop with concepts and techniques over your head. It can be equally detrimental for an advanced photographer to attend a beginner’s workshop, which will not only be boring, but repetitive. Knowing whether the workshop is for beginners, intermediates or advanced or professional photographers is important to maximize its value for you.Also SEE: 23 things you must know to be successful in photography
Make sure your research helps you determine if you must bring specific kinds of equipment to participate and benefit fully from the workshop. Don’t feel as if you must buy that equipment; most every type of gear can be rented, and at very affordable rates. It’s another investment that will pay dividends.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a workshop host/instructor offering books, additional workshops and other materials for sale to the attendees. What you want to check is if the workshop schedules most of its time to impart good information and plenty of it or to make you part of a captured audience for sales pitches. This is another good reason to ask for and talk with references.
Ultimately, the purpose and primary benefit of attending a workshop is not just the information and ideas you learn, but putting those concepts and techniques into practice. To squeeze every bit of value from the time and money you invest, what you learned should be evident in the improvement of your photographic skills and output. It’s also best to introduce what you learned during your very next shoot when it is still fresh in your mind and you’re pumped about the experience.
You’re much more likely to enjoy and learn more deeply at a workshop when you do your homework, prepare yourself for the experience and approach it with an open mind ready to learn.
Check out: THE 19 MOST EXPENSIVE PHOTOGRAPHS EVER SOLD
Image credit: jeannemhatch / 123RF Stock Photo
People who read this PhotographyTalk.com article also liked:
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.