Five Reasons To Consider Photography Workshops This Year

Five Reasons To Consider Photography Workshops This Year

As the photography industry continues to grow, so does the amount of different mediums for education. From tutorial based websites, to tutorial DVDs, to workshops and even websites like Fstoppers here, there are multiple ways you can find new techniques and grow your craft. And maybe this year, is the year you truly take advantage of them.

I’m a huge advocate for alternative education. After all, I got my college degree in Business Management, and never thought that photography could ever be anything more than a passion and hobby of mine. Literally all the knowledge I’ve learned about photography has came from scouring the internet for tutorials, inspiration and behind the scenes videos. My knowledge of photography came as a result of trial and error, and over the course of many many years. Workshops, are able to streamline that process, and allows you to learn faster than ever before. Here are some reasons why workshops are an incredible value to the modern era of photography.


Perhaps the biggest value in a workshop comes in insight. Your educator, teacher and coach, is someone who is (or should be) a big player in the industry. They have real life knowledge on the industry in its current state, and are able to teach you how it works. This deep insight is massively valuable, as the industry has completely turned on its head over the last 10 years or so. Just think, the DSLR wasn’t even viable until about ten to fifteen years ago, so the people who were working in the field during that time, might not have the knowledge required in the modern era of photography.


In an ideal workshop environment, you’re learning from someone whose work inspires you, and is impressive by anyones standard. Having the ability to learn their process is a huge asset to your own work. Sure, a lot can be learned from before and afters, lighting diagrams, and other tools posted on the internet, but nothing can replace the ability to be there during the creative process of creating images. Having photographers who you admire teach you the techniques they use first hand, is a value at any price, especially if you’re hoping to grow and develop your craft.

Hands On Experience

Most workshops are broken down into two sections. The first section, is all about educating through a lecture or demonstration. This part is pretty self explanatory, and we don't need to dive into that too far. The second section, however, is usually about actually using the techniques taught in the first section. One of the biggest assets to workshops is the ability to use the tools and techniques available to you, and tailor the skills learned to your own style. Pairing that with the ability to being coached by the host of the workshop allows you to not only leave the workshop with some exceptional new knowledge, but some exceptional photos from the day as well.


Workshops aren’t cheap, sure. Workshops will range in price, from as low as $125 to $2000 for a day or two worth of training, but that time spent is incredibly cheap by comparison. Without pushing too far into the insight point made above, the information potentially gained from a good workshop is worth it’s weight in gold. Let’s break it down to an hourly rate. If an 8 hour workshop costs $350, then you’re effectively getting training from one of the tops in the industry for only $43 an hour. Comparing that to standard one on one training at $100+ an hour, you’re getting a massive deal by taking a workshop or class format...which brings me to my next point.

Classroom Environment

A huge asset within a workshop is the classroom environment that they’re often hosted in. A classroom environment inspires creativity and growth from everyone, allowing everyone to collaborate on ideas, and find new ways to practice the techniques they’re being caught. The classroom setting also revitalizes the photography community in areas. When I first started teaching workshops in Albuquerque, NM, the community seemed very private within their doings. While friendly, many of the photographers didn’t know each other other than names, and through liking an occasional Facebook status. The simple act of meeting within a workshop environment opens up a whole new world of collaborations. Since workshops here locally, the Albuquerque community seems much stronger, and far more eager to help and encourage each other. Note: I can’t take full credit for that, or even more than a small marginal credit for that, the community here is just really great.

Photo by Jennifer Garrett Photography


In the end, if we have a passion for photography, we're going to learn the techniques needed to better our craft. However, you get to chose whether that progression is a slow climb or a big explosion of new techniques, skill sets and knowledge. With workshops, you're able to learn from the pros faster than ever, and really step up your game as a photographer. As some additional insight, I've included some workshops available this spring and summer from Fstoppers staff, and friends.


Workshops Worth Checking Out This Year

For the second year, Fstoppers is hosting one of the biggest photography workshops in history, in the Bahamas. With ten different instructors, all on the forefront of their industry, and over the course of 4 days, the Fstoppers Workshops are one of the best opportunities to increase your skills as a photographer and retoucher.

In Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO and San Francisco, CA, the Master Series of workshops are a two-day workshop teaching you about lighting in an outdoor environment, marketing your business effectively, and high end retouching. Sponsored in part by Phase One, Profoto USA, Alien Skin Software and more, the Master Series workshops also give you the opportunity to use and test the best gear available for photographers. With over 15 hours of education, the Master Series Workshops by Zach Sutton are an extreme value to any photographer looking to increase their skills.

Nino Batista is one of the worlds best glamour photographers, and he has an exciting workshop coming up in Puerto Rico. This five day workshop is an all inclusive stay at the Caribe Hilton Hotel and Resort, with an immense amount of education on glamour photography in one of the more beautiful locations in the world. This workshop teaches you lighting, posing and retouching all while using some of the best models in this field as your subjects.


In this 2-Day Men's Portrait & Fashion Intensive you'll learn the fundamentals of of Men's Portrait and Fashion Photography. Jeff Rojas will guide your through the essential posing, lighting, and editing techniques that will compliment all shapes and sizes of men.You’ll learn the main reasons that men don't feel comfortable having their photograph taken and how to make them feel at ease in front of the camera – which will lead to better, more natural images.

Sarah Williams is the mind behind This Rad Love, an alternative wedding photography company located in DC & San Diego. She has a no BS policy and attracts couples who fit exactly what she puts out. The UnWorkshop is meant to take you out of your comfort zone, throwing everything you know out the window, and putting you through exercises so you can love and believe in what you do 100%.

Join world-renown fashion photographer Lindsay Adler in her studio as she and her team shoot a live fashion editorial. You will have an opportunity to view the entire process from start to finish in this full and exciting day. Lindsay will discuss concept development and mood board, directing hair and makeup, wardrobe selection, lighting, posing and shooting. See a real NYC fashion shoot in action! Ask questions and see the process unfold. At the end of the day Lindsay will show you how she culls through images including a retouching demonstration of the process. 

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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Photography workshops are grossly overrated. Spend money and invest in a personal/portfolio project to further your career/skill.

Hi Johnny! you brought up a really valid point! I absolutely recommend everyone to create thier own personal assignments and portfolios, but unfortunately not everyone can. Whether it's because of comfort or guidance, I find that a lot of workshop attendees really like the atmosphere of workshops and intensives. For a lot of students, it's a way to network outside of their small cities and work together to create beautiful imagery. You may not benefit from it, but a lot of students do. I think it pretty harsh to say that ALL workshops are overrated. Maybe you just haven't attended the RIGHT one. Have a great Friday! :)

I know it sounds weird, but a lot of my workshop students don't understand the internet so they learn the basics of photography from a classroom experience rather than from youtube or websites. And people have very different learning styles. Some people just can't self-teach or can't read and learn the same way as others -- they need an instructor or hands-on learning. They also don't always have equipment. Taking a class lets you play with cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. that you can't afford to invest in before you are sure you want to go more in-depth and dive into the cost.

I'm the self-taught pretty much. Do I ever spend for workshops no, but would I want to, of course. Its not in my budget, it may not ever be in my budget with the available budgets I generally have and priorities. Heck if I would ever pay for education it would be DVDs/digital videos from fstoppers, creativeLIVE, and Froknowsphoto first than pay for a live-in-person workshop as those generally cost a bunch more at least from photographers I admire like Dani Diamond, Peter Hurley, Clay Cook, etc. I'll hope to network in other areas that is less costly but I would jump for a chance to network with people admire and their network but that costs money or simple luck of the draw or very strategic networking. But anyone who has the cash to do workshops do it, I've been to 1 that was sponsored for me and loved the images I got, even though I felt I was the youngest one there (27 at the time) and everyone else around 60-80 years old so that felt odd lol.

I'm just a Gramma with digital camera that I just want to get a decent pic of my grandbabies from. I think the workshops are affordable for a hobbyist like me, especially if it was in my area.....they just seem directed to pros, the only reason I haven't taken advantage of one myself as yet. I was just getting ready to ask if the workshops were available to non-professionals. The cost seems extremely reasonable to me....

Johnny - Everyone is entitled to their opinion. These workshops differ from what you learn on the internet because you get to actually interact with those you would normally be learning from online anyway. Having the ability to ask questions in real time and see and understand the nuances of a shoot in person is invaluable. Workshops like those mentioned here, as well as the countless other ones such as After Dark and more have completely changed the way photographers approached their craft after having attended — and in a far better way than just researching the material online. My suggestion would be to try a few workshops before making a decision on what works best for you! :D

It's fine to want to advertise your workshop and the Fstoppers workshop, but let's not pretend that it's content (as least much as any listicle is) & not marketing.

EDIT: Kind of amusing that 3/4 of the negative votes on this comment come from Fstoppers contributors

UPDATE: 4/5 Thanks Zach!

Hey Daniel! I see your concern. Even if you subtract the workshop list from here, it's still good content for someone who hasn't taken a workshop before. Just because it may not benefit you, it doesn't mean it would benefit someone else. :)

I'm sure somebody will get some information from it, I was just a bit underwhelmed to see a few paragraphs followed by half a dozen ads. Hope the workshop goes well, and I appreciate you taking a more reasonable tone than some of your colleagues.

Thanks Daniel! I'm always an earshot away if you ever need anything! Have a great day. :)

This wasn't a paid post. If you actually paid any attention to any we do here, if this were a paid post, there would've been a "SPONSORED" tag underneath the post.

Even if it were, no one really forces you to read any content on our site. And let me remind you, the content is free, but then SOMEONE has to pay for all the free stuff. You do realize that, don't you?

Anyway, happy reading. Or not. Up to you.

Hi Tam, I've been reading this site for a while now-- since before the redesign at the very least, can't quite remember but it's been long enough that I picked up a thing or two about this site.

I'll go ahead and ignore the condescension, but I generally support everything you guys do here. You (meaning the site, not you specifically of course) put out some great content and I've found lots of great information here. The only thing I meant to express is that this whole marketing as content thing is a bit disingenuous (unless of course it's utterly by coincidence that this article went live shortly before slots filled up for the Fstoppers workshop, boy would that be crazy).

Anyways, I hope the rest of your day is as pleasant as you aren't. Up to you.

We - I'm speaking for everyone here - appreciate your support. We really do. That said, nothing drives me crazy more than the fact that some people think our servers are hamster-powered. To be honest, I wish they were, but in reality, it costs us a few grands a month just to keep the lights on. We try to pump out fresh content on a daily basis, and the writers here need to be paid too. Again, someone has to pay for all the free stuff.

Whether the tone of this article is marketing-driven or not, I think it does have some good points from which some folks can benefit. I'm not running stats on the workshop sales, but I know we've been pushing it for a quite a few weeks now, so it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the workshops are all sold out at some point, future or past. I know some of the classes aren't sold out yet "as we speak" though.

I myself am not a fan of marketers, and I hate ads as much as the next person, but everytime I see an article that smells even remotely "disingenuous" on any website, I just tell myself, "It's that time of the month again when bills are rolling in." and keep scrolling. My days are normally quite pleasant, as I don't spend a lot of time bashing a website, nor time defending one.

If you were interested in knowing how the blogosphere works, I strongly suggest you read the book "Trust me, I'm Lying" by Ryan Holiday ( This is how a lot of blogs and websites work - content, ads, clicks, rinse, repeat. If you don't want to see any "disingenuous" content, you'd best yank out that ethernet cable and go outside.

Thank you for the book recommendation (I've read it, it's definitely an interesting one), and for the quick crash course on how websites are (or aren't) powered. When I go back to my web development job on Monday and log into the AWS console, I'll be sure to note how many hamsters aren't powering it.

It's well within your right to make money, my only point is that as much as this might vaguely look like an article, it sure as hell quacks like an advertisement. Why not call a spade a spade?

Off topic, but I don't believe any code monkeys should have access to AWS console. They should only be given with endpoints and access keys.

Signed, DevOps

Hahaha, now you're just being petty. Some of us particularly evolved code monkeys can work an ansible provision or manage our continuous delivery infrastructure just as well as you "devops" guys-- though to be fair keeping the roles separate does give us monkeys more time to work on the actually difficult problems. We've got opposable thumbs as well.

I used to work in publishing back in the day (wait, am I THAT old?). We'd call something like this an advertorial. It's an article pushing a product or service. Nothing wrong with it, everyone does it. These guys have to pay for the site and all their writers somehow, not to mention all those awesome drone videos!

Hell, even Professional Photographer magazine does it, and I pay a subscription fee for that! They've become a sales vehicle for PPA memberships. Still, plenty of good content though.

Just avoid reading things you don't like.

You want world-class, unbiased journalism? Pick up the New York Times :-)

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Workshops are cool....very cool. I say attend at least one or two per year.

Secondly, I say do a PERSONAL PROJECT that is how I won two awards and was featured on a pretty well known blog a few months ago. The exposure is limitless.

Third, make sure you allocate some of your cash for marketing. Remember, it's not who you know but WHO KNOWS YOU ;)