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.
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.
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.