Best Buy Launches Photography Workshops

Best Buy Launches Photography Workshops

When looking to improve your photography skills, many turn towards YouTube videos and online training videos or even workshops lead by photographers they admire. Would you consider a workshop lead by a large retail chain for your next workshop?

I can only assume with more people shopping online, this is another way the Best Buy is trying to remain relevant beyond just a sale of a camera and provide more. They recently launched their Camera Experience Shop campaign to help customers come in and try out their expanded line of photography gear in the store. Canon, Nikon, and Sony have all partnered with Best Buy to provide trained professionals to offer their advice to answer all your questions. You can also now sign up for their photography workshops to help you take your photography to the next level. 

Currently, they offer two levels of workshops. One is for the new photographers which are completely free and hosted at their Camera Experience Shops. The other option of workshops is aimed for intermediate photographers and only available at select stores. This workshop does cost $50 per person but includes transportation, a snack, and lunch.

I am not sure if this new initiative was sent out to every customer of theirs, or if it's because I frequently look at photography gear when searching online, or the fact I have purchased gear in the past. Sometimes I even price match other online retailers to get the gear same day. In either case I am interested in seeing where this goes and how well these workshops are handled. I went ahead and signed up for one of the beginner workshops and will report back on my thoughts. Currently, there are no intermediate workshops available in Houston, Texas, but I will keep an eye out and possibly sign up to how those will differ from the beginners' version.

Will Best Buy's Camera Experience Shop entice you to shop once again with them? Any photographers interested in attending these workshops?

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Jeff Walsh's picture

No to all of it. It doesnt entice me to shop there. I wouldnt take one of their classes. Best Buy is like the WalMart of electronics so why would I go to them for anything "professional."

Austin Sutherland's picture

Why the hate if I may ask

Jeff Walsh's picture

My opinion of Best Buy is just what I said, it's like a Wal Mart but focused on electronics. So, based strictly on that I wouldn't go. Now then, I would try it out if photogs I admire or respect went and gave it a good recommendation. I'd also try it out if the teacher was someone I admired or respected. But the article asked if this changed my view of Best Buy, and it didnt, but good on them for trying something different to stay relevant in an online shopping world.

Jase Daniels's picture

I actually attended the Best Buy Workshop in San Diego, CA, and I have to say that it was not only worth it, but was a great experience.

The workshop, this iteration named Family & Pets, allowed professionals and amateurs alike to work alongside a 30-year Reuters photographer and staff photographer for the the Union Tribune to learn basic and advanced skills in flash lighting, action, natural lighting and portraiture. I wanted to attend this workshop because I do not photograph portraiture or modeled sets, and it was really great to get some exposure.

An executive from Best Buy explained to me that, due to economic downturn and the closing of many mom-and-pop photography stores and the move to online purchasing, there aren't many avenues where people who are interested in photography can go to get advice on equipment, processing, and basic photography skills. So Best Buy has stepped in to provide those services to the average person with their Camera Experience Shops that rigorously train their employees to be experts on equipment usage and photography.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I believe they are providing a great introductory stepping point for anyone that is interested in photography, and enhanced skills for those already in the field. As far as equipment, I think they are comparative to Amazon, B+H, etc when it comes to pricing and availability. Having seen the CES section in my local BestBuy, I can say I was surprised at their extensive availability.

**I am not in anyway affiliated with BestBuy, just providing a humble review of the workshop I attended.

Deleted Account's picture

If so, I applaud their effort but I don't know about the "train their employees to be experts on equipment usage and photography" part.

Jase Daniels's picture

From what the executive was telling us, the CES's in about 150 stores have experts on Canon, Sony, Nikon, that go through an extensive weeklong training to know all there is about those products as well as photography.

Deleted Account's picture

Oh! I thought it was a couple hours but, since it's a week, well... ;-)

Jason Lorette's picture

It's great, as in my city there are three places to buy a camera that's not local camera shop, Walmart, and Best Buy. I'd never buy a camera from Walmart, the local shop would be my preference, however I have bought one at Best Buy (when it was still future shop in Canada)...the issue I have with this...the camera department in my local BB is about a tenth of the size it was and being a Nikon guy, there isn't a camera 'on display' over a D3400. Ironically they are doing this to stay relevant in the camera world because of online shopping, but to buy a mid-pro or pro level camera you have to go on their web site.

Jim VAIKNORAS's picture

I ran one a few years ago in NH, it was very casual, looks like they retooled it. I'm in favor of anything that gets people to use their cameras.

Austin Sutherland's picture

I work at Best buy and I can tell you they do extensive training on cameras and my store has a smaller di section than others. We are mostly a magnolia home theater store. We even have trainings from camera manufactures teachings us details of all the cameras.

Marc J Wrzesinski's picture

You know, my local (now defunct) Best Buy used to do photography workshops years ago -- when I worked there in DI. The guys who ran it with me -- all did it for the sake of loving photography and it was FREE to customers. They just had to sign up. We had a great response -- and funny enough, ran into someone today and this is about 8 year later, remembered me as the teacher.

Took them long enough to take our idea and try to make some money haha

amanda daniels's picture

Not sure. I used to shop at Best Buy because there aren't any local camera shops in my area. When I first started learning I went and of course asked questions, sometimes you get someone who knows what they are talking about and then other times your don't. When I was upgraded to a full frame I asked if I could you my kit lens 18-55 EF-S on the new full frame camera body and I was told yes I could. Welp, of course I learned this was wrong information. I still do purchase from them sometimes if they have in store instead of waiting on B & H to deliver. I just got the 70-200mm from them and I haven't ever had issues with their products at all,as long as you know what you want.

Kail Graham's picture

Hey... That's the back of my head on the far right. This was a Peter Hurley talk in Houston.

Alex Ventura's picture

Yes it was.

Luke McGuire's picture

My daughter was told she didn’t have to do anything to register for a course online, and her roommate was told she had to cancel her California registration first before she could register. Photography workshops have different rules and it’s not as clear as you might think. On top of that, you have some tutors (mostly ex-teachers from design schools) giving loads of homework while students have little time for their projects.
Luke McGuire - professional equine photographer, content writer