Which professional photography workshop should you attend? It’s hard enough to sift through the overwhelming number of workshops available. When you actually choose one, you need to prepare so you’ll get the most out of your investment.
Step 1: What type of education do you need? Hoping to learn to shoot in manual mode, build a successful brand, market your studio, master off-camera lighting, explore workflow systems, practice posing techniques…the list goes on and on. The critical step is identifying which specific topic you need to learn in order to improve your photography and your business. Make a list and review it a few times with a colleague or mentor. Ask them which topic seems to be your weakness. Constructive criticism will also prepare you for a good workshop experience.
Step 2: Decide what environment is most conducive to your learning style. Classes online, seminar environment, or my personal favorite, workshops! Workshops are a personal environment and you meet many like-minded people who are experiencing similar challenges. It’s like a instant support group that can be located across the country!
Step 3: Research. There are many talented professionals to learn from who are on and off the speaking circuit within the photography industry. Take time to do some research on who is a proven expert in any particular field. Chances are they’ve written blog posts, conducted interviews, or even written books that will showcase their expertise. Dive into those materials before deciding which workshop, class or seminar to attend. When you choose a teacher who has proven ability, you’ll be more confident in your investment of time and money!
Step 4: Prepare. Find out what gear you’ll need to bring, find out where the workshop will be held, and find out who else will be attending the workshop. Also, you may need to wear appropriate clothing for the weather or journey. Imagine showing up for a landscape photography workshop wearing cute heels that will only get destroyed as you hike a trail to get the perfect shot! It sounds basic, but little details like footwear, camera bags, hydration and snacks can enhance your experience.
Step 5: Bring something to take notes with and be organized. Write down key points that you want to remember. Set goals for yourself prior to attending. Then, don’t be afraid to ask specific questions and take lots of notes! You’ll be glad you have them later when you need to remember a tip or technique you can apply to your shoots or business.
Step 6: Ask questions the relate to your goals, even if the instructor doesn’t touch on those points. This is your time to ask detailed questions that address specific problems or struggles you face. Don’t feel intimidated. Remember: you invested your time and resources into this learning experience. Get everything you can out of it! Plus, questions spark conversations that help everyone attending the workshop.
This isn’t a sales pitch for Fisheye Connect, but I want to note that we’ve built the system with students in mind. Here are criteria we use that will help you prepare for a workshop. These include instructor ratings, prerequisites, materials needed, price point and full description.
Ratings and Reviews: Instructors can make their ratings and reviews public on Fisheye Connect. Before you sign up for a workshop, you can see feedback from past attendees. As with any “ratings or review” system, you should look for trends, not just one good or bad review.
Prerequisites: Should you take another class before attending this one? Should you already know how to operate your camera extensively in manual mode? Etc.
Materials Needed: Camera gear, specifics such as long lenses, prime lenses, multiple flashes, CF cards with high capacity, laptop, etc.
Price Point: Every price point – even free – has a value. What is the ROI (Return on Investment) for the time and money you will invest in a workshop or class?
Full Description: Get details about what topics will be covered. View a workshop timeline, if one is set. This helps you know exactly what you are purchasing. Instructor’s profiles link to all classes so that you can get to know that instructor or company better.
If a workshop isn’t profiled on Fisheye Connect, then I recommend asking questions of other attendees and consider contacting the instructor. Be an informed buyer and try to get as much out of your experience as possible. If you want us to keep you informed about workshops and educational events happening in your area, you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.
Regardless of which workshop you choose, there’s so much to learn and continuing education is important – even if you are a seasoned pro!
About Kristy Dickerson
Kristy is the founder and CEO of FisheyeConnect, professional laundry sorter, CFO of multi-tasking, wedding photographer, mom of two, and a wife that is never wrong…never.
Upon completion of her degree in finance and business management she started her photography business after having her first son. As enough wasn’t already on her plate, in June of 2010 she launched Fisheye Connect for other photographers like herself looking for quality education. Fisheye is a way for aspiring photographers to connect with photography industry experts by location, instructor, or interest. It is a searchable database exclusively for photography workshops/events, along with service that helps instructors manage the marketing and financial aspects of their businesses.
Merging her business sense with her passion, Fisheye Connect has become a thriving community of photographers learning and growing together. Photo © VUE Photography