You want to attend a Photography Workshop and you don’t know how to choose one? In this post I will give you some important advices.
Nowadays, you can find a lot of photography and videography workshops, around the world, that are organized by big travel agencies or professional photographers. That means that you must be very careful deciding which workshop you will attend.
As a photographer I have participated in photography and videography workshops and as a professional photographer I organize my workshop, so I know very well how a workshop is organized, and I can give you some simple advices before you decide where to put your time and money.
A photography or videography workshop is not a holiday trip. We attend workshops to learn more about our favourite craft, photography/videography, to create some great images and have a wonderful experience.
As a tourist, travelling to Finland to see a bear, or to Iceland to see the Northern Lights is easy. But when participating in a photographer’s workshop you don’t want just to spot a bear or admire the Northern Lights, you want to be guided so that you will get great shots of them. And that is the big difference.
I think that following my advices, you will be more likely to choose a great workshop.
- Choose a photographer-guide not just a guide
There is a big difference between a photographer-guide and just a guide. A guide can have the knowledge of a subject (animal or landscape), but has no knowledge about when or how to shoot that subject. A photographer – guide knows the subject, but can also guide you how to get some great images, especially if you have no experience in shooting the specific subject.
- Check the portfolio and experience of the photographer hosting the workshop
Checking the work of the photographer that he/she will be in charge of the Workshop is vital. Check his/her website (yes, he/she should have one), and take a look at his/her portfolio, especially the images that show the subject that his/hers workshop is all about.
Great Images of the subject (animal, landscape) mean that this photographer can create for you the opportunities to shoot some great shots. Yes, you could take a look at their Instagram or TikTok account, but a photographer that is serious about his craft and his/her workshop should have a personal professional website.
Apart from having great images, you should also take a look in how experienced is the photographer in leading a photography workshop. More organizing and executing experience means better experience for you. The best way to check this is to find reviews from other photographers that have attended the specific workshop you are looking into, on social media or platforms like Google or TripAdvisor.
- Choose a local photographer – guide
I believe that choosing a local photographer is always better (as long as you speak the same language, for example English). That is because most of the time a local photographer can guide you better, he knows the subject better and can provide you with better information about your subject and the area you are in, information that usually change through the year.
- Look into the Workshop’s details
In the page of the workshop (usually found on the photographer’s website), the photographer must clearly say what is included in the workshop (for example meals, transportation etc) and what it is not (for example the air tickets). Before you book your place, you must contact the photographer to ask any question you have.
Take into account the cancellation policy, so that is clear what happens if you have to cancel your participation or the workshop will be cancelled.
- Be careful with the number of participants
One important factor for a successful workshop is the number of participants. This number depends on the workshop, what is the subject and where in the world it will be held. The magic number could be four to max six.
For example, in Lake Kerkini six photographers in a boat is the max you should have, so that everyone will have the opportunities to shoot easily and comfortably.
Take into account that the instructor – guide must be able to help each of the participants to create better images and to do that the number of the participants shouldn’t be more than six.
- Ask the photographer in charge to discuss with you the expectations you have from the workshop
A photography workshop is better executed when the photographer in charge has a prior discussion with the participants on what are their expectations from the workshop. An experience photographer could just want to create great images, while an amateur could need more help with the settings of the camera or the framing. This is very important, so ask the photographer if you are going to discuss this prior to the workshop.
- Is there any time during the workshop for critique of the shots and editing?
A photographer’s job doesn’t end on the field with hundred or thousand of shots. In a good workshop, the photographer in charge should look and critique the participants shots, each day, and give them advices to get better. And of course, he or she should advise the participants on editing their images in the digital darkroom. That way, the participants will have a more complete experience of the creation of the images they are after.