Nowadays there are all sorts of photography workshops and tours on the market. Choosing the right one for you can be a painful process. Here are three questions whose answers will help you select one that you will actually enjoy.
- Are the instructors easy-going, informal, and fun to be with? Or are they more formal and serious? Neither is necessarily better than the other, but going with an instructor whose personality doesn’t play well with yours is a guaranteed way to make you feel miserable.
- What kind of people typically attend the kind of workshop you have in mind? Will they be heterogeneous in terms of age, gender, and skill level? Or will they be more homogeneous and maybe belonging to a demographic that is completely different from yours? A group like this might not be the most appropriate for you but if you are the introvert type, mingling with people with a different background could be just what the doctor ordered to break out of your comfort zone.
- How is the overall experience going to be? Would you rather be sitting in a classroom or out photographing some beautiful locations? When I organize my tours, I make sure they are all about the experience. We stay out as much as possible and try to have the most fun. This sometimes means putting down the camera and enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Theoretical lessons are important, but they are not the main focus of my workshops. If you are more after a formal teaching experience, you would be better served elsewhere.
Finding the answers to these questions won’t always be easy, but most workshop organizers publish testimonials from past attendees on their websites. Googling “review name-of-instructor workshop” can help as well. With a bit of resourcefulness, you can probably find a way to contact them and inquire about their experience.
Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t attend a workshop with the expectation of getting amazing photos. There are many factors that go into creating an amazing photo and luck is a bigger one than most people realize. If you are shooting outdoors, you are at the mercy of weather and natural light. Even if conditions would prove to be ideal, you won’t immediately acquire the skills that come from a good teaching, but also from a lot of time on the field.
What you should look forward to instead are the learning and the enjoyment of being out photographing with a master and with fellow students. The amazing pictures will come with time.