How to select a photography workshop

There are too many photography workshops! I know it's a bit bold to proclaim that as a newer workshop, but that's actually precisely why I started it. Sometimes the fact that there are a lot of options for something doesn't necessarily mean those options are all great. Calling yourself a photographer is easy. Being a good photographer is difficult. Being a great photographer is extremely difficult and takes a lifetime of dedication to achieve. I think it's safe to say that very few people in the photography world are great, and that's ok! There are a lot of really good photographers, but there are far more people simply calling themselves photographers.

There will always be people at all stages of the journey in whatever craft they choose to pursue and many people, especially creatives, are hands-on, visual learners who benefit greatly from well done workshops. Almost every industry out there has workshops to teach people how to do something, it's a very common and effective way of learning. 

Here are some good guidelines to keep in mind when trying to find a workshop that will help move you to the next level in your photography, and that won't leave you feeling like you wasted your time and money on someone who has no idea what they're talking about. Please keep in mind that this does NOT mean I think there is a perfect workshop out there that will fulfill all of your wildest fantasies and make you the best photographer that ever was. Workshops should be full of knowledge and practical application of that knowledge. You might even already know some of the things being taught, but ideally you will gain new insight and the benefit of being surrounded by others who you can continue to grow with together. Photography is an extremely difficult thing to be great at, it takes a lifetime of practice and hard work. No workshop will bring you there immediately, but a good one can help move you along. 

SOME THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A WORKSHOP

1. Experienced teachers who have been shooting for many years, ten minimum years is a pretty ideal number in my mind, and who have FULL portfolios that show solid, consistent work. If in doubt, ask them for full galleries of work. A website gallery or Instagram feed is not a good way to judge anyone's work. 

2. A range of technical topics being covered that you're interested in learning, and a list of them on the workshop website.

3. Testimonials from other attendees (unless of course it's the first workshop).

4. A leader who answers all your questions and communicates clearly about what will be happening at the workshop

WARNING SIGNS THAT A WORKSHOP PROBABLY WON'T MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS

1. The workshop is only about one person who promises vaguely to teach you to be just like them and there is little to no info on the workshop website, or there is no workshop website at all.

2. The teacher or teachers have very few years of experience. Lots of Instagram followers does not equate actual experience and skill!

3. A heavy emphasis on styled shoots rather than technical knowledge. This is the number one thing that I see happening right now, and the countless testimonies of disappointment are coming from people who attend workshops because of the styled shoot promises.

4. There are no testimonies from previous attendees, or there are bad testimonies from previous attendees. If you don't see testimonies on the website, ask for them. 

-Sarah Collier, Founder