Peggy Farren interviews workshop leader and photographer Joe Fitzpatrick. Joe gives us tips on how to choose and what to expect from a good photo workshop. Thanks for tuning into episode #76 of The Understand Photography Show!
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Understand Photography General Notes
Florida’s Forgotton Coast – Apalachicola area April 16-20, 2018 – sign up for the waiting list!
Photo Workshops – All You Need to Know with Joe Fitzpatrick
What’s the difference between a photo workshop and a photo tour?
Photo workshop: A group educational experience designed to improve your photography skills.
Smaller group with personal attention/coaching from the instructor/leader
Learning in a field environment – not a classroom
Photo tour: taken to a place with great opportunities for pictures, but you’re basically on your own.
Choosing a workshop
1. Where do you want to go? Choose someplace that interests you.
2. What skills do you want to improve?
3. What do you want to learn while you’re there?
4. Is it appropriate for your skill level?
Most workshops can accommodate any skill level as long as the student:instructor ratio is low enough for personal attention.
– 10 to 15 participants to 1 instructor is more of a TOUR – can’t give personal instruction time.
5. Look at the photos associated with the trip from the website to give you an idea of the opportunities you can expect.
– Make sure the photos were taken in the same season as your planned trip
– Landscapes can change dramatically in color and substance depending on time of year.
“A couple of months can make a huge difference in the type of photograph you can capture.”
6. Is the leader/instructor experienced? Look him/her up online. How long have they been leading trips? Are they well recommended?
– Name recognition is not a good way to choose a workshop; just because they are well recognized for their pictures does not make them a good instructor.
– Listen/watch them on YouTube or a podcast – see if their teaching style and personality is a good fit for you. Are they too technical? Not technical enough? Effective communicator?
– Be aware of leaders that are more interested in accumulating photos for their own portfolio. Some may wander off to do their own thing and leave the group behind.
– Ask for recommendations from people who have attended workshops before. Make sure to ask specific questions: Did he give participants personal attention? Did you feel you got the photos you wanted from this trip? Most people don’t know it was a bad experience until they’ve got a good one to compare it to.
“The key to the whole thing is having the right instructor.”
7. Ask questions before you sign the dotted line. Know what you’re getting for your money.
– What is included? meals, tips, accommodations, airport transportation
– What conditions can be expected? accommodations, terrain, amount of walking/hiking involved
– What equipment/gear should you bring?
– Is this an established business? Do they have the proper liability insurance? Permits?
Preparing for a Workshop
1. Get in shape. If the workshop involves hiking and walking up hills or stairs and you’re out of shape, you won’t enjoy it and you may hold back the other participants. Remember, you’ll be walking with the added weight of all of your gear! (sometimes you’ll be out from before dawn until sunset)
2. Know the basics of exposure.
3. Be familiar with your camera.
– never take a new piece of equipment on a trip/workshop
– take the manual with you (paper or digital copy) – if there is a problem, it will help both you and your instructor to solve it
4. Always bring a backup camera – even if it’s a point and shoot.
5. Bring extra memory cards, chargers, cables, card reader, laptop*
* make sure your software is up to date, especially if processing is part of the instruction
6. Check rules for passports/visas/inoculations
– some countries now require at least 6 months remaining before expiration
7. Research the location to see what photo opportunities MAY be available – be sure to ask the instructor about any specific locations/shots you are interested in.
– Wandering away from the group.
Stick to your instructor like glue. You’re here to get a great learning experience.
Ask questions. You should be coming home with great pictures AND knowledge.
– New hiking boots/shoes.
If your feet hurt, you will be miserable. Have time to break in your footwear before you go.
– Avoid distractions.
Put your phone away! Focus on what you’re learning.
See you next week for episode 77!
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