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Photographer
scott lanes
Posts: 420
Salem, Massachusetts, US


its no secret that I run workshops at my studio, and I have seen inexperienced photographers learn some basics, but what do you experienced photographers get out of attending workshops? Are you looking for random tips and tricks or do you just see it as an inexpensive way to get to shoot a model with lights?
Jan 02 13 06:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,284
Upland, California, US


scott lanes wrote:
its no secret that I run workshops at my studio, and I have seen inexperienced photographers learn some basics, but what do you experienced photographers get out of attending workshops? Are you looking for random tips and tricks or do you just see it as an inexpensive way to get to shoot a model with lights?

If all you are teaching is truly 'the basics'... and they already have loads of experience in what you're instructing... then you're probably not teaching them much.  In fact you may be able to learn alittle somethin from them... wink

Jan 02 13 07:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hank Shiffman
Posts: 368
Mountain View, California, US


I get to watch other photographers operate.  That gives me ideas to try, and others to avoid.  I may learn a lighting technique, or see a style of interaction with a model.  I may get inspired, or just may vary my technique in a way I wouldn't do on my own.  And yes, it's cheaper than hiring a new-to-me model on my own, which is nice.
Jan 02 13 07:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,438
Paris, Île-de-France, France


Interesting and important question.

When I was first starting, it was easy to learn a lot at any seminar. As I went up the learning curve, the seminars I saw were fewer details to be gleaned but they were the important ones.

I hadn't done any seminars that I was allowed to shoot at but have given these seminars before.

I found it was mixed between those wanting tips and those wanting just to shoot without information.

I will be giving my first seminar on advanced lighting this month in Madrid. i'll have a lot of learning to do just on how to give the clients their desired information demands.
Jan 02 13 07:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Works Photography
Posts: 2,890
Orlando, Florida, US


An opportunity to watch others and get any tips. I just sign up for one but had to admit I did it more for the models. 4 gorgeous models to shoot with under one roof its worth  ($50) which is cheap comparing to all the risks and troubles of booking. I prefer someone to do it for me.
Jan 02 13 08:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
photo212grapher
Posts: 1,538
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Lighting. How do you go about lighting a subject? If I see in your portfolio images that make me wonder how you lit it, then I am more likely to attend a workshop. If I can determine the lighting, or a reasonable estimate, I'll pass most of the time.

I'm still in search of the instructor who can set up his standard lighting, and then explain every little adjustment objectively. I still hear from many, "It just looks better there." The that seem to give that objective answer point to a spot on the LCD that I see nothing different flipping back and forth. Clearly, they are seeing something I am not.
Jan 02 13 08:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BlueMoonPics
Posts: 3,877
New York, New York, US


I attended a couple of workshops more than a year ago and mainly did it for the models.  I wasn't getting enough responses to my pm's to get my portfolio rolling so I opted to pay for a group shoot.  Most of the models there were in lingerie which is not the direction I wanted my portfolio to take but I booked just the same.  I did manage to get some great shots with the models.  I went with a plan of shots that I wanted to take.  Any other things I learned was just gravy.

These are some of the lovely models I met and shot at the group shootout...
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/111026/19/4ea8bcef474a0_m.jpg http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120512/19/4faf15d65024b_m.jpg http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120221/07/4f43bb34ecc99_m.jpg http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120928/06/5065a74958dcb_m.jpg
Jan 02 13 08:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leighthenubian
Posts: 2,736
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


scott lanes wrote:
its no secret that I run workshops at my studio, and I have seen inexperienced photographers learn some basics, but what do you experienced photographers get out of attending workshops? Are you looking for random tips and tricks or do you just see it as an inexpensive way to get to shoot a model with lights?

It used to be lighting and instruction of models..after awhile i noticed it was just a bunch of guys who wanted to point their lens at pretty women without care to whatever else was being offered.

Outside of learning the basics initially, there wasn't much benefit after the second or third workshop.

Now I find most "experienced" photographers offering workshops purely as a money making venture. They teach very little..and it doesn't matter because few are there to really learn anything.

Jan 02 13 08:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chris David Photography
Posts: 409
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


I been taught by 9 different photographers since I've started in 2000 and have also assisted another at running his more then a few years ago.
Every photographer has learned a different way of doing things with some being much more useful and efficient then what we may have been taught prior. Early on there's plenty of useful things to learn but later on as we develop our own skills further that amount greatly reduces and the more helpful workshops would be ones specializing in areas that don't really shoot too often. Last time I was overseas I found an institute that had workshops in food styling & photography for commercial/advertising which I would have attended if had more time.
When it comes to finding a cheap way to shoot models with lights I think most experienced shooters would probably find/cast their own models and experiment on location - indoors or out either with strobist gear or cheap studio gear. Inexperienced shooters that struggle finding models might opt for workshops aside from learning some new skills.
Jan 02 13 08:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AgX
Posts: 1,187
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US


I’ve only attended one workshop, because it was held by a photographer whose specific lighting style was something that I wanted exposure (ha!) to. The particular models were professional and great to work with, but were somewhat secondary to my main objective.
Jan 02 13 08:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


I usually attend for the model connections ... but as of late ... way too many scams from meetup groups spinning BS about models participating ... get there and it's nothing but sasquatches ... arrrrrghhhh ... gimme my money back ...
Jan 02 13 08:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


Are we talking about instructional seminars and workshops? Or are we talking about group shoots?

The former are great and there's always something to pick up depending on the level.

Group shoots, where there's a group of photographers shooting a group of models and rotating around, with each photographer trying to usurp certain models...are a complete clusterfuck. Granted, I've only attended one and that was many years ago...but I felt like I was attending a general admission Grateful Dead concert in the 80's.
Jan 02 13 08:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
In Balance Photography
Posts: 3,370
Boston, Massachusetts, US


It's not the latter for me. I go to seminars to acquire knowledge - and definitely not random.
Jan 02 13 08:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
3934
Posts: 569
Phoenix, Arizona, US


The SmugMug user groups around here tend to have some pretty informative monthly meetings and meetups.
Jan 02 13 08:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Works Photography
Posts: 2,890
Orlando, Florida, US


Hero Foto wrote:
I usually attend for the model connections ... but as of late ... way too many scams from meetup groups spinning BS about models participating ... get there and it's nothing but sasquatches ... arrrrrghhhh ... gimme my money back ...

They probably got female sasquatches off the Oregon woods. My experience is different smile

Jan 02 13 09:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mickle Design Werks
Posts: 5,949
Washington, District of Columbia, US


I agree, an important question that needs to be asked by anyone considering workshops and seminars.

Just for clarification, I think some terms need to be defined so that people aren't confused about the terms.  To my thinking:

seminar - an topic or overall objective is explored in a lecture/presentation format. Some audience participation may be expected for demonstration or questions.

workshop - part lecture, part vocational activity. Instruction is given but lot of the focus is learn by doing.

shoot-out - organized photo shoot where participants are given a specific shoot opportunities with particular Models or sets.

meet ups - loosely organized events where you can network or set up ad-hocs shoots.

Seminars give the best bang for the buck if you want to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Workshops offer the most practical way to learn something specific for craftsmanship like lighting, retouching, posing.
Jan 02 13 09:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


it's hard to tell sometimes from the back of the camera. especially if it's in-studio they can shoot into a TV via HDMI or tethered into a computer (or review them on a computer later) so people can see what's happening and maybe there is a subtle difference you can't see on the LCD.

photo212grapher wrote:
I'm still in search of the instructor who can set up his standard lighting, and then explain every little adjustment objectively. I still hear from many, "It just looks better there." The that seem to give that objective answer point to a spot on the LCD that I see nothing different flipping back and forth. Clearly, they are seeing something I am not.

Jan 02 13 09:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


to me a talking head seminar is really boring. reminds of all those classes in college where i fell asleep.

i'd much rather that they be showing me something vs. just talking about it. for instance lindsay adler has one on kelby where's she's in a park working with a model and trying different things and showing the results. to me that's so much better than just throwing up some powerpoint slides.

to me the best ones are a mix of them telling, showing and then letting me practice what i've learned with their guidance.

Mickle Design Werks wrote:
Seminars give the best bang for the buck if you want to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Jan 02 13 09:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,438
Paris, Île-de-France, France


twoharts wrote:
to me a talking head seminar is really boring. reminds of all those classes in college where i fell asleep.

i'd much rather that they be showing me something vs. just talking about it. for instance lindsay adler has one on kelby where's she's in a park working with a model and trying different things and showing the results. to me that's so much better than just throwing up some powerpoint slides.

to me the best ones are a mix of them telling, showing and then letting me practice what i've learned with their guidance.


I always thought seminars have demonstrations. I know I will, we have a great studio, models mu hair styling, the same stuff I would have on my shoots. I agree if it was just talking for technique it would be boring.

For me no better way than seeing in real time, with a very sharp explanation of why.

Jan 02 13 09:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Neil Snape wrote:

I always thought seminars have demonstrations. I know I will, we have a great studio, models mu hair styling, the same stuff I would have on my shoots. I agree if it was just talking for technique it would be boring.

For me no better way than seeing in real time, with a very sharp explanation of why.

And when and where is this seminar you are giving Neil? smile

Jan 02 13 09:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BTHPhoto
Posts: 6,756
Fairbanks, Alaska, US


twoharts wrote:
to me the best ones are a mix of them telling, showing and then letting me practice what i've learned with their guidance.

The U.S. Army figured out long ago that was the best way to teach, especially when it's delivered with a command voice:

TODAY, YOU WILL RECEIVE AN EXPLANATION, DEMONSTRATION, AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION IN [insert task of the day].

Jan 02 13 09:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,438
Paris, Île-de-France, France


Drew Smith Photography wrote:

And when and where is this seminar you are giving Neil? smile

Madrid the 25th of January.  Just the first, I plan on taking this much further.

Jan 02 13 09:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Pixsrbious Productions
Posts: 90
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:
Are we talking about instructional seminars and workshops? Or are we talking about group shoots?

The former are great and there's always something to pick up depending on the level.

Group shoots, where there's a group of photographers shooting a group of models and rotating around, with each photographer trying to usurp certain models...are a complete clusterfuck. Granted, I've only attended one and that was many years ago...but I felt like I was attending a general admission Grateful Dead concert in the 80's.

+++

It's all about the light...  There is lighting for every level of photographer...have them move the light, get them involved with adding and subtracting light.... I've learned more about light by giving a class than taking one.   The creative part they'll have to figure out on their own.

Jan 02 13 10:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhotoEclat
Posts: 195
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland


I did a workshop with Paolo Roversi in Arles, now that was an experience.
Painting with light.
Jan 02 13 10:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Jewett
Posts: 2,428
al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia


At this point, I'll only take a workshop from a huge name.  I do this to ask very, very specific questions.
Jan 02 13 10:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Coyote Creations NW
Posts: 131
Vancouver, Washington, US


Obviously varies by where you are.  There are two well run meet up groups in my area.  One is simply a group shoot opportunity with 2 to 1 photographer/model ratio.  Other has a teaching theme like balancing strobes with ambient light, lecture, demonstration followed by some time to try out the concepts.  Useful if trying out something new.  Then biggest benefit, after two or three workshops you've worked with 6 or 8 models.  They all know each other, so you have access to most of the local, active models by referral. Beats CL and MM casting calls hands down. Like the sign says " your results may vary"
Jan 02 13 08:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,520
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


I have to say, between the 'sasquatch' and the 'greatful dead' comments I got my money's worth from this thread.  you guys should charge for it.
I've considered giving workshops but all the negative comments I've seen here are not new to me. I've heard them all before.  Marketing into that negative seems like an awful lot of work for small return.  I admire those that can do it.
Jan 02 13 08:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SKITA Studios
Posts: 1,563
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Neil Snape wrote:
For me no better way than seeing in real time, with a very sharp explanation of why.

This, if it's a workshop w/ an experienced instructor.  It's harder to find one that'll take you to the next level though...most don't do this well :-P

The group paparazzi shoots I totally abhor.  I end up watching people interact instead of shooting w/ people shooting over my shoulder...

Jan 02 13 08:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rich Arnold Photography
Posts: 938
Los Angeles, California, US


Neil Snape wrote:

Madrid the 25th of January.  Just the first, I plan on taking this much further.

Much, much further, I hope. smile

Jan 02 13 09:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Vintagevista
Posts: 10,560
Sun City, California, US


Mostly a chance to interact with some llamas participating in them - trying to figure out if we work together well - she if they are somebody I'd like to work with on an ongoing basis.

I figure if a llama is fun and interesting - in an environment as stressful as a lot of these groups shoots are - she would be a joy to work with on an individual basis.

So far - it's worked pretty well.
Jan 02 13 10:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Vector One Photography
Posts: 2,588
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


Many years ago I did three workshops and they were all disasters as far as I was concerned. One was run by a very well known and well respected workshop school.  I have to admit that because of my experience level the learning curve is high for me. And that may be the problem, the workshops/seminars/lectures/etc usually are not rated based on experience levels.  Other than the Maine Photographic Workshops, I don't remember any others restricting enrollment based on experience.

And just so you know, the major problem besides the experience level is once the models were being employed it turned in to a free for all.  In my first workshop there were five models and twenty-three photographers and at one point eighteen photographers were shooting one model... the one with the biggest breasts.
Jan 03 13 06:08 am  Link  Quote 
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