With all the wonderful photographic opportunities out there, it can be difficult to decide WHICH event to choose. But regardless of whether you are saving up for that once-in-a-lifetime photo trip or seeking something a little closer to home, BEWARE! Not all photography workshops are created equally. Price or location alone is not a good determination of fit for you and your creative goals. Too often we’ve heard feedback from participants about workshops that didn’t meet their needs or expectations. We’ve set out where we are coming from in terms of how we select, design and operate our photography workshops, and we hope this information will help you evaluate whether an oopoomoo workshop is for you!
Booking on Celebrity Factor
Have you ever attended an instructional photography event only to discover the photographic leader was more intent on his or her own photographic opportunities than assisting you, the paying client, with yours?
It’s tempting to book a workshop based simply on how much we admire the photographs of the photographer leading the workshop. But just because someone can photograph, doesn’t mean they can teach. Doing something very well is not the same as being able to communicate how such a thing is done. It also doesn’t mean that such photo ‘instructors’ give a rat’s hiney about you and your artistic needs and goals.
We think an entitled attitude from a photography instructor is just wrong. It pains us to hear from our workshop participants that other photographers charge exorbitant fees for sub-par instruction. No one is keeping that photographer from shooting on his or her own time, and the priority in a photography workshop should be quality leadership and friendly guidance. In short, your fearless leader should truly care about you and your learning. THAT is the hallmark of a good teacher and a basic prerequisite to hanging out the workshop shingle.
Booking for Value
In selling real estate, there’s a common saying: location, location, location. An equivalent for photography workshops should be: value, value, value. It’s a simple question, really. For the money you paid, do you feel that you received fair value for what you got? It’s a contextual question, which is why you can’t make the decision based on price alone. Good questions to ask yourself are:
Is it a tour or a workshop?
We moved from a tour format to a workshop format not because we didn’t want to do tours anymore but because we found again and again that our clients wanted more interaction with us and our knowledge of photography and the locations. In short, if you are booking a workshop, your instructor’s priority should be on helping you with your shots. During a photo tour, usually you hire a guide whose job is to show you locations where you can make your own great images. This isn’t to say during a workshop a photo leader never makes an image (having someone constantly at your shoulder is also extremely annoying), but his or her camera should be put down immediately if someone has a question.
What’s included in the cost?
Are there other costs not factored into the price listed? Often photography workshops seem cheap because there are ‘extras’ not listed, such as some meals, lodging, taxes and fees. Carefully add up all costs associated with a workshop before coming at a final price. Research comparable workshops to evaluate the market listing of the workshop.
Do I know what to expect?
Hopefully, the workshop is described in enough detail that you know what topics will be covered, what photographic opportunities await, when and how to pay, how many are attending, where you will be shooting etc. Additional info that should be available either at the listing or after registration includes how the event will unfold, any safety concerns or risks, what gear and clothing to bring and what (if any) follow up happens afterward. You shouldn’t have to ask for these details.
Booking for Fun
We admit it. We photograph rubber chickens. (Sometimes, they accompany us to our workshops.) Participants have also been known to photograph the chickens. While the subject matter of an image can be heart-rending, the act of image-making is enjoyable. You should have fun with your instructors and your fellow shooters during a workshop. Our policy is: life is too short not to play with rubber chickens.
A good workshop should:
- be client-focused: it’s about you and your creative goals
- leave you feeling you achieved value for your investment
- be professionally conducted throughout
- be taught by qualified teachers who truly care about you and furthering your artistic goals
- facilitate contact with your instructors before, during and after the workshop
- take out the guess-work: look for clear descriptions of the event, clear policies on payment, refunds, cancellations etc., clear communication with you through the booking procedure, during the workshop and afterwards with follow up
Why an oopoomoo Workshop?
Here at oopoomoo, we’ve always been passionate about sharing our joy of photography with other shooters. From featuring inspiring photography on our oopoomoo blog to sharing participants’ images from the workshops, our creative outlet is photography but our focus is photography education.
But in the end, what we are most proud of is the achievements of our students. We are humbled and in awe of what our workshop participants share and show during oopoomoo workshops and beyond. Our core belief is the foundational need and value in nurturing our clients’ unique perspectives on the world. The world does not need another drone. It does need you, and all you can frame up with your camera.
Why an oopoomoo workshop? Because we hope you have the same goal of discovering and improving your own photographic voice!