Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Get The Most From A Workshop
What to look for and what to expect from a photography workshop
There’s no question that you’ll get the most from a workshop if you go into it with the right attitude. Expect to learn, and let the leader know your needs before and during the workshop. Adds Adams Clark, “Is there a special shot you want? Do you want to return from the trip with a special skill? Do you have dietary or medical requirements that the leader should know about? Let the leader know your expectations ahead of time.”
Do a little homework before the workshop. Google the area prior to leaving and learn something about it. Go to your library or bookstore and learn more. Says Jim Clark, “If you’re going to a national park or national wildlife refuge, check out their websites to learn about the natural history of the land, to view a map of areas that you’ll visit and to receive updates on what’s happening there. You can also ask about specific locations you’ll be at during the workshop and for a list of optional locations to consider before and after.”
Ask questions. As a workshop leader, I get frustrated when I find out at the end of the class that people had questions that were unanswered because they never asked them. As my wife and I quickly discovered when we first got married, human beings aren’t very good at mind reading. Never be afraid to ask questions. A good workshop leader welcomes questions and wants to help you get answers to them.
Adams Clark agrees, “Engage the leader. You paid for the leader’s time and expertise, so make the most of the experience.”
Drager of BetterPhoto.com says, “Stay close to the workshop leader when you’re out in the field! Keep the instructor within easy access during field sessions, so you can ask questions, and also listen in on discussions between the instructor and other attendees. But for all workshops, ask questions.”
Drager also notes that when your workshop includes critiques, you can learn a lot from critiques of others’ work. “The natural tendency is to think only in terms of your own images,” he says. “You can often learn as much from the leader’s critiques of your classmates’ work as you can from feedback on your own.”
Finally, remember that a workshop is your time with photography and away from the stresses of everyday life. Says Fortney, “Come ready to learn, relax and have fun. Take a vacation from the responsibilities of home and work, so that you can soak in all the efforts to help you learn during the workshop.”
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