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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Preparing For A Photo Workshop


A workshop is an excellent way to improve your photography. When you’re well prepared, you’ll get the most out of the experience.

Labels: How-Toworkshops



This Article Features Photo Zoom

Sierra wave at sunset, Eastern Sierra, California. A good workshop leader will know what to expect from local weather conditions, and he or she will get the group perfectly placed to take advantage of phenomena like this.
Prepare Your Body
Photo workshops are hard work, and generally the harder you work, the better the return on your investment. So if you have any dietary, physical or personal limitations (such as a fear of heights), it’s best to notify your workshop leader in advance. He or she will be more than happy to offer alternatives that ensure your satisfaction without impacting the rest of the group.

While a workshop shouldn’t feel like boot camp, I generally get my groups in position 30 minutes before the “official” sunrise time and shoot through sunset (and sometimes after dark)—rain or shine. Even with a midday break this makes for a very long day. Factor in the walking or hiking to locations, all the time on your feet once you’re there, heavy gear, the thin air of high elevation, not to mention the wealth of information for your brain to process, and you can understand the physical and mental fatigue in store.

Though fun and great images are a wonderful antidote for fatigue, it doesn’t hurt to prepare your body and mind a bit. If you lead a fairly sedentary life, walking a mile or two a day for a week or two before your trip should be enough (unless your workshop leader has specifically advised you that more strenuous activities are in store). And if you require a certain amount of sleep or are a reluctant early riser, you may want to consider advance preparation for the new time zone. And break in those shoes!

Enjoy!
Before your workshop you’ll probably receive literature with everything you need to know. Read it thoroughly; more than once doesn’t hurt. If anything is missing or unclear, don’t be shy about asking. As a workshop leader, I promise it’s much better to answer a lot of questions in advance than it is to have a surprised or (heaven forbid) an unhappy workshop participant. Investing in just a little preparation time is the best way to get the most out of your workshop and to ensure that you return with images, skills, memories and friends that will last a lifetime.

Camera Gear To Bring
By The Editors

While your individual workshop leader will have some advice about what camera gear to bring for your specific workshop, there are a few essential items that are highly recommended to bring along.

1 Camera Body. This is obvious. If it’s a new camera, get to know it before the workshop. Go out and shoot. Work through the modes and menus. You won’t be stymied like Hart’s erstwhile sunset shooter.
2 Lenses. A basic three-zoom kit will serve you well for most shooting. A macro lens is always a good choice because even if the weather conditions are bad, you can almost always find good macro subjects.
3 Filters. You can do a lot in Photoshop, but nothing beats getting the shot right when you hit the shutter button. Plus, having filters helps you learn in the field.
4 Tripod. There’s no substitute for a tripod for getting tack-sharp pictures. At a workshop, the tripod is also a key learning tool because your instructor can help you set up a composition and lock it down so you can see exactly what he or she saw.
5 Flash Or LED Panel. You’ll be amazed at how much a little fill light can add to some photographs. These items are small and light, and they make a big difference.

When it comes to gear, you don’t need to have a car full of every photo gadget known to man. Talk to your workshop leader before you go for his or her recommendations and think about these suggested essentials. You’ll get a lot more out of the workshop.

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