Tell you what:
The photography industry is competitive. With thousands of aspiring photographers wanting a place in it, working your way to the top will be a little challenging. But I’m not saying it’s totally impossible.
They always say there are a lot of ways on how you can improve both your photography skills and your odds in getting the best place in the industry at the same time. Photography school, workshops, online courses, just to name a few of them.
But, are all these really worth your time and investment? Let’s find out.
Are Photography Workshops Worth It?
First things first:
Just what exactly are photography workshops? And how different are they from getting a degree in photography?
Well, the obvious answer is that workshops tend to be short-term, whereas enrolling in formal photography school might mean spending two to four years for a degree.
So, should you really participate in workshops?
That totally depends on you.
If your purpose in attending seminars is to broaden your skill set and knowledge about the craft, then it totally is worth your while. On the other hand, if you are attending just for the sake of having that piece of certificate at the end of the program, then I would hardly recommend it.
The Pros and Cons of Photography Workshops
Let’s face it:
We can go on and on debating whether it’s good to attend workshops or not, and honestly, we would not reach a conclusion. You see, it has it’s own set of good and drawbacks. Bottom line is, you have to weigh it out based on your personal preference.
Let’s start with the good stuff.
This is the best thing you can get out of a photography workshop. If you’re in it after the knowledge and information you will get, then you don’t need to physically attend one. You can do some research online and it will give you all the info that you need.
Actual seminars on the other hand, gives you something you can’t get while reading and researching: experience. After all, it’s your experience as a photographer that will matter in the end.
By attending workshops, you will be able to participate in discussions, have the chance to listen to experts advice, tips and their own personal experience.
That’s one way of keeping you motivated and inspired to work on your craft, honestly.
You’re not going to be alone attending a seminar (unless you hire a speaker to teach you one on one).
On the contrary, you will be with bunch of like minded people who wants to get better at photography. Through this, you certainly can meet new people with diverse viewpoints and cultures, and you will most likely become friends with them, especially if the workshop lasts for a couple of days.
This is a great avenue for you to widen your social network.
You can never go wrong with having a lot of friends with the same interests as yours. It would even make your journey all the more merrier since you get to have some people to share your ups and downs in this industry.
Sometimes, we tend to lose focus on our craft, and that is totally normal. And one effective way in gaining that back is by listening to someone who had actually been in your shoe in the past.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find it comforting to hear inspirational success stories from someone you look up to. It just makes you want to do more and explore more about the industry as a whole.
It gives you a sense of assurance that everything is going to work out well if you just put in all the effort that you can give for your passion.
And this is the reality of most workshops.
It’s never the technical information that makes you motivated at the end of the program. It’s the speaker’s words of wisdom, personal experiences, and inspirational stories which will make you more determined.
We all know that nothing is perfect, even seminars like these. So here are some set of (not so major) drawbacks that will make you think twice about attending one.
Real talk, photography workshops are quite pricey especially if the speakers are really popular (much so well known in the international scene). The fee can sometimes reach as much as $2,000. That’s enough to purchase a new high-end camera body!
(But then again, a new gear can’t even compare to the experience you will gain from that workshop).
- Speaker may not be your cup of tea
They say the amount of wisdom you get from a training depends so much on the speaker, and I believe that’s true. If the host is good enough in sending you motivation and keeping you focused for the entire duration of the program, then that’s definitely saying something.
And just like any other training sessions, some parts can get extremely boring. It would be nice if your speaker knows how to break the ice during those moments. But what if they don’t?
You see, not all popular and successful photographers have the ability to be a resource speaker. With that said, you should be careful in choosing whose workshops to attend and whose to avoid.
So there you have it. Now, you can decide for yourself whether it’s good to attend a photography workshop or not.
And if you ever decide to join one, I’ve got a few tips for you down below.
Choosing The Right Photography Workshop
Since it involves monetary investment, you should think twice which seminars to attend, unless it’s required by your job or career (I guess that leaves you with no choice).
So here are some tips for you to keep in mind before signing up for a workshop.
Of course, this should be your number one consideration. Contemplate on how much you are willing to spend for a particular training and when you see one, check whether it meets your budget.
- Choose your instructor wisely
The good thing about workshops is that it allows you to know who your instructors will be. If you don’t know much about him, then you can do some research online. Look for reviews particularly about other trainings this person have conducted.
Through that, you’ll have an idea what to expect. If in case you don’t like what you found out, then you can just skip that training and look for another one.
As much as it sounds trivial, these two are quite important factors that you have to consider too. The venue for the workshop will affect your overall experience.
Keep in mind that the location should be accessible on your end. It really wouldn’t make sense to attend one when you’re required to fly out of the country and just sit there for an 8-hour training, would it?
So you see, I really can’t tell you if workshops are good for you or not.
Because in reality, it will all go back to what you really want and who you are as a photographer.
If you don’t feel like attending trainings with a large crowd, then subscribing to online classes or webinars might be better than going to an actual workshop.
Or if you feel like these short-term trainings wouldn’t really enhance your photography skills and want a formal degree, then you might want to consider enrolling in a formal university to study the craft in great focus.