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Are you looking to book a photography workshop or photography expedition?
You love to travel and you’re excited about your new camera and you want to learn to create some amazing landscape images. What a perfect opportunity to try out a photography workshop! I teach photo workshops with www.JansenPhotoExpeditions.com, and in this article, I will give you an idea what to look for when you are considering taking a photography workshop.
What to Expect
Photography workshops take you to the best places to shoot, and most importantly, an experienced guide will get you to the right place, at the right time, in the right light. In the best photography expedition, you will have experienced professionals helping you with composition and camera settings.
Where do you want to go?
There are many destinations that have become popular photography workshop locations. You need to
decide ahead of time what kind of experience you want to have. Do you want a small group environment traveling to an uncongested natural area? What about the size of the workshop? Do you want a photography workshop where there is a low ratio of students to pros or do you want to be one in a group of 30? I would strongly suggest the small group experience.
Small exclusive groups will give you the most bang for you buck. You will have the opportunity to work closely with your workshop leader(s) and be able to easily move from location to location as well as develop a camaraderie with your fellow attendees.
Consider the time of year you are going. Is this location famous for some natural phenomenon? Like our Iceland in the winter workshop for example. You can’t go there in the summer and see the Aurora Borealis.
What type of instruction to expect
There are different types of workshops and be clear what you will be getting when you sign up. Some workshops just take you to the location and leave you to your devices to figure out how to shoot it. Our workshops give you a more hands on approach, giving you the type of feedback you are looking for or leave you to be creative and come back to help when you need it.
Be ready for early mornings and late evenings depending on the time of year. The best light for a photography workshop is always early morning and late afternoon. Depending on the location and weather, sometimes a sunset or sunrise photo shoot isn’t possible, so be flexible. In our workshop, it the weather or conditions are bad, we will offer instruction on photo editing programs or find another location as an alternative.
Part of a great photography workshop is instructors who will not only help you with the basic settings on your camera, but will also help you with creative concepts and help you with intentions for your shot. Only an experienced photography teacher can give you that type of instruction.
How to prepare
Know the basic functions of your camera. You need to know things like how do the menu functions work, what type of exposure metering will you use and how many focus point do you have? Bring your camera’s manual with you, or better yet, download your manual to your smart phone so you always have it and it won’t take up space in your camera bag.
Get a list of lenses and camera equipment from your workshop leader. Think about whether you will be shooting on the street where you would need an inconspicuous 50mm lens, or in a landscape environment where you might need a variety of lenses from wide angle to a telephoto to capture the scene.
Think of what your subject matter is going to be and bring appropriate lenses. If you don’t own the right equipment, you don’t always have to go out and buy it. There are a lot of rental options through companies like LensRentals.com
Be sure you have a STURDY tripod – the key word here is sturdy. I can’t tell you how many people have shown up at workshops with a beautiful $2000 camera and a flimsy $50 tripod. This will not hold your expensive camera or be sturdy enough to produce the results you want. If you don’t know what to get, ask us or your photography workshop instructor for recommendations.
Be sure your hotel is close to the workshop. If you have to meet the group at 6am in the morning, it would be much preferable to take a 10 ride than a 45 minute ride. Again, ask us our your workshop instructor for recommendations and be sure to book early.
Be open to new ideas – that’s why you came to the workshop. Listen to what the pro has to say. You might think you have a good handle on your photographic technique, but you never know, you might pick up a few gems that will help you become a better photographer.
Every pro photographer has a different work flow and by shooting with a pro, you can be exposed to their shooting method and how they get those great shots. At Jansen Photo Expeditions, both my husband and myself teach and we each have a different approach to landscape photography. By being exposed to different techniques, it only helps a student to see options.
Be ready to make new friends
On our workshops, our small groups often create a camaraderie of like-minded creative individuals. That’s part of the whole photography workshop experience. If you prefer to not be social, that is fine, you are welcome to shoot on your own or option for a private workshop.
Many clients are focused on just one thing, to capture that overdone iconic landscape shot. But you may be bypassing some stellar opportunities. Look for unanticipated moments and creative opportunities when you are on a workshop. If you are focused on the landscape, what if an interesting macro shot presents itself? Bring your camera bag with you and be ready to change lenses and explore other opportunities.
I like to explore locations using a variety of lenses and options. I usually start out wide and move in closer and eventually use my telephoto.
One thing you don’t want to forget to bring is your excitement and passion. You will have a whole lot of fun, learn a lot, and go home with an incredible amount of quality imagery to add to your collection.