Whenever I announce or talk about a landscape photography workshop I’m doing, I inevitably see messages that knock workshops like that. They talk about how they’re just a bunch of people lined up to take the same exact photo. They go on to say there’s no creativity, and that you just pay people to basically get you to the right place and set up your tripod in the right spot to grab a good photo, and that’s it. Now, I’m not bit on feeding internet trolls, but I’ve also seen people who I think would benefit from a workshop like this, get turned of by it because of what they read. So I wanted to write about some reasons I think landscape (and even photo workshops in general) can really help. As you read below, #3 is really the big one to me.
Side Note: Now, you may think this is a ploy of mine to set you up to attend one of my landscape workshops. I wish it was 🙂 I’m only scheduled to teach one this year and it’s full already, so this really is more about the value I see in workshops like this. I’ve seen so many people grow at workshops, that I think it’s important (if you’re on the fence) to consider some ways they can really help you.
3 Reasons Why I Think Workshops Can Be Awesome for People
1) Friends & Camaraderie
I’ve met some awesome friends on landscape workshops. You have to imagine that you’re with these people for 3-4 days straight. You wake up at ungodly hours, go shooting, eat together, keep each other awake while you’re driving to locations, etc… It’s a great way to really get to know people and I know many lifelong friendships that have come out of landscape photography workshops.
2) Safety in Numbers
Many of you reading this have no problem getting up early, driving in the dark to a location to shoot. Hiking/walking (in the dark again) to that location, alone, and shooting. Or shooting sunset and walking back in the dark, alone to your car. Maybe you know the area, maybe you don’t, but you feel comfortable enough to do that on your own. If you’re one of those people, awesome! Just understand that a vast majority of the people that want to enjoy landscape photography aren’t. They may not know the area, they may not be great with a map, or they may not feel safe being alone at some of these places. Take my mom as an example. Her newfound interest in photography at the age of 70 is great. However, I wouldn’t feel right telling her to go off on her own at some of the places that I’ve ventured off on my own to. There’s safety in numbers, and there’s something to be said for having a guide when you’re in a new place to show you around.
This is probably the biggest one to me. The best way I can explain this is to compare it to some one learning guitar (I played for many years). When people learn the guitar the first thing they want to do is imitate their favorite song. For me it was Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train (the Randy Rhoads Tribute edition back in 1987). That’s the song that got me wanting to play the guitar in the first place. Well, when we learn to play, we learn songs and imitate them. The better we get, the more songs we learn and the better we can play them. And when this takes place… when we learn these songs… we gain confidence. The confidence to conquer maybe a harder song than we ever thought ourselves capable of. Each time we’re successful we gain more confidence. And when we’re more confident about our skills in something, we tend to improve at a faster rate because we spend less time worrying if we’re really doing it right, and more time on just doing it.
Learning landscape photography is similar to me. And that’s why I love getting people out to workshops. Because they get themselves in front of great places, and with a little instruction, they’re able to take great looking photos. Now, did they find the spot, and are they the first person to take some of these photos? Probably not. But that’s not the point. By finding out that we can take a great photo, we gain confidence.
So that’s why I think landscape photo workshops are great for people. I love seeing people get excited about their photos. And a setting like that is probably one of the safest, easiest and most affordable ways to do it.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the only workshop I’m teaching at this year is sold out, so I’m not really even pitching anything. I do have a friend, Jeff Schultz from Alaska Photo Treks, who’s putting on a workshop in Denali that looks freakin’ amazing (Jeff is supposed to be THE guy for Denali). I’m thinking of joining him this year or next year, so if you’re interested (like ready to commit interested, because these fill up really quick), leave me a comment and we’ll see if we can make the schedules work.
Have a good one!