When we look at the category of photographic workshops we have a lot of different opportunities and choices. This section of the photography world can cover everything from a class that lasts an hour or two to a more detailed course that covers several sessions.
In addition the workshops can be schools taught by the same instructors with students changing from year to year or programs like the Santa Fe Workshops in New Mexico that draws some of the same instructors and some new leaders every year. Of course, one of the main things that draws people to this particular set of workshops is the natural beauty of the area.
Small class sizes are essential!
It's also important to find photographic workshops that offer the technical training and guidance the student needs. Small class sizes are essential.
That's part of the attraction to Yes, I Shot That Photography Workshops for example. Groups are usually limited to six people or less to give the instructor and student more one-on-one time.
If we choose a week-long session we should expect to be exposed to the technical knowledge of a seasoned professional. This instruction might include advanced camera techniques, photo manipulation on computer and a detailed study of light and its uses.
Most of the top workshops offer a program that is a blend of art and science. Of course we can find workshops for the beginner and amateur that will help anyone produce better holiday/vacation pictures. There is much to be gained from a brief session like this. But even in these limited courses the student should receive what he or she pays for.
"How do we know that attendance at the workshop has been worth the investment of time and money?"
Photos we produce during and after the classes should be measurably better than what we produced prior to attendance. Most workshops will provide this measurable improvement, using specific steps in a carefully crafted training pattern.
Perhaps the best way to learn about photographic workshops and what they offer is to look at some of the subjects and themes presented in various programs around the world.
Students may travel to Southern California for a chance to capture the beauty of mountains and deserts.
Those who have a desire to experience Italy might choose a workshop that stretches over several days in and around Siena, Italy. Tuscany is a great drawing card for photographers of all skill levels.
Vineyard with a castle in Tuscany, Italy
Southern France is a popular destination for travel and a great site for a workshop. Here we can capture the essence of small villages and experience the culture of rural markets.
Midwest Photography Workshops has sessions that take small groups of students to sites in the United States and in other countries. The choices range from novice classes to advanced techniques on photo safari.
If these extensive photo/travel sessions are beyond our means we can always improve our skills with evening classes. Most of these programs last about six weeks, with attendance once per week for two or three hours.
Weekend workshops include studio and on-site time, with sessions lasting about six hours on Saturday and six hours on Sunday. This type of program offers an intensive learning atmosphere for vast improvement in a short time.
Costs can range from less than $100 for a one-time session to several thousand dollars for extensive travel workshops. Subjects and themes include:
Most of these workshops are one-week programs.
Instructors usually have decades of experience in real-world photography and combine this with a knack for passing knowledge and skills on to willing students. For example, Summit Photography Workshops range from basic photography skills to specialized programs for advanced students.
Field sessions are a special time for students to get a true feel for what a professional photographer does. The transition from film to digital has also become a key item in the curriculum.
No matter which level we choose in photographic workshops, the experience will be memorable.