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Workshops

Photography workshops are one of the most important things to attend in order to continue your education as a professional photographer. The ability to gain new skills from the best and brightest in the field plus make invaluable contacts from all over the country (and the world!) is essential for the longevity of your own business.

There are literally thousands of photography workshops that happen around the world each year. How do you choose one that’s right for you? Read on, because we’ve compiled a list of traits to look for and tips to help you when deciding on a photography workshop to attend.

Figure Out WHAT You Want to Learn

With the plethora of choices out there, it is important to first decide what type of workshop you are looking to attend. Are you wanting to do something more hands-on, such as a photo-tour or expedition? Or do you want to learn more technical skills? An editing class to help with your digital workflow? Or maybe you want something more focused, such as learning how to shoot macro, or increasing the sharpness of your photos. Whatever you decide, when you figure out what skill you are most looking to acquire or perfect, that will automatically narrow down your choices of workshops.

Make a List

Once you’ve narrowed down your focus, make a list of what you want to learn and the things you want to leave the workshop knowing. While the internet is a powerful tool, once you begin your search for a workshop it can be very overwhelming. Having that hand-written list of what is most important to you will help keep you on track. Writing down your goals will also give you an idea of how much time you need to commit to a workshop or class. Workshops typically span one to three days on average, while a class will last over several weeks or months, with each session being a couple of hours long. If you find that your list is getting long quickly, maybe enrolling in a long-term class would give you maximum benefit.

Start Your Search

Once again, the internet is an extremely powerful tool. Use it to get you started, but don’t limit yourself to it, especially because not all classes or workshops are well indexed by search engines. Check around for local photography clubs who may be offering a class for non-members. Check out websites for community colleges and local trade schools. Utilize your network! Ask around for recommendations, especially if you know someone in your same field or specialization or if you simply admire their skill or style. Know who the top dogs are in your field and check out their personal website to see if they are teaching any workshops.

Dig Deeper

Once you’ve selected a handful of classes or workshops that are interesting to you, start digging deeper on the class and instructor. Getting a copy of the syllabus is a given (so you can see exactly what the class covers) but here are some other things to think about when making your final decision:

  • How many students are allowed in the class? – Some workshops are smaller and more intimate, with less than 25 people. These types will give you more one-on-one time with the instructor for feedback and critiques of your work. Larger classes will provide more opportunities for group work and can be a good way to network and bounce ideas off each other.
  • How long as the instructor been teaching? Not to say that the instructors who have been teaching the longest are always better, but it does give you a good indication that they love what they do, and more importantly, love teaching.
  • What do past students say about the class/instructor? – We use reviews and feedback each and every day to make decisions, from what restaurant we should go to for dinner, to which dentist we should make an appointment with. A photography workshop is certainly no different! Seek out feedback from past students. Many instructors will post reviews or quotes on their websites when they are promoting a workshop or class, making that information pretty readily accessible.
  • What are the financial costs? – While most (if not all) of these classes certainly won’t be free, there are definitely multiple factors to consider when trying to get the most cost-benefit out of a workshop. First off – what’s included in the cost? Don’t make assumptions, especially if you are taking an expedition. Are textbooks or other materials included? Meals? Cabs from the airport to the hotel? Equipment? What about a refund policy if your plans should change?
  • What is the class structure like? – Some workshops are more structured and stick to a textbook very closely, while others are fluid and more flexible, allowing students to work in their own topics of interest. Additionally, some classes are lecture and presentation heavy, while others will be more hands-on and give students lots of time to play around and practice skills and get feedback from the instructor. Figure out which type is most appealing to you.
  • What happens after the class is over? – Once the class or workshop is over, is there any follow-up from the instructor? Are you able to ask questions at a later point in time once the information has sunk in and you are able to practice the skills on your own? Choosing a class with an instructor who is open to continued communication will not only build your network but facilitate learning long after the class is completed.

Ultimately, all the research on a class or instructor can only take you so far. What’s really important is that you take the opportunity (finances allowing) to learn in multiple types of settings and from a variety of teachers so that you can best determine what type of structure is right for you.

Are there any other tips you’ve discovered from attending workshops? We’d love to hear about them!

Here are some additional resources for choosing a great workshop:

How to Choose a Photography Class or Workshop

Choosing a Photography Workshop or Tour

How to Choose a Photography Workshop

Momenta Workshops offers a variety of workshops from one-day business skills seminars, to personalized multimedia training, to their popular Project Series: Working with Nonprofits workshops in collaboration with Leica Camera. By helping storytellers expand their skills, Momenta explores how to harness that passion into social change. The workshops seek to train attendees to witness the world in a new way and use their camera as a force of change.

Jamie Rose is Founding Partner and Director of Workshops for Momenta, which specializes in photography, video, and multimedia workshops around the globe. Prior to the founding of Momenta, Jamie worked as an international photojournalist on five continents, won awards and grants for her documentary photography, and was contracted with some of the world’s largest media and nonprofit organizations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Global Fund, and Doctors Without Borders, among others.

Q: Would you tell us about your upcoming workshops?

JR: The Momenta Workshops staff has wrapped up our 2014 year with our final workshop on business skills during the FotoDC festival, and our lineup for 2015 is going to be outstanding! If you are interested in nonprofit photography, we have two domestic workshops in 2015: Project New Orleans in April and Project San Francisco in September. Over the course of these five-day workshops, we assign each student to a different local nonprofit to create a photo or a multimedia piece about the organization’s mission. Project New Orleans fills up to capacity every year and is held in the most rollicking city in the US. This is the first year for our San Francisco workshop, and interest is very high for working with the city by the Bay. Additionally, if you want to get out of the country and work with international nonprofits next year, our two very special workshops overseas are Project Colombia and Project Sierra Leone. Each student will work with a deserving nonprofit and use their photography as a force of social change. Throughout the two-week workshop, students will have life-changing experiences, make powerful visual stories, and create connections with their subjects in foreign countries that will last for years to come. If you just want a quick boost of business skills, we recommend The Business of Nonprofit Photography one-day workshop series, where we explore the ins-and-outs of making money working for nonprofits. These workshops will take place at Leica stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2015. Finally, Leica sponsors all of our nonprofit workshops, one of the best perks of our Project Workshop Series. Students may check out a Leica camera to work on their nonprofit photo story. And truly, nothing beats the Leica M system for documentary coverage. Our students create beautiful photo stories with Leicas every year during these workshops.

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Project Uganda student Whitney Curtis – www.whitneycurtis.com 

 

Q: Are your workshops geared more toward being creative or improving one’s technical skills? Or both?
JR: I’d say both, plus one extra. Yes, we focus on storytelling and the creative process. However, many of our students are looking for a deeper learning experience with Momenta than just shooting tips. Many established professionals come on our workshops strictly for the one-on-one feedback during their daily, one-hour editing sessions with an instructor. They seek an environment where they can network with like-minded peers and dive into concepts with editors to help them find a fresh outlook on their work.

However, Momenta’s model doesn’t just stop at the creative and technical. We also have a series of lectures on building business skills necessary to work with nonprofits and be sustainable in today’s competitive marketplace. We want students to learn to be successful in both their craft and their business.



 

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Bali: Island of the Gods student Jessica Koscielniak – www.jessicakoscielniak.com

 

Q: What differentiates your workshops from others?
JR: We keep our workshops small with a personal touch and limit our workshops to less than 10 a year. We don’t have a desire to be a huge company with tons of products. We focus on quality documentary training in real-world situations with an outstanding team of instructors. By keeping our workshops limited to 15 or fewer attendees and as many as five instructors on our longer workshops, we maintain an intimate learning experience. We focus on each student’s individual goals during daily 1-on-1 editing sessions, instead of herding everyone into group edits. We balance this with nightly sessions that include discussions, slideshows, and presentations that help to bolster inspiration in a group atmosphere. At orientation, we tell our students, “It is your workshop.” And we mean it. Students and staff work together to craft each person’s experience for the best outcome for their goals. Our alumni will back up that statement. We have a very tight group of past students (many of whom return for multiple workshops) and they have coined themselves the Momenta Family. That network extends far beyond the last day of the workshop, and many have remained friends, shooting buddies, and even have reunions around the world. We pride ourselves in fostering community.



 

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Project Colombia instructor Charlotte Kesl – www.charlottekeslphoto.com/charlotte-kesl-photography

Q: I’d love to get a little background on why you host workshops and what you hope others will get out of them?


JR: In my personal work with Momenta Creative and as a journalist, I realized the visual needs of nonprofits are not effectively met in many communities. Likewise, we found visual storytellers were hungry to learn about how to shoot for a nonprofit. When we founded Momenta, we chose to focus the majority of our lineup on nonprofit photography training workshops and the public response has proven to be inspiring.

 Nonprofits can communicate their mission and entice donors more easily with custom photographs and video. Furthermore, these organizations have budgets, and many are willing to pay for beautifully-crafted visuals. This is not a market often explored by photographers. Our goal with these workshops is to open the nonprofit world to photographers who may not have realized it existed before, teach them the business skills necessary to work with these organizations and empower them to make thoughtful work that sparks dialogue. We also work with our nonprofit partners to help them realize and value the power of strong visuals.



 

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 Project India student Dana Pugh – www.danapugh.com

 

Q: What are some of the unexpected benefits one might get from attending these workshops?


JR: Three things: Inspirational instructors who are excellent mentors and coaches, extended lectures on developing business skills and a supportive alumni network after the workshop ends. I could add that we have a gang load lot of fun too, but that’s a given!

 

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Project India student Chuck Cecil – www.cecilimages.com

Q: What are the most important things for the attendees to realize when they participate in a workshop, to help them get the most out of the experience?


JR: Whether it’s a Momenta workshop or another company’s workshop, an open mind and good attitude is the key to a great experience. We encourage every student to get ready to put in long hours and have a willing approach for creative exploration. One of our founders, Seth Butler, encourages students to “embrace mindfulness” while on the workshop and when shooting in the field. That mindfulness can create great leaps with their work. A Momenta workshop is going to be an intense, exciting experience because students are packing a hefty amount of learning into a short amount of time. However, the payoffs are incredibly rewarding. We remind students to stop, breathe and take a moment to truly soak in the experience and allow themselves to be enlightened by it.



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Project India student Robert Dodge – www.robertdodge.com

Q: Was attending workshops instrumental to help you become the photographer that you are now? If so, how did they do that?
JR: 

I still attend workshops! I wouldn’t be where I am today without a commitment to my education, and that isn’t just defined by college. When I was starting out, I took weekend workshops, attended the Northern Short Course every year, and went to specific skills building seminars. The workshops I have attended in the past helped me to grow my knowledge base, network with other photographers, and learn new skills to further my career. Whether you attend a Momenta Workshop or any other learning experience out there, I would encourage photographers to make continuing education a priority every year. It’s a big world, and there are great learning experiences to be had.  We’d welcome any of your readers to join us on one of ours!

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Project India student Frank Rohrig – www.frankrohrig.com

To learn more about Momenta’s workshops line up, please visit www.momentaworkshops.com.

Networking is one of the most important things you can do for the success of your business as a photographer. The perks of a successful network range from learning from your peers, gaining referrals, collaborating to build portfolios, and even getting discounts on new gear. While networking may be one of the best things for your business, it isn’t always easy getting started. Let’s discuss some basic tips for successfully building your professional network.

Business Communication Duplicate model

Why?

Simply put, as a photographer you are your brand. And while you are selling your work, ultimately you are selling yourself. People want to work with awesome people – and networking is the best way to truly show off who you are and what you’re about in the most cost-effective way possible. Beyond that, networking gives you the opportunity to learn from each other. Whether you’re tipped off about a new gadget, or need advice about how to handle a certain situation with a client, exchanging ideas and information with people that do the same thing you do every day is extremely beneficial. Plus, not only can other photographers end up being a referral source, but working together truly does raise the bar for the photography industry as a whole.

How?

Go to seminars, conventions, and workshops. There is no better way to network than to physically be in a place surrounded by other photographers all learning together. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards and follow-up with those that you connected with afterward. Maybe call and invite them to grab a coffee, lunch, or drinks, or send them a handwritten note letting them know you enjoyed meeting them. Putting in the time and effort up front to develop these new relationships will pay off in spades later.

great meeting you

Perhaps the easiest and least-intimidating step of networking is connecting on social media. Figure out the photographers that you specifically want to target and start visiting and liking their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc, – but be genuine about it. Remember that you are working to build a meaningful relationship that will be mutually beneficial, and simply throwing a bunch of “likes” and comments on their content will probably not get you the outcome you are hoping for. Show that you can provide value and meaningful contribution and above all – showcase your personality!

Join online forums, groups, and discussions. Not only is this a great opportunity to learn, but you will have the ability to provide advice and knowledge on different topics. Bonus tip: many forums allow you to have a link in your signature, so make sure to take advantage of this and link back to your website or portfolio.

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Where?

Networking events can be tougher to find depending on where you live or if you are new to the industry, but here are some good first places to start:

  • MeetUp.com for industry get-togethers
  • Local Photography workshops
  • Local Professional Photographers of America (PPA) groups
  • Local business owner groups
  • Local artist groups
  • Facilitate a meet-up through social media and/or forum discussions

Much like a gym membership, when it comes to networking the best thing to remember is that you get out of it what you put into it. The more time you spend cultivating real relationships with people, the easier it will be to make new contacts and build your business.

Check out some more great resources on networking:

The Ultimate Guide for Photography Networking.

4 Reasons Why Networking is Critical to Going Pro

Social Networking for Photographers

5 Reasons Networking is Important for Photographers

Why It’s Important to Network with Other Photographers

Top Secrets to Better Networking

Posted in Business / Networking / Workshops

Interested in learning about sports photography from one of Sports Illustrated’s top photographers? Join Peter Read Miller April 13-19 in Denver, Colorado, and get access to a variety of action packed sports from mountain biking and college football, to high school basketball, and amateur boxing during this weeklong workshop.

PRM

In addition to capturing the action on the field, a portion of the workshop will be spent on learning how to shape the light in both studio and on-location, arena lighting with strobes, and the set-up and use of remote cameras.

For maximum learning potential, participants of this workshop have the opportunity for their work to be personally reviewed and critiqued by Peter each day at one of Denver’s top commercial photography studios.

PRM 1

What you will learn:

  • Techniques to capture action
  • How to use lighting and different angles for shooting various sports
  • The power of cropping & editing images to make them magazine cover-worthy
  • How to choose the best lenses for sports photography

What’s Included:

  • Canon and Dynalite gear loans
  • 6 days of instruction
  • Access to sporting events
  • Location & model fees
  • One on one portfolio review with Peter

Workshop fee: $1,995

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to turn good images into outstanding ones!


Learn more: www.peterreadmiller.com

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