To Workshop or Not…That is The Question!
In my travels throughout the state and around the country one of the questions that seems to be a common thread with many people that I meet is the question “what about workshops”? That question is followed up quickly with questions like “Do they really work”? “Is it really worth it for me to go”? “Do you teach any”? “Do you still go to them”? And the answer to all of these is a resounding YES!!!
We started our business in January of 2005 and really struggled our first year. Then we started attending workshops in February of 2006 and have not looked back….And our business has grown by leaps and bounds. I remember the very first workshop we attended was in Chicago and it was with Bambi Cantrell and Jerry Ghionis. That workshop was a major turning point in my photographic career. Jerry and Bambi (two of the best wedding photographers in the world in my opinion) were there giving away everything. Teaching it all from A to Z in both the art side as well as the business side of photography.
There are so many valuable things to be gained by going to workshops. One obvious aspect is the knowledge that you will gain about our profession. The second is the amount of networking that can be done. It is so amazing to meet different people from around the states or over seas and to find that they are going through the same things that you are. You will meet people that have gone through what you are currently going through who will be able to help you or give you invaluable advice. In turn, you may also meet people that are going through something that you have been through and you will have an amazing opportunity to be able to guide them through their struggles.
Workshops give you such an great opportunity to grow as an artist. What better place to make mistakes? This is not the place you want to go to and see “how good am I compared to (fill in the blank)”? Workshops are not a place for egos. Workshops are the places you want to go to get out of your comfort zone…to try new things…to practice and polish your art.
You have to know going in that there will be people there that are better than you and people that are not as good as you. Good or bad…better or worse…It is all relative. There are things of course to learn from a veteran photographer…but there can also be just as much to learn from someone just starting out.
At Schrader Photography we actually just got back from teaching a 3.5 days workshop on Mackinaw Island. And going off of what I have already said about workshops….Teaching them can be just as scary as attending them. One of the things which scared me was that I had a veteran Master photographer attending. Now talk about pressure…I was thinking…”what is a guy that has only been shooting for four years going to teach a Master photographer”? The amazing thing is….I did teach him. It was so cool to watch him get out of his comfort zone….with his shooting style, his method of shooting and even his approach with the subject. It was really cool when just this week I received a phone call from him telling me how proud I would be of him with using the techniques he learned at my workshop. That was truly an overwhelming and humbling phone call.
So the question again is…To workshop or not? I can not think of one negative thing to say about doing workshops. Yes they cost money, yes they take time, yes we are in a down economy…But now more then ever our skills need to be at their peak. I will say that if you are currently not doing any workshops…I would highly recommend you start looking into them. Even if it is only one or two a year. I think you will be amazed at the impact it will have on you not only as a photographer but also as a person.
Until next time…