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How To Choose A Photography Class Or Workshop

How To Choose A Photography Class Or Workshop

While DPS is a great place to learn about photography at your own pace, many want an in-person instructor to bounce around questions and concepts. Someone to lead a path through the basics and advanced topics of photography. For those looking for a local photography class or workshop, here are some questions and topics to think about before making a commitment.

Write Out What You Want To Learn

Before picking up a syllabus or starting your search on the internet, make a list of what you want to learn. If you’re just starting out, it’s ok if the list is short and you are unsure of what’s out there to learn. I started out the same way a long time ago, just wanting to learn about the basic concept of proper exposure and not even thinking about other ideas like multiple exposures, creative use of blur and model posing. There is so much out there to learn don’t expect to list it all.
Also don’t be concerned about getting terms and concepts correct. A list may look like:

  • No more blurry pictures
  • Understand why some photos are too dark
  • Improve composition
  • Learn how to select a new lens

It’s also important to know how much time you have to commit. Workshops are typically shorter in length; one to three days on average. A class will typically last over several weeks with each session lasting a couple of hours, often on weeknights to fit into work schedules.

Start Searching

Chances are the internet is one of the first places you will start your search. ‘ Photography Workshop or Class’ will get you started for local options, but not all classes are well indexed by search engines. Don’t forget to check around for local photography clubs who may be offering a class for non-members. Community colleges and local trade schools will also have options which may not show in results so it may be necessary to check their individual websites. Also don’t discount word of mouth; ask around to friends and family and let them know you are looking.

Check The Syllabus

Now that you know what you are interested in learning, it’s time to match up with a class or workshop. Find a syllabus, or listing of what the class will offer, on the class’ website and see if the highlighted points cover what you are interested in. Many classes will list the level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) as a means of helping get started with the right offering. If you find your list straddles two classes, my advice is to pick the lower leveled class first to ensure a solid foundation before tackling the higher level class. Some of the content may be repetitive for you, but it is best to make sure you have the basics down cold before moving on to more complex topics.

Review The Instructors Photos And Feedback

Lastly, take a look at the instructor’s photos if you can track them down. While it is not required for an instructor to be widely published (admitting that it doesn’t hurt, especially if the class is geared towards the business of photography) it is important to know if they can produce well exposed images with which you connect.

As well as the photos, of course check to see if the instructor has any reviews of the course from previous students. They will be your best bet to know if the instructor is a great photographer, but maybe not the best communicator, or the other way around. Ideally an instructor will score well with the technical and artistic aspects of class work as well possessing the ability to communicate in a manner to deliver that content in a compelling manner.

Getting involved in a local photography workshop or class is a great way to get hands-on instruction to expand your understanding in companion with the posts you will find here at DPS.

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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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