A Guest Post by Eva Polak.
Attending a photography workshop is the best way to learn new skills. Not only will it improve your technique and expand your knowledge, it will also expose you to a range of interesting subjects to shoot and give you an opportunity to meet and have fun with like-minded people.
Whether you decide to go on a tour or a workshop, following these few simple guidelines will help you to get the most out of your experience.
Define your goals
Think about why you want to attend and what you would like to get out of the workshop. Make sure the workshop matches your interests and skills. Be realistic. Even the most intense workshop can’t teach you everything you will ever need to know about photography.
Choose the right location for you
If you like to photograph nature, a workshop in a attractive location would be a good choice. Not only will you get the kind of images you like, but you will also meet people who prefer the type of photography that you do.
Do your homework
Prepare a list of the most important questions you’d like answered while you are at the workshop. It’s easier to forget things when you are rushed or excited.
Ask the instructor about any specific recommendations that will help you to prepare for the particular subject to be covered. The more you can learn before the workshop the more you will get out of it.
Check your equipment
Make sure that your equipment is in a good working order. There is nothing worse than being in the field and having your equipment malfunction.
Ensure that you have spare batteries and enough disk space.
Know how to operate your equipment
If you read your camera or other equipment manual in advance of the workshop and practice until you feel confident about how to use it, you can spend your workshop time doing what you really want to do – learning to take great photos!
During the workshop
Be an active participant
Work hard to get the most out of your time. Take your own initiative.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your teacher is there to assist you. If you are not comfortable asking in the group ask your instructor in private.
Don’t immediately expect to make great photographs
Use this time to practice using new techniques and experimenting rather than trying to produce great photos. Great photography is about being there at the right time and that may not coincide with the timing of the workshop.
Be open to suggestions
Participate in each exercise fully and enthusiastically. Accept feedback with an open mind. The instructor may see some problems with your technique and approach and is there to help you. The purpose in going to a workshop is to expose yourself to new ideas.. Try it, it might work and you might like it. It’s all about an attitude.
Share your experiences and connect with others
You may learn as much from other students as you do from the instructor. Participate in discussions, share information and your own experience. Listen to the advice being given to others. Pick up as much as you can.
After the workshop
Reflect upon your workshop experience
Take time to reflect upon your workshop experience. Did you accomplish your goals? If not, why not? What would you do differently next time? Write all this down so you don’t forget it. Learn from your mistakes.
Follow your instructor’s recommendations
Practicing new techniques, approaches, or ways of thinking could be a crucial element to the success of your workshop experience.
Extend the learning
Obtain additional information about how you can reinforce what you leaned in the workshop.
Keep in touch with your instructor and fellow participants.
You may develop some great friendships along the way.
Eva Polak is a fine art photographer based in Auckland who specializes in impressionist photography. Author of two books “At the beach” and “Impressionist Photography Techniques” – visit her site at www.evapolak.com.