How To Pick The Right Workshop For You

Every time you log into Facebook, you are likely bombarded with 100 new photographer workshops that are  "OPEN FOR REGISTRATION NOW!!!" Hey, Little Bellows was one of those posts that you either looked at and thought "oh cool maybe I'll check that out", or you thought "Ugh, another annoying workshop!" or maybe you just breezed by the post and went on with your life. 

This is not a post promoting the Little Bellows workshop. Registration is closed. Don't worry you are safe. :)

But this is a post to help you. Help you sift through the workshops that seem like they were thrown together by a photographer who has taken a lot of workshops him/herself in the last year and are now teaching (copying) everything they were taught to make money, and the workshops that are put on by professionals who are experts in their craft who genuinely want to help others succeed. Because there are a lot of workshops that fall under both of those categories unfortunately (or fortunately?).

There are 1 day, weekend, weekday, online, on location, PDF's, retreats, styled shoots, business focused, film, hybrid, luxury, beginner, advanced .... I could probably go on forever on the different kind of workshops out there. 

Ask yourself some questions to help you decide what kind to sign up for. 

What do you most want to get from a workshop?

Do you want to learn or get more confident with film? 
Do you want to network with other respected professionals?
Do you want more styled shoot looks for your portfolio?
Do you want to shoot at all?
Do you want to learn a new skill?
Do you want to meet a mentor?
Do you want personalized help with your website and/or portfolio?
Do you want a marketing plan and ideas on how to build your business?

How far do you want to travel?

Do you want to go to an awesome or exotic location you've never been?
Do you want to stay close to home?
Do you want to stay in your pajamas?
Do you have childcare to think about?

How much money are you comfortable spending?

Do you have a designated budget for education? 
Do you have cash to pay or do you have to use credit?
Will you be able to make back the money you spent quickly?

Who is the instructor?

*this one is important!
Are you drawn to their work? Why?
Is your style similar to theirs?
Do they work in the same genre or with the same medium?
How is their social media presence? Are they helpful? or are they a complainer?
How long have they been in business?
If a film shooter, how long have they been shooting film?
Have they recently (in the last year say) posted about a similar workshop they attended?
How many workshops have they done?

Photo taken at Yan Fam Way 2.0 in Marfa, TX (which was wonderful ;) )

Photo taken at Yan Fam Way 2.0 in Marfa, TX (which was wonderful ;) )

I'm not going to say which workshops I think are legit and not. That's not helpful. What I would spend my money on might not be the same thing you would find value in. I also tend to jump into things. And in the past have walked right into the "PDF ONE DAY SALE!!!" and wasted money on a bunch of junk that I either never read or that wasn't helpful to me.

I will say this. . . it is hard to be a good educator. You have to be able to know more than just photography. You have to know psychology, you have to know HOW to educate people, you have to have excellent speaking skills, writing skills, and people skills. It's not something just anyone could do or else there wouldn't be a teacher shortage in most states. Look into who the workshop teacher or writer is. Read their posts on social media going way back, get a feel for their voice and see if it's one you really want to learn from. With a little digging you might realize they aren't for you afterall.

You work hard for your money, and I want you to make the best decisions that will help you and your business grow leaps and bounds. Do your research, it will pay off in the end.