Monday 21 May 2018

Workshops and building a portfolio

What do people think of photography workshops? 

A group of photographers, a model and an instructor. I must admit I have only been on one. I did come away knowing I liked and wanted to pursue the portrait genre. But there was also frustration. It must be said there are probably two types of these workshops; teaching a skill or process, and a portfolio builder. This one, I now realise was the later. That was probably the problem. 

I have watched workshops on line, and they seem to follow the same route. The photographers stand around and then take turns photographing the model. All very quick and little connection made with the model. There isn't time to explore different angles and poses. You have to have a more forceful personality them mine to almost ignore the queue and take your time. 

I came away with pictures I liked, but they were very similar to the other participants results. Maybe now I would take charge more, but I'm not sure I would do another workshop like this one aimed at building a portfolio. 

My advice if you are starting out would be a model studio day. Pick a good studio and model though. You get assistance if you need it from the studio team and the model. You are able to just experiment with no pressure from the next photographer. When you get more confident, hire a good model and studio or shoot at their home or on location if you have a smaller budget. I learnt a lot this way from trial and error and from the model.

I am now looking for the second type of workshop; teaching a skill. I want to start wedding photography. I'm looking for more than just pictures for my portfolio; I need to plan the day, optimise the workflow to produce the finished pictures, and to learn how to run a business. 

This type of workshop seems to be more difficult to find. I attended one, unfortunately it left me with more questions than answers. I tried beforehand to detail what I wanted, and the photographer had a style and business I thought I could learn from. I guess ultimately the skill of teaching is more difficult to asses.

I'm not criticising anyone who provides workshops, just noting that for me they haven't really worked. I may attend some in the future, but I need to be sure they will provide me with the experience I am looking for. I think maybe I need to define that more clearly first.

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