Early in my career, I have attended various workshops in order to make sure I am up to date with my skill set as well as to get inspiration and see how perhaps others are tackling photography, even now once in a while I enjoy visiting conventions and workshops.
I have to say that without doing the proper research, I landed on some pretty bad workshops. I decided to write this blog to give you food for thought before you select your next workshop adventure.
Here are the negatives I have experienced:
- Wanting to walk out because the instructor turns out to not know as much as I hoped for or just not willing to share knowledge (but I paid way too much money)
- Walking out because of inaccurate description
- Walking out because the instructor is trying to sell me gadgets
I came up with a list of criteria that I believe will help you make an educated decision, so you do not end up wasting your money and time.
1.The instructor’s background and body of work
When you are browsing through the internet, looking for an interesting workshops, and you find one you think you like, its important to research the instructor and his work in depth.
Things to consider:
- How long has the photographer been in business?
- What kind of recognitions does the photographer have? Make sure they are from a reputable and tasteful institution. There are many big institutions out there offering awards and recognitions to their members but the overall bar is not high enough in terms of quality.
- Is the photographer’s work consistent in style and quality?
- Reviews: reviews are tricky. First of all, many websites will remove bad reviews because they are paid to do so, second, you really don't know the level of experience and understanding of the person giving the review or their progress after the workshop. That being said: google! Its pretty good!
- Think about the style of the photographer too: is it something you want to learn, could you apply it to your own work?
- Consider what will be taught- for example: if you want to learn camera fundamentals but the class you are looking at is about light and editing, its probably best to consider that class at a later stage as most likely camera fundamentals will not be covered so extensively
- Research what has the instructor commented or said in the past, it will give you an idea of who they are and what they stand for
- Pay attention to the equipment the instructor is using. Professionals use top gear in terms of camera, lens and lights. If the instructor is teaching the workshop using cheap equipment- that is a strange thing and you should question the instructors own knowledge
In my experience, the less an instructor knows, the bigger their ego and unwillingness to share information, which defeats the whole purpose of a workshop.
Armchair philosophy time: when I say EGO I mean the kind born from insecurity and fear “ I will show everyone how amazing I am” but in fact that person deep inside knows they are not so amazing. There is good EGO ,I believe, that EGO helps the individual succeed and make their mark in the world.
2. Inaccurate description
- Pay attention to the description of the workshop, terms and conditions (they may be listed separately), cancelling policies - professionals always have these described well as it is a common practice in the industry. Since you will be receiving an intangible good, professional photographers will have these in detail.
3. Workshop trying to sell you on gadgets
- Do not think that a “cheap” workshop and a “costly” one designed to teach the same thing are the same. In my experience, the more expensive the workshop, the less likely it is that the instructor will be desperate to sell you on products from their sponsors or affiliates. Rest assured that the lower the fee for a workshop, it is mostly designed to advertise a new product and “teach” you around that.
In conclusion, find an instructor that is not only experienced and with a consistent body of work but also passionate about sharing knowledge and educating others.
Art is a reflection of what is happening in our lives.
As I just launched my revamped website, I had a tough time deciding what should my first blog post be about.
One thing is sure, do not expect some literature masterpiece as this blog is really just a professional diary of some sort.
Its purpose is not to get tangled in sophisticated language and armchair philosophies, but to share my experiences as a photographer, my successes and challenges, as well as tips and inspirations for all level photographers and hobbyists.
If you want to know a bit about me you probably already visited http://samirasabulis.com/about-the-artist-samira/ and http://samirasabulis.com/samira-sabulis-photography-achievements/ pages.
However, there is a lot there that was omitted so to keep the focus on my current projects and work. Because of that, I decided that my first blog post should be a kind of introduction of who am I , what is my experience, what am I doing now and perhaps why?
Where it all began
I picked up a camera 10 years ago, my first works were landscapes and buildings, I did some events and candid photography as well until I became fascinated with fine art nudes.
Through a woman’s eye, my fine art nude work has always been filled with emotion, sensitivity and play of shadows. I have done many exhibits in Washington DC as well as Europe, the profits from those exhibits have always been donated to non for profit organizations I believe in within the USA as well as India.
While pursuing my passion for fine art photography, I worked as a freelancer in the fashion and beauty field of photography and I had a lot of my work in print magazines and newspapers. My work has taken me to many states within the USA as well as parts of Europe and Asia. The range of clients I had is wide, from private collectors, small and big brands to magazines and model agencies.
It is not a secret that for few years I took a break from photography as I ended up as the CEO of a Tech Startup. The workload was pretty intense and I was very pleased that I had an opportunity to exit the company and take a break to figure out what I want to do next.
Of course it didn't take me long to go back to my true passion - art. I dont want to sound redundant, so if you want to find out why I decided to pursue children’s fine art portraits, please watch the short documentary about my art produced by Aphyre here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF8O3l0xC3g&t=7s
The new style I adopted is highly influenced by my never dying love for the world of old masters paintings. This new style I adopted, helps me tune into the inner child that loved to get lost in museums and art books. I combine this love with modern technology and therefore the result is photographs that look like paintings.
I said I will not bother my readers with armchair philosophy but here is what I want to leave you with and it sounds a bit like that:
Art is a reflection of what is happening in our lives.
It has changed over the past centuries drastically and evolved into a mixture of styles and genres. The new generation is interested in seeing a ballet production with elements of video or incorporating jazz with stand up comedy.
Nowadays art is intertwined in different ways giving birth to a new era of styles by blending classicism and modernism.
Similarly, my work incorporates the old painting style with photography where both can happily coexist.
Sony’s latest announcements include the new World Photography Awards environmental category, opportunities for youth photographers and new grant recipients
Sony’s 2020 World Photography Awards mark the introduction of a new Environment category to its professional competition. The competition seeks entries from artists working within the fields of fine art photography and photojournalism, with submitted photographs addressing environmental concerns to promote discussion and change.