Newbies in the world of photography are often unaware of beneficial workshops, seminars and talks, let alone understand the importance of attending them.
A Source of Many Things
Workshops? Seminars? Talks? Courses? Regardless of how the session was classified – it always involves a speaker (the person) and quite often involves a demo or even a hands-on session if the circumstances permits. To reduce confusion, I’ll stick to the generalize term “WORKSHOP” as much as I can.
In the end, workshops are a source of many things. A source of new knowledge, experience, understanding, inspiration and ideas.
To Pay or Not To Pay
These sessions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, literally. It could be as small as having a small corner with less than 10 people, up to a hotel ballroom with more than 300 people.
Here are some photography workshops that I’ve attended in the past 4 months or so (Yes, I attended some of the beginner classes just to write this article!)
A Talk on Photography at Saito College
I’ll skip the part on what SAITO is about, you can read all about them on their website. 🙂
I came to know that Saito had organized session to introduce young people to photography, I thought I’d check it out and see what they have to offer. Of course, I was seated among a group of young people, I think half of them were about half my age. 😛 Bringing out my photography gear right smack in the center of the classroom would’ve distracted all the attendees, so I decided not to do so. Besides, I wouldn’t want to offend the speaker as well.
Here’s a glimpse of the hands-on session for flash photography. It was right after the short talk on the various aspects of photography.
Saito also arranged a session where the attendees were introduced to photoshop.
Here’s a video of one of the photoshop sessions that were conducted that day.
Talks organized by schools and colleges are quite common nowadays, just keep your eyes peeled and you’re bound to come by one.
Canon’s EOS Academy
Canon is a major player in Malaysia’s photography scene so it’s not surprising that they have workshops for Canon users. Check out their available workshops at the EOS Academy website.
The one I attended was about Flash Photography. I couldn’t make it to the Sports Photography that was held on another weekend though.
It’s pretty much like the Saito workshop, it’s just that this one isn’t FREE (but thanks a lot Canon, for allowing me an entry to experience the talk) and attendees are mainly adults. The attendees were also given opportunity to try their skills on the setup done by the speaker ( and not to forget, to use the 5D Mark II with an L lens that I can’t remember the model. I think it was an 85mm f1.2 ).
Here’s a video of what went on that day.
Ok, so the Canon workshop is only for Canon users. Fine, if you’re a Sony user then you could always check with Sony for the workshops. I remember that they did provide workshops for anyone who bought the Alpha range of camera but I’m not sure if the free workshops are still available.
As for Nikon users, I’m not sure if they provide any workshops but Nikon has a very active academy supporting them that organizes plenty of workshops. The Nikonian Academy is NOT from Nikon, just to make it clear.
Joe McNally / Louis Pang – Let There Be Light
Earlier this year, I also attended the Let There Be Light seminar – organized by Wedshooter.tv.
It cost me RM 380 but it was worth the visit, just to hear Louis’ sharing on his “guerilla lighting” while Joe shows us the various light placements and what effect it achieved. Admittedly I got a little bored along the way during the trial and error stages but the ideas behind everything was an eye opener. 🙂
No videos for this event as the organizers had requested us not to do so. Anyway, the event was huge so there’s no hands-on session.
Food Photography by fotographiaworks
This one caused an RM 350 dent in my wallet but just as the other workshop, it proved to be an experience worth paying for. PLUS I also do get to sample some of the food we shot. 😀
No videos for this session. Just didn’t feel like doing any video on it. 🙂 For this session, there were only about 8 of us. Chua gave a quick talk by showing the sample photos and lighting setup, then proceeded to show us his post processing techniques. After that, it was a hands on session for all of us.
Here’s what I snapped for the day. 😀
The workshop was conducted by Chua fotographiaworks, you can check out their list of workshops at fotographiaworks’ website.
I didn’t get to attend as I had other activities going on but from what I read so far – the Got Mojo? seminar was great! It isn’t cheap – going at a whopping RM 850 for the weekend but that’s not to say it’s not value for money because it is! Especially from the host of speakers lined up.
Choose Your Workshop
There’s not a need to attend every single workshop, class, seminar, talk or whatever that’s available. Workshops tend to overlap over various areas but surely there will be new things to pick up. So here’s what you should do.
First – decide which one suits you. If you’re not into flash photography, why attend unless you’re just intending to widen your understand or explore new territories? My take is that you should just attend what interests you most, if you like portraiture photography then find one that teaches you how to shoot portraiture. As for the “attending what I’m not interested” part, feel free to do so when you have nothing else to attend.
Secondly – decide whether it’s worth paying for. Some are free while others could cost you thousands. Again, it depends on how you look at it. If you’re just doing it for fun, then it doesn’t make sense to pay RM 3,000 just to listen to a pro and not do anything about it. On the other hand if your intention is to go pro really soon – then paying even RM 5,000 isn’t an issue, especially if you consider the learning process is tremendously sped up.
🙂 For beginners, just attend the beginner workshops. They’re cheaper too. Expensive workshops are not without reason behind them, they’re catered for people who are already advanced in their understanding of photography. For newbies, they’ll probably just get lost.
Imagine a person who barely understands what an aperture is, sitting in a room where the pros talks about strobing with multiple flashes using varying power ratio, coupled with gels, light direction add-ons and having the lights triggered with radio frequency – it’s just information overload.
Remember : Instead of splashing your $$$$ on gears, perhaps you should consider allocating some to workshops. Photography skills, knowledge and understand play a bigger role than gears.