October 23, 2018 4 Comments
Ask any self-taught photography professional what they wish they had done when they were starting out, and the answer is sure to be “I wish I had of paid for a workshop where someone could tell me all the secrets in a few days instead of trying to figure them out myself over years”.
As photography and travel become more and more accessible for budding professionals, photography workshops have been on the rise with photographers of all levels looking to get involved. These workshops are a great way to travel to those dream destinations you’ve always wanted to visit aided by professionals sharing their secrets and surrounded by other people who geek out at photography just as much as you do. This scenario is a cooking pot for success and the quickest way for you to level up your photography game, did we mention it is also a hell of a lot of fun?
Photographers around the world are seeking out workshops to both advance their career and indulge in a learning-focused holiday. With so many overwhelming options popping up every month, it can be tricky to narrow down the workshops that are best for you. Here are our tips for selecting the perfect photography workshop for you.
Obviously, you want to learn how to shoot the things you love to shoot. So First and foremost, keep in mind that while yes, you’re going to be learning and growing professionally, this is also a once in a lifetime chance to see and photograph your dream locations. Having guidance to shoot iconic locations or to discover hidden treasures is invaluable.
Secondly, who are you learning from? We hate to say it but there are many “professional photographers” with huge audiences on Instagram, and whilst they may take outstanding images can they really share their knowledge with you in a way that you understand and works with your style?
So with all that said these are some of our top picks for workshops, guided by outstanding professional photography guides.
Who hasn’t dreamed of photographing Antarctica, a place that is the pinnacle of pure, remote scenery and hearty exploration? Antarctica workshops are usually run from a ship, so a great workshop should come complete with teams of pro photographers, expedition leaders and naturists to provide instruction, information, and guidance through your trip. This is your chance to photograph diverse wildlife and incredible polar landscapes.
Muench Workshops provide an amazing workshop to Antarctica run from their own boat, which allows for maximum shore landings and photography opportunities. Their 11 day all inclusive expedition includes all of the above professional tutors, focuses on learning, optimising the time behind the lens, and exploring less known locations to get unique images of an unexplored land.
For winter photographers, Antarctica is a must do.
Quebec - Iles-de-la-Madeleine Photography Workshops
For those wanting to explore the snowy landscapes of the northern hemisphere, perhaps look into workshops photographing the Magdalen Islands. The Magdalen Islands are part of the province of Quebec so it’s a great option for photographers looking to do a bit of urban winter photography as well as remote landscape and wildlife photography. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Harp Seals migrate to the ice floes around the Magdalen Islands to give birth. Being able to photograph the immense herd of young whitecoats in their natural wintry habitat is truly unique.
Denis Palanque runs an 8-day workshop to the Magdalen Islands in March. The trip includes photographing Old Montreal before taking a private helicopter trip to the pack ice to observe and photograph the wildlife.
Grand Canyon Photography Workshops
The Grand Canyon is one of those places that never cease to amaze. Located in Arizona, USA, this national park shows nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history. Known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape, this national park is a photographer’s dream. Because of the remoteness of the Grand Canyon, light pollution is next to none, making it an ideal place for lovers of night photography.
National Parks at Night offers a 6-day workshop in the Grand Canyon. As with all National Parks at Night Passport Series workshops, they will teach at this location only once. If you have a dream of making epic long exposures at night at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, This workshop is truly a unique opportunity to photograph this famous spot.
Budapest Photography Workshops
For those looking to capture historic cities, you can’t go wrong with a workshop in Budapest. Budapest is a great option for photographers looking to incorporate historical stories into their visual storytelling. You’ll learn tips and tricks of photographing architecture and cityscapes while learning how to thoughtfully compose your urban images. Ragis Reizen is a Belgium workshop operation that offers a 5 day Master Class for photographers interested in fine art, architecture and city photography. This is a great option for photographers looking to improve their urban images.
New Zealand Photography Workshops
Photos by Nico Babot
Mystical fiords, pristine beaches, glacier-carved mountains, dense fern forests, crystal clear lakes. It’s hard to find a country that has it all but New Zealand gets pretty close. The South Island of New Zealand is a landscape photographer’s dream from the stunning grandeur of Milford Sound to the soaring peaks of Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, there’s truly something for everyone.
Joshua Cripps offers a 12 day New Zealand photo tour and workshop providing photographers of all levels opportunities on an epic scale. The workshops are intentionally kept small, limited to 8 participants so you don’t have to worry about being lost in the crowd. All instruction on this tour takes place in-the-field in amazing locations and is relaxed, constructive, and personal.
The focus is placed on understanding your camera’s settings in order to break into new creative realms. There is a strong emphasis on producing striking and powerful compositions, as well as telling a story with your photos. In addition, the workshop will discuss aspects of post-processing and digital workflow.
This is a great workshop for photographers who want to learn it all.
Lofoten Norway Photography Workshops:
Of course, we can’t leave this list without mentioning our beloved Norway. The Lofoten Islandsis a dream location for those interested in night and Arctic photography. Located at the 68th and 69th parallels north of the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, this archipelago consists of seven principal islands and has a population of only 24,000. The natural beauty of this incredible landscape allows photographers endless possibilities for exploring colorful fiords, jagged mountain peaks, and unique beaches.
For those wanting to chase the Northern Lights, a clear night will provide ample opportunity to get your dream shot of the Aurora borealis. Lofoten Tours offers an 8-day arctic adventure capturing images that you´ll hang on your wall for a lifetime, from red house fishing villages in front of jagged peaks, to Northern lights dancing over dramatic landscapes. You´ll leave this magical place with your return trip already booked.
Some workshops will require you to be at a certain level already before registering for the workshops. Many will expect you to be fully comfortable shooting in manual mode so you can easily manipulate your camera settings. Double check the requirements of any workshop you’re requiring and if you don’t meet the standards, figure out if you’ll be able to learn by the workshop start date or if you need to consider a more generalized workshop first.
Many workshops pride themselves on taking participants to remote and relatively untouched locations. This often translates into harsher, less protected environments. Make sure you have the layers and clothing you need to keep warm. The last thing you want to do is have to bail on the workshop to head inside and warm up. As a totally unbiased and neutral tip, kit yourself out with some Vallerret Photography Gloves. Nothing will kill your momentum like having to shove your hands in your armpits to warm up. Our gloves will maximize the time you spend outside shooting.
Workshops are, after all, entirely focused on learning and improving. Keep in mind you’re returning to the student/classroom dynamic which is going to require you to both give and receive constructive criticism. If you want to get your money’s worth from the workshop, be as open to criticism as possible. After all, you are paying these workshops to make you better so the more open-minded you can be, the more you’ll get out of it.
Have you ever participated in a photography workshop? Where did you go? What was your biggest takeaway?
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