Preparing for a successful workshop experience.
Oh, so many questions? Right?
When does a “Photography is Personal Workshop’ begin?
The answer to that is likely earlier than most expect, sometimes even before committing to join the workshop. A “Photography is Personal Workshop” begins by putting you on the road to enjoying a workshop that provides anticipated growth, by defining what growth means to you. To get to this point, we begin with an initial conversation (ideally on the telephone or in-person) that sets you on the road to recognizing what you want to (need to) learn.
This allows you and your workshop leader to be prepared, with a solid understanding of specifically what needs to happen for you to return a better photographer.
What do you want the result of your next workshop to be?
The answer doesn’t just roll off your tongue, does it? Still, it’s the most important question to answer before you embark on your next workshop . . . for both you and your workshop leader. Both need to know the answer if, at the end of the workshop. Either expect to find success. So, just cursory answers won’t due. And, the value of your answers is in the details if you and your workshop leader expect to see valuable growth in your ability to create meaningful photography.
Your “Photography is Personal Workshop” begins with this question in mind, so our first interaction is a conversation, sometimes more than one, with each workshop participant. This conversation is designed to provide both of us with a solid understanding of what we want to achieve with the workshop. And, while we are always hopeful of taking home some beautiful photography, the more important objective is taking home lasting skills and insight that will enhance each student’s ability to continue creating the photography they yearn for.
Some considerations for this initial conversation.
As already alluded to, if you are considering participation in a “Photography is Personal Workshop” your experience has already begun and your next step will impact the level of success. It’s worth the time and effort you put into getting prepared for this workshop because your preparation is the foundation upon which we’ll begin to build your future as a photographer.
Step 1 – It’s appropriate to think of a “Photography is Personal Workshop” as one leg of a journey of sorts, maybe even a pilgrimage. Successful completion rests heavily on two things:
- A well-defined objective or objectives, and,
- Planning and preparation.
While both planning and preparation rely heavily on some things that may not be apparent at the outset, they carry much of the burden of success even for those who have enjoyed previous experiences. So, let’s take a look at what planning needs to be completed for you to realize success in your “Photography is Personal Workshop” experience . . . or any other workshop for that matter.
We’ll begin by taking inventory, after a fashion. Seeing as the purpose of a “Photography is Personal Workshop” is added knowledge and photography skill it’s a great place to begin. If you find putting words to your thoughts difficult, take comfort in knowing this is not a writing test. We’re not interested in your essay writing abilities. In fact, it is likely no one will actually be reading your answers. Rather, they will serve you as a guide during our pre-workshop planning conversations. We just want to gain an understanding of your thoughts, experience, and goals.
It’s more important to understand that your careful, deliberately considered answers will be the underpinning of your workshop success and therefore are really important to creating the roadmap that will lead you to and through the milestones of this journey . . . to wherever or whatever defines success for you. So, take time to consider each question carefully and thoroughly . . . or more importantly, each answer. And, feel free to add questions of your own.
One more point. The order of these questions isn’t critical so you may want to read through them and jot answers quickly when they come to you. Then, come back and be prepared to do two things. 1) make notes and, 2) add thoughts to answers you wrote in your first run-through.
With a pencil and paper (or maybe a computer keyboard) let’s begin.
- Why are you a photographer?
- What kind of photography do you enjoy?
- What do you enjoy most about this kind of photography?
- What got you interested in your favorite photography?
- What do you like most about the photography you’ve created to date? In other words, what keeps you interested?
- What skills, if any, do you think are missing from your tool bag? What skills may be rusty?
- What is it about your photography that you’d like to improve? Be specific and include as much detail as possible. Why do you think these skills are rusty? What’s the impact of the rust?
- What makes a photograph meaningful to you?
- Do you have photographs that you consider meaningful, expressive. or artful?
- Find three or four of your “meaningful” photos to share with the workshop leader prior to the pre-workshop conversation.
- Provide your telephone number and three dates and times that work best for you, when we can use your answers to these questions as the introduction and foundation for a successful workshop experience.
If you have treated these questions, more importantly, your answers to them, seriously you have already begun your workshop experience. So, on to the next step.
Step 2 – The pre-workshop conversation(s)
Your answers will serve as the raw material we’ll use to develop a plan for your “Photography is Personal Workshop”. When we meet, typically via telephone, we’ll discuss your answers and likely explore other questions that arise because of your answers.
One or more pre-workshop conversations may be needed as we work to understand the foundation upon which we’ll build during the workshop you’ve chosen. Our objective is a clear understanding of what the workshop needs to do to move you closer to your current objectives as a photographer. Prior to, or at the start of your workshop (depending on timing) we’ll share a plan that’s unique to your objectives. During the workshop we’ll refer to these objectives frequently.
Step 3 – The “Photography is Personal Workshop”
- Following introductions:
- The workshop begins as we share each participant’s (no more than three participants) objectives so that everyone is aware of what each needs to achieve in our time together. Fellow participants may often contribute to achieving each other’s objectives because of the knowledge and experience they bring to the workshop.
- If there are objectives in common, we’ll share those and, where practicable, set out to achieve them.
- Either way, the plan is, to begin our first shoot of the workshop shortly after introductions.