Photography Workshop FAQ’s
Below you can find general information and answers to commonly asked questions in regards to my photography workshops. If you can’t find your answer below, please feel free to contact me.
What’s actually involved in a photography workshop?
I offer a variety of workshops, some that run for a few hours and others for over a week, but essentially the purpose of each is the same – to assist you with your photography and post-processing skills as well as guide you to great photography locations. On my longer trips, we shoot the sunrise, sunset and the night sky. We eat all meals together and during the day we often stop at other locations along the way to our next destination. This could be forests, waterfalls and the sporadic moments of good light that regularly occur when on the road. Locations are often based on the weather and I’m always willing to stop or take a detour for everyone to get great photos.
For the entire week you will be immersed in photography with like-minded people in awe-inspiring locations. With the smaller group size of 6 participants, the vibe on most of my trips is similar to a road trip with friends. At each location, myself and my assistant will be going around and helping people one-on-one. I provide compositional ideas, settings to consider and the skills to achieve certain results. I also allow you room to do your own thing and then occasionally come back to check and see how you’re going. This is your opportunity to learn, laugh and capture the types of photos you’ve dreamed of.
What sets your workshops apart from others?
When I first started teaching over 5 years ago, I could count on one hand the number of fellow Aussies who were also running workshops, but now, the photography industry and business of running workshops is more popular than ever. Essentially, there’s a few primary things that are going to set one workshop apart from the other. Heres some things I recommend you consider before booking a workshop with someone;
- The photographers quality of work and style – This might seem obvious but the main aspect of a workshop is learning. Take time to review the portfolio of the photographer your’e considering learning from and ask yourself if that’s the type of photos you aspire to create. A full portfolio consistently high in quality and diversity is what you’re after. Art is subjective, so only you can decide for yourself if someones work really resonates with you.
- The group size – How many people will you be sharing the trip and photography locations with? The maximum amount of participants I have on my tours is 6-7. I’ve found this to be a great number to travel with, allowing a more personal experience that gives flexibility when on the road and more freedom when at locations. Having an assistant with me means that there is one teacher per 3 students, so you’re not going to be left scratching your head, waiting for help when out shooting. I truly enjoy teaching and the smaller group size provides the best environment to work closely with people and make sure everyones individual goals are addressed. Keep in mind that you’re most likely not going to be the only people at the popular places, so if you’re travelling in a workshop with 10+ people, a location that already may have a few visitors becomes crowded very quickly.
- Duration – A cheaper price tag is definitely appealing but this usually comes at the cost of being on a shorter tour. When chasing the northern lights or beautiful light, the more opportunities you have the better, especially if you’ve already travelled a long way. I’ve found that 6-night/7-day workshops work well and usually result in a diversity of conditions to be experienced, particularly in mountainous regions where particular peaks can be shrouded in cloud. For this reason, I usually allow more than one night at iconic mountain locations.
- Experience – How much experience running workshops does the photographer have? Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of teaching photography to hundreds of people from all different walks of life. From teenagers to seniors across the globe in a variety conditions in multiple countries. The locations I host tours are those that I know well, often having travelled to multiple times on both solo and group trips. When the light doesn’t cooperate, rain comes in, a location is crowded or an unforeseen situation arises, a guide with experience is going to ensure things still run smoothly and a good time is still had by all.
- Permits and Regulations – In New Zealand, permits are required for anyone guiding on Department of Conservation land (most of the photography locations people visit). These permits ensure guides are being safe, responsible and helping conserve the beautiful landscape. I have obtained the necessary permits for where I host my group tours. In Patagonia, local guides are to employed by any photography tour, when on trails. I use 2 guides on my Patagonia workshop, one in Chile and another in Argentina. This not only adheres to park rules but also supports the local communities that call these places home.
What is the accomodation arrangement?
On all my trips, twin-share is the default accomodation option, staying with someone of the same gender with an ensuite. The hotels and lodges I use are all generally 4-star with heating, wi-fi and all the essentials. If desired, a single supplement usually can be arranged for each trip (additional cost).
What are the terms, conditions and cancellation policies?
You can view all those here.
I am a complete beginner, does that matter?
Of course not, that’s a great reason to join one of my trips! With my smaller group sizes, this allows for participants with all sorts of experiences to attend and receive quality, individualised tuition. The majority of my trips I also have an assistant, so there is usually a 1:3 ratio of teachers/guides to students.
What do we do if the weather is poor?
I don’t really believe in ‘bad’ weather, just poor locations for certain weather. Unfortunately I can’t control the weather and light but what I can do is use my knowledge and experience to adapt to the conditions at hand. Heavy rain? I’ll try get us to a forest or waterfalls. Overcast skies? I’ll show you how to create high contrast and effective black & white imagery. No clear skies at night? I’ll still show you how to shoot in the dark then we can head in to the warmth and go over some post-processing in Photoshop. No mountain visibility for a few days where we are staying? I’ve been known to cancel and book new accomodation at my own expense, just to help you guys have a better time. The bottom line is that I have and will do my best to ensure you guys are creating portfolio worthy work. My advice for my clients is to avoid looking at a weather forecast and just leave it up to me. After all, most of my images are created within what people typically term ‘bad weather’.
Who are the assistants I use?
Each trip varies but usually my friend Nick Fitzhardinge is with me when we tour Iceland and Patagonia. In New Zealand Cameron Sandercock and Mark Allen have also been on board. These guys are all gentlemen who are easily to get along with and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to photography.