I want to start by saying…I love workshops! So this isn’t a negative rant post, rather a post highlighting something I’m just a little bit concerned about.
If you’re a photographer and haven’t noticed the huge rise in photography workshops over the last couple of years you must be living under a rock. They’re popping up everywhere! It’s almost expected that if you are a successful photographer, you offer a workshop. And I think this is wonderful, workshops are a great way to learn and network. But there are a couple of things about the new ‘workshop culture’ that makes me nervous.
1. Addiction – You may think that I’m silly saying people can get addicted to workshops, but if people have to go to absolutely every workshop offered in a year (even if they cover the same subjects) I think they may have an issue. I’ve even heard of photographers paying for workshops and not paying for the basic needs of their business…like advertising! Then they wonder why no one is booking them and all their ‘workshop mates’ have so many weddings coming up (note: your ‘workshop mates’ advertised).
2. Inconstancy – One of the problems I’ve seen coming out of attending so many workshops is business inconstancy. What I mean is that people are constantly changing their minds about their direction because they are like “well __________ is successful and they do this so I should do it too”, then they change their business’ direction until the next workshop they attend.
3. Independent thought – Lastly people seem to stop being able to come up with their own ideas. They attend workshops for inspiration, direction and advice…and sometimes in this they seem to lose themselves.
So here are my final thoughts….the people running the workshops aren’t doing anything wrong. They are providing a wonderful service and wealth of knowledge to up and coming photographers. So new photographers learn to trust yourself! You have just as many wonderful and creative ideas as the people leading the workshops, don’t sell yourself short and copy them. Be yourself. What do you love? What are you ideas? Run with these things, use the tools that workshops have given you. But remember that’s all they are, tools and not ‘if you do these things you will be successful’ rules.