Preparing for a Workshop



– Make sure to get out and use your camera before the workshop.

– Download and edit those recent images on your computer using your image editing software of choice.

– If shooting film, run a roll through your camera and have it processed. Look carefully at the negatives and contact sheets.

– Try not to test new camera equipment or use new software at the workshop.

– Re-read your camera manual and bring it with you to the workshop. Read it again on the plane.

– Look at some of your favorite photographers or artist’s work. Why do you like it? What is it that makes their work compelling to you?

– Lay out some of your own favorite prints. Study them. What are the similarities that run throughout them? What, if anything, is missing? What would you like to work on improving?

– Pack your camera bag. What can you do without? What is essential? What is missing? What can you leave behind?

– Plan on learning from your fellow students. Being ‘in community’ with other artists is a big benefit of the workshop experience.

– Be as well rested as possible going into the workshop.

– If you have the time and luxury of arriving at the workshop destination a day or two early (especially if it’s a long flight) it can be a great way of being over any jet lag and ready to take advantage of all the workshop experience has to offer.

– Recognize ways that you sabotage yourself or your creative process before the workshop even starts.

– Give yourself totally over to the experience while there. You will get out of it what you put into it.

– Remember that almost everyone else in the class is just as apprehensive, nervous or scared as well as excited as you are!

– Everyone usually believes that the others know more and are more advanced than they are. Even if it were true, which it probably isn’t, so what! We are all there to learn and grow from each other.



– Think about why you need or want a photo workshop at this point on your artistic path.

– Write a paragraph or make a list about what you would like to get out of your workshop.

– Write about and acknowledge your apprehensions and fears about your photography and the upcoming workshop.

– Look over your past work (prints, contact sheets or digital files). Look for themes, patterns, strengths and weaknesses. What is working? What isn’t? What needs improvement?


The Instructor:

– Look at the work and website of the your workshop instructor.

– What can you learn from their style of making images? What do you like about their work? What don’t you like? What would you do differently and why? What do they have to teach you?

– Don’t let the instructor force you to think or photograph like they do.

– You do not need to have similar subjects or themes as your instructor.

– Do try to understand about how their approach to their chosen subject matter can better inform you of new ways to approach your own subject matter.

– It’s alright, sometimes even very helpful, to try and copy or emulate your teacher’s style as a method of learning but ultimately you must find your own path.

– What works for them may not work for you but use your teacher’s approach and methods as a guidepost or catalyst for finding your own methods and vision.


© Douglas Beasley 2013