How to Have a Great Workshop Experience June 2, 2015 – Posted in: Photography – Tags:

A photography workshop can be the highlight vacation event of the year. It’s an opportunity to escape everyday work life and focus on creativity and craftsmanship. And like any other big trip, a little preparation goes a long ways toward insuring a fulfilling experience.

I’ve been leading photography workshops for six years. And over that time I’ve learned a few things about making them successful. So these are my suggestions for preparing for an enjoyable photo adventure.

  1. Make sure the workshop is at an appropriate skill level for you. If you’re new to photography, hanging out with a group of grizzled veterans might not provide the boost in confidence that you’re looking for. And by the same token, if the content is too basic for you, you’ll probably feel like you’ve wasted both your time and your money.
  2. Ask about travel time during the event. Some workshops are more efficient than others in how the time is spent. If you’re going to be spending half your day traveling from one location to another, you’ll want to know that ahead of time, and bring something productive to do during the commute.
  3. Packing personal items is just as important as camera gear. As shooters, we tend to get fixated on our equipment. But having the right clothing for the environment is a big deal. Think in terms of layers to adapt to changing weather. Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, sunblock, comfortable walking shoes, and warmth. Do you need healthy snacks? How about a spare pair of glasses? These items will have an impact on your day.
  4. Don’t bring every piece of photography gear you own. It’s tempting, but resist the urge to bring a trunk full of gear. Find out the shooting situations that you’ll encounter and plan accordingly. Traveling light will reduce fatigue, increase creativity, and make it easier to keep track of your stuff.
  5. Open your mind. You can maximize the benefits of the workshop by learning from those around you. Yes, the instructor is facilitating the event, but every attendee has something to offer. Seize the opportunity to share stories, and knowledge, with your peers.


To plant the seeds for a great adventure, take a look at the The Traveling Photographer by Sandra Petrowitz.This book combines theoretical information, practical advice, and helpful suggestions for taking better pictures while traveling.

By following these tips and cozying up with a great book before your trip, you can enjoy a rewarding (and fun) experience at your next photography workshop.

Derrick Story is the photography evangelist for Rocky Nook Publishing.