3 Reasons Why Most Photography Workshops Aren't Worth the Money
1. The instructors aren't trained
With the recent popularity of online blogging, many photography bloggers are offering expensive workshops on how to improve your photography. In fact, some of these workshops are going for thousands of dollars. However, many of these daily bloggers haven't obtained the necessary experience or knowledge to effectively teach the much-needed art skills for improving their student's portfolios. Furthermore, because many of these instructors lack the required credentials, most (if not all) of their lectures are based on subjective material - not facts.
2. Master photographers won't speak openly about their composition "secrets"
It's not uncommon for a master photographer to teach a workshop and not be completely open about how they are composing their images. This is known in the art world as "The Painter's Secret Geometry." In the past, I have taken several workshops - one with Mary Ellen Mark and another with Constantine Manos. While I enjoyed meeting both of these master photographers, there was never any lectures about real design principles - only abstract, subjective ideas on what makes a good photograph. After spending hundreds of dollars on these four-day seminars, I walked away feeling disappointed and uninformed.
3. All of the skills required to create masterful photographs can be learned from reading art books
One of the most significant mistakes photographers make when it comes to learning more about the art of composition is relying too heavily on photography books. Unfortunately, most books written on the topic of composition in photography only discuss the Rule of Thirds, the Rule of Odds, the Rule of Space, and Leading Lines. These modern-day "rules," which are popular with the masses because they are easy to apply, offer little value for the serious artist.
Also, because most beginners aren't aware of classical skill-based art training, they are easily seduced and mislead by high-priced workshops not realizing that all of the "secrets" they are being taught (figure-ground relationship, the greatest area of contrast, perspective, aerial perspective, the armature of the rectangle, etc.) can easily be learned by reading a few books on classical art and design techniques.
Click here to download a list of recommended books on composition in art.
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"I just graduated from the BFA in Graphic Design at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and one of the chapters of my monograph was about composition. As a motion designer, the proper layout of elements is a very important phase in my creative process, so any tool that helps with making decisions on that is very valuable. What I love about your studies is that it's full of images and resources, it's a gold mine in my opinion. Thanks for providing so much information at an affordable price." - Eveline Falcão
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"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive e-books ever written on the topic of design in art. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced art/photography student, this user's guide is indispensable. I recommend it to all of my artists and photographers and have it linked to my website The Artist Angle." - Jennifer Finley "Though I am not a newcomer to photography, I am far from being a professional. So too, it has only been in the past few months that I discovered dynamicsymmetryart.com. I was transformed from being concerned with camera equipment, f-stops, shutter speed, ISO to considering how I would apply the principles of classical art training to my photography.
As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people. My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos. I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher, Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio