Photograph above taken at the Tugboat Roundup in Waterford, NY with a Leica MP240
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.