It is easy to fall into a comfort zone, so sometimes you need a little jolt to get those creative juices flowing. I find photography workshops to be the perfect solution to keep my photography from becoming stagnant. I recently attended the Sports Shooter Academy led by USA Today photographer Robert Hanashiro. One of the main benefits is that you can build your own schedule by choosing from a list of classes and sport-shooting events. Not only are the classes designed with a favorable teacher to student ratio, but for those classes you miss, videos are posted on with highlights and instructions from the class.

The workshop was packed with information and covered a number of different sports within a 30-minute drive from the venue. To give you an idea of the things you might experience at a workshop I have listed some of the highlights of my last week:

  1. Seeing in action the proper use of an Aquatech underwater camera housing demonstrated by Getty photographer Donald Miralle.

  2. Using flashes with Pocket Wizards in Chimera lightboxes for portraits demonstrated by Myung Chun from the Los Angeles Times.

  3. Trying out different camera bodies and comparing them, discovering their strengths and weaknesses thanks to Canon.

  4. Instructors’ critiques of our photos during daily slideshows.

  5. Rethinking the pre-planning that goes into a portrait session. Matt Brown, an LA-based freelance photographer lead a shoot and shared his approach to getting fresh images and reminded us how important it is to have everything set up before your subject arrives.

  6. Streamlining my workflow with Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits, ingesting and using the ITPC stationery pad to get important information on my files when I download instead of during editing.

There are workshops for every type of photography. Find the one that fits your needs, and research it by looking through former participants work and the instructors’ work. Consider the location, and be sure that it can deliver on the promises. Once you find a workshop that fits your needs, you’ll be glad you went, even if it’s only for the experience of meeting other photographers and being inspired by their work.
—Melissa Macatee
Contributing Blogger