Put into google: ‘destination photography workshop’ or ‘photography vacation’ and you’ll be hit with thousands of links to enticing photography retreats in beautiful locations, all promising to transform your photography skills from aficionado to pro, whilst also generously parting you with a big fat (really fat) wad of your hard earned cash. Basically they all look great and you can’t wait to be taking the photos you’ve always dreamed of taking, but how do you make sure you choose the right photography workshop for you, whilst still getting value for your money? Here are 6 things to take into consideration when choosing a photography workshop vacation:
1) Location, location, location
Sounds like an obvious one right? Wrong. Instead of choosing that deserted palm fringed beach, or the historic European city you’ve always wanted to visit, you’re going to have to turn your decision making process on it’s head. The best photography locations aren’t always the nicest. Think long and hard about what kind of photographic content is going to be available to you. Choose Costa Rica, for example if you’re into nature and animals, but not if you’re into shooting street life and people.
Tip: Make a selection of examples of the type of photography you’d like to be shooting and take note of where they were taken.
2) Who will be doing the teaching?
You’ll pay a premium for a photography vacation with a famous or well-known photographer, and it’s often a big premium. Remember being a great photographer doesn’t necessarily make you a great teacher. Although it’s great to learn from a master, you don’t want to be stuck for a week being taught by a photography genius with no social skills and a creative mess of a teaching approach. Do your research and choose a photography workshop with great reviews from past clients.
Tip: Check the reviews from previous clients and the workshop’s online reputation and make sure they have a good track record.
3) Make sure the price is right
Budget photography vacations are few and far between (although its something Foto Ruta is working on!). The chances are you’re going to be paying a fair whack (between $3000 – $10,000) for your photo workshop. Some include flights (most don’t), most include accommodation, lots include food. Make sure you know what bang you’re getting for your buck.
Tip: Make a spreadsheet to compare the price and what’s included: Travel? Number of hours of tuition per day? Accommodation?
4) How much freedom will you have?
Ask yourself how much personal time and freedom you’re interested in having on your trip. If you’re anything like us and aren’t that used to organized group holidays, you might be more suited to a photography holiday with a less rigid schedule. With tuition in the mornings and freedom in the afternoon to explore at leisure.
Tip: Most workshop websites have an example schedule and a list of what’s included and what isn’t.
5) Access all areas
If you choose right, one of the most valuable things you’ll get from your photography vacation is access. The best workshops get the best fixers and will ensure exclusive access to the most visually inspiring locations in the area. Whether it’s monks praying at sunset in an ancient monastery, tango dancers preparing backstage at a Buenos Aires Tango show, or exclusive access to some of Venice’s private palaces; make sure you’re getting access over and above what you’d get visiting the location alone.
Tip: If it’s unclear what kind of access you’ll get, make sure to contact the organiser to find out the details
6) Inspiration and Style
Be clear on what inspires you and what style and specialism you’re looking to develop before selecting your vacation. If you’re into edgy avant-guarde photography you don’t want to end up shooting nature with a bunch of 60 year old camera-geek, bird watchers sporting their kaki photography waistcoats and 300mm lenses.
Tip: Are you inspired by the images you see on the organiser’s website? If the answer is no, then think carefully about choosing another company.
Foto Ruta Buenos Aires has recently begun offering photography workshop vacations to clients that are designed to offer visitors an entirely unique experience of the city, with exclusive access to some of the city’s most intriguing and visually inspiring locations. Our workshops encourage participants to develop their skills, whilst capturing the essence of the city, from exclusive rooftop vistas, tango dancing couples, secret street art, to portraiture of the city’s locals, their playgrounds and workplaces. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more info.