How to Choose a Private Photography Workshop
The act of practicing photography can be just as rewarding as the end photograph itself. When we are deep in our element, we connect to our subject in a way that few people ever do. As nature photographers, we spend a lot of time exploring the earth’s greatest gifts. The act of just observing can be a spiritual experience that leads us to venture into the outdoors more and more. Every photography trip leads to new observations, new stories and new experiences. Perhaps this is why so many people have taken interest in landscape photography. In this article I will discuss how to choose a private photography workshop. If you enjoy this article, don’t forget to head over to my private photography workshops page.
Why consider a private photography workshop?
Today there’s a wide range of group photography workshops available to photographers of all disciplines. Many of these workshops or tours offer great experiences for folks who don’t mind large crowds. Some people may find it harder to concentrate or get into their element in group setting though. Most people who choose to do group workshops are fantastic but there’s always a chance that you'll have an odd-ball in the group who walks into shots and affects the group dynamic. When you choose to do a private photography workshop you eliminate any chances of odd group dynamics altogether.
The Benefits of Photography Workshops
There are many reasons to take part in photography workshops, both public and private. Perhaps the most compelling reason to book a photography workshop is the fact that scouting a location is very time consuming. Visiting a location for the first time can be overwhelming. Where are the best angles and when is the best time to shoot a given location? Are there any less common areas to shoot in the region? When you book a photography workshop you are paying for someone who is familiar with a given location and will help you get to the right spots at the right time.
A good photography guide should not only be knowledgeable with the terrain, but should also be a skilled photography instructor who can help answer any photography related question, give gear recommendations and troubleshoot problems that arise in the field. Booking a photography workshop is sort of like traveling with your own private photo customer support!
A less obvious but valid reason to book a photography tour is that you are less likely to sleep-in or make excuses such as poor weather conditions to not go out and shoot. Poor weather can sometimes produce the best light. There’s an old saying, High risk, high reward. Those who take chances are rewarded more than those who do not. A photography guide should act as your cheerleader and get you out in the field even when conditions are unfavorable.
Last but certainly not least, safety is a huge reason to consider booking a photography workshop. If you fall and hurt yourself when traveling alone there may be no way to call for help. A good photography instructor will not only reduce the risk of accidents from happening but will also be able to seek out help should one occur.
How to choose a private photography workshop guide
If you have decided that a private photography workshop is right for you, the next step is to choose the appropriate photography guide. Like most aspects of life, not all guides are created equal. Some photographers might create compelling photographs but lack in social, safety and or guiding skills. Other guides might be fantastic guides but lack adequate photographic and compositional knowledge. The ideal private workshop guide will be a skilled photographer who is passionate about their craft and genuinely loves sharing their knowledge with others. Choosing a photographer whose work you admire is relatively easy since any established photographer should have a professional website displaying their photos.
Knowing a photographer’s personality is a little harder though. It’s a good idea to read the about section on the photographer’s website. What are they saying? Does it resonate with you? If yes, great. If not, keep looking. After the about section test, try to find reviews or testimonials from people who have gone on a trip or two with the particular photographer you’re interested in. Google Reviews, Trip Advisor and Yelp are good placers to look for authentic reviews. While the photographer’s website testimonials are helpful, there’s no way to be 100% certain that they are authentic.
Lastly, consider setting up a phone call or Zoom session with the photographer that you’re interested in. If they are worthy of your business, they should be willing to jump on a 20 minute call to establish trust and tell you about their services. During the call you should be able to get an idea of what it would be like to work with them. If the call goes smoothly then you might have found your photography guide. If there are any red flags during the call such as irritation, hostility or if they just seem unorganized, then don’t waste your time and money. If any photographer is unwilling to jump on a call then it’s time to keep searching.
Questions to consider asking you photography instructor
• Who is responsible for booking my accommodations / vehicle?
• Can you send me a list of camera gear that I will need for the trip?
• What clothing is required for the workshop?
• What are the hiking / physical requirements?
• What type of weather should I expect while on the trip?
• Is there anything else I need to know?
How to choose a private photography Tour Location
Choosing the location of your private photography tour should align with what you are interested in photographing. It doesn’t make sense to travel to Brazil to photograph leopards when you really don’t like cats. The good part about choosing a private photography workshop is that you get choose the location. Perhaps you have a particular location in mind. If so, look for a photographer that is familiar with that region. If you’re open to what and where you shoot, you can always reach out to your photography tour guide and ask them to make some suggestions based on the amount of time that you have. They will most likely have a variety of places that they can suggest for a private photography workshop.
How much time do you need for a private workshop?
The amount of time that you need for a photography workshop will vary greatly depending on what and where you want to shoot. If you are on a family vacation and can only allot for a single or half day then that is the best workshop length for you. Typically, more time means more opportunities for dramatic light and weather though. The odds of getting perfect conditions on a single day photography trip are about as good as your odds of hitting a bullseye with your eyes closed. It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely. Two to five day trips increase your odds of getting good conditions and may allow you to explore a place more deeply. If you are traveling a long distance for the trip you may consider booking a private workshop that is a week or more in length.
Private photography workshop pricing
The cost of a private photography workshop will vary drastically depending on the photographer, location and amount of people in your group. Most photography instructors charge per person and sometimes give discounts for having two or more people in the group. In addition to a daily rate, you’ll also be responsible for covering the expenses associated with the trip. ie. lodging, fuel, park fees, travel expenses, ect.
Private photography Trips with Mike Wardynski Photography
I take great pride in providing high quality photography workshops around the world. It is my priority to ensure that my clients get the best possible shots while having a good time doing so. By keeping detailed field notes and map data, I help my clients produce the best possible photographic outcomes for a given trip.
I care about my clients and my 100% 5-star reviews on Google show it. If you’re thinking about booking a private workshop, I’d love to be your guide. I have over ten years of guiding experience and over twenty years of photography experience. My workshops and trips are fun and productive.
I have a wide range of private photography locations and subjects available to choose from. Popular private workshops in the U.S. include Kauai, Hawaii, Yosemite, Big Sur, California Coast, Oregon Coast, Death Valley, White Sands, Colorado, Bisti Badlands, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Bosque Del Apache and more.
International photography workshops include: Patagonia, The White Horses of Camargue France, New Zealand, Ireland, Iceland and more.
Let’s create some powerful images together!