There's a lot of talk about workshops lately. There's a lot of people that are frustrated by the perceived direction our industry is taking. There's a lot of strong feelings about different workshops, and whether they offer value to photographers and our industry.
With that in mind, I want to help share some expectations - to be sure you understand all the reasons you should NOT consider attending a ONE DAY INTENSIVE.
1. You want to become a better photographer. You won't. I'm not going to talk about understanding your camera, or composition, or lighting, or post processing. This isn't a workshop to help you be a better photographer, so if that's what you're looking for - don't bother coming.
In fact, no workshop will make you a better photographer. You might learn some good techniques, but in reality - the ONLY way to become a better photographer is to shoot more. Who cares about your first wedding - I got excited when I had to replace a shutter after 118,000 exposures.
2. You want to be rich. Sorry, can't help you there either. There's no secret to becoming rich. There's no fast-track or easy road. Some people get lucky... good for them, but I can't teach you that. No one can teach you. By the way, if you're thinking about starting your own small business to get rich, forget it. 95% of them fail.
3. You want to be like _______ (insert photographer here). Attending a workshop won't make you anymore like someone else - then visiting the pet store will make you more like a golden retriever. You won't leave the ODI more like me (and that's good for both of us... trust me). If you pay money to go to a workshop, hoping that some magic dust will rub off on you, you're fooling yourself and wasting your money. It doesn't work that way.
4. You want someone to tell you the short cuts. Guess what. The most successful people in ANY field - ANY industry - are the people who work the hardest, for the long haul. A workshop presenter can help give you tools, but then you have to do the hard work. There's no secret recipe, and anyone that tells you that there is - well, I think you know what to think about them.
5. You are PASSIONATE about photography. That's great. I love photography too. I also really love ice cream, but that doesn't mean I open an ice cream stand. If you're passionate about photography - by all means, keep taking pictures. It's a wonderful hobby :)
BONUS 6. You want to hang out with a SUPER successful rich, super-star photographer. Sorry, not me. I run a pretty small business focused on taking care of a small number of clients. My wife and I drive a 5 year old car, own a nice home, and spend a lot of money on diapers. Most days, I come home from my studio, and the first thing I do is change a stinky diaper, clean up crayon from the walls, and do the dishes. I'm just normal. My life is probably a lot like yours.
We're not rich. But I work very hard at treating my business like a business, and it exists to support my family. Our business does really well, and we have wonderful clients. I get to shoot some really wonderful weddings, and I love that I get paid well to do what I do. But, let's be realistic - I run a studio in a town of 7,500 people. If you think that this workshop is going to be about how much money I spend on cars, or sunglasses, or new camera gear - you'll be disappointed.
By the way, you can get a LOT of the information I talk about by reading this FREE blog. So why would anyone come? I can only think of one reason:
You want to build a business around this photography thing you do that supports the life you want to live.
You want to learn about best practices that you can use as you work HARD to do it right. You want to take care of your family by building something real. You might struggle with understanding how to control your expenses, set up your business, rationalize your pricing, managing your client experience, or sales. You're willing to invest your time by spending a day digging deep. This is no fluff. It's not a feel good workshop. It's not "fun."
Jason is an author, speaker, and creative director, who writes about faith, creativity and raising a family in a chaotic world.