What should I expect from a landscape photography workshop?

Written on 7th July 2016 | 1 Comment

Landscape photography workshops are useful for photographers of all abilities. It doesn’t matter whether you are getting to grips with your camera’s settings or if you have several years’ experience taking photos, I will help you progress your photography. Here I’ll explain what to expect if you join me on a workshop.

workshop-participants
A group in the Brecon Beacons during an autumn workshop.

Before the workshop begins

I’ll plan the itinerary of the workshop so that we visit two or three locations. I try to minimise the amount of driving between places so that we spend as much time as possible outdoors taking photos. One-day workshops run for 6-7 hours, starting midday or early afternoon and finishing after sunset. Two-day workshops start in a similar way but with the second day beginning before dawn and finishing around midday.

I’ll advise you on what clothing to wear and what photography kit to bring – although it’s entirely up to you whether you bring three or 30 lenses!

Suitable weather is key to a successful workshop and because we’ll be outdoors most of the time the forecast needs to be sufficiently dry. If the weather looks too wet I’ll make a judgement on whether or not it is feasible to run the workshop – usually two or three days beforehand. Most of the time I’ll be able to reschedule it for a convenient date but if that’s not possible I’ll offer a full refund.

What happens during a workshop?

We’ll meet at a convenient location with space to leave your car for the day (normally for free). I’ll introduce the group to each other and explain any details or safety rules before driving us to the first location.

On arrival I’ll demonstrate how I would go about taking a picture of the location, showing you how I set up my camera and what steps I take before pressing the shutter. This covers key points like choice of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and how to focus.

workshop-portrait
Here I asked a group to photograph the same scene. Their photos were very different despite their close proximity.

Everyone on a workshop has different learning styles and levels of experience. I’ll help each person individually and provide guidance or advice where you need it. If you’re content with taking pictures on your own I’ll be on hand to offer assistance or a second opinion.

As the day progresses I’ll move the group from location to location, keeping an eye on the weather so that we get the best from the day. Wet weather can bring with it fantastic light and drama but if it gets too wet or gloomy we’ll take a break at a nearby cafe or pub and review any pictures that have been taken.

The workshop will normally end at or just after sunset, allowing time to take photos as the light (hopefully) changes and turns golden. Light is the thing I can’t control but I’ll make sure we’re in the best location should the odds be in our favour.

After the workshop

Shortly after the workshop I’ll email you a set of notes recapping topics we’ve covered. You’ll have the opportunity to leave feedback on your experience by completing a short questionnaire. I’m also there to give you feedback on or help with processing any pictures taken during the workshop.

Draycott Sleights
I took this photo during a workshop to demonstrate a composition idea.

Do you take photos for yourself during workshops?

My camera is primarily used as a teaching aid. I’ll use it to explain concepts and demonstrate composition or settings. The needs of the workshop group are my foremost concern so for the majority of the workshop I’ll be helping people. Occasionally I will take pictures for myself but only during times when no-one requires assistance.

Comments from previous workshop participants

I hope this has given you some insight into what goes on during one of my photography workshops. If you have any questions not answered here please get in touch.

I’ll leave you with some comments from previous workshop participants:

“I have filled in your feedback form but wish to thank you here as well for the excellent day spent on Exmoor, I am not sure I have ever learnt so much in such a short time, and fully intend to put it into practice, I am, and pretty much will only use my camera on manual setting from now on!

Thank you for your patience and clear and concise explanations and demonstrations, I hope to attend further workshops with your good self.”

Nick – group workshop on Exmoor.

“I came into this workshop thinking I knew about some aspects of landscape photography, knowing I was confused about other aspects of landscape photography and clear that there were parts of landscape photography about which I was ignorant.

Stephen’s clear explanations and demonstrations have untangled this mess. I am now clear about what I need to do, what I might try and what will – and importantly, won’t – work.

Henceforth, my photographic failures will remain my own; but my triumphs will owe something to Stephen.”

Tony – one-to-one workshop on the Mendip Hills.

“I have been on many courses over the years, and this is the first one that has made me think differently about my photography.

I can only highly recommend Stephen’s workshop, I will be returning for another one.”

Craig – two-to-one workshop in Somerset.

“Fantastic day, learnt so much more about the settings on my camera and the kind of images that can be taken. Thank you so much.”

Marleen – group workshop in the Brecon Beacons.

One comment

Thank you for the above hints and I am sure we will meet.

Tony Gilbert - July 29, 2016 at 7:50 pm

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