How Destination Photography Workshops Can Improve Your Skills (And Offer You More Joy)
If you're a photographer or photography enthusiast looking to take your skills to the next level, you might want to consider attending a destination photography workshop.
Photography workshops, in general, can certainly offer an individual the opportunity to not only learn from experienced professionals but to do so in a hands-on way, getting real-time feedback and often cutting through much of the frustration of slowly figuring things out on your own. If you've ever seen an amazing subject but struggled to capture with your camera the beauty that you see with your eye, you probably know that frustration. In that regard, a photography workshop can be a great way to build on your skills. But when you add in an amazing destination, as well? Valuable instruction as well as a unique and joyful adventure? That can be a game-changer as it relates to not just an education but also a significantly enhanced experience.
The wild toucan, photographed by Tamara Lackey on a destination photography workshop she taught (along with fellow Nikon Ambassador Joe McNally!) in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador
What are the Benefits of Destination Photography Workshops?
- Exploring New (and often quite beautiful) Places in the World: This often means capturing unique images that you may not be able to get anywhere else in the world. Jim Richardson, a National Geographic photographer, said it rather succinctly: “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff". Yep. Exactly.
- Connecting with Fellow Photographers: Most destination photography workshop participants are just as passionate about the craft of photography as you are and can also provide valuable feedback and inspiration, They are also likely to add to enjoyable social experiences in new settings.
- Learning from Experienced Professionals: Destination photography workshops are often led by experienced photographers who are also experienced at photographing their professional assignments at various destinations, as well. So they can not only teach you how to become a better photographer, they can also teach you how to photograph better - no matter where you are in the world.
- Getting Answers: Whether you have questions about photography techniques or camera gear or capture workflow or image composition or post-processing or whatever (there's a lot to photography!), it's a great opportunity to be able to get all of your answers in one place.
How Do You Choose the Right Destination Photography Workshop?
- Research the Workshop Leaders: Look for workshops led by experienced professionals who have not just a track record of success in their chosen field of profession but are also known to be strong educators. Not all workshop leaders will bring both things to the table. The education you receive in a destination photography workshop will simply not be as robust if a great photographer cannot express to you how they are capturing the images - and, more importantly, how you can, too.
- Check the Workshop Schedule: Look for workshops that offer a schedule that fits your needs and preferences, whether it's a week-long intensive workshop, an extended adventure or simply a shorter weekend getaway.
- Consider the Location: Choose a destination that offers not just unique photographic opportunities but also fits your personal interests and preferences. Perhaps you wish to visit a destination you have never been to before but have always wanted to see - or perhaps you would like to return to a location you loved but did not photograph as well as you wish you would have.
- Evaluate the Photography Experiences Offered: Learn more about what a workshop may be offering to its participants. Some workshops focus solely on portrait photography. Others focus just on landscape photography or wildlife photography. And, even within these genres, there are more differences to be explored. For instance, not all wildlife photography is the same - sometimes you may be photographing subjects who are relatively still. And other times you may be learning about how to better photograph extremely fast-moving subjects. With portrait photography, the focus might be on lighting or posing or even showcasing relationships. Determine if you wish to expand a specific skillset or attend a workshop that will offer a variety of subjects and techniques to explore.
- Assess the Educational Opportunities: A destination photography workshop should obviously include good photographic opportunities, photography instruction and a notable location. But what other educational opportunities will be offered? Will that photography instruction include technical skills clinics, hands-on teaching, image critiques and walkthroughs, solid question & answer sessions, post-processing instruction, real-time shooting photography guidance, any lighting instruction? There can be a lot of education opportunities offered with great destination photography workshops - or very little at all.
- Consider A Companion: Might you want to bring along a fellow photography enthusiast or friend or spouse or relative? And if your companion is not interested in photography, would they be interested in simply joining you for the overall experience, enjoying the destination on their own and later joining up with a group for meals or larger social outings?
- Evaluate the Cost: Photography destination workshops can vary greatly in cost, so consider your budget along with what's included in the workshop fee, such as lodging, meals, excursion fees and transportation. Note that sometimes workshops that appear to cost less in fees may actually result in a more expensive trip overall when all other factors are included.
- Consider how the trip will be produced: Determine how much of the workshop will be planned in advance - and how much preparation you will receive in advance, as well. Booking a destination photography workshop that is produced with little forethought or attention to detail can become an experience that causes far more stress than joy for participants. This crucial element can make or break a workshop, as far as the photographer's experience.
Sea Eagle in The Fjords of the Lofoten Islands, photographed by Tamara Lackey on a destination photography workshop she taught (along with fellow Nikon Ambassador Joe McNally!) in Norway.
All in all, destination photography workshops can be an extremely valuable experience for photographers and photography enthusiasts looking to improve their skills, explore new destinations, and connect with like-minded individuals. It can also be a way to step out of the familiar and simply enjoy the rush of experiencing something new and different. Consider the tips outlined here to choose the right workshop for you and to make the most of a destination photography workshop that can expand your horizons and create opportunities for you to capture stunning images.
Looking for more adventure? Check out these upcoming destination photography workshops!
Join Us for More Destination Photography Workshops in 2024!
Joe McNally and I will be teaming up again to teach four NEW destination photography workshops in 2024! Companions are welcome to join all of our workshops.
If you are interested in joining the interest list for the following workshops in 2024, to be announced soon, let us know!
Ireland - May, 2024
Tuscany - September, 2024
Antarctica - Likely December 2024
Fiji - date still to be determined