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Surfaces and Strategies – Workshop Research and Thoughts

What makes a good workshop for both me and the participants?

  1. Being able to share my knowledge in an engaging way

  2. Being able to use the workshop to ensure that my own knowledge is solid

  3. Opportunity to network

  4. Opportunity to portfolio build

  5. Opportunity to market and develop my practice.

Being a qualified teacher, the thrill of imparting my knowledge and experience to others and watching their eyes light up as they being to understand concepts, never gets old. It was why I became a teacher in the first place. The work is tough, but the reward is watching a simple seed of knowledge you gave to a student grow into something could may or may not have imagined.

A workshop should never be viewed as ‘giving away secrets’ or training others to become my clones. Instead, a workshop is about sharing enthusiasm and passion for photography and giving someone else the skills to develop and reach their potential.

Having been on many workshops, I find that the best ones have a balance between theory and practice sessions.  Time should be given to reflection and consolidation of the skills learnt.

I have decided to run a male art nude workshop.  For my participants, this is likely to be the first time that they have encountered a naked man in a studio.  I will cover the aspects of model etiquette in the hour before the experienced model arrives. The workshop will be limited to a maximum of 6 attendees.  This will provide everyone with ample opportunity to shoot the model and learn how to edit an image.

I am a people person and enjoy sharing knowledge with others.  I am very comfortable in front of groups of people and am told by my students at school, that I have an engaging style of teaching. I am experienced and good at explaining complex concepts in easily understandable language.  This will stand me in good stead for the workshop.

Planning and organisation are key to a successful workshop. In the same way that I would plan a lesson, I will be producing a plan for the workshop that starts with the expected outcomes.  I will outline all activities with details of any interventions or extension tasks that may be required. A pre-workshop joining later will be sent out to participants around 2 weeks before the workshop.

I will conduct the workshop in the studio where I am most comfortable with the lighting and set up. This will maximise the learning potential for my participants. I will also be providing written training notes for the participants.  This is because there is always more theory to teach than there is time to allow.  Also the participants will only hear and comprehend a certain amount in the session.  Handout notes overcome both of these issues.

As a teacher, I understand that some of the best lessons are where participants engage in peer-to-peer learning. I intend to foster this environment during the session.  After all, there are so many things about photography that are best learnt hands on, watching or photographing with, other photographers.


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