The Photo Workshop Business; Teaching For Income, Opportunity, And A Way To Share The Craft Page 2

SB: For now, how do you handle both the teaching and the business logistics?

KS: We have arranged the schedule so that the workshops are planned far enough apart so that business issues usually don't come up while on a workshop. However, since we are constantly promoting the next workshop to our students during the workshop they are attending I do stay in touch with my Blackberry.

SB: To what do you attribute the success of your workshops?

BL: The option to reestablish control of the camera is inviting. For some of us, learning the traditional film methods and development was easy. The controls on a regular film SLR are far fewer than the controls on a digital camera. In contrast, the many options available in digital photography can be both exciting and scary. Most people default to Auto mode. However, when the Auto mode setting is used too often the photographer may begin to wonder whether the creative control lies in their hands or to the camera's preset buttons. Therefore, we offer a solution for the consumers who want to ditch the auto setting and regain control in capturing an image.

Santa Barbara, California. Nikon D200, 1/60 sec at f/6.3, 18mm focal length.
© 2007, Brian Leng, All Rights Reserved

KS: I come from a photojournalism background where I learned that you always have to get the shot and come home with the goods. I've used this motto in my professional career and it has paid off. The same motto can be applied to the workshop business. You want to leave your customer satisfied so they will hopefully return for another class. In fact, we have had a lot of repeat business.

SB: How do each of you feel about marketing photo workshops?

BL: Start close to home. Visit local colleges and contact their Student Activities or Community Services to see if they will allow you to promote or even host your workshop on campus. Colleges want their students to participate in extracurricular activities. Your workshop can add and expand upon the different classes they offer.

KS: Right now, CPW is primarily reliant upon our website,, on which we are applying the usual devices of Google HTML, cross links with other websites (including links from our personal photography websites), and search engine optimization. Our prior site through was used as a tool for our adult education students to post and share the photos shot during our classes. Some of our former students are now using the CPW site. This has been an important element of our marketing as our students remain invested and return to the website for future workshop information.

Santa Barbara, California. Kodak 14n, 1/80 sec at f/16, 35mm focal length.
© 2007, Brian Leng, All Rights Reserved

Thinking Of Teaching A Workshop?

Before you look at how much fun this could be (as well as the additional income) take a look at the time, costs, and work ahead of you. There are many logistical considerations to work out before you can launch your workshop business. Here are some specifics to consider:
· Be sure to specify the skill level "prerequisite" if any.
· Find out the minimum and maximum size group needed to guarantee the workshop will not cancel.
· What is included in the price? Spell everything out!
· Have all the transportation details worked out: air/driving, hotel, location vehicles.
· If accommodations are provided, what is the quality of the hotel?
· Will attendees be sharing a room if traveling to an overnight location?
· Be sure there is a detailed itinerary available with the preregistration materials.
· Decide if there will be handouts provided. Audiovisual required?
· What extra information can you provide attendees in advance about the locations?
· What is the cancellation policy if there are not enough attendees?
· How many hours per day are spent in the field? In the classroom?
· Will there be a critique of current and prior work and who will do it?

Last but not least, what topics will you teach? What photography knowledge and skills do you have that could be shared with others? Think basics and think outside of the box, because both could be a source for workshops. If you really want to get started teaching photo workshops ask yourself, "What are my strengths in photography and how can I mold that into an interesting topic for a workshop?" Be inventive and think of an interesting spin on an average topic. Photo workshops allow you to pursue your passion for photography and could supplement your income, all while helping others learn a new skill.