Wedding photography workshops have a mixed reputation and I’ll be honest, the negatives outweighed the positives for me for years! I just couldn’t justify the cost or time to attend a workshop and not come away with any imagery I could use. So, I opted to put together our own styled shoots with teams of great suppliers, and put myself out there for editorials who needed photographers that suited our style.
This in itself has its downfalls as not all styled shoots turn out as they tell you it’s going to look – which is why we invested in producing our own to meet our goals.
You see, it’s beyond practice – it’s about really honing your skills and ability in a way that really suits you, and a major priority for me has been – Am I going to be able to use the images after too?
Whatever your goal is for your imagery from a workshop – the cost of the workshop, the time out of work, often a lot of travelling and accommodation costs involved, oh and the hours of editing them – needs to be worth it. Here are just some of the many reasons you may be considering a workshop:
- Imagery for your portfolio
- Up-leveling your style and speaking to a different type of client
- Content for your instagram
- Press with a blog feature
Creating your own styled shoots takes a lot of practice and going through the learning curves and risks which I’ll talk about in more detail in another blog post for you soon. I’ll be honest with you, even when you’ve got the experience under your belt it can be a lot of stress and headache to organise and that’s why it’s actually good value to find a reputable team who put together workshops, taking this strain and time off your hands. You can just turn up and shoot the pretty! Like I said – there are great pros and cons to both.
I didn’t have time in the new year to dedicate to creating a styled shoot but I love to practice out of season and I really yearn to shoot beautiful wedding details and bridal portraits etc. So, I decided to join a workshop not too far from home for a great price and with people I knew who were going too. I wanted to have some creative play time and come away with some lovely photos for our website and new brochure, but my main thing was to experience a workshop for myself without listening to they hype and pitfalls you always hear about.
Here is my experience of a wedding photography workshop + tips
This can help you if you’re thinking about attending one or creating a workshop for other wedding photographers
It is a lot of people
Yes, I found that the main concern that people always have is that there are a lot of people vying for the shots and this was exactly right. It felt constricting not to have that creative freedom to get the shot you could see and wanted because 1. you’re not allowed to move or 2. people are in the way. I, like others there, got frustrated and bored – so used our initiative to shoot some other things around us.
It may be directed by someone not to your style
I’ll admit that I was excited to book a workshop that wasn’t strictly to our signature style, but I hadn’t considered that the shots and posing – in fact most details were directed by other people and most of it wasn’t what we would do, so it left me trying to find other things to do or standing and just watching. I appreciate different photographers styles of shooting and posing but my tip would be to ask about how much freedom you’ll have here. With our photography leaning towards the fine art scale I didn’t want to do lots of cheesy setups and so lost a tonne of time and shots with this. It was also pretty slow paced in terms of changing the angles, scenes and poses to those that I did want – I came away with lots of images of the same thing and I prefer lots of details and variety.
I was disappointed with the Bride + Groom outfits
This isn’t something I’d even considered before booking but I felt that the Groom looked like he was in normal everyday clothing and trainers, sigh! The wedding dress was nice but not that wow at all and there were no accessories or shoes or anything to capture with it. So, I’d recommend checking what kind of look they are going for of if they have a specific wedding dress chosen for it.
Meeting the people and making friends
This was hands down the highlight! I loved meeting people I’d know online for years and also new photographers! People can think this is scary but it’s truly not. Everyone is really excited to be there and it was such a lovely, bubbly group of friendly creatives that I really bonded with. When you work for yourself it can be really isolating and I always champion making connections with other photographers above seeing them as competition. Seriously, no-one is going to get you as much as fellow wedding photographers! Being able to have lunch together in smaller groups was so nice to chat and relax together and get to know eachother – we found ourselves diving into deeper conversations and this was something I really needed.
Be open to finding new unexpected things!
Just like I found that the social aspect was the best boost I needed and I came away with new friends and connections for life but also a zest for wanting to support and help eachother.