Horizon Photography Workshops
98 Bohemia Ave., PO Box 9
Chesapeake City, MD 21915
Photography Workshops: Choosing One That's Right for You
Photography workshops are found by the dozens across the United States. With so many instructors with great resumes, and so many alluring locations, how do you choose photography workshops that are right for you? From my perspective as a photography workshops director and instructor, I'd like to suggest the primary factors I believe you should consider.
Instructors. Workshops generally have instructors with strong resumes, but that is just a starting point. Check out your instructors' images--and more than just a photo or two. Does he/she have a vision that appeals to you? That inspires you? Does the instructor have meaningful teaching experience? Ideally, try to talk with someone who has had a firsthand experience with the instructor. More generally, does the workshop select instructors based on teaching ability, dedication, and enthusiasm?
Student-Faculty Ratio. At Horizon we believe that twelve students is the maximum number that allows for meaningful one-on-one time. For classes that require especially intense personal attention we further limit the class size. In addition to a low faculty-student ratio, a knowledgeable, helpful teacher's assistant will enhance your experience.
Course Subject and Level of Instruction. Beyond making sure that the subject matter interests you, don't take a class that seems way over, or way under, your level of knowledge and experience. Also be wary of vague course descriptions, or those that promise to make you an overnight "Master of Photography."
Location. Location refers to two things. How accessible is the workshop and is the workshop located in a place that will visually inspire you? Horizon's headquarters was selected for two reasons: first, easy access from large population centers and transportation hubs (more time shooting, less time traveling). Second, our area has an unusual degree of visual diversity. We have nature galore (including waterfront vistas), historic and colorful architecture, abandoned industrial sites, pleasure boats and ocean tankers, locals who are pleased to pose for students, and a quaint small town atmosphere.
Cost. Tuition will be the primary expense, but one should also consider the cost of travel, food, lodging, any lab or other supplemental fees and any discounts.
Workshop Length. Workshops vary from one day to ten days, and some are even longer. In considering how much time you want to devote, ask yourself how much time you can stay focused while enjoying the location and the overall experience.
Class Time & Lectures vs. Field Work. Some workshops emphasize one, some the other. Some workshops are exclusively classroom/lecture oriented. Horizon's philosophy is that you learn best, and have the best time, when you do things yourself with guidance from a knowledgeable mentor. For most classes, our ratio is two-thirds hands-on fieldwork to one-third class time (which includes lectures and critique of student work.) To help find what's right for you, read through course descriptions and talk to the workshop staff.
Evaluate the Workshop Web Site. A web site not only displays course content and instructors' backgrounds, it also reflects a workshop's professionalism and vision.
Miscellaneous. If possible, talk to workshop alumni about their experiences. (Horizon provides email addresses of alumni on the testimonials page.) Also, do workshop employees sound friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic?
On behalf of my colleagues, we wish you a great experience whichever workshop you choose. Good luck, good learning, and good shooting!!