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... and I'd like your help figuring out what folks are interested in. I get asked my advice quite often, at shows, here on ArtFairInsiders, and elsewhere. If you're interested in photography (and who isn't, nowadays, what with cel phone cameras & easy digital cameras), what would pique your interest?

I've got a survey going over on Survey Monkey. If you have five minutes to give me your opinion, it might help you focus your thinking about photography, as well as help me out.

And I'm going to do a drawing out of all the responses for a free workshop. If you're not local to Michigan and you win, that's okay. I'll figure out some other cool prize.

Here's the link. And thanks!

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Good luck with the project, JP. WOOHOO!

My photography can always use lots of improvement ... I enjoy photographing my artwork in addition to other photos...the more I do it the more I realize just how little I do know and need to learn

Hey Jim, go for it. I tried by putting up a page on my web site about photography lessons but I live a little to far out of Pittsburgh for it to be convenient. In a two year period, I got about a half dozen calls but no one ever took me up on it.

I do work with any artist helping them photograph their artwork. We discuss how to use the camera and lighting and I critique images sent to me. That may be a way for you to do it.

Larry Berman
http://BermanGraphics.com
412-401-8100

My only thoughts are to limit what you offer and clearly define when you offer it. It may take a year or so to start filling up workshops but the art show circuit is a great way to advertise. I think we missed out on a huge amount of cash by not offering workshops last year.

 

$500-$1000 for a weekend workshop isn't going to break the bank and could turn a "Your work is great" passerby into a paying customer. I don't think I have to say this, but if you treat your workshops like another product you offer, you are diversifying your income stream and taping another group of people who may have never spent a dime on your work.

 

Its a gigantic logistical headache, however if you can sell 12 workshops for a weekend that you otherwise would not be doing anything you are putting 6-12K in your pocket without much risk. This gives you the reason to travel to a spot and shoot, building your portfolio all while you are teaching.

 

Good luck with setting this up. I have thought about doing the same, just need to juggle the summer and fall and figure out when I will be free and where I want to go.

Thanks for your thoughts, Ryan. Saw your survey response... appreciate the feedback. Your three dream locations :-)

I'm absolutely prepared to work this a bit... I know that it's going to take time to build a base of clients. I get a lot of questions about cameras, technique, workshops at shows, and since this is my off-season, it's a good time to start building content and testing concepts.

Doing workshops and shows is a huge logistical challenge. I still have a fairly full six month schedule, so diversification will take some time. I know one photographer here in town who has switched completely to running workshops. He travels just as much as we do for shows however. You may know Mike Moats... he's well known for his macro work. And that's a good niche.

What really stinks about my dream locations is I have actually been to all of them. I just went before I had picked up a camera :( Silly I know, but that's just the way it goes.

Well I guess you'll have to go back again. Better prepared.

As a photographer I look at workshops from a different viewpoint.  There a places I would like to go to but I don't want to go alone and I don't want to spend a lot of money going without prior knowledge of the area and the best photo spots.  For example I participated in a workshop to the Orlando wetlands.  The leader knew the best sunrise spots and how to get there.  It was a 20 minute walk which I would not have made on my own due to gators and the possibility of getting lost in the dark.  When I lived in Florida I took an Everglades workshop three times.  There was very little instruction, a hint here and there, but the hotel, meals, and excursions were pre-arranged thus saving an immense amount of time for someone who wasn't familiar with the area.  Critique meetings after each days shooting were great too.  

I feel that way about shooting urban exploration shots in Detroit. Aside from curiosity, there is safety in numbers in some circumstances.

Critique and sharing images is immensely helpful as well. Often, other people can see things that you wouldn't have seen, and that can help you improve a capture in post-production later. But you do have to take other people's opinions with a grain of salt :-)

Hi Jim,

I already offer workshops locally in Detroit (and yes I am one of those people trudging around the abandonment of Detroit on a regular basis), and at first I was trying to be "everything to everyone" when I first started out. Then, I decided to just limit my workshops to what I love to do and what I am passionate about. I think it can be too confusing if people don't know what you are about if you are offering workshops in landscapes, architecture, food, models, etc. I think they like to see people in a niche and go from there. I now just focus on architecture and any photography city-related - night, street, abandonment, etc. That is where I love to go and where I feel the happiest when shooting and I think that shows in the workshops you offer. I am not sure if this answers your question but thought I would offer my two cents.

Happy to do it!

You mean this is not going to be an all expense paid trip to shoot flowers over arches in Tuscany? I'll take shooting tulips in Holland(Michigan) during the tulip festival.

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