“Michele, how did you become such a good photographer?”
Budding photographers ask me this question all the time. Here is my honest answer. It didn’t happen overnight or over the internet or even in a book. While technology has given us new tools to start the education process in a way that did not exist for me the real reason my skills improved over time is hands on workshops, PPA schools and monthly meetings at the Professional Photographers of Greater NY group.
Spending a couple of days or even a week in a live hands on learning class is truly the BEST way to improve your craft. An amazing chemistry of friendship and inspiration comes together when you fill a room with eager students and a passionate instructor-
A personal bonding and the best friendships are formed. Some of my life long friends started off as classmates in a live workshop.
Sometimes five days was not enough for me to spend with a gifted teacher. I took Monte Zucker and Hanson Fong’s workshops five times each.... By the fifth time I showed up in their class they both said to me “What are you doing here? You don’t need me anymore.” But I did - there was always something more to learn from how they handled subjects, how they found the light.... No joke - I couldn’t figure out how Hanson used the palm of his hand to find directional light until the third week I spent with him and then the light bulb went on.
I crawled under their tripods to get the best view of what they were shooting - I was always wiggling my way to the front of the group so I could get a better view. I asked questions, brought my work for critique and gladly listened as they explained what I could do better.
Not only did I get an education from the instructors I studied with but also from the students I was learning with. Each person had a unique view point - in the evenings after class we sat around exchanging ideas about business and photography, we looked at each others work, gave suggestions based on what we learned that day. We ate, slept, breathed and lived photography for five straight days and when it was over tears were always shed as we said goodbye because each of knew that ours lives had been changed forever by the experience.
I can not tell you enough about how passionate I am about LIVE Hands on Workshops.
No instructor that is worth anything teaches for the money.... Believe me there is far more money to be made staying at home and photographing families, seniors, babies or weddings.
Great instructors teach for the LOVE of teaching. They leave their businesses, home and families to give back to an industry - to lift it up - to help those getting started improve their skills- to mingle with new people and to watch that light bulb in the eye of a new photographer light up when they realize they got it, they learned something new and their work will never be the same because of it.
Take the time, spend a little money (it will come back to you tenfold) - invest in your craft - learn from professionals who have been were you are now and can help you grow. Dive in to a few days where all you have to think about is your passion.
I promise you adding Live Workshops to your education is the BEST money you will spend on yourself this year.
I am truly sad to see schools dwindling and attendance going down. Some schools I attended for summer workshops had 10-15 instructors and 400 students. I miss those days - they were some of my best memories growing up in this beautiful, crazy, fun, passionate business.
If you truly want to take your love of photography to the next level, meet some of the best photographers in the business, exchange ideas with other photographers face to face (the old way of socializing) know that when you take out that credit card to pay for the class that you are making an investment in your work, your business, your family and your future. The cost of Summer Session at SCU is far far less than I paid for workshops more than 20 years ago. Honestly, you are losing money if you don’t sign up!
So, how did I become a good photographer.... EDUCATION with the best in the industry - by hiding under tripods, taking the same class over and over because I could never learn enough and investing in my career....
Invest- come spend some time with me this summer.... you won’t be sorry - I promise.
Check out the SCU site.... Meeting the instructors... Check out the amazing pricing -