Season For Learning
by Harrison Jacobs
Students shoot a model at Ghionis's 5-day workshop.
August 14, 2012 —
For photographers looking to brush up on their skills (or acquire new ones), workshops can be an invaluable tool. These days there are classes for just about every type of photography and every type of photographer. Quantity does not necessarily guarantee quality, however, and the sheer number of choices available can be overwhelming. Rangefinder has cut through the clutter and done the legwork for you by picking our top workshops offered this fall (and one in late summer)by a range of providers, including such stalwart institutions as Santa Fe and Maine Media workshops, to independent teachers like Cliff Mautner and Jerry Ghionis. Consider these workshops to not only acquire new skills or hone existing ones, but also help you get a leg up in the market that you’ve been looking to conquer.
The Julia Dean Photo Workshops
The Pitch: “Working on something that you care about…is how you continue to grow as a photographer and an artist. It’s a different mentality,” explains Merfeld. “To have a project that is not under the critical eye of expectations and deadlines helps you to continue to grow as a photographer. How do artists expand their portfolios otherwise?”
Ice Society’s 5-day workshops
The Pitch: “I humbly say it’s the most comprehensive photography, business and marketing course in the industry,” says Ghionis. “It’s personal development. Being away from your life for five days and taking a step back makes you realize what’s important.”
The Fearless Heart Workshop
So much of the creative process is based around a sense of confidence and a clarity of vision, which is why Huy Nguyen and Brett Butterstein, two accomplished photojournalists and wedding photographers, decided to focus their wedding photography workshop on achieving these goals. And whereas most workshops focus on teaching new technical skills or providing testing grounds in which students can shoot, Fearless Heart is all about portfolio review and critiques that can help you hone your artistic vision. “We’re not traditional,” says Nguyen. “We help [students] understand what is holding them back and what can make them better. We tell them the truth. The workshop is like having good friends who will tell you how it is.” During the course of two-day intensive, a class of no more than ten photographers will first go through course lectures from the instructors, and then take each student’s work and examine it “blow-by-blow” in a “trusting environment.” Fearless Heart is open to all skill levels, though Nguyen acknowledges that most of his students are professionals looking to take the next step.
Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp
Price: $1,800. www.cmphotography.com/blog
For more information and to register, call the studio at (856)-428-4268, (609) 560-0877,
Maine Media Workshops
The Pitch: “It’s pretty intense…You take your professional still-photography skills and you learn how to do the same thing in video,” says Kaufman. Students learn how to shoot documentary stories with “really character-driven storytelling.”
Santa Fe Workshops
The Pitch: “I spend my time shooting people that look like me and you,” Heisler says. “If James Gandolfini weren’t James Gandolfini, he’d look like a mechanic, and no one would be interested in taking a photograph of him. Of course, people want to take his photo now because of who he is. What I’m about is trying to find out who he would be if he was just another person. I think the important thing is to discover what you can ‘mine’ from a person.”
There is perhaps no single institution more dedicated to providing photographers with quality learning that is designed to expand artists’ skills and repertoire than Santa Fe Workshops. Noted for its picturesque location and rotating stable of prestigious instructors, no workshop listing would be complete without it. And Gregory Heisler’s “The Evocative Portrait” is undoubtedly the pick of the litter for Santa Fe’s upcoming fall lineup. Heisler is a noted portrait photographer with big name credits that range from over 70 Time covers (including Person of the Year) to Sports Illustrated, Esquire and The New York Times Magazine. Heisler is a devotee of what he calls “the evocative portrait,” which he characterizes as being “done with a great deliberateness and a consciousness in every decision.” In his workshop, Heisler teaches photographers to capture that illusive portrait that “evokes a sense of the person” and “finds that special uniqueness in each and every person.” Students, whose skills range from amateur to professional, spend time photographing other students, because, as Heisler says, “It’s instructive to be on the wrong side of the lens.” While the workshop focuses as much on technique as interpersonal communication, Heisler warns that if you are looking for him to provide you with answers, look elsewhere. “It’s not a cookie-cutter thing,” he explains. “This is about finding your own way of doing it.” The Evocative Portrait caters to all different types of approaches, something Heisler encourages from the get-go. Lighting, camera choice, lens choice, pose and demeanor are just a few of the variables Heisler forces his students to consider; for the rest, you’ll have to go to the workshop. Price: $1,095. To sign up, follow the link.
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