To maximize a digital photo workshop, be like a squirrel. Yep. A squirrel. Trust me, this will make sense in a minute…
#1: Location. Location. Location.
Squirrels live in virtually every habitat from the rainforest to the desert. Although squirrels share characteristics, to be the best desert squirrel, that squirrel needs to know about what to eat and where to live in the desert (not the rainforest). Choose a photo workshop that helps you reach your goals. If you want to be a portrait photographer, a workshop by a landscape photographer might not be your best choice. But if you’re a portrait photographer who wants to add landscape photography to your repertoire – or a desert-swelling squirrel who wants to vacation in rainforest – it may be the right choice. Just make sure that what you choose aligns with your goals.
#2: Have Vision.
Squirrels generally have an excellent sense of vision. Do you have a vision of what you want to get out of the workshop you chose? Having a focus will help you prepare your mind to absorb information and skills. Write down what you would like to learn and pay even more attention when those concepts are addressed.
#3: Gather & Stash
Squirrels gather food and stash it close to their nest to be eaten later. While participating in the workshop, you may feel like you’re being bombarded with tons of information – some of it may even be over your head. Just write information down so you can “eat” it later. I keep note cards in my camera bag – then I can record each idea separately and have the information handy when I’m ready to experiment with it later.
#4: Adapt to Survive.
Squirrels will adapt their lifestyles in order to survive. Be open to new ideas. Don’t think, “I already have a way of doing that. I don’t need to pay attention.” To survive as a photographer, you need to be willing to adapt and evolve. You may not need to change the way you do things, but be open to the possibility. Otherwise, why even participate in a photo workshop?
#5: Be Fast & Playful.
Tree squirrels can chase each other through the trees at top speed. Bring your energetic self to the workshop! Be actively involved and truly try the photo techniques being taught.
#6: Share Your Body Heat.
Squirrels will share body heat when needed. Normally territorial over their homes, squirrels will share with others when body heat is needed to keep warm. Although there are lots of photographers who are stingy with advice and knowledge, a photographer offering a workshop obviously is not that way. He is willing to help others “keep warm” by sharing his expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
#7: Get While the Gettin’s Good.
Squirrels eat a lot when food is plentiful. When food is plentiful, squirrels eat a lot in order to gain body fat that will keep them warm in the winter. While the things you learned are still “plentiful” and fresh in your mind, practice the techniques learned in the photo workshop so you can store them like body fat and have them to rely on when actually shooting. (No, I’m not saying photography makes you fat).
Summary: Squirrels & Photo Workshops
Some of you may not like being compared to a squirrel, but there is plenty we can learn from this furry little creature when it comes to digital photo workshops:
- Be where they serve the food you need. Choose a workshop that helps you reach your goals.
- Have a vision. Write down what you would like to learn and pay even more attention when those concepts are addressed.
- Write information down so you can “eat” it later.
- Be open to new ideas.
- Be actively involved and truly try the techniques being taught.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Practice the techniques learned in the photo workshop.
Any Other Advice for Attending Digital Photo Workshops?
If there’s anything else you’ve learned from attending photo workshops, share it on our photo tips blog by leaving a comment!