Finding the right photo workshop

Lindsey models for my students during one of my Small Flash Lighting workshop.
Lindsey models for my students during one of my Small Flash Lighting workshop.

A funny thing happened overnight when photography evolved from film to digital.

Besides the obvious photography businesses popping up everywhere you look, now, those who used to do  it professionally find they have a new revenue stream: teaching other photographers.

It’s great for the established ones who know their craft.

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Not so good for those  eager to learn because there are a lot of ‘hacks’ out there.

It’s tough for the newbie to sort through the ones who are hawking their gear and those who are actually teaching and sharing technique.

Because photo gear is so expensive once you get to the level of wanting more control and learning to light, it’s important that everyone takes at least an overview type lighting class.

That way, you can educate yourself on what gear to buy.

Beginners seeking out workshops need to realize it’s a business and those who are good at marketing  tend to draw the biggest crowds but they aren’t necessarily the best bang for their buck.

Sadly, many of these so-called gurus like Jasmine Star and Doug Gordon may not be as skilled as they portray themselves to be.

I don’t know or follow Jasmine Starr or Doug Gordon.

And I don’t know of their work.

But what I do know is that they have been caught plagiarizing content from other photographers.

More importantly even when caught, they didn’t exactly come clean.

Their supporters who blindly follow despite these revelations point out that the haters are just jealous of their enormous success.

There are some very worthwhile  experts like Joe McNally whose background and credentials are proven.


Joe McNally shows sold-out audience Nikon’s iTTL triggering system during a workshop at Los Angeles Convention Center

Even though Joe McNally is sponsored by quite a few photo gear manufacturers, when asked what ‘brand’ the reflector his assistant was using, I could sense in the pause before he answered he was thinking, “Pay attention to the technique, not the gear.”

Joe doesn’t need the likes of the super marketing machinery like the Wedding Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). There are tendencies for any organization once they get a certain size to not do anything self-destructive like remove guest speakers of questionable integrity.

Group photo of all participants in one of my Small Flash Lighting class.
Group photo of all participants in one of my Small Flash Lighting class.

On a personal note, now that I find myself teaching more, aren’t you at all curious why I do it?

Besides the obvious, like you, I have bills to pay.

There is an ulterior motive.

By teaching, I’m actually becoming a better photographer.

I have to break down my technique almost one-step-at-a-time so that I can explain the rationale behind the approach.

We all know the most difficult open-ended questions to answer are those that start with those 3-letters “WHY?”
Peter Phun Photography

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