Have You Ever Thought About Teaching Photography?
A great way to add an additional service to your photography business is to teach some aspect of photography. As our world around us changes, it is always a great idea to adapt our businesses to the supply and demand of our current culture.
We now live in a social media and smartphone world and the quality of the images you can get with your phone these days is incredible. Combine that with filtered social media sites like Instagram and suddenly everyone is or wants to be a photographer. Unfortunately, as a professional photographer, this narrows our clientele market more than we might realize.
However this also brings a growing demand and interest to learn photography today because so much of our life is now documented and shared for the world to see. More and more people are wanting “professional” type photos but do not have the budget to hire a professional photographer several times a year.
A few years ago I recognized this trend and, because I also have a natural love of teaching, I decided to start teaching photography classes for moms out of my home. Today, teaching photography workshops is a major part of my business!
Don't miss the free "Photography Workshop Checklist" download at the end of this post!
Mom Photography Classes
I teach a Momtographer Workshop several times a year now. These workshops are geared towards teaching moms how to use their own DSLR cameras to document their families (a basic beginner photography class). I have also recently added a Lightroom Editing Workshop and a Backlighting Workshop. Through my workshops, I’ve been able to meet women from all over the country, teach what I love, and also make great additional income in the process!
In the past year, I have also had several photographers reach out to me, asking for ideas or help with implementing their own workshops. This post is designed to help inspire and encourage you to create your own photography workshop.
Is Teaching a Photography Workshop for You?
Well, you should answer these questions. Do you love teaching? Can you capture and keep an audience's attention? Do you have a love and passion for photography? If you can answer yes to these questions then you’re a perfect fit!
How to Get Started:
What Type of Photography Workshop Should You Teach?
First off, you must narrow down what specific type of photography class you would like to teach. The best place to start is by considering teaching a workshop based on your current specialty or passion. What is your photography niche? What sets you apart? What are you most passionate about when it comes to photography? Examples: newborns, lifestyle, families, children, fashion, studio, backlighting, etc. Your specialty is the area you feel the most confident in and makes you unique in the photography field.
Who is Your Audience?
After you decide the specific type of workshop you want to teach, you must determine your audience. Is it professional photographers? Is it amateurs? A specific type of amateurs like Moms or students? Finding your target audience is super important in narrowing down who you are marketing to.
For the workshops I teach, my main audience is Moms so I tend to advertise in local moms groups on Facebook in my area. Knowing you audience is also beneficial when writing your curriculum because it helps to tailor the information specifically for them.
Creating Your Photography Content
This is the most time consuming part of creating a workshop. Writing your curriculum can be daunting. But the beautiful thing is, once it is written, subsequent workshops will be so much easier because you can just reuse your existing curriculum over and over again. Although, after each workshop, I do listen to feedback and make adjustments to improve it as much as possible.
Before hosting your first workshop, I would highly recommend testing out the curriculum on your friends so you can get honest, constructive criticism and test out your material. Was it too long? Easy to understand? Was any of the material confusing or need tweaking?
Before my first workshop I did a test photography class with two of my friends and it was so good to see how the material worked and even for me personally to see which areas I needed to refine in both content and delivery.
Deciding on Class Length
This part might take the most trial and error to figure out what works best and is largely determined by your specialty and audience. For example, my Backlighting Workshops are 2 hours long mainly because I teach it out in a field at golden hour, so there is limited time with that. My Mom photography workshops are 4 hours long and are taught in my home where I create a fun atmosphere and also include catered food.
In general, when it comes to length, I would recommend to keep things as short as possible (social media has greatly shortened everyone's attention span) and try break up long sections with breaks or activities.
How to Price Your Photography Workshop
With pricing, the biggest mistake I made early on was underpricing my photography workshops. When I first started, I was so nervous and thought I would not be good enough, so I didn't charge what I should have for my workshops and didn't have much success in sign ups. I know its counter-intuitive, but I realized the lack of response was because I was undervaluing myself and my workshops as a whole.
Instead of giving up, I decided to rework the pricing (I actually doubled it) and my next photography workshop had 17 attendees. It was a huge success!
If you have worked hard on your content, you need to trust that it is good and believe in yourself! When you are figuring out pricing, you also need to ask yourself, "What is my time worth?" I can assure you, these photograpy workshops are a lot of work and your time is valuable!
Choosing Your Photography Workshop Venue
When choosing a venue, I would recommend hosting your workshop in a place that fits what you are teaching! Personally, I host my Mom photography classes right in my home to save on overhead cost, but also because what I’m teaching is lifestyle photography and I feel this is best demonstrated in an actual home!
Your venue might be a beautiful location you rent or an outdoor park with plenty of good light and opportunities to shoot!
Putting Together Your Workshop Supplies
Supplies vary between workshops, but I will share what I use for my Momtographer Classes:
Print out of my Powerpoint presentation for notes (so my students don’t feel the need to write everything down)
Folders & Pens
A computer or screen to project my Powerpoint onto
Thank you gifts and pretty things to decorate my house to make it fun and inviting for the students.
Make sure to take all of this into account when deciding the price you should charge for your workshop!
Just Do it
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” - Brene Brown
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! The very first workshop is the most nerve-wracking and the most work but after you get that first one under your belt (other than tweaking it) your curriculum is now completely written and the following workshops will be much easier. You will also become more confident the more you teach. Teaching workshops creates a lot of vulnerability and can feel so risky but make sure not to let fear rob you of success.
Post Workshop Follow Up
After your workshop is over be sure to follow up with all your participants and seek out their feedback! After my workshops are over, I send a thank you email out that same night as well as an invite into my private Facebook Group where participants of all of my workshops can receive further mentoring from me and post questions or photos for constructive criticism.
I also try to post pictures and/or videos from my workshops on social media to create excitement and interest for future workshops.
Here is My Typical Momtographer Workshop Timeline (10am - 2pm):
10:00 - 10:15 Participants arrive, get notes, make name tag, make plate of food and grab a mimosa (or two) before grabbing a seat.
10:15 - 10:30 Start workshop and open with a 15 minute intro (who am I, how was this workshop created, and what my students can expect for the day).
10:30 - 12:15 Teaching basics of photography and lighting broken down into 25 minute sections with 5 min breaks. I also have students apply what they are learning right away by having them practice with their cameras. I am a firm believer that people learn best by “doing” - so having my students practice using their own cameras is a vital part of my workshops.
12:00ish - 12:30ish Lunch break. I also answer some questions at this time.
12:30 - 1:00 I finish my powerpoint presentation with some examples of my own photography to not only give them creative ideas but also show them how I utilize these same photography concepts in my own work. I also briefly cover editing tools including Lightroom and my favorite Lightroom Presets from Pretty Presets
1:00 - 1:55 This is pure shooting time. We all go around my house and take lots of indoor photos - luckily my kids love to model for us. Weather permitting, we also do some outdoor shooting in the backyard.
1:55 - 2:00 Workshop wrap up and challenge them to continue practicing!
I hope my tutorial has given you some great ideas to help you develop and start teaching your own photography workshop. Let me assure you that if I can do this, so can you! Good luck and happy teaching!
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