I see a lot of workshop offerings. They come and go. Most of them are met with a roll of my eyes and shake of my head and a very deep sigh. Occasionally, vodka is involved.
But now and then, a workshop comes along that breaks the mold. It shakes me out of my blasé attitude toward workshops and ignites a fire in my belly. But not a good fire. More like a “Are you trying to burn down the industry with this nonsense?” kind of fire. The kind of workshop that I feel certain, CERTAIN, must be a joke. And when I do some research and learn it isn’t, I find I must resist the urge to take the people who perpetuate this ridiculousness on our beloved industry and give them a good, firm shake. And then tell them a bunch of things.
But I am many many states away from where this ridiculous workshop is taking place, so I shall have to content myself with telling them a bunch of things from afar.
Let’s start off with this beauty, as it is the introduction to the workshop:
Baby Jesus in a Manger. Go from new photographer to superstar wedding photographer in ONE DAY without experience? Is there some sort of wizardry involved? Does this take place at Hogwarts? Will Dumbledore be leading the workshop? Are a set of kitchen knives included with purchase? Snake oil? Will invisibility cloaks be given to mask REALITY?
And I have to wonder, do you really think so little of what wedding photographers do: the time, sweat and years perfecting their craft, that you have zero problem making a statement like this? Or, again, is magic involved? Because IF magic is involved, then I understand completely and I take it all back. But other than the “magic” explanation, this workshop is one taco short of a combination plate.
Oh…CONFIDENCE! Well, that makes perfect sense. I used to think it was years and years of training and pushing oneself and education and making mistakes and learning from them until one could produce beautiful work on a consistent basis. I see I was wrong and now I feel stupid.
I don’t need to know how to work a camera; I just need CONFIDENCE.
I don’t need to know about lighting or exposure or composition; CONFIDENCE will take care of all of that.
Posing problems? No worries, ’cause you’ve got CONFIDENCE.
Hey, what’s a light meter do? Who cares? You’ve got CONFIDENCE.
The reception is really really dark? Light it up with CONFIDENCE.
I’m struggling and running really behind because I don’t know what I’m doing but no big deal, ’cause CONFIDENCE!
Not sure how to create beautiful images in spite of the fact the bride and her attendants are getting ready in a church nursery with Mother Goose wallpaper? Well, put those worries in your pocket, ’cause CONFIDENCE is here to rescue you.
Hey, workshop givers! Here’s a newsflash: Manufactured Experience goes by another name...DELUSION. A separation from reality. Much the same way you see people pushing products backed up by false claims just to make a buck. And when that delusion is shared with clients, it’s called a LIE. And it hurts the photographer’s reputation AND the clients who were expecting a skilled photographer but instead got someone with no more than a one day workshop under their belt.
And you know what else it hurts…an industry struggling to maintain integrity.
Oh wait…you don’t have to worry about lying, ’cause you’ve got CONFIDENCE.
There are so many things wrong with these claims, just so, so many. Like, how does 6 years = 8 years? Math is hard, and I can’t figure it out, but I guess none of that really matters, as we’re not dealing with reality anyway, so we can just throw anything out there and it’s all good. Because it sounds good and…Confidence.
Yes, there is so much wrong with this entire workshop, but if I had to pick just ONE claim that makes me want to run through Total Wine, grabbing all the vodka off the shelf and shoving it in my cart, it’s the claim that your attendees can state with confidence that after your ONE DAY CLASS they can claim they have 8 years experience. (Were you drunk when you wrote this? It’s really the only explanation I can come up with.) This directive is sending photographers out into the world and encouraging them to LIE to potential clients. Not a little mistruth. Not a bending of reality or exaggeration. But a great big ol’ LIE.
I watched a cooking class given by a pastry chef of 20 years: do I now also have 20 years culinary experience?
I watched someone fix my car. He’s been fixing cars for over 10 years: do I now also have 10 years automotive experience?
Our backyard was landscaped. I watched the crew lay sod and plant trees and bushes: do I now have years of experience in landscaping?
Listen, One Day Workshop of Delusion, we are privileged to work in one of the best professions on the planet. If done right, it requires years of hard work, dedication, worry, commitment, mistakes, and in the end, that most glorious of all benefits, Experience. You can’t sell it. You can’t teach it. You can’t disguise it to look like something else. You can, however, take advantage of people by trying to sell photographers on the idea that here is somehow an 8 hour shortcut to success just so you can make a little extra money.
And having written all this, I’m can state with CONFIDENCE that I’m pretty sure you don’t care what I think. Why would you? Anyone who could concoct this sort of nonsense in no way would care what I think. But if you love the industry the way many of us do and want to support the photographers in this industry that work their butts off for themselves and their clients, and do it day in and day out for years, then might you reconsider this sham of a workshop? I mean, if you need money and want to take advantage of people, there’s a much easier way…it’s called Go Fund Me.
(PS: I need to make one thing clear. It’s super important to me. As most of you know, I very rarely name names. I do not share images that other photographers make, nor do I allow them on my wall or any of my social media feeds. It doesn’t matter what I think they look like. I don’t share personal details about those in our industry. Again…it’s none of our business. But workshops? Well, these are things that affect our industry as a whole, and ESPECIALLY new photographers. WE, as photographers, are the market for these workshops, and as such, it affects all of us. So don’t lead new photographers astray by promises of quick success without work. And new photographers, be cautious and wary when it comes to deciding from whom you learn and to whom you give your money. Don’t buy into the idea of shortcuts and that you don’t need what experience has to offer.
It should be hard work…that’s when you know you’re doing it right. xoxo)