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Should I attend a Photography Workshop or Online Resources?

Tips And Lessons

Should I attend a Photography Workshop or Online Resources?


Ashwin , Chennai based Culinary photographer shared his insights about learning methods and I’m sure you will get idea whats best for you, if you go through his article.

Should I attend a photography workshop or teach myself through online resources?

I’m sure many of you have considered doing either when it comes to not just photography, but any new thing you wanted to learn more about. Well hopefully by the end of this article will you will be able to decide which option would be the best for you!I am Ashwin, a Chennai-based food photographer and I’ve been to a couple of workshops before, photography and otherwise and have done a hell lot of self-taught online lessons. Photography is a skill like any other and the more you do it, the more you experiment with it, the better you’ll become at it.Now let’s cut right to the chase and talk about the nitty gritty of both these methods of learning, shall we?


Now what exactly are we talking about here? Here’s what! – Self teaching is basically teaching yourself something new with the help of books and online resources where there’s not another person directly involved in the process.  Here are some benefits and caveats.

  1. Fits your schedule

One of the biggest benefits of you being your own teacher is you get to pick your time to learn photography and you know what your optimal time to learn is!Unfortunately, this also comes with all the distractions that college or work would bring. Very easily, this can become the thing that can easily be cut out of your schedule, especially when finals approach or when work gets busy.

  1. Affordable and low entry cost

The internet makes learning resources readily available and you can readily get started for the low low cost of FREE! There are a wide variety of resources, ranging from free material to paid tutorials of every price range.While the resource that is offered might sound attractive, but to a certain extent you often get what you pay for. The quality and consistency of the material can vary quite a bit and is generally only enough to get started.

  1. Pay for what you need

Self-teaching enables you to pick and choose the material that you exactly need to know, a more à la carte style where you can focus on particular techniques instead of buying into large packages. This makes it a low investment for beginners and lets experienced developers zero in on what they need.This comes at a price, however. A beginner will have a hard time knowing where to start or which techniques to work with. Without a solid foundation, you wouldn’t know the right courses to pick.


  1. Interaction and group learning

One thing that’s not offered through online resources (and is basically the opposite of self-learning) is the aspect of interactive learning AKA learning with others. A lot of people tend to learn best when done with a group of other people who are trying to learn the same thing.Probably the most important benefit of a workshop is the ability for you to directly interact with the trainer and have your specific questions answered WITH context on your situation. That’s an exclusive benefit that you don’t generally get with online courses.

  1. Cohesive curriculum and mentorship

A workshop is often run by a single or a group of professionals. In a workshop there’s more structure to your learning. These are more carefully planned out ahead of time. When the person/ people who are teaching already have an understanding over what’s being taught, it helps save a lot of time and effort spent on finding the right way to implement what you learn online.However, the more rigid material can make it more difficult to learn if you don’t keep pace. Depending on the size of the workshop you may or may not be able to ask for a lesson to be repeated.

  1. Full Immersion, No Distractions. Learning Environment.

A lot of people are easily distracted when they’re learning something by themselves. By being present in a room full of people who are also trying to learn and when there’s an actual person in the room who is imparting knowledge on a subject you’re interested in, you’re more likely to be fully immersed with no distractions. The environment automatically puts you in a mind-set to learn when a workshop is done right. Workshops often also let you have a hands-on session, making you apply what you’ve learnt almost immediately.

  1. Networking

When you attend a workshop on a specific topic of photography, you often meet people from different walks of life attending it. The common interest between you and the others being the topic of the workshop, it makes for a great place to network. You will automatically build a network of people with similar interests which could possibly help you in the future.Of course, you can’t stop at the workshop. Networking requires constant maintenance and to give yourself more opportunities you’ll have to extend your network outside of the workshop. Local meetups and online communities are great ways to meet people who are passionate about photography.

Which is the right choice?

The biggest disadvantage of self-study is that it relies solely on your will power. If you don’t have the resolve and self-discipline to spend a couple of hours a day studying then the goal is hard to achieve. On the other hand, workshops are often carried out by certified trainers with real-world experience and it follows a structured path where you’re learning the required knowledge to move onto the next subject in a reasonable time frame, there is no time to forget the subject matter because of the class structure.

People who are innately self-driven, prefer learning visually and independently and grasp new things fast, tend to do fine with the self-study option. If these are not your strong points, you may benefit significantly with the help of a workshop

These days with the availability of a vast pool of study aids, tutorials, e-books, self-study blogs and what not, the solution seems to be just a click away, but again there is a possibility that you might feel lost like a fish in the ocean.

If you’re a workshop kind of person and are interested in Food photography, do check out the food photography workshop that I’ll be teaching  https://www.madrasphotobloggers.com/event/food-photography-and-styling-workshop

To share your thoughts on Self-learning vs Workshop, you may leave your feedback in the comments section.