Are workshops still worth the while?

May 31, 2023

Is it still worthy to attend an in-person food photography workshop?

Most importantly, is the investment worth it?

In this blog post, I’ll share our last workshop highlights and my 2 cents on the pros and cons of different learning investments.

I’m talking to you both from the perspective of a food photographer who taught in the industry for 7 years and as a fellow creative who questions expenses just as you do.

Images from my last worshop with Aimee @twiggstudios

How do we knock your socks off with our workshops?

1) Learning curve

The in-person workshop offers a shortcut to forwarding your skills; in this sense, there are all pros and little cons.

We typically divide the workshop into 3 phases, show and tell, hands-on (that includes editing session) and Q&A time. And this’s exactly what we did in our last event.

During a show-and-tell demo, the students can witness the process of styling light work and photography of the professional photographers. And also receive full explanations of the techniques and reasoning behind the composition and light choices. In this stage, students mostly observe and listen. There’s a lot of clarity coming from seeing someone else process, plus you can ask questions and revise the process with professionals at your complete service.

In the second phase, hands-on, you are put in charge of a full styling and photography sets. This’s such important moment because when you try to apply what you just saw you deepen your understanding. This is the moment of real learning and when your struggles surface.

The combination of show and tell and hands on creates the perfect opportunity to fast forward your growth. You have right there the professionals you choose at your service answering your questions and solving your problems right away.

This particular 1 day workshop was quite intensive, so we organised a supper club style lunch for a relaxing pause before the last part of the workshop.

We concluded the day of learning with the editing session focused on creating the skills to keep the images consistent and bold and a final Q&A session.

Pictures of the students stylings in my last worshop

2) Prices

In person workshops price point is typically a higher investment compared to most e-courses or general photography lessons. However the difference in learning gain between the in-person experience and online course is ocean-wide.

If the workshop is a residential with accommodation (retreat) the costs can easily reach the price of a proper vacation. If a workshop investment is a few hundreads a retreat goes by the thousands.

Workshops tend to be intensive with combination of inspirational creativity, practical techniques and business talks and the opportunity to be guided by professional photographers. E courses learning is independent which means you decide the pace but you are also working by yourself.

I usually need a few days to recover from a workshop, teaching is not enough, we need to be fully present for each student needs for the duration of the entire course.

We really want to get you to the next level no matter what. And man, if it’s a satisfaction at the end to see our student leaving fuelled with clarity and inspiration.

Images of the lunch and students at the workshop with Aimee @twiggstudios

3) But how do you know what you need?!

Let’s forget about money for a minute. How to know what to go for your growth in this given moment?

Here some info that hopefully will help you get some clarity!

  • E-courses come in a full range of prices; although some are expensive, they usually have lifetime access. And I must say the price usually reflects a real difference in value. Online courses can be a great answer if you are short on time and unable to travel. Tight work commitments, busy schedules, a newborn in the family, you name it. Online courses reach you in the comfort of your home, and you can tailor the pace and the effort. But you find yourself navigating it alone, so if you hit a wall, you might find it hard to overcome your limits. Here’s mine.
  • In-person workshops are usually 1 to 3 days, and they are quite intense. A workshop is focused on giving you actionable tools to fast forward your learning. It’s a great experience for getting rid of those difficulties you cannot overcome alone and gaining a fresh, actionable perspective. Professional workshops should be very structured and offer the full range of knowledge that takes you from point A to point B no matter your current skills. Often I follow up my workshops with short PDFs or Guides. The additional pro is working alongside and connecting with like-minded creatives on your journey. You might need to pay for travel and find accommodation.
  • Retreats are usually 3 to 5 days. They are residential so you will have accommodation and all meals sorted. Often they include extras like a pasta-making workshop or a dining experience at a famous venue. Retreats have a bit of a vacation vibe. They are usually held in stunning locations that give you a lot of opportunities to build a range of different pictures for your portfolio and foster connections. Attending a retreat gave me some space and time to focus completely on my photography without interference and brought me a new perspective on my business, including starting artistic portraiture. There’s less of the technical aspects and more of the creative opportunities & mental space that we lose in the day-to-day. The investment can be substantial.

To conclude, your investment in yourself should reflect the value you want to put in your unique creative journey at this given moment. What is right for your journey might not be what is right for that majority and sometimes is goof to go against the grain and invest in us before we are ready.

I hope this brief article helped a bit in your journey my friend!


Silvia B.


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