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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back To School

Enrich and expand your photography knowledge through workshops

Digital photography has changed the way a lot of photo workshop classes have developed. Along with serious amateurs and professionals eager for more information, a new set of shooters has emerged due to the ease and immediacy of learning that digital offers.

Of workshop attendees today, Fatima NeJame of the Palm Beach Photographic Centre says, "They want a class that teaches digital information but, while learning the technical part, they also realize the creative aspects of photography."

Amy Kawadler, a photographer and rep at Canon, teaches a class that introduces the digital Canon camera system to new owners at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Venice, Calif. "My hands-on classes allow students to overcome the fear of technology," says Kawadler. Armed with a better understanding of their cameras, students can focus on cultivating their artistic expression.

"Our philosophy regarding digital is that it's a tool," says Liz Dybdal of the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Mont. "We feel first and foremost you're a photographer and digital is a tool in which to enhance your work."

Increasingly, schools have adopted this attitude, as digital workflow, Photoshop techniques, exposure and noise control are offered as lessons to enhance your images from capture to print.

"We're finding that there's a big learning curve in digital shooting that people want to surmount," says Reid Callanan, founder and director of the Santa Fe Workshops. "Newer classes that are filling up are definitely centered around the technical aspect of digital. Beyond capture, people are looking to hone their skills with extra knowledge of digital workflow, system backup, setting color profiles and calibrating their monitors."

While scheduling a workshop can be difficult for those of us with day jobs, there are classes available that fit into busy lives or can be attended during vacation. You might be surprised by who's teaching workshops, too. Perhaps there's a photographer whose work you find inspiring. He or she just may be teaching a class. Well-known celebrity photographer Michael Grecco is out there sharing his knowledge as well as Mary Ellen Mark. Photoshop guru Jeff Schewe will be teaching at Santa Fe this September, as will National Geographic photographer Bob Sacha. PCPhoto and OP's very own Rob Sheppard often teaches at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre and the Great American Photography Workshops, which holds classes countrywide.



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