Teach Photography: How This Equestrian & High School Senior Photographer Taught a Photography Workshop
What made you want to start teaching photography classes?
I have been asked recently by a couple of people if I would mentor them. As an up and coming photographer myself, I was a little uncomfortable with the situation. Not to mention, I had no idea how to charge or even if I was worth paying. I recently purchased your senior magazine
and received some of your emails about teaching photography. I have taught a week long photography course for kids through our church in the past, so I know how hard it is to get a curriculum together. The idea of having a prepared curriculum was appealing. I contacted the interested individuals and they both seemed to be in the beginner stages. So, I decided to purchase your Basic Photography Course
and offer a beginner class instead of individual mentorships.
How did you find students to attend your photography workshops?
: I did not advertise my class much because I was extremely nervous. Could I answer all of their questions? Would the curriculum
cover enough? Too much? How much was the class worth? Could I/should I even charge for my class? I ended up setting the price at $95. I made two posts on Facebook and had six people sign up immediately.
Tell us more about your experience teaching photography.
(Christina): I should mention that I am an equestrian and high school senior photographer. So, now it might make more sense that I held the class in a barn :) I had three late cancellations, so only three students. I am a Canon user, all of the students had Nikon cameras. Due to our small class size, this did not pose too much of a problem. I had taken time to review the settings before class and the students were happy to help each other whenever we got stuck. I was very surprised that two of the students had exceptional equipment... full frame cameras, 50 1.4 lens, 70-200 lens, etc. but neither knew how to shoot in manual, or even what proper exposure meant. Had I seen them in another scenario with their gear, I would have been intimidated. But, I really did have something to offer them! Start to finish, all three students were actively engaged and excited to learn.
After we finished the curriculum
(which really did take two hours!), we went outside and practiced our newly acquired knowledge on a model and horse. I placed the model in different lighting scenarios (back lit, direct light, etc) and helped them through their camera settings for each. I really feel the students ended up with strong images, and more importantly, that they will be able to reproduce the results the next time they pick up their cameras.
What did you learn from your experience teaching photography?
(Christina): I learned a lot during this class. I feel the students got a lot of value for their money and I definitely feel confident in raising the price next time. I also learned to take a deposit to reserve their place in order to avoid late cancellations.
Some things I did do right:
- Online registration. Since I was so nervous, I was glad to know names and a little about each person beforehand.
- I had a local print shop print the booklet and saddle-stitch the binding. It worked perfectly and made it a little more high-end than just printed pages. (I also added a lined page at the end for notes.)
- I loved having the model after class. It just really seemed to tie everything together. I brought along toy horses in case we had extra time in the end. We didn't, but even something like that would be beneficial, imo.
- Magazines/books to look at styles, specifically aperture (Backpacker magazine had great landscapes, Birds & Blooms was filled with amazing wide open shots)
Overall, I was very pleased with the course! I have been asked if I'm worried about teaching my competition. My answer is yes, absolutely. But I had an educator tell me that teaching others sets you up as an authority and opens you up to bigger opportunities (and pay scales!) Plus, it just felt good to help others. I'm already looking forward to the next time!
All photos courtesy of Christina Leach Photography