Hi my name is Mona Naem, I live in London and I have been running my family photography business for 6 years. Prior to being a photographer I use to be a primary school teacher. I mainly shoot families, events and occasionally weddings.
1) Describe your photography business before you started teaching photography classes and what was it like after. Or in other words, how has teaching photography helped or enhance your business?
I guess I would say that I’m more creative now, as I’m teaching children different aspects of photography – aperture, shutter speed control to composition, I have started thinking more about my framing and also try to take some in between shots that I wouldn’t normally take. These are my examples of work I like to share with the kids. Sometimes it’s those test shots you do at the beginning of a shoot. I can show the children how I’m changing my aperture/shutter/iso values to get the better light.
2) What made you want to start teaching photography?
As I mentioned before, I loved being a teacher but when I had my first child I decided to stay home and be a dedicated mother. I have a lot of teacher friends and I guess I was missing the buzz of being in a class and teaching. It just felt like the most natural and organic path for me.
3) I would love to know about the 6 workshops you did back to back.
Right so 3 of those were summer workshops and I have theme for each day, those were Light & colour, capturing summer and adventures in the garden. Each day I have different focus so some days I focus on macro mode, other days its more about shutter speed but each day we focus on 2/3 elements of composition (like rule of thirds, framing, using different angles when shooting, etc). The other was a 3 days DSLR workshop for teens where I taught the children how to use their DSLR cameras and on the last day we met in Central London and used all the skills they had learned to create interesting photos.
4) What is your most popular class you teach?
I think its more to do with when I run the workshops. I actually had children signing up to one day and then after doing it they wanted to sign up to all of the other workshops, which was great!
5) Which of the curriculum bundles are you using?
A combination of the basic photography and the summer camps.
6) How much do you charge?
I charge £50 for a day workshop or £90 for 2 days or £120 for 3 days
7) How many students do you have?
My ideal number is 9 as I like to keep my ratio per help 4/5 but having said that the July workshops were very popular and I had up to 12 attending!
8) How do you find students to attend your classes?
I run the after school photography club at my son’s school, I have some of the children from there, some of my kids friends and past clients recommend me to their friends, which is such a compliment.
Also this year I had a table set up at a local street fair, I had an interactive table where children could take photos using my DSLR camera. I had flyers printed which they took.
9) Do you have a gallery for students to show their work to parents?
So after each workshop I get children to either choose 1 or 4 smaller best images of the day which I print and give to them. If the children are attending all 3 workshops, then I produce a booklet like this.
10) Do you give the students cards to shoot with and then collect them or do you have them submit their images some place online such as dropbox, etc?
With my afterschool club I use to get the parents to upload their images on a dropbox folder I provided, it was generally fine but did get some parents who just simply forgot each week. So now I ask parents to buy 2 memory card so I take one in and they still have the other to do their homework or if they simply want to take photos over the week.
11) What advice would you give to photographers who may want to teach but be nervous to get started teaching?
I think if you enjoy spending time with children and have the patience for it then I think you should definitely go for it. I absolutely LOVE teaching children, especially when they are excitedly clicking away. Also the joy the children get when they nail their shot, its so rewarding. I’m so proud of all the children who attend my classes and workshops.