7 things you must know before attending a photography workshop

August 18, 2022 Estimated reading time: 7 min

Congrats! If you're reading this blog it means you're READY to invest in your education. Kudos to you, you're about to embrace a journey that will change your mindset and elevate your work. I'm proud of you!

Today, Ashley Marker and I will share with you what we consider the key questions to answer before attending a photography workshop.

  1. What am I looking to learn? What is my top priority? Business, art, editing, backend, MINDSET
  2. How do I choose the right hosts and educators?
  3. Shootouts vs. retreats vs. workshops {which is best for me?}
  4. When is my slow season? This will help you maximize Return on Investment (ROI).
  5. How do I choose the best destination for me?
  6. How many photographers will attend? what's the best workshop format?
  7. Are photography workshops too expensive for me?

Let's get started!

1. What am I looking to learn? What is my top priority? Business, art, editing, backend, MINDSET

As business owners, we wear many hats. What are you struggling with the most?

    • Are your sales low? problem getting leads OR closing the deal?
    • What are your marketing channels? are your bookings coming all from the same source?
    • How is your SEO? do you rank high on Google?
    • What's the mix of repeat clients vs. new? Are you in hypergrowth?
    • Do you have a clear brand proposition?
    • Do you know how to differentiate yourself in a saturated market?
    • Do you have a clear pricing strategy?
    • Are you craving to know all the systems/processes to help you run your business efficiently?
    • Do you have a yearly goal? What's the expected growth in 24 months?
  • ART
    • In storytelling, do you struggle to capture real emotions?
    • Do you need help mastering Lightroom and Photoshop?
    • Do you struggle with styling families and scouting for success?
    • Is your client's experience delightful?
    • Do you need help resetting your mindset?
    • Are you craving an experience to build a community (your tribe)?
    • Are you drained and need to connect again with your desire to create?


2. How do I choose the right hosts and educators?

After you've identified your needs, then the fun part begins! There are so many talented photographers out there hosting retreats & workshops, it's amazing!

When running a business, remember that EVERY dollar you spend is an investment. You're not attending a concert or going on vacation (well, that's debatable, the destinations are ALWAYS jaw-dropping!). But you get our point, think about the IMPACT for YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.

Nowadays with social media & websites, you can get a pretty good idea of the mentors' personality and strengths. Do your research and you'll KNOW when you've found a good match!

Look to their work for inspiration, listen to their stories and see if it resonates. YOUR story won't be the same as theirs BUT it will speak to your heart.

It's always a good idea to have as a mentor someone that is still taking paid clients. Why? because she'll be walking the walk, with the same struggles and opportunities. The knowledge will be 100% executable, not academic but applicable. 

Who do you want as your coach? The relationship doesn't end at the workshop, it just starts there!



Learn About MADEIRA 2023 Workshop

3. Shootouts vs. retreats vs. workshops {which is best for me?}

If your goal is to meet other creatives & build your portfolio with tons of beautiful images, and you are not really interested in learning about the thought process and the WHY behind the photographer hosting it all, then a shootout would be perfect for you! You'll walk away with gorgeous material for your portfolio.

If you're looking to get inspired by photographers whose work you love, who have walked the walk and you also want to learn their artistic craft. If you want to spend days bonding with like-minded artists, then a retreat is for you. You'll walk away inspired and pumped, with new artistic tools in hand. 

But if you want to roll your sleeves, if you're craving the mindset of running a very profitable business and building the path to 6 figures, you need to invest in learning the BUSINESS SIDE of photography. As artists, the business side can seem scary. We want to empower you with the tools you need to get in control of your business growth. We'll help you build a solid business plan. So if your goal is to invest in your education in a hands-on approach, combining masterclasses in BUSINESS and ART that allow for 1:1 coaching time, then a workshop is for you. 

In a workshop, you'll get THE best of ALL worlds:

  • You'll build a portfolio (style shoots) +
  • You'll get inspired and learn the artistic craft in editing/session flow/styling/scouting/camera settings/lighting scenarios (retreats) +
  • The biggest differentiator is the hands-on approach with the BUSINESS tools you'll learn that will allow you to ignite your journey.

Workshops offer an insane return on investment. You'll move the needle in both ART & BUSINESS. Let's do this!



4. When is my slow season? This will help you maximize Return on Investment (ROI)

Look at your numbers from last year, what's your slow season? For those of us living in states with harsh winters, then January - March are pretty much dead for the business. We use this time to recharge our souls and seek education. It's THE perfect time to invest in a workshop. The opportunity cost (bookings lost at home) of attending is very low.

If you live in a warmer state, then you have more flexibility since you're bookings are year-round. Any month would work!

Ultimately, to have the biggest return on your investment (workshop), we recommend:

  • Booking many months in advance. This will let you plan your calendar accordingly (incoming bookings).
  • Attend a workshop many months BEFORE your peak season. Why? so you're ready to apply all the learnings when you have more volume (the more you repeat a process/mindset it becomes a habit).
  • To apply the business learnings, you can't be drained. It's a LONG term game.


Learn About MADEIRA 2023 Workshop

5. How do I choose the best destination for me?

There are so many amazing opportunities out there for destination workshops. It can sometimes feel overwhelming! The good news? We tell our attendees that what you learn will be applicable to ANY scenario/location, it's all about mastering light & storytelling!

The pros to choosing an exotic destination that differs from the landscape back home, is that it challenges you to try something new and step outside your comfort zone. Many times attendees learn so much more when they are shooting in new locations with different lighting scenarios, different colors, and tones. You also get to experience a new place- which is super fun!

A workshop based at a destination with similar vibes to your home is that you can learn in an element that you are used to shooting in!

Ultimately, you get to choose which scenario speaks to your heart the most!


6. How many photographers will attend? what's the best workshop format?

This is a key question! You need to know the ratio of educators : students. 5 to 1 is a good ratio, in these smaller groups meaningful conversations get started and there is an opportunity to be an active participant.  With this ratio, the shy student can speak up and ask questions. In addition, during the styled sessions, it's easier to shoot with fewer photographers standing next to you. With 2 educators, 10 attendees is a good mix! You'll get varieties of backgrounds and experiences AND you'll also get direct access to the educators. 

What about 1:1 time with the educators?? GREAT QUESTION! This is NOT a given. In a group format, it's hard to find that alone time with the hosts UNLESS it's already built into the workshop's program/curriculum. Be sure to ask for the agenda ahead of time if 1:1s are not listed in the 'what's included' section.

A 1:1 has SO MUCH value, it's an IN-PERSON mentorship! The conversations will be tailored to YOUR needs, to YOUR market, to YOUR business, and to YOUR portfolio. It also helps build the foundation of this long-term relationship, remember that THESE hosts will be by your side long after the workshop is over! 


Learn About MADEIRA 2023 Workshop

7. Are photography workshops too expensive for me?

It all depends! How much would you pay for something if I tell you that in the next 2 years you'll make 2X of your yearly income? That's how BIG the impact can be once you start running photography as a solid business. 

If you see the price as a vacation getaway with girlfriends, then it can seem expensive. If you see the price as an opportunity to improve your portfolio with EPIC photos in breathtaking locations, I can understand that it can seem expensive. Yet if you see the price as an opportunity to build a community, nail the art, AND ignite your BUSINESS with solid guidance on pricing strategies, SEO, marketing, sales, operational challenges, and the roadmap to hit 6 figures... then WOW! the number is no longer an obstacle, it's an investment with a HUGE ROI! 

Education is the best investment for your business. The KEY is to put the money where your business needs it the most! GO for it, get inspired, get the business tools, and come back with a SOLID execution plan on how to grow your business and improve your craft!

tiny - Beach Photo Sessions-9


Sharing my WHY! 

I was photographing a family last night and the daughter (college kid) said that she could see that I really loved my job. I answered that this is much more than a job, it's my life calling. When you do what you LOVE, it's a joy. All the pieces of the puzzle get into place and you thrive. Every day you wake up out of bed JUMPING up happily with what the day has to offer you. Your job lifts you up, all day, every day. It's a passion-turned job.⁠ ⁠

It starts as a fairy tale, then the fine line hits the ground.

You KNOW you love it but can you make a LIVING out of it? That's the biggest question people have when thinking about pursuing a passion and leaving a salary behind. ⁠ ⁠

The answer is Y-E-S you can!⁠ ⁠

It's not for the faint of heart. You have to be bold about it and go ALL IN. If YOU believe it's doable, then it will be. It all starts with the mindset. And it ALL starts with not treating it as a hobby but as a job. From day 1 you have to build a brand, you need a solid business plan to hold you accountable. ⁠ With creative passions like ours (photography), you can spend too much time in the ART (which is what ultimately drives our soul) and forget to treat it as a profitable business. Finding that balance and getting the help you need to understand what needs to be done and how is KEY.⁠ ⁠

I pulled the plug in Nov 2018. I decided to quit my corp job and pursue photography full-time. I wish I had known an 'Andre' back then, someone that had walked the walk and could show me the way. It was a solo quest to build ATP from the ground up and make it what it is today! Almost 4 years later, I am EAGER to share my journey with those starting to walk this path or those established but wanting to increase their yearly revenue 5x.

I've seen many talented photographers nail the art but not necessarily kick ass in a profitable way. Our dream is to prove and convince photographers that you CAN make a GREAT living from this job if you run it like a business from the ground up. We'll give you the tools you need for your business to thrive. The 2023 MADEIRA workshop will combine ART & BUSINESS in a way never taught before!⁠ ⁠ 

Come and join me for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, let's discover Madeira island and let's ignite your business!

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About Andre Toro Photography

Andre Toro is an award-winning family and published photographer based in Boston, MA. She calls her style Real Art Photography, which she defines as Fine Art inspired by candid moments. Andre is a passionate soul, obsessed with human connection, and emotive storytelling. She believes love is raw, messy, and beautiful. To inquiry about booking a photo session, please contact her at andre@andretorophotography.com

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