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Author Topic: Photo Workshops--Economic Value & Reasons For Success  (Read 6707 times)
Raymond Bleesz
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« on: June 14, 2012, 08:18:23 AM »
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I am throwing out a question & seeking responses just to be curious as to the value of photo workshops & what makes them successful or not, and the economics involved.  I live in Colorado---In my vicinity there are an abundance of photographers/workshops--I might list them: Anderson Arts Ranch in Snowmass, Moab Photosymposium, Rich Clarkson's Jackson Hole gig, one in Telluride, the Santa Fe Workshop, Durango offers a few workshops and of course, workshops can be found in Denver--just to name a few.

What is common is the "resort" setting for the most part. I am not even including out of country happenings of which there is ample if not a surplus of workshops, not necessarily in a "resort" setting".  Other parts of the country likewise offer photoworkshops--Maine to Florida et al.. Our graying population has the time & money & their Leica's to make photo workshops a happening event.

The rambling question perhaps is: What is your perspective on photo workshops, their value economically to a community, the reasons for success or failure, the pitfalls,  who benefits the most--the questions go on.

PS  Can you refer me to a article or site which explores this rambling question and of course your take on this question or questions.

Respectfully
Raymond
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 09:12:18 AM »
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Raymond, are you a tax inspector?

The net you cast is so wide it has to be something like that.

Rob C

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Raymond Bleesz
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 10:09:45 AM »
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Rob, no I am not a tax collector--I am quite serious--this question has been rummaging through my mind for years & presently.  Recently, a neighbor went to a workshop in Moab with a well known shooter, paying $3750 dollars for a 4 day gig--that's an impressive amt.---for my book & my lifestyle.

I have been involved & presently in my communities socio/economic activities.  I have been suggestive to others that our community should look at photo workshops as a possible activity.  In fact, over the years, I have written to various people such as the lady ( I have forgotten her name & position---Lafont?Huh?) who recently retired from SIPIA photo agency, asking her if she would be interested as a "photo guru" in the establishment of a photo workshop here in my "resort community", Vail, Co. I also wrote to Juan Silva, the recently NYT's war correspondent who lost his limbs in Afgan, if he would be interested in a "photo guru" position here in Vail, also known for it "adaptive handicap sports programs". And in years past, Rich Clarkson of the Denver Post fame, once held a photo workshop here in the valley which was well attended, but due to politics/monies or whatever, elected to bail & establish his program in Jackson.

In this "valley", we have the "scenics", the restaurants, the name Vail/Beaver Creek, & the beds, but we do not have a photo workshop event which is mind blowing to me, hence my interest in sounding out & posing my question.


Now, what do you have to offer besides a no nothing answer?
Raymond


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ckimmerle
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 10:49:30 AM »
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Your second post does offer a bit more clarity. The first was a bit muddled as to purpose, so you can forgive Rob's response. I was equally confused.

I think you might be asking the wrong questions, at least initially. It might be better to begin by seeking information about what types of workshops photographers prefer and why the choose a particular workshop. The answer to the first question is undoubtedly landscapes, the answer to the second is either, depending on the individual, location or workshop leader. Either can be a compelling draw. The more casual photographer usually uses location as the primary consideration, whereas the more experienced and serious photographer is usually more interested in the leader.

Now, there are also studio-based workshops which focus on subjects such as portraits, lighting, nudes, etc. that are popular, but require lots of indoor space in which to work. If you can provide that, then that is a definite option as well.

While Vail is pretty, it doesn't offer the unique splendor of places like Death Valley or Yellowstone or Zion. You need to figure out what makes Vail visually compelling and special (simply pretty is NOT enough) so you can convince both potential students and faculty to make the commitment.

FYI, established schools such as Maine Photographic Workshops and Sante Fe Workshops have had it a bit rough the last few years and have cancelled quite a few classes. Unlike location-based workshops, they have a pretty big overheads to consider including equipment, rent, staff, maintenance, etc, thus their overall costs (not necessarily prices, though) are higher.

As for the workshop "gurus", you might want to focus your attention more towards established workshop leaders who have both name recognition and respect as photographers and teachers. Sure photo agency people and war correspondents might sound nice, but are they going to be big draws? I'm saying otherwise, just giving you something to consider.

Communities do benefit from the revenue, but there can also be a backlash. I know, from firsthand experience, that many residence who live near the Maine Photographic Workshops campus are sick and tired of seeing photographers. Some hate 'em outright. It's a very small community and each session brings in hundreds of students. It's understandable. Sante Fe is a much larger and more artsy city, so they don't really have that problem. You'll have to gauge your own communities level of acceptance level, I guess.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 10:56:05 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 12:40:40 PM »
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Now, what do you have to offer besides a no nothing answer?
Raymond




Based on a less than clear first set of questions now not really made any the more clear by your second post, I have to conclude that what it all boils down to is that you want to raise money for your community, and have decided that photographers might be a great source of new blood for its bank.

I think you've got it backwards: first there has to be a product, something that you know will sell like hot cakes in a good economy. As with any business you have to start from conviction and with a real offer, not just a wish. I don't know anything about your area (other than that I think people go there to ski), but thinking of my own, which is a tourist trap anyhow, I would be hard pressed to come up with any reason why people would want to pay me or anyone else for setting ourselves up as 'guides to better vision' to the area when they can use their own cameras and cellphones just as well on their own. I suspect that people are getting a little more cynical or less credulous nowadays. It might well be the loss of financial confidence or perhaps that the Internet has opened many eyes to the scams and rackets going down in every field you can imagine, and tourism is rife with them.

I wish you luck.

Rob C
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NancyP
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 09:24:19 AM »
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This is a specialized topic, but it uses the setting well. You would need some good powder skiers as subjects, a quiet area on the Back Bowl (very large area of ungroomed powder snow, no trails), and an expert sports photographer. You could also use any ski / snowboarding competitions and any snowboarding stunt tutorials.
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Hamish
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 06:55:11 PM »
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Raymond,

I have a couple of photo workshop / tour guide businesses that you might have a look at: www.ScotlandPhotoWorkshops.com , and www.JacksonHolePhotoTours.com  I lived in Vail for nineteen years (1982 - 2001) Please get in touch...

Regards,

Hamish Tear.
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Schewe
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 12:17:37 AM »
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...Hamish...

Hamish...welcome to LuLa!

Not for nothing but your first name is significant to me as my late partner and friend Bruce Fraser (a vegetarian, Buddhist Scotsman) did several photographs of a Scottish Highland steer/bull or maybe cow named, well, Hamish!

The photo was reproduced in several books. Last year I traveled to Scotland with my writing partner Martin Evening and one of the goals was to try to find and shoot the same steer named Hamish somewhere near Kilmahog. Alas, though I looked hard I could never find Hamish nor the field that had the sign that said: Please do not grab Hamish by the horns–apparently it's a problem with tourists wanting to grab Highland steers/bulls/cows by their horns?

I shot a lot of Highland steers/bulls/cows but never found "Hamlish" (nor the sign).

As for Scotland...I liked it but it sure seems to rain a lot there...at least when I was there!

:~)
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 03:28:05 AM »
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You should simply have gone to Glasgow's Pollok Estate, Schewe, and you'd have met any number of shaggy coos as you drove up the road to the House. Friendly in the extreme, these beasts would have let you call them by absolutely any name you chose to bestow upon them, Hamish not excluded, I'm sure.

Of course, I speak of some years ago: they might all be history by now, what with the crisis and all...

Rob C
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David Sutton
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 04:05:38 AM »
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Friendly in the extreme
Rob C

Not if they've got a headache...
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 05:13:45 AM »
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Not if they've got a headache...


Well, David, this one has clearly been on the bottle all night, and pobably not milk, either; look at its eye, poor thing - it can hardly stand up and clearly hasn't the slightest idea where it's at in any sense of where!

;-)

Rob C
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