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Time Out With Tanya

Why You Should Take a Photography Class or Workshop

By Tanya Goodall Smith on August 8th 2014

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out.

Numbers 2 through 4 on my list of 100 WAYS TO BE A MORE CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHER are all kind of related, so I’m going to lump them into one article today. They all involve learning from others, which I love to do! Here are a few ways I’ve been inspired and learned new skills and techniques over the years:

2. Take a Class


If reading a book or manual on how to operate your camera or master off-camera flash sounds absolutely daunting and incredibly boring, a live class might be the thing for you. When I decided to take the plunge into learning about artificial lighting, this is exactly what I did. And it was super helpful. In one day, I had acquired all the knowledge I needed to open up a whole new world of creative possibilities for me.

Next month, I’m headed to Clickin’ Mom’s Click Away Conference and I’ll be taking a ton of classes. I’m so excited to broaden my knowledge and be inspired by some incredible photographers. Not to mention make new friends! Have you ever taken a live photography class? I highly recommend it.

3. Join a Workshop


I guess a workshop and class could kind of be considered the same thing. With a workshop, you’ll expect to actually get out there and actively create. This is a good way to test the waters on a genre of photography you think you’re interested in, but not sure about. Or, gain some experience if you don’t have any. I took a wedding photography workshop here in Spokane a couple years ago and learned a ton. I also made a lot of friends who later invited me to be their second shooter at a few weddings. Along the way, I discovered wedding photography doesn’t really fit into my life and vision for my career, so I only do a few a year. It’s not my focus, but I feel confident shooting a wedding because I have that knowledge and experience.

4. Download a Tutorial

If budget is an issue, or you can’t get time off from your day job to take a class or attend a workshop, watching a video tutorial is a great alternative! Of course, if you’re a regular reader here at SLR Lounge, you know we have some excellent workshop videos and even a lot of free tutorials. The Lightroom Image Processing Mastery Workshop is probably my favorite. Although the Newborn Photography Workshop was soooooo informative and insightful, especially since it’s geared toward beginners and parents. I love the Natural Light Couples Workshop, too! It’s so hard to choose a favorite!

Phlearn also has some excellent tutorials and they are so affordable. Check out our reviews of many of their video tutorials by clicking here.

If you’re looking for free video tutorials, tips and tricks, check out our YouTube channel. Here’s an example of what you’ll find:

So, what do you have to lose? Try taking a class, workshop or video tutorial soon and let me know how it goes. Post your 100 Ways To Be a More Creative Photographer experiments to Instagram with the hashtag #100ways2B and I’ll follow you. So far I’ve got a whopping 2 people participating and I want to give them a shoutout. Thanks @pimmicee and @stray_x for posting your work!

CREDITS: All photographs shared by Tanya Smith are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

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Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Michael Moe

    thanks for sharing this great advise!

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  2. Jeff Morrison

    I watched a few CreativeLive workshops and they are great.

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  3. Austin Swenson

    I think my favorite idea would be the workshop idea, even though it’s probably the most expensive, because I learn best by doing.

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    • Tanya Smith

      I agree. If you learn best by being present, hands-on, able to ask questions, etc. a workshop is so great. The one I attended was by a local photographer and wasn’t too expensive. I think it was worth every penny.

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  4. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for bringing this great tip. Workshops provide a lot of tips that we cannot find in tutorials.

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  5. James Matthews

    I just enrolled in the upcoming Jerry Ghionis workshop, looking forward to that. Good idea for local camera clubs though.

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  6. Behailu Gebremicael

    I like your advice and tips

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  7. Gonzalo Broto

    I agree on all those ideas, from tutorials to photography groups to classes. I recently attended my first photography workshop ever, in Bangkok, and learning along with other 15 passionate photographers, plus going out to actively shoot and hear the direct feedback from professionals along the process were priceless lessons for me.

    You can see and read my experiences and captures from that workshop in my blog:

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  8. Greg Faulkner

    CreativeLive is pretty awesome as well, you can watch live for free even if you can’t afford to buy the course. It’s great to leave streaming while you work :)

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    • Tanya Smith

      Great suggestion! I’ve been meaning to check out my local club as well but my schedule doesn’t fit well with the meeting times. I think it’s a great way to learn and meet other photographers, though. Thanks for the tip.

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    • Tanya Smith

      Love CreativeLive!

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  9. Ralph Hightower

    I offer a fifth suggestion:: Join a local camera club. I joined the local camera club in my area in 2012. The monthly meetings will feature presentations from professional photographers, members, and advanced hobbyist. After one meeting that featured an astrophotographer, I got inspired to do my own, on the cheap, of astrophotography. Hap Griffin is seriously into astrophotography, having dedicated cameras and telescopes and his own observatory setup.
    When I joined the local club, I was in the minority; I shot film exclusively. But principles of photography doesn’t change if it’s film or digital. The exposure triangle is still the same.

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    • Tanya Smith

      Great suggestion! I’ve been meaning to check out my local club as well but my schedule doesn’t fit well with the meeting times. I think it’s a great way to learn and meet other photographers, though. Thanks for the tip.

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