Should I Take Basic or Intermediate?

rmsp_gatefold_cover-borderHooray, the new RMSP catalog is out! But now it’s time to make some important decisions.

This time of year we get emails from people wanting to know which workshop they should take. Tough choice, I know; so many workshops…so few vacation days. When someone asks about my favorite workshops, I always mention our foundation series of courses. I love these workshops because they represent the best possible beginnings of your photo journey, and because of the never-ending stream of light bulb moments that make up each day!

I’m fortunate to be teaching a few of these workshops in the coming year and find that the biggest question from prospective students is “Should I take Basic or Intermediate?” I’ll put my personal bias aside long enough to offer up a bit of advice. Both workshops are designed to build a solid photographic foundation and each workshop achieves this through a model of repetition, application and feedback. A typical day includes a lecture, a guided field shoot and critique of your work. Days are full, but time flies as you do nothing but focus on your photography. Students leave with a renewed sense of confidence and enthusiasm.

Sounds good, right? So how do you decide? Below, I’ll briefly describe the workshops as I see ‘em. A few of the main concepts covered in each workshop will be in bold. If these are new concepts for you, then that workshop may just be the right fit. If the concepts are things you know about, then give yourself a high five and move on to the next one.

The Basic Photography Workshop is where it all starts. If you’re new to photography look no further, this is the first block in your photographic pyramid. F-stops and Shutter Speeds will be demystified and you’ll be using your camera in Manual Exposure Mode by the second day! You’ll learn about how to control Depth of Field and Focus as well as how shutter speed affects movement. Need to understand the difference between JPEG and RAW or struggling with the basics of White Balance? This workshop has you covered. The main focus of this week is taking control of your camera and getting consistently good exposures and sharp images. You’ll learn why your camera continually gives you exposures that just don’t cut it and how to outsmart your camera to get better photographs. And if you are already familiar with some of these concepts but lack the confidence to consistently utilize them manually – meaning using your brain rather than relying on the camera’s very limited computer brain – this may be the way to go for you to help solidify your understanding.

If you’re comfortable with f-stops and shutter speeds and have successfully used your camera in Manual Exposure mode, then the Intermediate Photography Workshop is the one for you. We start with a simplified version of the Zone System for Exposure: a method that allows you to get the perfect exposure 100% of the time without a grey card! The rest of the week will be devoted to applying your new-found exposure knowledge while learning new styles of photography and growing creatively. An in-depth Composition lecture will help you elevate your photographs from snapshots to images that get that “wow” reaction while a Macro lecture and shoot will have you exploring small worlds filled with color and detail. Need to know what to do when the sun goes down? A Low Light and Night lecture will teach you shooting strategies, advanced White Balance and creative techniques that will keep you shooting well past the daylight hours.

Need to step your photography up a notch? Look no further! Each week will have you feeling inspired, energized and confident. I hope this helped, and we can’t wait to see you on one of our skill-building workshops!