Landscape Photography Workshops Hosted By Aaron Reed
When researching a photography workshop, there is much more to consider aside from the location & date of the event. The experience, personality and teaching style of the host should be considered first to get the most out of your investment. It is also important to understand the difference between a "photo tour" and a workshop and what to expect from each one of these very different events. Finally, your instructors body of work, success and photographic ideals should align with your own personal goals whenever possible.
Photo Tour or Photography Workshop?
Photo Tours are typically events where the guide will take you to locations based on their popularity in an effort to "show you the shot" or put you in the right place to capture a particular image. For some, this is all they are interested in and this type of event fits their needs well. For example, an experienced photographer from outside the area with little time to research or plan a trip may book this type of event. They don't require any actual instruction or inspiration and simply want to maximize their opportunity to capture the locations they hope to visit.
A Photography Workshop on the other hand is an event where the host is hands on with the clients offering inspiration, technical and creative instruction and guidance to the group and individual attendees. A workshop instructor should ultimately be able to inspire and encourage many different personality types. Not everyone is friendly and outgoing by nature and some feel uncomfortable in a group setting full of strangers. It is the job of the workshop instructor to quickly get to know each member of the group and be able to tap into their style and temperament quickly.
Guide, Instructor or Teacher?
It is extremely important to understand what type of leader you will have regardless of the event being a tour or a workshop. I personally find there are three main personality types who host these events. As described above, the main requirement of a successful "Photo Tour" guide is knowledge of the locations you will be visiting and little more. In some cases, this type of tour is offered by a less experienced photographer who has the desire to offer workshops, yet lacks the experience or confidence to truly teach.
An instructor is often someone with a wealth of experience and knowledge to share but may have preconceived ideas about when or how to share this knowledge. An instructor may have personal feelings about a certain type of photography or style. These beliefs may cause them to avoid teaching about or providing opportunity to experience images or ideals they do not agree with. For example, a photographic instructor who believes that overshot locations are not worth capturing images of may lead you away from these opportunities. As another example, one who does not enjoy HDR (high dynamic range) photography may even discourage this type of photography. The worst of this is that they could be discounting something you are personally interested in without even knowing!
A teacher is a leader who understands that their job is to find out what drives you personally and use this information to help you learn in the best way you can. This type of person helps you find out what works for you, not simply what worked for them. Knowledge gained from a true photography teacher can be used again and again regardless of the place, time of day or quality of light. A teacher helps you find your inner voice, what drives you and helps you strengthen the interests you have regardless of what those may be. This type of leader is usually charismatic and may be described as a people person, an important quality when trying to inspire a group of strangers over the course of a weekend.
What Do You Believe In?
The most important piece of advice I can give a new photographer is to never allow anyone to tell you that you can’t, you won’t or you shouldn’t and believe me, they will try. There are a large number of photographers on social media today who seem to think that THEY know how YOU should create art. They speak as if the opinions and ideas that they have are concrete fact and share them openly, many times at the expense of a photographer who has yet to find their own artistic voice. Pay absolutely no attention to these often egotistical people and understand that because they have placed these limits on themselves, they are often unsatisfied with their own work. Create exactly what you want to and how you want to regardless of how you think others may perceive it. The greater the level of freedom you allow yourself when creating your art, the more personal and rewarding it will become. It is crucial during this period that you follow your own vision and do your best to filter out the noise.
Regardless of your status on the social media ladder, or where you are on your path as a photographer, please do not allow yourself to believe that the value of attention you receive online is greater than your own personal experience and happiness. While receiving praise through likes, thumbs up, high fives or fist bumps may make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside in the short term, these forms of “click and run” praise offer little value in the real world and often inflate egos to the point of no return. Do not allow yourself to believe that your popularity online directly equates to the quality of your work or your value as a person. If you see imagery online that you enjoy, take the time to understand WHY you enjoy it and if possible, share those honest feelings with the artist who created it. Participating in this process will help you as an artist more than any award, accolade or praise you will ever receive online.
If you are like me, finding joy in photography has changed your life. Your excitement and search for knowledge evoked by this creative outlet has led you to try to absorb all the information you can and social media happily force feeds it to you at every turn. As a new photographer it is natural to seek out the work of others who are more experienced than you. What you find will either motivate you further or begin to water the seeds of self doubt in your mind. It is important during this process to remind yourself that you are just beginning to scratch the surface of your own creativity. Those you look up to now doubted themselves as well in the beginning. Today, thanks to social media and the relentless barrage of high quality imagery we face daily many are afraid to show anything but their very best work, once again placing restrictions on their creativity and their art.
Genuine Student Reviews
I operated a full time photography workshop business between 2008 and 2014 leading up to the birth of our daughter. Between 2014 - 2018 I took a break, reducing the workshops I was offering to just one per year. As a result, I focused on the fine art portion of my business and much of my workshop material online, including my student reviews is now outdated or removed from the web. Deciding to start over from scratch, I decided in July of 2018 to begin eliciting new reviews from my students going forward. When they are provided to me I will be placing them here, separate from my fine art customer reviews. Until this list is long enough to offer you a real world glimpse of my teaching style and the workshops that I offer, I am happy to provide more personal references to anyone considering joining me in the field.
* I write very few reviews unless I find the experience/product was exceptional. In this case the Leavenworth WA workshop with Aaron Reed Photography I experienced was definitely deserving of a review. I found the group of photographers were of different levels of experience and talent and Aaron was excellent at adjusting his communication skills to meet their level, if someone did not get it the first time around he did not hesitate to spend extra time with them. Aaron has a very gentle unassuming manner about him and a great passion for his love of the environment and how to capture mother nature in all her glory. He is very professional along a side of a little humor and more than willing to share his knowledge of his work and how he creates it. I would recommend anyone wanting to expand their photography knowledge, bring back great memories, along with beautiful images to sign up and experience a workshop with Aaron Reed. - Bill Stoffers
* We now have some exceptional shots on our camera cards, the kind of shots we will be proud of for many years. And we greatly appreciate your thorough prep work, and expert guidance in the field to make that happen. Let me count some of the specific things we are thankful for on your Mt Rainier Flex Workshop: 1) The accommodations you arranged for were first-class, 2) The jokes & storytelling were first class as well!, 3) Your timing on getting us to the perfect spots at just the right time … couldn’t have been better, 4) We loved the way you would spontaneously stop the car and help us to capture the amazing “momentary” light situations, 5) Also, and I’ve said it before … that I love your choice of "intimate landscapes" along the way that add lots of flavor to the day’s shots, 6) I love the fact you would answer any question my wife and I asked, 7) and I am grateful that you were good to spend plenty of time explaining your post-production workflow…and also answer any questions I had about tools I was unfamiliar with. I could go on, but it would get too long. So I’ll just say a BIG THANKS again for a tremendous week and a GREAT workshop! - Yours Truly, Doug & Angie Blunt
*I want to thank you again for your kind favor in letting me ride with you during the workshop. It would not have been possible for me to participate otherwise. It was wonderful to see you and I look forward to seeing you again on future workshops! - Arme
* Aaron's knowledge of Rainier was outstanding, and was able to quickly adapt to a mountain that often makes - and quickly changes - its own weather patterns. He was very hands-on with 100 percent of his attention on workshop attendees - including quickly answering any questions or concerns leading up to the trip. He's also a great human being to hang out with and creates a terrific group dynamic of care and passion for photography and the beautiful world that inspires it. - Bryan Scanlan, Walnut Creek, CA
* Aaron is not only zealous about landscape photography but He does his research and plans in Advance. Aaron, your 2018 Mt. Rainer Photography workshop was exceptional. You exceeded all of my expectations and I could not have had a better time! Your knowledge of the area and willingness to chase the best scenes for your clients was admirable. I’m looking forward to attend future workshops. - Vishrut
* I was fortunate enough to go on the "Just Like Paradise" workshop in Mt. Rainier with Aaron Reed and five other photographers. I greatly appreciated the time and effort that Aaron put in before, during, and after the workshop.
He was very informative before we went giving us updates on everything from the weather forecast to essential equipment we would need. During the workshop, Aaron spent all of his time instructing each of us personally, giving us suggestions on composition, lens selection, filter usage, and other helpful tips that only a seasoned professional can provide! Our plans changed with the weather, and because of his organization and knowledge of the area, we were given ample opportunity to shoot in various locales and conditions. Finally, Aaron took the time to share editing suggestions with us on the last afternoon of the workshop. To me, that was invaluable!
I had a wonderful time, and I learned so very much!! I am very grateful to Aaron Reed and to the other individuals who went on this workshop. This experience was definitely "Just Like Paradise"! - Cherise Bayse
* The Business of Nature Photography workshop was professionally run and covered all the details I was hoping to hear about. Time went very fast as I was engrossed in the subject. I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to start or improve an online print business; gallery online or art show business. All aspects of the workshop were very well thought out and it was conveniently located. - John Henebry
* I really enjoyed the workshop and came back with lots to think about! I appreciated the variety of approaches you provided to incrementally make more money thru my photography and also the pitfalls to avoid. For someone who currently has a full time job, this makes the potential a lot less daunting! Your philosophy toward photography in general and the Business of Nature Photography, really resonated with me. I think the informal approach you took during the workshop worked well in allowing participants to ask personally relevant questions. Thanks so much for sharing the secrets of your success in such detail! - Mark