The Business of Boudoir »

To workshop or not to workshop

To workshop or not to workshop. That is the question.

There are so many workshops in the photography industry.   Everything you can think of is being taught at a workshop.  I am even considering giving a few workshops in the future.  But that isn’t what this is about.  I spent a lot of time pondering workshops after I recently attended a few myself.

The importance of continuing education

I have been a professional photographer for almost 20 years. I have taken a few breaks with having kids, but had a formal education in photography when it was only film.  I was trained on commercial photography, food, buildings, product shots, with only a sampling of portraiture classes in school.  So, I guess you could say that I am self-taught when it comes to digital and also portraiture, as well as Photoshop and all other necessary programs we photographers use!

Even more new to many of us, and not taught in photography school,  is BOUDOIR photography.  I started shooting portraits of kids and families, had my studio and was doing well. Then I found boudoir about 7 years ago.  Learning this new style was a lot of practice, trial and error and LEARNING from others.  This is where hands on learning and seeing others work, learning the ins and outs of all things boudoir is a MUST to succeed!

That is why even as a seasoned pro, I still feel it is necessary to go to as many workshops and classes, conferences and expos as possible.  Some are bargain priced and have a higher attendance. Some are very small and tend to be a little higher priced since you are getting close to one-on-one attention.  There is even one-on-one mentoring —intense classes that you can do alone to really learn from another photographer.

Do what suits you and your budget best

I wanted to talk about this topic to illustrate that I have come away from every single workshop or seminar that I have attended with new knowledge that is priceless.  Sometimes a new way to shoot or deal with clients, sometimes as simple as a new keyboard shortcut or a new insight into processing photos in Lightroom, as that program is now becoming a new favorite for me!

I have attended so many local photography seminars that are offered for as little as $59 and have attended two-day intensive workshops that are offered at $1200. Both have shown me skills that I wouldn’t have so easily picked up had I not been exposed to them first hand.

Sometimes budget is a concern. I know it is for me.  So, think about doing what I did this year.

I wanted to attend the Level Up boudoir master class from our own The Business of Boudoir  founder, Petra Hermann.  But I couldn’t add that into my yearly budget.  So I offered to host a workshop for her, and in return I got into the workshop without charge.  I did have to promote the workshop, open up my space and organize many aspects of it, but I would say it was definitely a good trade!  So think, about offering to host a workshop in your area for a photographer that you admire. It’s an amazing way to save some money, learn new skills and also make some new photog friends!

Every time you expose yourself to a new learning experience, you are so much wiser from it. Make sure and put learning from others into your monthly, at least yearly, calendar!

Just a few snaps I got from the Level Up workshop I hosted at my studio! So much fun hanging with some amazing photographers, models, and learning some new perspectives on my shooting!



Heather Walker

Heather Walker, owner of Columbus Boudoir, in Ohio, has shot boudoir exclusively since 2008. She has been working as a portrait photographer for many more years, but once introduced to boudoir and how you can make women feel amazing about themselves, she was hooked! Heather now operates a very successful boudoir business and teaches other photographers the art of boudoir through one on one mentoring classes at her studio.

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  • May 24, 2014 - 12:54 PM

    Miranda - Hey, there’s me! 100% agree that continuing education is so important. There’s always more to learn, plus I love the socialization and making new friends in the industry. Great stuff Heather!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2014 - 1:21 PM

    Petra Herrmann - Heather – you were an amazing host and from my own perspective I came away from the workshop inspired by you and the amazingly talented group of photographers who attended. No matter where we are on our journey, there’s always something new to learn.ReplyCancel

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