The Workshop Experience




Participating in a photo workshop is always an intense experience, but also very rewarding – on many levels. I have participated in many workshops and I have as well taught many workshops myself – and I always do return feeling boosted with energy and inspiration. During a workshop it’s often long hours. Get up to shoot in the morning, at some point attending lectures and picture critique, then in the afternoon out shooting again and finally in the evening editing the catch of images of the day and process the selected ones for the picture critique the following day.

A photo workshop is not a holiday in the sense that you can spend the day on the beach. Well, of course you can, but why then sign up for the workshop in the first place? On the other hand, if you do something you love; you don’t really need to have a break from doing it, do you? I love giving everything I have when I teach, and I love when participants are equally geared up for getting the most out of a workshop. We push each other in new and stimulating directions.

Of course there is a time for hard work during a workshop and there is still a time for relaxing moments. Like in my last workshop I taught in Cuba a couple of weeks ago with my good friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann, we all had time for a swim in the ocean, we could all enjoy early mornings with a cup of coffee and, not the least, luxuriate and relax in each others companies during long dinner hours. And of course there is a lot of fun during a workshop.

I do try to push participants, and nothing is more exciting when they find new confidence in their shooting and see that the result is something they had never expected. Particularly when we go out and shoot on the street. For many inexperienced with street photography it’s quite a barrier to step up to. They may just lack confidence sizing up strangers on the street. All the more fun then, to see those same participants by the end of a workshop not thinking twice about getting close to people when they discover something they want to capture.

The photos here are but a few from the workshop Sven and I taught in Cuba in September/October.




64 thoughts on “The Workshop Experience

  1. this post marries well with the one i posted a few days ago, and with the one in queue. we learn so much from the strangers we meet along the way, and all it takes is a smile or a kind word to approach them. the photo opportunities are endless, and lucky are the ones who have had your guidance as well as sven’s.

    i loved all of the images, but that opening one captures the essence of embracing the moment! z

  2. I cannot emphasize how wonderful it is meeting and talking to strangers that i meet by asking them if i can take their photo. This took me a long time to do.
    I love these photos, Otto. I can feel the fun.

  3. E’ sempre bellissimo leggere le tue esperienze e i consigli che dai. Fare un workshop insieme a te deve essere veramente fantastico.
    Le foto che hai inserito sono stupende, c’è vita, c’è entusiasmo e anche divertimento.
    Un caro saluto, Patrizia

  4. I just love the 2nd image. Interacting with the local children would have to be top of my list if I could travel. They’re so open and it only takes a friendly smile to get up close and share the moment.

  5. I still remember capturing a very small child (4 or 5) hearing the “sevillana” music in southern Spain while she was swimming at a neighborhood pool. Upon hearing it she got out of the pool and then her arms, hands and fingers did all the work. I new what I was watching was so very special and I only wished I had a suitable camera.

    1. That sounds like a great photo opportunity. And I would say whatever camera you have at hand is suitable. Better to get the picture with any camera than no picture at all. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience, Georgette.

  6. Love these photos. It’s nice to be invited into the experience with photos of photographers at their craft. Blue sky and ocean are beautiful, especially since some of us are living with snow now.

  7. Thank you for sharing the workshop experience Otto. I have been wanting to participate in such photography workshop but I always afraid with the field assignments. Maybe I am worried too much 😀 I can see now how fun the workshop is!
    Your friend and colleague, Sven, has amazing photo series with Castro. What an experience must be to see him in person!

    1. I think a lot of people think and have the same anxiety about participating in a workshop. But as soon as you have started, all those thoughts are long gone. It’s just a matter of jumping into it. Yes, Castro was quite a character when he was at his height.

  8. I’ve enjoyed seeing the remarkable work of your workshop participants. These behind-the-scenes shots are the icing on the cake. The camaraderie of the shared experience must be wonderful, and as valuable as the actual photography.

  9. A fabulous place to do a photography workshop! I have seen it a few years ago in a workshop with Hans Sylvester, in Greece – (photographer Geo)
    Thank you for these beautiful pictures –

  10. Thank you for sharing the moments of other’s shoots. For some reason, I like seeing photographers taking pictures and I capture their moments (take picture of them).

  11. I attended my first workshop last year and it was such an amazing experience I vowed that I would attend at least one every year. Photography is a passion for me, and doing it professionally can sometimes kill your creativity since you’re so focussed on delivering what your client likes. That’s when my concept shoots and workshops help me stay fresh. I would love to shoot in Cuba someday! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  12. I have never had an opportunity to attend a workshop, but I wish I could. What a satisfying experience it must be to teach them and to attend them. Love the pictures!

  13. It sounds like a wonderful experience all round, Otto. The photo series gives a sense of this, too. You mention “giving everything” when you teach. I believe also that that’s the way to be in a teaching/helping capacity.

  14. Your writing of this experience makes it something I would like to experience ~ and the photos are fantastic, that first shot is a true classic…fun and insightful. Hard work and hard play, I like it.

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