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Why and How Participating In A Nature Photography Workshop – Part 1

Deciding to participate in a nature photography workshop is taking a special step. Many nature photographers consider this decision. Some of them will probably never go for it because they believe that their photography skills are complete or sufficient.

Others understand that taking a nature photography course is a good way to continue developing their technical expertise while opening new creative doors. It is also a way to meet other photographers who share their passion. Even though we are professional photographers, we take two courses per year.

Nicolas, a participant in one of our workshops dedicated to the rutting season, in action.
Nicolas, a participant in one of our workshops dedicated to the rutting season, in action.

What a nature photography workshop is

First of all, a photography workshop is a time of training. It is a special time during which a photographer acquires new technical or creative skills.

We always meet two types of participants in our courses. Some come with specific goals they want to achieve before the end of the class. Others have started getting bored when they are out in the field taking pictures. They do not have specific goals. They just want to open new creative doors. In both cases, we always adapt to the needs of each photographer. Our teaching progressions are designed to adapt in order to meet individual needs.

We are well aware that a workshop is a significant investment for many people. However, because we want to meet the best expectations of each participant, a lot of preparation is necessary. We often say that everything depends on the price that the participants set on their training.

All the participants who have been taking our classes for years have told us that they became winners after taking a class with us. Many of them had tried to train themselves via forums or websites. Things are quite different out in the field. It is difficult to put theories into practice, and there was nobody with them to correct them or explain what they needed to do.

A nature photography workshop is a time of training during which photographers work with a trainer to hone their skills in applying theoretical concepts while out in the field.

Sharing a passion for the wonders of nature

A photography workshop is primarily technical. However, both the participants and the trainers must be passionate about the wonders of nature. If the whole group, including the trainer, is in agreement, and everyone shares the same ethical and moral values, then the trainer will be able to transmit knowledge to the students well.

For our part, we are always amazed by the richness of nature, whether we have observed an animal behavior or the light that bathes a landscape. Observing the world always gives us joy and inimitable, constantly renewed feelings.

The trainer’s goal is for the participants to be able to focus all their attention on the wonders of nature during the course. He should provide all the technical knowledge that the students need to be able to create beautiful photographs. They should avoid asking unnecessary questions or missing the sceneries in front of them.

This is why a nature photography workshop should only be composed of photographers who share a passion for nature. This is an essential condition for the most effective transmission of photographic skills and knowledge.

Sharing and exchanging views on technology and nature

A nature photography workshop is based on photos, examples and practice. The leaders should reveal their tricks to the participants to enable them to take better photos. They are not there to create their own photos.

For that reason, no abstract technical jargon should be used during a course. The goal of the trainers should be to guide the participants in refining their vision. The participants should have fun while they create photographs.

Personally, we like to convey our messages using emotions or stories. We talk about artistic sensitivity, framing, lighting, and color. We have extensive experience as professional photographers. We have trained hundreds of photographers. Our teaching is all based on experience and practice. We always remember to return to the fundamentals of photography.

Continuing to develop technical expertise

The advent of digital photography has enabled many people to discover a wonderful world where it is possible to create successful photos quickly. Cameras have so many great features that 90% of photographers do not need anything else to create good photos.

However, for the remaining 10%, it is necessary to read the technical documents more deeply in order to understand how to make the right adjustments for extreme situations. This is the case in wildlife photography, where animals move quickly in action scenes. The automatic mode is insufficient in this case. This is also the case in underwater photography, where cameras often have to be adjusted manually to ensure that the artificial light is managed as well as possible. Even in landscape photography, where the scenes are static and only natural light is used, it is essential to set up the camera properly for long exposures or for night photography.

However, as always when computers become involved with something, everything becomes more complex. The settings become incomprehensible and the technical terms become an esoteric language of their own.

The software used for post-processing nature photographs has also become increasingly complex and difficult to use. In addition, it has become indispensable in the digital workflow, whether for viewing, sorting, selecting, developing, or printing photographs, or for creating slideshows. Even if a picture is 95% successful when it is taken, the remaining 5%, which is created on a computer, will produce the impact that the photographer is entitled to expect from his photos.

Nature photography workshops are a way to continue learning to understand the technology that is rapidly changing both cameras and software. As professional photographers, we spend a lot of time in front of a computer processing our photos. We always use the best products in our business. As professional photographers, we cannot compromise in our work. We must always produce high quality pictures.

Opening new creative doors

Over the years in which we have taught nature photography, we have met many photographers who have lost the pleasure of going out in the field with a camera. They had often visited many countries, photographed the most beautiful landscapes in the world, and observed the rarest animals on earth.

And yet, despite all these rich experiences, they have lost the desire to take pictures. A photography workshop is often the last experience they want to try.

We fully understand that loss of interest in photography because we also went through this phase. It happens to all photographers who do not find an answer to one crucial question: why?

To answer this question, we have developed a teaching method. The acronym which we use for it is "ACANP".

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