1-2-1 street photography vs group workshops

10th March 2016


I recently had a 1-2-1 street photography workshop session booked with Mark, a member of my We Shoot People Meetup group recently. I started a beginner group because at a time when there were no other similar London street photography groups offering that service to beginner photographers interested in street photography, to meet their peers in a social way for photo walks around the city.

People ask me why I teach 1-2-1 street photography workshops, and not group sessions? The answer I give, is purely down to my own experience, as I HAVE done small group sessions before in the past. Is mainly down to the simple fact of knowing that most, if not all the students who attend, are at different levels when it comes to street photography, both technically and creatively.

I have taught group workshops, which were fine, but I had to teach it in a more generic way, where it was more like 'one size fits all teaching. In contrast, when someone approaches me about street photography tuition, I have to work a little harder and I am challenged (in a good way), as I get to tailor a workshop just for that one student. I start by getting to know them personally in terms of a photographer, try to understand what specific topics they hope to get out of tuition with me, their tastes and influences in photography and art, their current level of experience, and where they want to be, in say a year from now, etc.



If I asked 10 different beginners these types of questions, I would typically get 10 different answers, because photography is not generic, it is subjective and personal. There is no one size fits all when it comes to art & photography. So why teach that way? Based on your personal influences, who inspires you, why you started photography and why you want to creatively pursue it, plus many other factors will change your answers. By customising a workshop based around a student, it makes a session much more fun and productive.

So, when a keen novice photographer like Mark approaches me for mentoring, tips, tricks, advice. I explain to them that I will teach them all that I know in techniques and training, how I approach taking a street photo in the best composition, dealing with tricky subjects, technically taking the shot, post processing, etc. but once the session is over it is the ongoing practice and training of the eye thereafter that they will need to keep up to improve their photos.

I get more satisfaction from helping a student 1-2-1, to bring out their strongest qualities, improving on any weak spots I can spot whether creatively or technically, push them to find their own creative identity in their journey, and discovering their own style.

My mentoring continues post 1-2-1 session. I ask students to email me their favourite shots from our workshop. I then give 'constructive' feedback and any post editing tips they need. During and at least by the end of a session, I can usually see a marked improvement on not only a student's confidence but also in their photos!



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