I had dinner with a photographer friend the other night and we discussed taking time away from shooting to speak or teach workshops. For the working photographer it is always a struggle to accept speaking or workshop engagements because you run the risk of loosing a booking for a shooting assignment. Some believe it is just not worth the time to teach vs shoot, but I feel a strong connection to doing both when possible. At times there are conflicts, but at the end of the day it is worthwhile for me to teach as well as shoot.
I recently did a three day workshop in Seattle for CreativeLive on fashion and beauty photography. Days before I was set to leave for the CreativeLive workshop I received a call asking for my involvement on the X Factor show. I was thrilled at first but my excitement soon turned to anxiety as the dates were the same as my CreativeLive commitment. To make a long story short I honored my commitment and my brother, yes I have a brother, Brian Smith did the segment on X Factor and did a freakin amazing job!
We have all heard the saying, "everything happens for a reason" and I truly believe this to be true. My CreativeLive segment on fashion and beauty didn't reach 40 million people but it was watched by over 60 thousand people around the world who all share a passion for photography. It was the best way of teaching a workshop that I have experienced and I will gladly do it again. The CreativeLive workshop is taped and broadcast live via the internet and people from all over the world log in to view it. Not only are they able to view the workshop live as it happens, but they have the ability to asked questions at the same time. The ability to ask questions is what I find so profoundly special about CreativeLIVE. As the two commentators take questions from all over the world, I have the chance to connect in ways I never could before in a workshop. It is one of the best ways to learn photography that I have seen to date and I wish it was around when I was first learning photography.
A lucky few get the opportunity to come and be a part of the live audience. To be a part of the live audience you must submit a video stating why you want to in the live class. The chosen few are selected and invited to attend. In my live audience I had a young emerging photographer who traveled from Florida to Seattle to be a part of the workshop. He is only eighteen years old but is very passionate about photography and I feel he will have a strong career in photography. After he left the workshop he posted a video about his experience and I saw it for the first time this morning. Take a look at what he had to say and you will see why teaching workshops are so gratifying.
Link: CreativeLive audience member
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