Digital recovery class, not what you think.

Discussion in 'Workshops & Lectures' started by guitstik, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Don't let the title fool you, this is not about recovering photographs digitally. I may be in the wrong area but what I am wanting to pose is along the lines of seminars and classes.

    I have noticed of late a glut of people in my area who are buying digital equipement and then trying to pass themselves off as professional photographers but if not for a little coaching from the sales "pro" they wouldn't even know which end to point down range as it were.

    I have had this idea for some time now to offer seminars of maybe one or two days to teach the basics of photography starting out with film. I was at the local "real" camera store the other day discussing this with two of the local pros. While I was laying out the ruff idea a gentleman listening in spoke up and said that he was in just such a position and that he would be interested in sighing up.

    The main thrust would be to teach the basics and then movement to wedding, portraits and expand from there. My question is, were would be the best place to find a curriculum that is already set up and geared towards the two day seminar and not the college level photography. I could possibly put together such but if it already existed that would save me the time and the trouble.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Are you thinking of only teaching composition and what else? I would keep it to one subject per session. As far as preprinted curriculum, I dont know of any. When I used to teach the kiddies I would just make up my own by pulling from "Photography" by the Uptons. I had to gear it toward eight to twelve year olds though.
     
  3. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Film has its place, but not for short courses, and not for basics. The turnaround is unhelpful to say the least. Learning proceeds best if you get feedback on your efforts ASAP and especially if you can reshoot.

    When you said "digital recovery but not what you think", I thought that you were going to teach recovering digital addicts how to shoot with film, experienced photographers, not beginners.
     
  4. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    In a way it would be giving some first hand experience to digital photographers the joy of film and possibly "converting" the uninitiated.

    The seminars would be broken down so as not to overwhelm anyone and DR courses would be reserved for those that show a penchant for film and wish to continue in that manner. The main thrust would be to give those that are wanting to make a career out of photography be it digital or film an understanding of the art. As I said before, the majority of those that I come across trying to make a living from it are doing so because they think it is easy but they don't have the basic tools to do so. Sure they have a fancy camera but they don't know the basics. My daughter brought a young friend of hers to me to critique his work and give him some pointers. I started by examining his work and asking some basic questions such as what aperture was this at, what shutter speed, what was the lighting condition didi you use a flash, could you reproduce this shot? All I received from him was a blank stare and a bunch of shoulder shrugging. All of his shots were taken on auto, he let the camera do the work he just pointed it where he wanted it.

    I would move from the basics into wedding, portraits and such. All of these and more would be offered in separate seminars that are priced so that anyone interested could take em. The ones that would be a bit pricier would be wedding and portrait were I would have to hire models but I think I could get around that by offering modeling classes and combine them.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I think that it's a grand idea. Start small, and maybe get the camera shop to allow you to come in and spend a day once in a while to promote their shop and promote your agenda. Pick a subject per day slot. Maybe do once a month seminars if they will let you. You can base on film, but arrange it so digi's can follow as well. I think the camera shop would definitly benefit from having someone like you to promote the art.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I've thought about this too.

    One thing I've considered for composition classes is providing disposables or Holgas as the tools for the class. Takes all the diddly fiddly nonsense out of the equation.

    I like the Holga idea best because if you did a half day thing it could start with a lecture, continue with a lab/shooting session where chimping isn't possible, then finish with a developing/feedback/brainstorming session and the negs are big enough to see and share.
     
  7. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    The holga wouldn't be a bad idea but it would have to be for those that are interested in film. What I really want to do is to tea h how to operate the camera in manual mode, to understand zone focus, aperture and shutter priority plus all that goes along with knowing how to take a good photograph.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Honestly speaking, I am not sure two days is even close to enough to touch everything needed to create a good photograph. There's exposure, there's DOF, there's composition, there's color, there's tonality, mood, feeling.... and you will have to touch lighting when it gets there. Let's not forget equipment either. How to use wide angle and telephoto for effects is a subject in itself. You'll to start from what they are first, too. I'm probably forgetting 2000 other things needed for a good photograph. Each topic takes two days to cover the basics....

    In such a short period of time, you'll be breathing through each topic without allowing time to demonstrate, experiment, and let the subject sink in. Knowledge retention is probably going to be really low.

    Even after recognizing our passion is analog photography, I am not sure doing this type of class in film is a good idea. Digital has its place. Instant feedback is a great thing for learning.

    OP is also taking about taking someone new to photography (worse if you are dealing with people who think they already know everything) and teaching basics, and using media they are not interested in wouldn't fly very well either.
     
  9. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I've done something similar with a few friends and now recently a paying customer. I set up 4 hour photo-walk sessions and each one focuses on one aspect of photography. DOF, exposure, etc....we shoot 2 rolls of BW while on the walk and then I develop them for viewing. The negative shows the hard truth about things like proper exposure and really sticks well. Also, I loan out some $10 35mm rangefinders (check ebay) because not having the "live view" lets them focus more on getting the settings right and composition with the mystery of how the results will be still left in the air. What I mean by that is that with RFs, you really don't quite know, so one must focus more intensely on the mechanics for the right shot. Low depth of field? Stop that sucker down. You get the idea.

    Just an example of what I have found somewhat effective.
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The point of the exercise is simply to focus on composition without distraction.

    I actually have the want to teach exposure and focus, even tried to help a few people on a photo club field trip a few weeks back. The biggest struggle was the full auto cameras and owners that do not know their way around their camera and actually having to set exposure via a menu tree, what a PITA!

    I can set up my 4x5 from trunk to shot faster than many can set a manual exposure.

    The other PITA is that all the cameras are different. Get one person going and you have to start from scratch with the next.

    I don't want to teach people how to turn dials and hunt through menus, I want to help them take photos.
     
  11. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    The idea is to teach just the basics and it would be up to the student to figure out the menu for their camera, not that I couldn't help them. I have plenty of cameras that could be used for instruction and I can develop and scan in about an hour while still giving instruction. I see that as an opportunity to teach film as an aside not as the main subject.
     
  12. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    Why would a punter who just bought a digital camera want to take a film class? Especially when you can learn the same basics on the camera he has. People want to learn how to use the equipment they have purchased.
     
  13. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Because, buying a digital camera does not impart knowledge that is not already there. Just as buying a paint by numbers art kit does not make one a Picaso. Having expensive Equipement and then not being able to squeeze the most out of it is ignorant. Ignorance is not the same as stupid it is simply the lack of information and we can impart that knowledge to make others better equipped and at the same time make aliving ourselves as well as introducing them to the pleasure of film, well that is just a bonus.

    Instead of trying to come up with reasons why it won't work, take this as a jam session and maybe run with it in your own area, you never know unless you try and can't expect to succeed where no effort is put forth.
     
  14. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I think it's a great idea guitstik and have had success myself with this very idea. Run with it. When someone knows that they are imparting an image on a physical medium, they tend to focus more on the ideas you're presenting. That's my experience, at least.
     
  15. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    My favorite camera store, Burlington Camera has set up half of their basement as a teaching studio.

    I think the camera store staff got sick of trying to teach everyone one on one how to use their new digital camera.

    To get to the teaching space you transit though the darkroom supplies section.
     
  16. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Memphis photo supply doesn't have the room to give over to class space. I am planning holding it at my place in the studio space, that is if my wife will let me convert that really big room that we don't use :laugh:

    And just to clear up any confusion, I like the Holga idea but that would be more geared toward an art class IMHO
     
  17. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    If I had just bought a DSLR or a digital rangefinder camera and were looking for instruction in photography basics, I wouldn't be inclined to sign up for a class that used film cameras, regardless of the rationale for learning with film. I would feel that there would be significant aspects of the seminar that had no relevance to me and my new camera. If I'm going to spend money to take a class, buy an instruction video, or a book, I'm going to look for something that features equipment as similar to my own as possible. I know this about me because I do the same thing in reverse all the time. If I'm browsing through books or videos on photography or lighting techniques, for example, I automatically rule out anything that is designed around or features digital cameras, since they aren't relevant to me. I doubtless pass up a lot of useful material, but digital bores me and I just have no special interest in it. I want material that is oriented toward film photography. I'm sure that digital users make the same kinds of decisions.

    I just took a basic woodworking class. I could have chosen one oriented toward using hand tools, or one that featured power tools. I took the latter because I don't have many hand woodworking tools, but I have a number of power tools. I could learn the same basic concepts in either course, but I knew I'd get exposure that is more relevant to how I'll actually be working by taking the power tools version.
     
  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I dont understand why these types of threads always end up being US versus THEM. All guitstik is trying to do is offer a basic instruction that will be pertinent to either film od digi., with the intention that the digi folks may end up wanting to shoot film also. I think I got that concept in the title of the thread, "digital recovery". It is a super idea and will work, I have every confidence that guitstik can pull it off. I think we should stand behind him and offer up as much support and help as we can. At the very least, the non-films will have more respect for us, and even learn how to shoot decent photos. It's time we stop being elitists and share some knowledge.
     
  19. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    guitstik, I should have said in my post, I wish you success in your endeavor. If you do end up teaching some seminars, I hope you'll let us know how well they were received by the students. If you use film and film cameras in your seminars, I suspect you'll attract mainly people who are interested in film photography. I'd be interested in knowing what percentage of your students use film cameras only, digital cameras only, or both.

    Rick A, I don't see it as a US versus THEM issue, and I didn't mean for my comments to be taken that way. I just think it is natural that people will gravitate toward instruction that is based on equipment most similar to their own. I wouldn't enroll in a landscape photography workshop geared toward digital or film SLR users, for example, if my landscape interests were soley large format black & white. There might be useful content for me, but it's just too far removed from the skills I'm trying to develop with the type of equipment I have. I think that's the potential hangup with guitstik's idea.