The first APUG conference was held here in Toronto.
We even got Sean to attend, over 15 instructors, lots of headaches, met the owners of Harmon.
The single most important thing I took away from this was the friendships of instructors and attendees. From that date, I still talk weekly with some I met that first conference , The referrals of their friends and meeting them has allowed me to grow as a printer and I believe some workshops can be the best investment one can make.
I think it would depend on the specific workshop. I haven't done one in about 30 years, but it was a great experience. There's something to be said for spending time with people who share your passion- living/eating/breathing photography for an extended period of time.
As stated earlier, look into the workshop, and it's references, before committing.
Curt, there are expensive workshops that are no more than glorified photo holidays with some tuition thrown in. One of my neighbours here in Turkey runs them, I wouldn't recommend her to anyone.
I've been on excellent fairly priced workshops but others are grossly over priced despite the main featured tutors/photographers being the same, it's the organisers who are overly commercial & greedy.
To the OP:
Personally I wouldn't recommend a week long workshop, it's to much, a 3/4 day one is intense enough if well run. In weighing up the costs you need to set against them the probably significant wastage in materials learning via books, and trials & failures as well as the time you'll save climbing the learning curve.
As good workshops usually incorporate portfolio critique session, which are extremely valuable, give yourself time - maybe 6 months/a year before scheduling another, that way you have time to shoot new work taking on board what you learnt at the first one so taht your portfoliio has progressed by the second workshop,
Presentation & discussion of your own work at a workshop is invaluable, it's the feedback of other participants as well as the tutors that's key, it's like an interrogation, but lively and free thinking. The one question you'll repeatedly get asked about your images is "What are you trying to say".
Lately, I've been asking myself a lot of questions about things like, "where is my photography going?", and "Is there some fundamental thing I'm missing here?" and I'm sure a lot of other questions most photographers (with the possible exception those who are already Professional Fine Art Photographers) ask themselves from time to time. I guess it would help me quite a bit to get involved with other local photographers and like minded people interested in traditional photography for some dialogue and some sharing and some exchange of ideas. With the aim toward growing as a photographer. I'm beginning to think that at some point, one cannot grow further without this kind of contact. (I'm sorta reclusive and don't show my work much, so I suppose some of what I'm saying here is painfully obvious anyway).
The point is, it would be worth quite a bit to me to spend some time with others doing similar work to my own and I can't think why a workshop wouldn't be a great venue for this. Sure, my wife says things like "I like it", or "It's too dark" about my prints, but there comes a time when one might could use a little more than that in the way of constructive criticism. And all that before even considering what one stands to learn from the course or workshop. Oh, and as some others here have already stated, some quiet time, focused and without interruption, doing what one loves to do. Yes, choose carefully and get some advice from those who've gone before, but maybe not dismiss outright as scams or playtime for the rich. I'm open to the idea. I might even be able to sell a print or two as the result of the contacts and exposure.
I just posted the question you need to ask yourself "What are you trying to say" with your images. (Previous post)
Think themes/projects look at what else interests you mix/match the two.
Originally Posted by Exeter2010
Workshops are very important for the photographs I make as a photographer. The workshops that helped me get going were those taught by Monte Zucker. He became my coach, mentor & friend. Don't you think you need a coach to help you along the way? Someone who sees the world like you do and can help you get better with your art?
I've had also the good fortune of taking workshops with Ken Sklute, Doug Box and Hanson Fong. They are all very valuable. I learn from every workshop I take. I've met photographers from some of them who are now my friends. Check out Rick DeLorme from Michigan. I've helped him at gigs and he did my daughters wedding in Malibu California.
I'm also involved with our local PPA organization and we put on about 9 workshops each year that at held at our monthly meetings. We average 150 plus people at each meeting.
I also subscribe to many magazines, photography as well as Vogue, Vanity Fair and a few others. I desire to know about people, what they wear, makeup, clothing, posing, lighting, what's in style. I use that information along with what Monte Zucker taught me to make photographs. People like what I do. I get almost all my business by referral.
Another suggestion to the OP:
Try meeting up with some of the APUG members nears you as a group or individually, it's cheaper than workshops and the sharing work is still valuable. I've met up twice now with a great bunch in Cornwall (UK) as well as many others individually. What was interesting this Sprig was 3 of us despite being at the same locations made entirely different images, style wise as well as actual content, and we are planning a possible exhibition, maybe publication as well for about 2 years time (we paln to meet up there again).
APUG's a great resource I met up with another member here in Turkey 2 weeks ago, and am off down to shoot further south with him, and learn Plat/Palladium printing in a couple of days. He's the first film photographer I've met here in nearly 4 years !!!
Ian - Big second on the comments about getting together with local folks doing the same thing you're doing (film photography) and getting a little 'association' together to learn together and review work together. That's what it sounds like you have going and I envy you that. All workshops aside, I think feedback from others in the same pursuit has to be one of the most valuable things a photographer can get.
my two bits.....Cheers!
There's quite a few APUG members in Dallas, look in the Regional forum.
Ian - Thanks for the tip. I've only done a very quick perusal of the "Local" forum; might be worth a closer look...