No Drama Workshop Policy
I have been leading tours and workshops for several years. The majority of my clients are wonderful people and in many cases repeat customers. At the same time experience has taught me there are some people that are not well suited for participation in group activities. I’m a mild mannered person who attempts to leave his ego at home when conducting workshops and tours. My preference is for clients to get to know me first by talking with me at a camera club or participating in one of my meetups, but I know that is not always possible. I want to be sure that all of my clients have a worthwhile experience so I want to share some thoughts to help you decide if one of my workshops or tours is right for you.
1. My clients come first. Typically I will refrain from shooting on the first day of a tour or workshop until I can be sure everyone is shooting without difficulty. I will always stop shooting whenever a client needs help. If I see a client who looks like he/she can’t find something to shoot, I will stop and help, but when people are busy shooting I try not to bother them. If you need help or want an opinion please ask.
2. There are a number of reasons why people take photography workshops and tours. Some want to learn from an instructor who has a shooting style they aspire to, while others just want someone to take them to the right place at the right time, or just prefer the comradery of group as opposed to solo travel. There are likely other reasons, but I think it is important to know why you are taking a tour or workshop and be sure this one is the right one for you. I’m always available to talk before or after you sign up for a workshop or tour.
3. Expectations. Everyone wants to return home after a trip with beautiful images and I’m no exception. If you have an idea for a must have image, please let me know prior to the trip. While I generally never take clients to locations I have not already visited, I may or may not know the location of the shot you have in mind. There may be logistical issues that prevent us from being in the right place at the right time. By communicating with me prior to the trip I can tell you if you can reasonably expect to achieve your vision. I have had clients get upset because they could not get the shots they wanted, but were unable to articulate what it is they wanted. I’m not a miracle worker in this type of situation. I suggest you always be open to creating images at any time of day under any conditions. To do otherwise places a limit on your creativity.
4. Shooting time on location. This can vary, for instance, when we arrive at a sunset location, we will be there until sunset is over. But when shooting after sunrise or during the day, our time on location will be driven by the needs of the majority of the clients. Some people are very decisive shooters and see what they want and shot quickly, others are more contemplative and may take the entire time at a specific location to work on just one composition. When the majority of the group has finished shooting the scene, then it’s time to move on. This may cause a contemplative shooter to feel cheated. I need to consider the needs of the overall group and not just the most contemplative in the group. I generally recommend that people book a couple of extra days after the tour so they can go back and visit favorite locations.
5. Weather. As you obviously know, I have no control or influence over Mother Nature. If Mother Nature does not cooperate I will try and make the best of the conditions, but must ask that you accept the reality of the situation.
6. Positive Attitude and willingness to get along with others. I fully realize we each have our own hardwired personality and changing it is not always easy, but nothing brings down a group dynamic faster than someone who does not play well with others. For example, If you find yourself carpooling with someone that gets on your nerves, let me know and we can adjust who rides with who. If I’m not meeting your expectations, please pull me aside and let me know, rather than telling everyone in the group except for me.
7. Wheels Up! This is my term for departure time. When leaving the hotel for a sunrise or sunset shoot I will tell everyone what time were are leaving. Make sure you allow enough time to be ready. I have not had to leave anyone behind yet, but it has been close on a couple of occasions and the sunrise or sunset will not wait. If the group is late, everyone misses out.
8. Occasionally some clients will decide to sleep in on a multi-day workshop. I encourage everyone to do what is best for them and will help them get maximum enjoyment from the trip. Just be sure to let me know the night before.
Forming, Storming and Norming. These are three of the four stages of group dynamics. The forth is performing, but for photography workshops and tours the first three suffice.
1. Forming: When we first meet participants tend to be positive and polite. Some are anxious or excited about the week ahead.
2. Storming: Next the team moves into the storming phase. This is when people will push against the established boundaries or start to have conflicts with others.
3. Norming: The group will start to resolve differences, appreciate each other and generally get along well.
Forming, Storming and Norming are normal human behaviors. It’s ok to experience feelings described in the storming phase, but treating each other the way you would like to be treated will go a long way to making sure everyone has an enjoyable trip. I ask that you keep this in mind and do your best to remember we are all together because of our love of photography.
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