A couple of quick questions about workshops in the next year. Answer if you can...

I've taught portrait lighting workshops from time to time and I get mail almost weekly asking me "when is your next workshop???".  I'd like to add in some workshop experiences to my repertoire and my schedule next year but I'm a marketing geek and I don't want to offer something that no one really wants. So I have some questions and by you answering them I hope to understand what kind of workshop you would like me to teach and where, in the U.S. we should have workshops. I'm also interested to hear if anyone in the E.U. is interested. 

So, here are my questions:

1. Do you have any interest at all in taking a workshop on portrait lighting with me? 

2. Would you want a "hands on" experience, a lecturing/demo experience or a mix of the two?

3. What cool cities in the U.S. would you travel to if we did workshops there? (I vote for Denver to start....).

4. Would you travel to Austin, Texas for a workshop?

5. What would you like to come out of the workshop with? New techniques? More confidence? A new circle of friends?

6. Any interest in a workshop teaching best practice of portrait lighting with continuous lights?

7. Would you rather just have dinner, go out for drinks and sit around talking about photography with me till the bars close? 

Answer all the questions, some of the questions or none of the above questions. Make up new questions. Tell me not to waste my time. Tell me to spend more time on this. Go all freeform and just comment about your experiences and what you like and don't like about workshops you've lived through. It's all very useful to me. But I would like to hear from as many people as possible. You can be anonymous, this will not be graded.  Thanks for your input.  Kirk

P.S. Don't mention names but I'm also interested in your stories about the best and the worst workshops you've taken and what made them so bad or so good. Thanks, KT


sbimson said...

1. Yes! A workshop sounds fun!
2. Probably a mix but with hands on time for sure.
3. Come on up to Seattle! I'm a Longhorn so I'm always looking for an excuse to go back to Austin and Denver sounds great too!
6. I think this could be interesting, especially if you include LED, Florescent and HMI.
7. Sounds pretty awesome too!

Anonymous said...

1 - Yes
2 - Hands on, not much lecture. But I would like to have image reviews
3 - SF
4 - No
5 - Improving my portraits
6 - LEDs or Strobe or Natural, not Continuous (as I probably won't use them much)
7 - Talk is fun

Worst workshop - 5 days, one image review consisting of 3 hours going through one image per student and there were 51 students. Ugh (and I think, based on the noises in the room, that my image was the best of the week)

Best workshops - I've been to a number that have 6-10 students and spend about 3 hours a day reviewing the images we created the prior day.

Craig said...

1. Sure!
2. Probably an introductory lecture covering some topics we should know before we get stated, but mostly hands-on.
3. San Francisco
4. I'd love to see Austin, but honestly I'm not going to fly there just for a one-day workshop.
5. I'd like to have learned some things I might have taken a lot longer to figure out on my own. Your methods of developing rapport with your portrait subjects would be interesting to learn more about.
6. Yes, continuous lights please! I'm not much interested in using flashes in a studio context.
7. That would be great too, but I'd like to do the workshop first.

Another point: The workshop needs to have few enough students that you can actually interact with each of us individually, and for the hands-on portion it would be good to have several mini-studio setups (backdrops, lights, camera) so that we could split into groups and work on things, with you circulating around between the groups to offer suggestions and comments and answer questions. Does that make sense?

Anthony Bridges said...

1. Yes. A workshop sounds great.
2. Hands on. Photographers are more visual types but a slideshow that emphasizes key points would be helpful.
3. Austin. Austin. Austin.
4. Yes.
5. New technique.
6. Small interest in continuous lighting. More interest in flash photography but continuous is a good entry for video lighting.
7. Austin Tex-Mex or BBQ along with some good conversation would be great.

Anonymous said...

"I hope to understand what kind of workshop you would like me to teach and where, in the U.S. we should have workshops. I'm also interested to hear if anyone in the E.U. is interested."

About that. The US, let alone the whole of North America, is a rather large area, and so is the EU. Many people might be interested in a workshop, but only a handful could realistically make it, let alone afford it, for the travel cost alone.
The next best thing would be an online workshop. With online lectures, followed by a shooting challenge for the attendees, with a special critique session covering the submissions afterwards. Something that would go beyond and be more personal than the generic Craftsy or whatever online courses can go. Yes, it would be more work for the workshop organiser(s), but that way it would also be a worthwhile experience for the attendees. Well, just a thought.

1. Maybe. It depends.

2. Lecturing combined with hands on in practise is usually the most effective way of learning, I think.

4. That would be interesting, but highly unlikely.

5. I believe the most likely outcome would be new confidence, but the other two would be nice bonuses.

6. Yes. Perhaps more so than for flash lights alone.

7. If the drinks are on you, why not. ;-)

rexdeaver said...

1. Yes

2. Mix please.

3. Kansas City (Go Royals!)

4. No

5. New techniques, and new contacts.

6. Absolutely! Continuous is the future.

7. Why not do both>

Anonymous said...

Worst workshop, on portraits no less: 'instructor' sets up the lights while describing what he's doing in general terms. He then directs the model on how to pose before he says each of you take turns using your camera on such and such settings for the best results and shoot here before I change the set up. Really, dude? I paid you for *that*? Ugh. (Yes, there were some positives too, but the negatives outweighed them.)

Also bad, in this case a workshop taken by my spouse: instructor is not the subject-matter expert that s/he pretends to be.

Best workshop: the instructor answers technical questions, gives students room to experiment & learn, offers feedback and engages students throughout the workshop, and the workshop is limited to between 6 and 12 attendees so that the students can interact with each other & the instructor.

Does that help?

Owen Murphy said...

1. Not for me
2. Same as above
3. New Orleans
4. Not a one day workshop
5. hmmm ... not sure about this one.
6. Again, this doesn't really apply to me
7. My favorite option of all

What keeps me coming back to your blog is how you talk about photography. The gear stuff is ok, we all like to talk about gear up to a certain point, but for me it is really about how to survive and stay fresh.

Did you ever see "Dinner with Andre"?

I would really like to see you in a short film, maybe in one of your favorite Austin restaurants or just roaming around Austin, having a drink and being engaged in a serious conversation about your philosophy about photography, with someone who knows how to ask the right questions.

neopavlik said...

1. Yes, although I'm price sensitive and haven't done a workshop in 5 years.
2. Mix
3. Miami, Tampa.
4. Maybe ( I have applications pending for a move to Austin ).
5. Techniques and the "proper" time you'd chose one over another
6. Yes.
7. That sounds very neat as well.

Anonymous said...

1. Yes! You seem to have a great photography/communications skill set...
2. Both. I'd like to use my camera/lens system with your lights/studio/setting.
3. Boulder, Chicago, Austin... But pretty much anywhere you're comfortable and know your way around.
4. Yes.
5. All of the above. I think getting a clue about shooting environmental portraits would be most valuable.
6. Not so much... But I imagine >90% would apply to any other lighting method.
7. Dinner/drinks/talking would be a necessary ending to each workshop day!

A reasonable workshop would be 3 days long. I think 5 days is at the outer edge of bearable. If you can't fit studio/environmental portraiture into 3 days then splitting up the topics into separate workshops might make sense. This would depend on whether you take your show on the road- 3 days in Chicago (my neighborhood) might be more justifiable financially than 3 days in Austin.

Some of my best workshop/class experiences have included critique sessions that allowed everyone to participate as the critic. Some of my worst have been pure lectures/demos.

Having said this I understand that a technique oriented workshop doesn't necessarily have the same opportunities for critiques as a more free form photography class, but areas such as interacting with the subject, posing the subject (pesky hands!) as well as lighting the subject could be discussed...

Michael Matthews said...

1. Love to. Can't afford to. Renders other questions moot.

Unknown said...

So here are my answers:

1. Yes. It would need to be more than one day though to be worth the travel. I suggest 3-4 days. I would also like to see lighting of products covered. You have done some of that in your books, and I would like to learn more at first hand. Don’t try to cram it all into one (or even two) dizzy day(s).

2. Hands on definitely, supplemented by talks and demos as necessary.

3. SF, LA, Chicago, New Orleans (never been), Toronto (if we can go outside the US, and you don’t mind being so close to the Arctic Circle!), and Rochester (who not?).

4. You would need to do a bit of selling on that, but it’s a possible. And it would definitely need to be at least 3 days.

5. All of that.

6. I would like to cover both continuous and flash. Continuous could be used more on the product side if you agree with 1. above.

7. Sounds good at any time!

Since I retired, I have had the pleasure of taking several workshops including Utah, NY and London. On the best ones I was challenged, moved out of my comfort zone, given assignments, and my work was reviewed and critiqued. The worst one I took was given by a well known landscape photographer who simply took us to some interesting places, hoping the light was good. If it wasn’t we stood around and looked at each other. He never looked at any of our work or pushed us in any way.

On the portrait side, you need dedicated models – we don’t want to photograph each other – who wants pictures of ugly guys who can’t pose. Also, keep the class size such that everyone can be busy all the time.

James Pilcher said...

Well, I vote for Denver (where I live!). I don't know who would want to go to Austin. Who lives in Austin anyway? :) That's in Iowa, right?

I'd want a hands-on workshop with continuous lights and beautiful models. Or beautiful lights and continuous models.

I have to agree that this will be a tough sell if it's a one-day course. People generally will not fly around the country on their own dime for a one-day event.

Be sure to offer a fair amount of take-home literature or a video. Maybe your Craftsy video?

Seriously, I'll consider the opportunity to attend a Kirk Tuck portraiture/lighting workshop, wherever you hold it. Your outline sounds pretty darned good to me. Spending the evening(s) socializing is frosting on an already pretty sweet cake.

Jim Pilcher

Dave said...

1. Absolutely.

2. Mostly hands on. Shooting, correcting and learning how to better handle situations. Learning to tap into personal creativity through cementing of fundamentals.

3. Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City

4. Love to visit Austin but it's iffy

5. Confidence and a few friends!

6. Totally into new lights, especially dual purpose with video techniques

7. The drinks are assumed!

I'm eying a move to video more than portraiture at this point. Lighting, sound and story telling basics would be what I'm most keen to learn right now.

Unknown said...

1. Do you have any interest at all in taking a workshop on portrait lighting with me? Hell Yes.

2. Would you want a "hands on" experience, a lecturing/demo experience or a mix of the two? A mix of the two.

3. What cool cities in the U.S. would you travel to if we did workshops there? (I vote for Denver to start....). Miami, San Diego,

4. Would you travel to Austin, Texas for a workshop? Yes. I'm in San Antonio

5. What would you like to come out of the workshop with? New techniques? More confidence? A new circle of friends? All the above

6. Any interest in a workshop teaching best practice of portrait lighting with continuous lights? Yes

7. Would you rather just have dinner, go out for drinks and sit around talking about photography with me till the bars close? That too

Eric said...

1 -- absolutely!
2 -- I'd prefer a mix. A little lecture, then some shooting, then maybe review and a little more lecture, then more shooting...
3 -- I vote for Denver, too (but then I live in metro Denver, so I'm a bit biased)
4 -- Possibly, but it'd be harder for me to schedule.
5 -- New technique, particularly w.r.t. directing the portraitee
6 -- Sure, as long as the gear isn't outrageously expensive (no sense developing skills with hardware I can't afford)
7 -- Who says we can only do one or the other? I've got to think we'd work up a good thirst doing all that strenuous photography...

Mr said...

8. sunday coffee and short photo walk with kTuck

Unknown said...

1. Do you have any interest at all in taking a workshop on portrait lighting with me?

2. Mix of the two, with ~70% being hands on

3. Anywhere West Coast (SF, LA, Portland, Seattle, San Diego)

4. Sure

5. I'm a portrait novice and a lighting novice; and even that might be kind. A successful portrait lighting workshop to me would have me coming out with a solid foundation for understanding of when to and how to use different lighting setups, as well as a better understanding of how to work with portrait subjects

6. Absolutely; perhaps just as important to me as strobes.

7. Would definitely love to do that next time you're in the bay area, but can't really justify traveling for that

Peter E. said...

1. yes

2. Would you want a "hands on"

3. Boston, u copul;dal so see the kid!

4. no

5. More confidence

6. yes, my first choice

7. poist workshop!

roscoepoet said...

1. Yes
2. mix would be best
3. Kansas City
4. Yes, many friends live there.
5. All 3 would be good.
6. Absolutely.
7. Of course! Especially after accomplishing 1, 2, 5 & 6 above.

Shawn said...

1 Yes, I'm a total beginner with respect to lighting.
2 Demo with hands-on, for sure.
3 & 4 Austin, because I live in Austin. Anywhere else isn't likely, with the school-aged kids and all their scheduling needs.
5 Any lighting experience at all. And meeting people who care enough about photography to take a workshop on lighting.
6 No preference.
7 Sounds fun.

Kepano said...

While I'm always open to learning more on the creativity end of the spectrum, I'd be interested in better understanding the business side of things. Rights, usage, proposals, etc.

Most of my revenue comes from video work these days, but I still love photography and would enjoy shifting the balance a bit to stills.

Andy said...

1. Indeed.

2. A mix of lecture and hands-on. Monkey see, monkey do. (You photographer, me monkey)

3. East of the Mississippi, if possible.

4. Oh, hell yeah!

5. An understanding of how to balance the technical (what goes where and why) with the human interactions (rapport, etc.)

6. Yep. But please don't forget strobes.

7. After the workshop, yes.

I've been to a couple of workshops that were just lectures. Not my cuppa.

Took an on-camera flash workshop that was hands-on, but no time for individual or group critique. Learned a ton, but it was geared more toward the run-and-gun wedding 'tog. I've got enough stress in my life without shooting weddings.

The worst workshop (and it was really more of a mixed bag) had a husband and wife team of photographers that made uninspired images. He had very strong and forcefully communicated opinions on brands that were all about build quality with no underlying photographic rationale. (Isn't that what dpreview is for?) I learned more useful tips and techniques from the other workshop participants.

If you provide a mix of demonstration, explanation, hands-on opportunities and critiquing in a small (6-10), 2-3 day workshop, it'll be killer.

Mike said...

I'm with Kepano. Not that I can't stand to learn more about lighting, but I'm at the point right now that I need some good practical working knowledge about how to get my business off the ground. I would travel to Austin to do it, too! I'll even bring coffee and my E-M5 just to ingratiate myself.

Old Gray Roy said...

Can't do it myself but would not hesitate to recommend your course to those who can.

Marshall said...

1. Much interest, but probably can't do it in the next year or two. (Personally overcommitted, making traveling for this unlikely, but I absolutely think you could be successful in a number of markets, such as the Boston area where I am now.)

2. A mix would probably be best.

3. Love Denver, but just as likely to go to Austin.

4. Not just for a workshop, but I'd travel there to see an old friend and schedule it around the workshop if I had the time.

5. Approaches and inspiration, along with a modicum of technique.

6. Not really, but that's because I have some small things that flash already and I'm not good enough to justify a whole new set of lights.

7. I can't remember the last time I was at a bar at closing time. But the idea has appeal.

John said...

1. Yes, Very interested
2. A Small amount of lecture is good but learn better with hands on

3. Boston, Montreal, Burlington VT

4. Probably would not be able to make it to Austin.

5. More confidence, more experience with using lighting, more lighting ideas, friends, some cool pictures ...

6. Yes, definitely

7. That would be fun as well, perhaps after the workshop?

Steve said...

No money for workshops, unfortunately but if you come to Denver I'd love to meet you for a drink / dinner / talk

Jeff said...

1. Yes. Just to see in person how you think/work.
2. Yes. The Craftsy videos have been helpful, but sometimes I need feedback other than myself.
3. Any city is ok, prefer Austin at this time.
4. Yes. I've thought of Austin as a few days vacation anyway. Since no camera stores in Chicago then I'd spend some time at Precision Camera.
5. New techniques, thus have a few starting points depending on mood I want to convey.
6. Yes, more so than strobes. The LED's and CFL's seem much more available with lighting kits than hotlights were.
7. At a coffee shop or dinner for few hours. If Austin closing times are like Chicago 2-4am, I'd be totally baked by the time bars close.

Spencer H said...

Hey Kirk,

While not really a workshop fan, I think the next time you are in denver you should host a small meetup at a bar or something! Seems like a lot of denver based people read your blog, might be nice to meet a few of us!