5 Tips On Finding The Right Street Photography Workshops

Street photography of girls carrying yellow balloons and being watched by a dog in Tampere, Finland.

The world is full of street photography workshops these days.  It seems everyone and their dog is offering a workshop or masterclass of some kind. That’s much to do with ever increasing  popularity of the genre.  And the fact that making money in it is fairly limited, so workshops have become the most popular way of monetising it.

The problem is too many workshops are being run by “tutors” who hardly understand street photography themselves.  So how do you find a street photography workshop that’s actually worth taking?

Well, here are five useful tips to help you through the mire and find the right workshop for you.

Candid street photography of a workman pushing a bin at the South Bank Centre, London. Taken by London street photographer Darren Lehane
South Bank, London (2007)

#1 How Long Has Someone Been Shooting Street Photography?

I firmly believe that it takes many years to understand true street photography and a lifetime to even come close to mastering it.  Yet there seems to be so many people out there now offering street photography workshops having only been shooting it a couple of years themselves.  Who wants to “taught” by someone who is still clearly a novice?

So ask them how long they’ve been shooting street photography for. How far back does their body of work stretch?  If in doubt, ask them to provide you with images that include the EXIF data so you can see the dates work was shot.

At the very least you want to find someone who’s been shooting for more than 5 years and ideally much longer.  Experience is a major strength when teaching.

Candid street photography of a couple kissing and a man leaping onto the beach in Brighton, East Sussex. Taken by London street photographer Darren Lehane.
Brighton, East Sussex (2016)

#2 Don’t Be Fooled By “Award-Winning” Labels?

One thing you’ll come across a lot amongst street photography workshop providers claiming to be “award-winning”.

The first thing you want to check is exactly what awards they’ve received.  To be honest, there’s far too manly meaningless street photography awards our there – provided by people who themselves wouldn’t know a Cartier-Bresson from a cart and horse.

Most of the meaningful street photography awards tend to be associated to the main international festivals, such as Brussels, Miami and San Francisco or big websites such as PDN, LensCulture or the Sony World Photography Awards.

The rest, well, take them with a pinch of salt.

Candid street photography of a man sunbathing on Hanseatic Walk, London. Taken by London street photographer Darren Lehane
Hanseatic Walk, London (2013)

#3 Also Be Wary of Terms Like “Published” or “Featured”.

Again, another favourite claim by street photography workshops is that the photographer is “published” or featured somewhere.

Ask to see cuttings or links to where their street photography was published or featured.  Was it somewhere that validates their talent or experience?  Was it even street photography?  Was it simply self published?

Just because a street photographer has had a few nice photos featured on an obscure blog somewhere isn’t really something on which to judge whether they are good enough to teach you about street photography.

Old Town, Benidorm. (2018)

#4 Are They Actually Known For Street Photography?

If I were taking a street photography workshop, I’d want to feel confident that the photographer is at least well know for it.

So google them.  Do they belong to any street photography collectives?  Is there lots of street photography related stuff connected with their name?

Ask around, especially with those who have been shooting street photography for a while, have they ever heard of them.

If all that comes back are simply links to their street photography workshops – then it’s likely they just interested in making a fast buck rather than having a genuine passion for street photography.

Candid street photography of an inflatable dinosaur and a man up a ladder in Hyde Park Corner, London. Taken by London street photographer Darren Lehane.
Hyde Park, London (2016)

#5 And Are They Actually Any Good?

This is the crux of it really.  Is the work they are showing actually any good?  Do they seem to understand what street photography actually is?  Or is it full of cliches and average work?

Do they have lots of great work to show, stretching back over many years?  Or do they only have a small number of examples?

Do you really want to take a workshop with someone whose work is really on average at best?

Good Street Photography Workshops Are Out There

Candid street photography of young shoppers on Regent Street, London. Taken by London street photographer Darren Lehane.
Regent Street, London (2014)

Of course, there are plenty of great and useful street photography workshops out there. Just make sure you take one with someone who understands the genre, is good at it and isn’t just here to make some money out of it.

You can see more of my street photography at http://www.dlehanestreet.co.uk

Thanks for reading.  If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the field below.

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