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Archive 2016 · Workshops (Infomercials?)
  
 
Two23
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


I very rarely ever go to photo "workshops," but took a chance and went to one tonight covering iTTL flash and portrait posing. There was a pretty knowledgeable guy giving the demonstrations, a couple of Tamron guys there with a table full of lenses, and "Interfit" gear prominently displayed all over the place. About one third of it was name dropping of famous clients and funny stories, another third was info that was actually useful to me, and the other third was basically a TV infomercial for Tamron, Interfit, and Nissin. I don't know, I was getting kind of irritated with the barrage of how great the (featured brands) were.

At one point the guy turned off the lights in the room and there was only a small modeling light at low power on the model, to provide focus. He then said something like, "I'm going to turn shutter speed all the way down to 1/5s to show you how great this Tamron 70-200mm VC is! He then took a shot and the speedlights all popped. Shot came up on the monitor a few seconds later, and he said, "See just how sharp the Tamron lens is even at 1/5s? The VC on this lens gives you at least five stops! The crowd ooo'd and ahhh'd. I was sitting in the front row, and while I know I'm nowhere near his level, I do have a very solid fundamental understanding of flash. I asked, "BUT, there was no ambient light here. ALL the light came from the flash, so the shutter speed really didn't matter at all since the flash duration only lasted something like 1/1000s. In other words, the flash duration became the de facto shutter speed. You could have turned the VC off and the shot would be just as sharp." Well, there was an uncomfortable silence, and then he said something like, "There was a little ambient light coming from the model light." --about 8 stops less! The strobes completely crushed it! I did learn a few useful things but I'm really not eager to go to another one of these. I'm sure there will be times I won't be able to spot the BS. I'd rather just pay a local guy some cash to learn a few things without him trying to sell me anything.


Kent in SD



Oct 08, 2016 at 04:03 AM
some_film
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Yes #1. I've had the same experience with workshops/seminars. I went to a seminar about intellectual property rights, and it was exactly this kind of mixed bag, some useful info, some useless time wasters. One of the speakers was a VP of one of these social media giants, who used her talk to give us a product demo. "Here's what you can use this for!" "Here's how you use this feature!" I kept waiting for her to say something about copyright but she never did. Honestly, one of the things I had most wanted to hear was a senior executive from a social media giant talk about copyright infringement.

Yes #2. If I was going to test image stabilization, I don't see flash in my methodology. In your case I think the word may be "conflate"?

Two23 wrote:
I very rarely ever go to photo "workshops," but took a chance and went to one tonight covering iTTL flash and portrait posing. There was a pretty knowledgeable guy giving the demonstrations, a couple of Tamron guys there with a table full of lenses, and "Interfit" gear prominently displayed all over the place. About one third of it was name dropping of famous clients and funny stories, another third was info that was actually useful to me, and the other third was basically a TV infomercial for Tamron, Interfit, and Nissin. I don't know, I was getting kind of irritated
...Show more



Oct 08, 2016 at 04:52 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Many workshops have a hidden agenda, and that is simply to sell the attendees something; be it software, hardware, or the presenter himself.


Oct 08, 2016 at 05:04 PM
RickJames
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Nevertical been to one that was helpful and they are getting worse.


Oct 08, 2016 at 05:10 PM
ariot
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


It depends on the subject matter of the workshop I think, and if it is more technical solution or learning new ways to see the subject. The more technical ones are always an extended infomercial, it seems.

I've always wanted to do one of those higih-dollar National Geographic trips with one of their shooters. Maybe when I grow up.

The best one I ever went to was with Galen Rowell (RIP) -- that was in the old days of film.



Oct 08, 2016 at 05:18 PM
nolaguy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Two23 wrote:
He then took a shot and the speedlights all popped. Shot came up on the monitor a few seconds later, and he said, "See just how sharp the Tamron lens is even at 1/5s? The VC on this lens gives you at least five stops! The crowd ooo'd and ahhh'd.


Wow. I wouldn't have imagined a major brand would have allowed much less supported such deceptive hucksterism.

Borderline-criminal misleading of the audience, but what's worse, silliness that can lead to a snake oil peddler connotation of a decent product. Okay, maybe that was a little strong but if I was Tamron I'd string this guy up along with all Tamron reps involved.


That may have been a little strong too. I sometimes boil crawfish alive so I may not be the most balanced judge and jury.


Nevertheless, what a foolish, idiotic demo. He would have had to keep the shutter open for at least 2 seconds for it to have been meaningful...




Good on you for calling them out, Kent.



Oct 08, 2016 at 05:26 PM
Lauchlan Toal
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Thanks for sharing. I've seen this with a lot of workshops. Don't get me wrong, there is some good advice, and good stories, but they make a lot of their money from pushing brands. Hence I usually prefer online courses and such, since they do their brand pushing in the free blog and keep the paid content free, or just approaching other photographers to see if I can tag along for a day.


Oct 08, 2016 at 05:59 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


That last bit was about a funny a story as I've heard in a while...

And the guy had the stones to try and pull that off in a room of shooters.

Way to call em out Kent!



Oct 08, 2016 at 06:16 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


- I agree with John - the guy was full of poop and you called him out on it. Well done


Oct 08, 2016 at 06:32 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Two23 wrote:
I asked, "BUT, there was no ambient light here. ALL the light came from the flash, so the shutter speed really didn't matter at all since the flash duration only lasted something like 1/1000s. In other words, the flash duration became the de facto shutter speed. You could have turned the VC off and the shot would be just as sharp." Well, there was an uncomfortable silence, and then he said something like, "There was a little ambient light coming from the model light."


Ha ha ha, nice!




Oct 08, 2016 at 09:08 PM
 

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TAM63
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


I guess I differentiate between workshops I pay for or not.

If it's free, and I get 1/3 useful info, I guess I did ok - I figure they're doing it with the intent of selling gear.

If I paid, I would be pissed.

Oh yeah, something deceptive like that, I'd be pissed in either case.



Oct 08, 2016 at 11:40 PM
TAM63
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


I guess I differentiate between workshops I pay for or not.

If it's free, and I get 1/3 useful info, I guess I did ok - I figure they're doing it with the intent of selling gear.

If I paid, I would be pissed.

Oh yeah, something deceptive like that, I'd be pissed in either case.



Oct 08, 2016 at 11:40 PM
Two23
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


John Skinner wrote:
That last bit was about a funny a story as I've heard in a while...

And the guy had the stones to try and pull that off in a room of shooters.

Way to call em out Kent!


At first I thought, "What? Doesn't he know that in effect he's just using Open Flash technique from 100 years ago? Image stabilization has nothing to do with the result." I then realized that OF COURSE he knew that, and he was just bullshitting everybody. Well, almost everybody. And that really irritated me. To those paying attention he ended up looking like a jackass.


Kent in SD




Oct 09, 2016 at 02:01 AM
Birdbrooks
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


At first I thought, "What? Doesn't he know that in effect he's just using Open Flash technique from 100 years ago? Image stabilization has nothing to do with the result." I then realized that OF COURSE he knew that, and he was just bullshitting everybody. Well, almost everybody. And that really irritated me. To those paying attention he ended up looking like a jackass.

Kent in SD


Well done, Kent. I'd like to see if that guy would be able to handle some of the flash set-ups you use in your night train shots-- I'll put my money on you!



Oct 09, 2016 at 03:49 AM
rick2906
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Hahahaha ! Anynody with basic flash knowledge would know that is some pure bullshite ! Good thing on calling him out! That is so wrong!

Edited on Oct 09, 2016 at 08:20 PM · View previous versions



Oct 09, 2016 at 03:25 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


Much like some nature workshops. You get to pay for some instruction but mostly you are footing the bill for the teacher to photograph on YOUR time. There are a couple of well known guys doing one here in Texas early next year and are charging $3800.00 per person for up to 10 "students" for 4 days. Think about it, if they fill up, the two of them split $38K or they each get $4750.00 per day!!! Nice chunk of change. A friend went with one of them a few years ago and "only" spent $2000.00 for three days. The "instructors" spent most of the time talking to one another and photographing. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to know who they are.

I have no doubt there are good ones out there but proceed with caution when spending your hard earned green.



Oct 09, 2016 at 04:25 PM
dspeed
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


DGC1 - I too have had this experience.

A couple of years ago I tried to solicit reviews, indeed, even suggested to having a couple of major sites put up a "review" subsection in their forums.

No dice.

Hmmmmm.



Oct 09, 2016 at 06:10 PM
Naptime
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


.


Oct 09, 2016 at 07:28 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


dspeed wrote:
DGC1 - I too have had this experience.

A couple of years ago I tried to solicit reviews, indeed, even suggested to having a couple of major sites put up a "review" subsection in their forums.

No dice.

Hmmmmm.


On another site (dedicated to nature photography), someone opened a topic on "Should Your Workshop Leader" be taking photos on your dime. Needless to say I said "NO" and was soon verbally assaulted by said "workshop leaders" who strongly agreed they should be allowed to do this. MY money...MY time.




Oct 09, 2016 at 07:38 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Workshops (Infomercials?)


DGC1 wrote:
On another site (dedicated to nature photography), someone opened a topic on "Should Your Workshop Leader" be taking photos on your dime. Needless to say I said "NO" and was soon verbally assaulted by said "workshop leaders" who strongly agreed they should be allowed to do this. MY money...MY time.



I agree for the most part. I can see a workshop leader taking a few snaps and looking through his / her camera simply because it can help them think about what they should be telling their students. However, the students should ALWAYS come first, even if it's the best light / situation of the instructors career. The students paid for his help and should not be left hanging because he's decided to take photos instead of teach.

I get asked several times a week if I'm ever going to do workshops and I always answer "no." That may change down the road, but I know from being out and watching workshops that I just don't think people are learning all that much. On more than one occasion I've heard information from the instructors that was just plain wrong - and I was just a bystander who happened to be in the same area.

I've also cringed as I watched a group of photographers storm out of a van like a group of commandos wielding tripods instead of rifles. Their legs barely touch the ground and they're photographically assaulting the landscape. A couple minutes later, they pile back in and speed off to trample another innocent location. I just don't want to be part of that.

I think the ideal solution is simply one-on-one instruction, but there's not nearly as much money in that for the instructors. Anyway, that's my opinion.



Oct 09, 2016 at 08:28 PM
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