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Take Advantage of Workshops - They Are Few and Far Between!

Published: 14/11/2016
By: larry

workshopA few days ago, I talked to Brandon Cooper to see how he and his family were doing. If you recall, earlier this year most of Brandon’s hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta, was consumed by one of the worst forest fires in Canadian history. I was pleased to hear that he and his family are doing very well and, in fact, Brandon is busier than ever, doing 3-5 shoots a day!

I also asked him about the workshop that he and Tony Colangelo delivered last month in British Columbia, Canada. Listening to Brandon's enthusiasm in talking about all the learning and excitement that happened for folks at their workshop made me think about the value of professional development. Over the years, many people have been asking for this type of workshop but what they really wanted to know is when such a workshop would be held in their city! I keep telling people that to take advantage of these types of learning opportunities, they MUST travel and be willing to spend some money. I know times are tight but Brandon shared a couple of testimonials that really highlighted the value of professional development:

  • “What I learned in this workshop will allow me to cut my post-production time in half for every single real estate shoot- that is a major deal for me. This course will easily pay for itself in a month or less. For me, this has been the best investment I've made for my business in 2016.”
  • “With what I learned from Brandon, I will be able to run a more efficient real estate photography business immediately. For the long-term, I will be able to apply Tony's branding process to attract interior designers, architects and other clients that value a more thoughtful approach to photography.”

I was pleased to promote a number of workshops to the PFRE community in 2016. There are more coming next year. In fact, Brandon and Tony will be offering at least two more of their Cooper-Colangelo workshops in 2017, including one in London, England in the spring and another one in Las Vegas in the fall. Stay tuned for more details here on PFRE. We will have another post when the dates are set.

Whether you attend a workshop, watch videos, hire a photography coach or read the many resources on the PFRE site, I hope that all of you will increase your professional development activities in the new year. Aside from practice, it’s truly the best way to get better in your photography!

12 comments on “Take Advantage of Workshops - They Are Few and Far Between!”

  1. Larry, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops offered 2 real estate workshops back in September (which I signed up for) and neither one happened because enrollment was below the minimum. I think it may have been the time of year with school just having started, but they're offering another one in early April with a different instructor. I've signed up for that one, and I bet it'll fill quickly. SFWS does an outstanding job with all their classes. Here's the link to the class info: It's also a great time to be in Santa Fe, before the tourists flood the city and hotel rates go crazy. I'm doing mentoring with Tony Colangelo too, and I agree with you that you HAVE to be willing to invest in your professional development or you stagnate.

  2. I live in British Columbia, and would have loved to attend the workshop you mentioned - if I had known about it! I try to read your posts daily but sometimes life gets busy 😉
    Larry, would you be willing to add a page to your website listing upcoming workshops? I did attend a great workshop by Scott Hargis a few years back which I found after a considerable time on google. It seems that Interiors Photography workshops are indeed rare, and very difficult to find via web searching alone.
    Thanks for all you do to contribute to the success of RE photographers!

  3. @Dawn - There is already two great ways for find out about the latest real estate photography workshops:

    1-In the search box at the top of the left side-bar type in "Workshop" and then press search.

    2-Go to the bottom of the left side-bar to the list of post categories. At the bottom is the category "workshop" just click on the word workshop.

  4. I'm looking forward to a workshop in Las Vegas as that will be the closest one yet. I'm also hoping that it will be announced far in advance and will be held during the slow season.

    During the classically busy months, I find it very hard to tell my customers I'm going to be unavailable for 3-4 days. I'm sure I will learn techniques that will speed up my workflow and raise my quality, but turning down work is tough for the sole proprietor that is worried about clients calling the competition. Spring is especially tough coming out of the lean months.

  5. "I keep telling people that to take advantage of these types of learning opportunities, they MUST travel and be willing to spend some money" - I couldn't agree more! I have had the pleasure of teaching with some of the best in the industry (Barry MacKenzie 2014 PFRE POTY and Jason Roehner 2015 PFRE POTY) during our past 3 sold out workshops! The information gained during events like this is hard to find anywhere else in such as organized presentation. It makes me proud to see former students like Brandon Cooper (who was a student in our first two workshops) gain the skills and confidence in such a short time, to get out there teach his own beginner workshops. This forum, along with others on the web are valuable resources, but immersing yourself for several days (as Brandon did), surrounded by others with similar experience and the same thirst for knowledge is incomparable. The feedback we’ve received from our students and sponsors in 2016 has been amazing. As we continue to refine the curriculum based on student feedback, we look forward to sharing knowledge and skills with more of you during future RE & Architectural Photography workshops in 2017. Since we're sharing, here's a couple testimonials from our most recent 3-day workshop (Nov 4-6 in Washington DC) . . .

    What did you like about this course?:

    "Holy crap!! So much information to absorb. Screen casts from Barry and Jason - I need to go through those often and slowly."

    "Learning new techniques for lighting and compositing. Material presented in a professional manner. Detailed info in terms of gear list, pre-production list, sample invoice. Liked that tag-team approach of three instructors."

    "The hands on approach. Industry info and practices that are difficult to get. The fact that there were 3 instructors, all with different styles and knowledge."

  6. @Tony Thompson ... Hey Tony, thanks so much for your very kind words on that great video post! Brandon and I are so pleased that you got so much value from our time together in the workshop! Talk soon 🙂

  7. Ira Glass has a great video entitled "The Gap" ( He talks about the frustration of the learning curve when your taste is better than your abilities. It's called growth and we all go through it, no matter what stage you're at. We grow from reading, from YouTube videos, from online video classes, from a TON of trial and error, from shooting day after day and some of us from one-on-one coaching. After attending Tony and Brandon's workshop up in BC last month, I can honestly say that those two intensive, very hands-on days did more to bridge my own personal gap than any piece of shiny new gear possibly could. They are both humble, yet confident professionals with a real knack for educating. There were photographers from various different skill levels, from beginners to more advanced shooters, and after talking with the group, I feel everyone got something very valuable from the experience. No egos, just info. And lots of it!

    If you get a chance to attend one of Tony and Brandon's (or I'm sure any of the other) workshops, make every effort to do it. Yeah, it takes time away from paying gigs. Yeah, you might have to travel a bit (I traveled from RI all the way to BC!). Yeah, you're going to have to spend some money. The learning and knowledge you acquire at their workshop will pay for itself in a very short time. If you're looking for the fastest, most efficient way to bridge your creative gap, get yourself to one of their next workshops! Invest in yourself.

  8. My investment in the Cooper/Colangelo workshop is the best money I have spent in I don't know how long. My images became immediately better after the workshop, which my clients and even my friends noticed. Also extremely valuable was the shift in thinking about my services and the industry itself the workshop encouraged. The weekend was more like a career changer for me, than a skills course. Tony and Brandon were able to attract a geographically diverse group which really aided sharing of experience and bonding. Just as icing on the cake, both Brandon and Tony treated us all like friends from the get go. The venues, the food, and the location (Summerland, BC) all made for a vacation feel and they spoiled us rotten! Two thumbs up for these guys!!!

  9. I also attended the Cooper Colangelo workshop and want to echo the comments of the other attendees. I started doing real estate photography nearly one year ago and the amount that I learned in two days was incredible! I am very much a hands on and face-to-face learner so getting to go to two different properties with everyone to practice the techniques and then get to see the post-processing as well was so effective for my learning. I was previously using the Enfuse method of processing bracketed photos and wanted to start using off camera flash but was intimidated by the learning curve. I had never used flash prior to the weekend, and was able to come home and practice on my own house then go out to my next shoots and confidently put it into practice with success. Cannot say enough about how valuable the takeaways were for myself, and how great Tony and Brandon were at delivering their teaching to a variety of experience levels. Thanks guys!

  10. @Mike / @Marion / @Caroline ... thank you all SO much for your very kind and gracious comments! Brandon and I are so grateful to have shared time with you at our workshop last month; and we're *thrilled* to hear that you're each able to apply the things we talked about to your work, and advance your photography, so quickly. You've made my day! 🙂

    @Dawn ... Hey Dawn, am so sorry that we didn't get a chance to connect for the workshop in Summerland, last month. We hope that you'll get the chance to join us at a future event, though! Until then... 🙂

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