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Frequently Asked Questions About Our Workshops ?

What Can I Expect From A Kevin McNeal Photography Workshop ?

With each workshop you will get information on learning all the basics of the camera. The goal of the workshop is to get you more confident with using a camera and getting you to the point that you no longer use automatic mode. As well I will be teaching composition, light, and how to get the "wow" factor in your images. During the day, I will teach post processing with Photoshop. Through the process of a workshop it will begin with taking an image all the way to how to display your images for the best results. Each stage is taught at length so that one can go from using the camera and all its tools to printing out the best possibly image. There is a low instructor-participant ratio so that lots of time can be spend with each individual. Participants range from just starting to advanced. So each individual will get the care and attention based on their needs. With each workshop I really encourage people to have fun and enjoy the experience. So the workshops are a very relaxed environment where the experience is the most important thing. Thus, not only are you going to learn something but I am going to make sure it is a time you will never forget. With every workshop we begin with looking through your portfolio. If you would like I will your critique some of your favorite images and look for something that we can work on in the workshop. At the end of the workshops I will look at the progression from start to finish and will give you my thoughts to work on in the future. Feel free to contact me after the workshops to evaluate your work since the workshop. I really want people to feel they learned a lot from the workshop and will follow up with individuals after the workshop. Although each workshop is separate I encourage participants to keep learning. So each time we work on something new.
Here you will find some additional details on questions you may have, many of them from past clients to help inform future clients. Please let us know if you have a question that is not answered here.

Why should I sign up and pay for a landscape photography workshop when there is so much information available on the Internet, books and magazines?

The late Galen Rowell, one of world's best ever landscape photographers, wrote:"Despite my best attempts to communicate what I know in carefully prepared lectures and these monthly columns [in photography magazines], I've had workshop participants tell me that they learned more by simply watching me in the field for five minutes." In our workshop, you will see instructors do work right in front of you. You will have the opportunity to ask them questions. "Why did you do that?" "What lens and settings are you using for this shot?" "What filter do you recommend for this image?" "How did you compose that shot?" These are the questions that a book, a lecture or a web page tutorial cannot provide answers for in nearly the same way. You will join our instructors in a variety of dramatic photo settings and see how they set up and photograph each shot. They will share with you their techniques, tips and even some of their secrets that set their images apart from the thousands of other landscape photographers. And you will be setting up right beside them allowing you to have hands on experience with what you are learning.

How much photography experience do I need to have for these workshops or tours?

This will depend on the workshop/tour and what it will be covering but generally our clients include the full range from beginners to professional photographers. Don't hesitate to ask us if the details are not covered in the workshop listing. It is most beneficial to you and others if you have a basic understanding of how to operate your camera. This does not mean you need to know what the best settings will be for the scene, that is what we will be there to help you with. What we mean is you will need to know how to change those settings (shutter speed, aperture, etc). There are so many cameras on the market today that even as an instructor it's hard to keep up with them and how they operate. Of course we will always do our best to help out no matter what the question is. On the other side if we are in a presentation or classroom setting then we will focus more on the how to in discussion but you won't need to necessarily have your camera for these portions but a laptop to follow along or take notes might be helpful.

If the tour requires extensive hiking or any backpacking how do I know if I am fit enough physically to participate?

That is a great question. The workshop listing should note if there will be hiking or physical activity required. Although we won't be climbing Mt Everest any significant hiking or backpacking can be very physically and mentally stressful in the best case scenario if you are not in good shape. Plus, it could put you and or the rest of the group in a less than desirable situation and not allow the other participants to get the most from the tour. If you are unsure if you will be able to make the hike don't hesitate to ask us. Even if you are not in excellent shape now, if the tour is months away we may be able to provide guidance on what you can do to be in great shape when the tour comes!

How much of a deposit is required to reserve your spot for a workshop? What are my payment options? Do you have a cancellation refund policy?

In order for us to hold your spot we require a 50% deposit. The remaining balance is due minimum 60 days prior to the workshop date. Refunds are only available if you cancel a minimum of 60 days in advance of the workshop. If you cancel less than 60 days in advance then we will not be able to refund the deposit or full workshop payment. Unfortunately have had late cancels before and in order to ensure spots can be enjoyed by others we ask for the 60 day timeframe to allow us time to try and fill a newly opened spot. Workshop payments and deposits are fully refundable if we do not meet the minimum number of particpants and need to cancel/move the workshop or if we need to cancel for any other reason. We accept check, visa or mastercard for payment.

What is the list of essential vs optional equipment to have in order to go on a photo tour?

This is a tough question. Every photographers list will vary some on this answer. Additionally, it really depends on the photo tour and workshop itself and what we are gearing it towards. In general I would say the minimum to get the most from the outing and overall experience is a SLR Camera (digital or film), tripod, remote trigger release, polarizer filter, cloth to wipe lens, headlamp, wide angle lens and a zoom lens. Then goes the optional list from there, which is really never ending! This to each it's own and their personal style as well as the physical avility to travel with more or less gear.

What if the workshop I want to sign-up for is full?

You can always email us regardless and we can add you to the waiting list. Although cancellations are not common, things happen and they do occur from time to time. If we find that there is enough interest and we can fit it into our schedule we might even add another date for that same workshop. Also, you can always consider asking for a one-on-one workshop. Prices are slightly more but this gives more attention to you to learn all that you want and allows for quicker easier travel around the location(s) of the workshop. Do understand that we try to work with one-on-one requests but they are subject availability in our schedules and we cannot always accomodate them. Can we be assured that we will have amazing flowers or peak fall foliage on your workshop? We wish we could guarantee that each workshop would provide us with amazing skies, perfectly in bloom flowers, peak fall color foliage or whatever the main attraction is for the workshop at hand. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that we will have the perfect or ideal photography for a given area but we do always attempt to have backup plans if our primary plan of focus is not an option. Although we try to plan workshops that provide for what should be amazing photographic opporutnities, such as spring flowers in the Columbia Gorge, we cannot guarantee this since every year weather patterns and other factors play into how optimal photographic opportunities play out. Whether it's a good year and when peak conditions will occur is something we plan for but will typically change slightly from year to year. If I see an amazing photo in your gallery that was taken in a location where the workshop will be does that mean we will go to that exact spot? We try to visit as many diffrent areas as possible for any given workshop without rushing around however just because we have the photo on our website does not mean it's a particular spot for that general area that we are able to take workshop particpants. Most of the time it's not an issue but in some cases taking into account potetntial danger and balance of too many people doing damage to one spot or logistical issues may not allow us to visit certain spots within a particlar area. Locations typically include common and when possible not so common or well known spots. If you have questions or concerns about this at all please ask. Why do I see workshops by other photographers priced lower, or higher, for similar locations and number of days? This is an interesting question with no easy straight forward answer. There is no entry bar into leading workshops. Anyone with a camera and a website "can" offer them and this is one reason the pricing runs all over. I have seen prices that are high and low. One important element to look into is the size of the workshop. You might pay only $200 for a weekend workshop but you might also share that time with one instructor and 20+ particpants. Our workshops are meant to be smaller, 8 to 10 particpants, with a leader to particpant ratio of 1 to 5 at max. We want to be able to give enough time to everyone which is hard to do in very large groups that have time out in the field. When deciding on which workshop(s) to signup for you want to ensure a number of things besides price... do they have testimonials from prior happy clients, do they have good quality work and a style of photography you want to learn, do you want more time in the classroom or in the field, etc. As always it pays to do a little homework. We hope you signup with us but you need to choose the photographer that is the right fit for your goals whomever that may be.