Scott Robert Lim’s Mentoring Workshop – An Attendee’s Opinion
I want to start off by admitting that I do not think of myself as an artistic person. I know the technical stuff pretty good, I understand exposure, aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, lighting geometry, and gobs of other technical stuff. Where I am really lacking is in artistic vision. When I can visualize something, I know exactly how to create it, but coming up with the vision is the thing that I personally struggle with as a photographer. A couple of months ago I was introduced to Scott by a mutual friend who suggest I get Scott on the Camera Dojo podcast. This is what led to his original appearance on the show. In talking to him and really understanding what his workshops were like and becoming a big fan of his work, I decided to give his mentoring workshop a whirl and see if I could really get anything out of it. This article is going to be an honest review of my experience at that event.
In the interest of being completely honest here, I need to point out right up front that I did not pay to attend his workshop. He actually had asked me to come up and help out with the workshop as a group leader. I did not get any compensation for this help other than being able to attend the workshop at no charge.Â That being said, I did want to really see if I would actually get any useful info out of his event. I also am not getting any compensation for this article nor any credit or kickback if anyone signs up for his workshop. Normally, I would put a disclaimer like this in fine print at the bottom but I really wanted to be upfront about how I ended up attending the workshop.
Scott comes across as a very genuine and approachable person, he does not seem to want the role of the seemingly “rockstar” photographer. He comes across as fairly down to earth although quite successful at the same time. This plays well to the mostly 20 something audience he attracts. I have kids older than some of the attendees and my and my buddy Lloyd filled out the opposite side of the age Bell curve.
The first probably 1/4 of the day is spent talking about off-camera lighting. Scott shows numerous examples of the style and talks about a number of different methods for getting your flash off your camera. This section covers single and multiple light setups, different modifiers, and different light techniques. This part of the program also goes into some detail about how to use shadows to define shape,depth, and mood., again with plenty of good examples to drive the point home.
The second 1/4 of the day was the best part of the day for me. During this part Scott showed some very simple posing setups as well as tips on how to get the subject to portray a deeper sense of emotion which really made the images come alive. This is probably the single biggest issue I have with my images. While technically good, they are lacking (to me) something else that would take them to another level. I really thought that some of the lessons during this part were some of the absolute best pieces of information I have had in the last few years of learning from other people as well as watching other people work.
The last half of the day was spent actually shooting the different models that had been brought in. During this time we were instructed to work on the lessons that he had given us and to do it with available light as much as possible. As a group leader, my role was to keep people rotating through shooting the models, reinforcing the lessons Scott had given, and offering as much advice as I could. Scott would rotate through the different groups with additional advice on lighting, posing, communication with the subject, and whatever questions the attendees might have had.
This last part seemed to flow really well although as a group leader I didn’t take nearly as many shots as I would have wanted but that’s ok. I had absorbed some solid content that I was able to put into some use there and will certainly be using as upcoming shoots.
With Scott’s approachable demeanor, nobody seemed intimidated or felt awkward asking even the most basic questions and Scott would take as much time as needed to work with someone to make sure they understood the answer.
I really stress that people need to do their homework and look carefully at what a workshop is offering before deciding to take any. The following text is taken right off of Scott’s website:
The Goal is to teach any photographer from the ground up and help develop them into an elite photographer through a year long teaching process on all facets of professional portrait and wedding photography. Scott will assign projects that will be accessed and critiqued and provide personal, customized coaching to maximize the learning experience of each individual photographer ensuring they are competent at each necessary skill. Every lesson is accompanied with 4 hours of practical hands on learning and experimentation. It is Scott’s desire to provide the most comprehensive photographic program in the country- certifying a new generation of highly skilled and successful artists ready for real world application.
The Method is to combine world class teaching with fully stylized live practice sessions and individualized coaching.
The Four Elements of WOW- How to create images with impact.
Posing 101 (part 1)
How to use one light and available light.
Given that course description, this is a major cost and time commitment of the students to attend eight different workshops (major price breaks on buying the complete package or the lifetime membership). The most interesting aspect I found in this approach is that Scott does not promise you any magic or secrets that will make you an awesome photographer in one day. Instead, each day is a very defined and limited set of information with hands-on application of those lessons to help drive home the point. The students are then to practice those lessons and try to get as good with those techniques as possible during the time between workshops.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day what really matters is whether or not you feel it was worth your time, effort, and of course, money to attend any given workshop. Would I have spent a couple of hundred bucks to go, before hand I would have said no, that decision would have been based on current budget issues, time constraints, and mostly, not having seen Scott talk anywhere before and not having read any reviews about his workshops.
Having now attended the first part of the mentoring program, would I have paid to attend, yes. I absolutely feel that my images will look better. I think my clients will see a difference in what I can do over someone else and I really believe that this will help improve business. At the cost of the entire mentoring workshop series, I will need to sell ONE more job to cover the cost. I honestly believe that I will make that up with just the lessons from the very first class, let alone what I would get out of the entire series.
Does Scott’s workshop earn the “Camera Dojo Seal of Approval”? I am going to say, a big yes to this one. Whether you are just starting out or are already making money with weddings or portraits, you WILL learn some techniques that will take your images to new levels, that will separate you from the hoards of other photographers out there.
Will you be a huge success and make untold fortunes as a photographer? Well, that nobody can promise you and if they do, run..run fast. You have to have very solid business skills, accounting skills, marketing skills, people skills, and much more to run a successful photography business, but Scott’s Mentoring Workshops will certainly give you a solid foundation in the image side of the business.
For more information, check out http://scottrobertworldtour.comImages, Scott Robert Lim, seminars, workshop