Although it’s long, LONG overdue, this blog will be unlike any I’ve written before. This one is my Sam Hurd Epic Workshop review! I’m a huge believer in continuing education for photographers and it’s a shame there aren’t more workshops out there, although it’s understandable as not all photographers like to teach. That, of course, simply is not the case with Sam Hurd! His passion for teaching comes across as clearly in his workshops as his unique flare does in his work.
I’ve attended many wedding photography workshops in the past although I never bothered to review them. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed them – but there was something different about Sam’s workshop… so much so, in fact, that I decided to blog about it. (If the introductory paragraph didn’t give it away…)
When it comes to reviewing this workshop, I’ll be honest – I’m a little different than most other photographers out there. Although I never actually mentioned this to anyone when I took the workshop, I have a formal background in teaching. Needless to say, the way I assess and evaluate the skills of a teacher and a workshop is probably very different than others.
Sam’s photography workshop started by introducing the schedule of the day so we all knew exactly what we were in for. We knew where the bathrooms were, we were encouraged to stand up and stretch when needed – he immediately began to foster a sense of community and security amongst the group. Sam ensured that everyone has a comfortable seat and a view of the projector; the slides were clear and easy to see from every seat.
Sam spoke clearly and with passion but he also listened. Whenever a group member would ask a question, he gave them his full attention regardless of who was asking or what the complexity of the question was. He provided answers clearly and ensured that the attendee understood before continuing.
During lunch break, we were treated to a lovely meal in a quiet room at a nearby restaurant. We were able to get to know each other on a more social front and Sam stayed with us the whole time. This awesome photographer, who we all admired and looked up to, was eating lunch with us and chatting about everything; business and non-business. He was so personable and easy to get along with, it was like hanging out with an old friend.
In the afternoon, Sam spoke about some of the more complex theories, like prisming, and then took us outside with a couple to practice everything he was teaching throughout the day. Our “practice session” started with the biggest, widest open parking lot we could find and a challenge to shoot in direct, harsh sunlight. While most people would reach for a flash or a reflector, all we had was our cameras and the skills we were taught. Here are two images from that lesson, not to shabby if I do say so myself!
The practice shooting took us all around the neighbourhood and in a variety of different lighting situations. Sam carefully explained each and every one to us and coached us on how to produce the images we wanted. Whether it was taking the time to shoot the scene himself so that he could show us what he meant (since photography is a visual medium) or taking a look at the back of our cameras, Sam coached us through and I, for one, took away an immense amount of new skills.
We wrapped up the live shooting with some indoor shots and then Sam proceeded to show us how he would edit the images. As the images loaded in Lightroom, Sam answered all of our questions and then some. Once the images rendered, Sam once again used his vast knowledge and passion for sharing his skills to teach post-processing techniques to the class – showing us before and afters of not only the images we took during the practice session but also of some of his wedding work as we were all so curious.
Overall, I must say that Sam is a phenomenal teacher. He’s not only passionate about his craft, but also about sharing with others – a quality that I respect so very much.
Having read the review – I think you can now see why I decided to blog about this. When someone does a truly fantastic job, they should be recognized for me. And Sam, coming from someone who has a background in Adult Education, I must say… you are a natural teacher with an incredible gift. Keep it up!