13 Reasons Teaching Beginner Photography Workshops Will Rock Your Business

What if there was ONE THING you do in your business that brings you MORE business? A self-generating marketing machine, so to speak? I challenge you to consider running a beginner level photography workshop in your community. Usually, when the topic comes up, I hear things like, “I don’t know if I’m qualified. I know the material, but not sure if I can teach. Won’t I be training people to become the competition? Will my clients even need me anymore?” We’ll get to those questions shortly. For now, let’s talk about the wild impact a workshop can have on your photography business… especially as a family documentary photographer.

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how to teach photography workshops for moms

13. You make connections through genuinely helping people.

When you think about all the traffic to your website or social media or even when you reach out to people directly about your business… it’s {often} all about “look at my latest session, please book with me.” When you run a workshop, you are focused on THEM (your students). This is marketing at its finest! The rapport and respect is taken to a whole new level. In my experience, you feel amazing knowing you are helping students to see more goodness in their day than ever before by teaching them about photo opportunities that are present at any given time. They leave one of their first interactions with you on a high of inspiration.


12. You can interact with clients outside of sessions.

Interacting with clients outside of business transactions builds a stronger loyalty. Why do you think we see so many business/client relationships on golf dates in the movies? Workshops can be that bonding event for you. In fact, if you have a solid client base already, you could consider running a VIP Client Beginner Photography Workshop. They receive extra perks, because they are your loyal clients. And listen up, if you’re worried about clients NOT needing you again after learning how to use their camera, that is just not true. As a photographer yourself, you know the need of having a photographer still exists even when YOU yourself knows how to rock your camera. Maybe unless you are that awesome photographer, Ellen Covey… the girl can rock a family self portrait like no other 😉


11. You stack up the authority positioning points like woah.

What does this even mean? Consider yourself shopping for a photographer.

The first photographer has been around awhile and you know her, because your sister-in-law did her family session with her. Her work is gorgeous and she seems like she would be super fun to work with.

The other photographer, who also seems super fun and has a gorgeous portfolio. Additionally, she teaches a series of workshops for beginner photographers, sells digital post-processing products, as well as does speaking engagements at the local schools for student photography clubs.

For most people, the choice is going to be the person that holds higher credentials. Now, we know that this absolutely doesn’t mean the other photographer is going to do a better job than the first photographer. However, the other photographer will be able to command higher pricing, because she is in a position of authority as the go-to expert.

The other thing to consider here… if you don’t, they will. Maybe you have other area photographers already offering beginner workshops, maybe not. Either way, there’s no reason to let other area photographers get all of the authority positioning if you are capable of teaching a class too! (and I’ll bet you are more capable than you think)


10. You will bust out of boredom.

If you’re anything like me, you get a little bored doing the same thing over and over… and over and over. Hence one of the reasons I started Fearless and Framed, as it’s given my business task-list some awesome variety. Workshops can be a wonderful way to take a break from the shooting for others and all that revolves around a session. If you’re fully booked most of the time or tired of chasing after new bookings nonstop, this can be your break.

9. You will add income variety to your business.

Ever heard of the term, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket?’ This definitely holds true when it comes to both marketing and generating income in your business. You know being a business owner that your income will fluctuate. Adding an additional stream of income can help with balance. For example, if you know you are pretty filled with sessions in May – October, then running workshops in the off months can offset the income deficit.


8. You are serving MORE people with your skills and talent (your dream client, at that!).

If you hone in on who your dream client is, I think it’s safe to say they don’t just love having pictures done. They are sentimental and hold a high value on their family’s journey… their unique story. You know they are taking photos anyway, with or without your help. Why not help them to get better at what the already love? In my experience, it just plain feels great to help others. This is especially true when the topic is something that just so happens to a common bond you share… allowing the student/teacher relationship to strengthen that bond. Which brings me to my next point…


7. Word of mouth referrals will skyrocket.

Even if your students never book a session with you, they will respect you as a leader in your niche. Think of it this way, when you book 1 new client… that client is going to tell their friends about you. When you book a workshop of 10 students, then you have 10 new people talking about how much they love your approach and your photos all from one event.


6. You are placing yourself in a room full of YOUR DREAM CLIENT.

Do you realize what an opportunity this is?! Real life connections are way stronger than your I-know-you-through-Facebook connections, right?! Through your teachings, they will get to know you in every sense of the word. This could be a secret weapon in your marketing toolbox. Teach them in a way that, first and foremost, truly educates them. Also, teach equally in a way that inspires them about your photography approach. This will lead to creating the need for the sessions you offer, because they are hooked on your photos. Obviously, not everyone is going to book a session with you, but it’s true that it’s easier to get repeat business than it is to get NEW business. Even though a workshop seat is different than a session, you are still gaining the opportunity to get repeat business from one person.


5. You are trading far less time for dollars than with sessions.

The workshops I run are typically about 2-3 hours long. If you set up a system for your marketing, promoting, and before and after-workshop communication, it’s super easy to replicate the process for each workshop pretty much on autopilot. I do bring in a model for my workshops, but the shooting time is so small (like 15-20 mins tops) that the editing is crazy quick. That’s it! No hours of editing, gallery prep, IPS, product customization, etc. Your family will thank you for running a workshop instead of booking another session.


4. You can borrow inspiration from the direct sales industry and book workshops from workshops.

After 6 years in the direct sales industry with a specialty in Hostess Coaching that led to teaching on an international, company-wide call and speaking at retreats, you can trust that I know what I’m talking about here. In my record month, with 22 booked parties, over 90% of my bookings came from previous parties. When you put together an incentive plan to encourage your students to book a workshop – this could be to bring the same workshop they sat through to their friends or a different workshop entirely (level 2, editing, other specialty topic of your) – you are making the marketing side of getting and filling workshops damn near effortless!  Your hostesses do the marketing for you, with a bit of coaching from you. Boom!


3. Students can turn into continuing students.

After a spike in your positioning and rapport with students, they will be the hottest leads to convert into continuing students. What if you don’t stop with beginner workshops? What if you only start there and then offer next level classes, 1:1 mentoring, small group mentoring, or come out with a product that will benefit beginner workshop students?


2. You can create a student journey and stack your income.

One way photographers miss out with workshops is with a lack of follow through after the workshop. This is usually due to a lack of a system. To combat this, when you design your beginner’s photography workshop, consider what will be the #1 outcome you want them to achieve at THIS workshop. Then, consider what is next for them… perhaps that opens the door to a level 2 workshop? Teach them how to design their own album? Fill the need of taking her perspective on everyday photos, but create the need for a full family session? The possibilities are insanely awesome!

Your income can add up quickly with workshops. Let’s just use a nice even number of $100 for workshop seats and you have 10 students. This could easily be an extra $1,000 a quarter. Or, if you use implement a student journey plan and a hostess incentive plan (see point #4) and you do 2-3 workshops per month, this could easily add up to a 5-figure annual income just from workshops. I know, right?!


1. You ultimately spread awareness about family documentary photography.

In my experience, people I talk to say and interchange terms like unposed session, lifestyle documentary session, candid, natural like it is all one in the same. Of course, we know each piece has its own meaning and each person has their own perspective on what is what. The point is, if you have ever felt like the inquiries you get just don’t “get it” when it comes to the documentary sessions you offer, workshops are THE FREAKING BEST platform to change that.

Your students purchase their workshop seat, because they want to learn about their camera and how to see more like a photographer. They have no idea how much more they will actually walk away with. Through showcasing your work as an example during your class, teaching them the how and the why behind each image, they will finally understand family documentary photography. Mix in some seeds about how you use this approach for client sessions and you will educate them that the option for this type of session exists! Win!

So there you have it.

13 reasons beginner workshops can rock your family documentary photography business! If you are reading this and NOT a family documentary photographer, of course you can adjust this to fit your business model.

Here’s how you can use workshops as a way to design your own inquiries (what?!).

I’ve created a free workshop for you to get in on called: Workshops That Create Clients. I’ll teach you how to use workshops to create a rich, rewarding client experience BEFORE students become your photography business clients. This is important, because these students receive a deep transformation in their photography journey leading to broaden their photography vision and fall in love with documentary photography. As students find the need for a photo session, the inquiries that land in your inbox will be much warmer (hot!) and more perfectly paired for your services than the cooler inquiries that come from cold web traffic or even the slightly warmer, referral inquiries. Why? Because these inquiries will be from people who already whole-heartedly believe in how you can transform their lives with your photography… they’ll be ready for the next step without the need to convince them how documentary photography (or whatever your niche is) rocks.

Ready to learn more?

Plan your workshop in a way that sets you up to grow your email list, potential client & student roster + provides a high value experience for your students.


Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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