I have been to quite a few workshops, each one was quite different, some better than others. There are some great workshops out there, but also a lot of hacks who don’t know an fstop from a stop sign giving their crappy workshops. My preference is Santa Fe Workshops, because of world renowned instructors and the curriculum / structure they have, but that’s an expensive ordeal LOL. But you get what you pay for…..that may not be feasible for many, but that’s just my own preference. I’ve selected workshops based on my connection to the photographer’s work, and what I wanted to learn from them. I think that’s a good starting platform. This may seem obvious but I’ve heard of people lured in by an eloquent play of words and promises of all this knowledge from the workshop, and the instructor’s work being secondary, with mixed results. I think their work needs to be a primary factor. Not only that, but it’s also a good idea to get a basic review from others who have attended their workshop to better gauge their method and effectiveness or their teaching abilities.
The next thing to familiarize yourself with is the payment and cancellation policies (I mean if the workshop is canceled due to lack of enrollment or other unexpected emergency) Some would want a refund, others may be ok with rescheduling. Either way, important to know. Also, being familiar with workshop structure and what will be taught, if there is critique and open Q&A, etc. Also will there be shooting there? How is that structured by group, etc.? Many get all excited about a specific model being there, which is a nice perk and nice networking, but don’t take your eye off the prize. If you are going there to learn, it is what it is…..a nice bonus. If you’re going there to shoot pretty models and don’t care so much about course matter, then attend a group shoot and don’t waste money on a workshops when the primary function should be to learn. In the end, multiple people sharing models in the same setting, is hardly unique and valuable portfolio material. It may serve as a boost, if you are starting from the beginning, but the knowledge you gain should help you use creativity of your own to get those results on your own shoots.
Also be familiar with the model releases they provide, and if additional compensation to models is required even to get a non commercial release signed. That would make for a different price point. In fact, the worst workshop I ever went to, I didn’t understand specifics about it being structured that way, but it was. Never to make that mistake again! LOL! Bottom line, you have to know what’s important to you, and know if your needs can be met by attending that workshop. And if they will teach what you want to learn there, within your budget (be realistic about the budget though) I feel it all starts with passion of the instructor’s work. Lots to learn, the sky’s the limit!