Frequently Asked Questions

I see you are sponsored by Olympus - Do I have to shoot Olympus to attend your workshops?

Absolutely not!  We do shoot Olympus mirrorless cameras personally and on our workshops and we love them! But our adventures are for anyone and everyone, regardless of which brand of camera you shoot.  We have experience with many brands of cameras due to our retail photo sales background.  No matter what you shoot, we are happy to have you and we can help you out with your questions! 


Plus, keep in mind that we often have loaner Olympus gear for our participants who are interested in learning more about Olympus mirrorless cameras.  All you have to do is ask and we can get you a loaner set for any workshop we do. 

arches national park, group picture, photography workshop

I'm interested, but is a photo workshop or photo class for me?

Well, let's see:

  • If you enjoy making friends with a number of new people from all around the country who all have the same interest in photography as you, then yes, a photo workshop is for you.  
  • If you want to learn more about photography and improve your photographic skills in a fun-loving and supportive environment, then yes, a photo workshop is for you.  
  • If you want to travel to amazingly beautiful and photographically stunning locations without ever having one worry about where to go and when to photograph, then yes, a photo workshop is for you.  
  • If you want to arrive back home with a smorgasbord of amazing images to share with your family and friends, then yes, a photo workshop is for you.  
  • Or..... if you simply like photography and want an excuse to get away, then YES, a Natural Connections Photo Workshop is for you.

What are the benefits of participating in our photography workshops and photography classes?

  • The 1-day photography workshops or photography classes serve the purpose of getting you out of the house and into the field.  This is where skills are ingrained. A hands-on experience is KEY to learning and retaining photographic knowledge. 
  • Our weekend workshops will provide you with a plethora of photography-related information. These programs are designed to impart information, but most of all to get get the creative photographic juices flowing. 
  • Our longer workshops are a Distinctive Vacation - not everyone thinks to take a photo workshop for a vacation, but it is indeed a great choice.  
  • Amazing locations, amazing photos, amazing people and just plain having fun.  What could be better??
  • Travel With Others - often individuals are looking to take a vacation, but don't want to travel by themselves.  A photo workshop is the PERFECT answer to this dilemma.  None of the insecurities of solo travel are involved with a photo workshop. We go to great locations, show you great photo opportunities, and you get to do it with others around you - others who are looking for the exact same adventure as you.
  • New Friends and New Contacts - there is no better way of getting to know other photographers than taking a photo workshop.  You will meet and develop relationships with people you would have never thought could enter your life. Plus, it is amazing how much participants end up learning from each other as well.
  • NO RESEARCH NECESSARY! All you have to do is sign up and get yourself to the location.  After that, it is all taken care of.  We do all of the research necessary to get you to the right place at the right time.  Just concentrate on your camera and the gorgeous scenery around you.  The places we take you are places that you would not necessarily find on your own....and your photos will reflect that.
  • Education - Sure, you could plan vacations to wonderful places yourself.  You could spend months researching exactly where to be at the exact right time of day, but what you don't get from that is the assistance of knowledgeable and skilled instructors who can help you with your questions in the field - questions that affect your photography at that decisive moment.  On our workshops, we are there for you.  No worries....if you panic in the field, we are there to help you work through it and to help you capture the best images you possibly can.  
  • Feedback - on our extended workshops we give constructive and immediate feedback on your photo shoot results.  With multiple instructors reviewing your images you will receive constructive comments and guidance on how to make your images even better. 

What if I don't have a camera with interchangeable lenses?

In order to get the most out of our photo workshops and photo classes, we recommend that participants have a DSLR or 'mirrorless' camera with interchangeable lenses - but it is not required.  Numerous participants have brought high-end super-zoom point and shoot digital cameras and have achieved very good results.  At the very least, the camera should have some sort of zoom capability and the ability to manually change mode settings (program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual) and be mounted onto a tripod.

glacier national park, logan pass, photography workshop, montana

What is a typical day like during your photography workshops and classes?

This will depend on the location and length of the workshop.

  • 1-day workshops generally will begin at 9am and end by 4 or 5pm, although times may vary.  These workshops will not have any 'classroom' instruction as all instruction will be in the field as a group or one-on-one as we shoot. 
  • Weekend (or 2-3 day) workshops include four field shooting sessions and often class time as well.  They run from 3:00pm on a Friday to Sunday at 3:00pm (sometimes they will run on different days of the week). We typically have one shoot the first evening, an AM and PM shoot the next day and an AM shoot on last day...followed by a final critique session on the last afternoon. Typically class time includes some lecture on photographic topics and also feedback via photo critique.  This can vary according to the specific workshop, but this is the general flow of the weekend.  
  • On the longer workshops, generally 5-6 days, the session will start with an introductory meeting and either an AM or PM shoot depending on what time that particular workshop begins.  Each morning will have an AM shoot, then you will have the opportunity to eat and fill up with caffeine. There will be a few class sessions on these longer workshops and will generally be worked into the early afternoon while the light isn't as good.  In the late afternoon you will find yourselves once again back out in the field for a sunset field shoot.  After this shoot, the evening will be yours to do with as you wish -- eat, socialize, download, process images - or dare we say, even sleep.  In more remote locations we may try to include one night shoot during the workshop - although we can't guarantee conditions suitable for a night shoot on every workshop. These are the general outlines for most of our programs.  Some workshops and seminars may deviate from this pattern a bit depending on the amout of activities planned, the information presented and the need for travel during the workshop.

What camera equipment should I bring?

We will say this now, and you will hear it from your instructors time and time again - It isn't the camera - it's the photographer.  The very basic amount of necessary equipment is a camera with at least one zoom lens, your camera instruction manual and a sturdy tripod....and extra batteries! 

 
With that said, there is a general list of equipment that will help you make the most of any photo workshop:

  • DSLR or 'mirrorless' camera body(s) with various interchangeable lenses (zoom lenses work well - wide angle and telephoto)
  • Macro lens or close up filters for close up work. Lens shades for all lenses
  • Filters - circular polarizer or circular neutral density filters
  • Camera backpack or photo bag - something comfortable to carry your equipment for up to two miles
  • Spare camera batteries and battery charger
  • Multiple memory cards and card reader
  • Instruction Manuals - every camera is different and your instructor will need this to help you with camera-related questions
  • Tripod (head and legs)
  • Camera and lens cleaning supplies
  • Cable release/Remote release
  • Rain cover for camera and lenses - we do not stop shooting for inclement weather, so be sure to bring a waterproof cover for your camera - nothing fancy needed, large ziplock bags will even do.

**Note:  The above listed equipment is not an all-inclusive list nor is it a mandatory list.  Bring what you have - although you may want to invest in the minimum of a circular polarizer if you don't currently have one.  Contact us if you have ANY questions. 

great smoky mountains national park, towsend, tennessee, waterfall, photography workshop

Do I have to bring a laptop?

We highly recommend bringing a laptop for your private use and for use during classroom lecture and to prepare images for critique sessions.  It is not mandatory that you bring a laptop, but you won't be able to get as much out of the program if you do not.  A portable external hard drive for image backup is a good idea as well.

What other gear would be helpful to bring?

  • Pocket Flashlight or Head Lamp
  • Cushion or Knee Pads
  • Hand towel for wiping off wet cameras 
  • Notepad for Classroom Sessions
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottle
  • Bug Spray
  • Change of shoes
  • Snacks - energy bars or other snacks for while in the field
  • Water and snacks
  • Extra Batteries/Memory Cards


What kind of clothing should I bring?

We have many different locations for our workshops, but there is one common theme that binds them all -- you need to wear layers.  What this means is that you should bring a variety of clothes for any weather.  Although this makes packing a little more cumbersome, you will not regret having too many articles of clothing with you.  In many of our locations, your day can start out in freezing temperatures only to climb to 80 degrees by late morning or noon.  Below are examples of the types of clothing to pack:


  • 2 jackets - one weatherproof light to medium weight and one weatherproof heavy weight. 
  • Warm clothing to wear in layers - short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, hooded sweat shirts, fleece (NOTE:  in very cold weather avoid wearing cotton as much as possible - cotton does not wick away moisture from the body like other synthetic fabrics and can contribute to hypothermia.)
  • Coverings for extremities - hats, gloves, scarves, ear coverings, warm socks, WARM and WEATHERPROOF hiking boots or hiking shoes with good tread. Regardless of where you are or the type of shoes you wear, they must be comfortable as you will be spending a lot of time on your feet.
  • Cargo pants - these are a great help in the field.  The pockets are highly useful for holding gear and accessories and keeping them handy while you're in the field.
  • Waterproof Clothing - we do not stop shooting just because it is raining.  You will need some sort of means of staying dry - and so will your camera.  The best waterproof clothing is a waterproof jacket or jacket shell with a waterproof hood.  Umbrellas can work but are cumbersome when dealing with photography equipment.

I'm scared I will be the only one there who isn't an expert in photography.

Absolutely not!  Wait, let's reinforce that.....ABSOLUTELY NOT!! You will find every skill level present on our photo workshops and in our photo classes.  We create an environment where the beginner is free to mix with the advanced shooter.  All questions and concerns are answered in a supportive and encouraging manner.  There is never a 'dumb' question on our workshops.  We are happy to have anyone at any level.  It is our ultimate goal to make sure that every participant goes home with more photographic knowledge than when they arrived to the workshop.

gibbs gardens, ball ground, georgia, spring, pond, photography workshop

What can I do to prepare myself for the workshop?

At a bare minimum, if you are not an experienced photographer, there is one thing that will help you immensely.  Hold your camera in your hands.  Turn it on.  Make sure there is a memory card it in. Open your camera manual and read it cover to cover.  Whatever the manual refers to, find it on the camera -- push the button, flip the switch, turn the dial.  This is the single best way to learn your camera.  It will help you immensely in the field.  Whatever you do, do not let the first day of the workshop be the first day your camera has been out of its box.

Even if you have been shooting for a little while, you may want to at least review how to change certain key things on your camera - know how to change your shutter speed, ISO and aperture at a bare minimum.  Even if you don't yet understand how all of these elements interact, you will at least know how to physically change them when the time comes. 


Also, many of our workshops can be somewhat physically demanding.  We don't hike for miles and miles through the wilderness, but many of the workshops will include some hiking in high altitudes.  Add to this long days and heavy camera gear, and most participants will experience some sort of fatigue.  


If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you will want to exercise a little for at least a few weeks prior to the workshop.  Walking for a few miles per day should do it.  If you have physical limitations, make sure you discuss this with us before signing up for a workshop.  We would rather be up front about the amount of physical exertion on the trip than have a unhappy participant because they physically can't do some of the shoots they have paid for.

Where are your destinations?

 

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Townsend, Tennessee
  • Arches National Park - Moab, Utah
  • Glacier National Park - Montana
  • Death Valley National Park - California
  • Colorado's Fall Colors - Ouray, CO
  • Monument Valley - Utah/Arizona
  • Fall on the Coast of Maine - Bar Harbour
  • Washington's Palouse Region - Colfax, WA
  • Mt. Rainier National Park - Washington
  • Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming
  • Grand Teton National Park - Wyoming
  • Coast of Oregon 
  • Coast of Maine
  • Acadia National Park
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • St. Augustine, Florida
  • Sedona
  • Ghost Towns of Montana
  • Outer Banks of North Carolina

And we are scouting all the time. Keep in mind that we do not offer all of these each year and do not normally offer workshops on back-to-back years. 


Plus, we have a whole host of 1-day workshops local to Georgia and the Southeast region.  

Questions? Contact Us.

Drop us a line!