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.
Well, let's see:
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.
I often hear, "Oh, I'd love to do that workshop, but I'll do it next year." Well, these people often miss out. We do offer some of the same workshops each year, but not our longer 5-6 day trips.
Often 1-day and weekend workshops we do offer each year - Smokies, Gibbs Gardens, Old Car City, Summer Sunflowers, etc. But it is very rare for us to offer the longer 5-6 day workshops on back to back years. It has happened due to specific demand or a group of people asking for it.....but it is not a certainty.
This will depend on the location and length of the workshop.
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:
**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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.