Wildgrass Online Photography Classroom
May 26, 2020 by Perthshire Creates
This piece by Dave Hunt from Wildgrass Studio explains his thinking behind the offering and what can now be experienced online:
Having run workshops for many years IP, now that’s a new phrase, ‘In Person’, something that we did in old BC days – Before Covid, it has always been an aspiration to offer tuition online.
I guess my main thought was how would we offer tuition that essentially required some level of personal interaction without it becoming something like the old Open University style corporate computer based training that we see.
But the world has changed. Not only in the availability of a number of great technology platform like Facebook/IG/Youtube Live and Zoom, but also we have all been dragged into a new way of interacting, our original model of how we communicate has been shattered and re built. Now when we are asked to meet up we assume online, that’s how it is today.
So, sorting out all my earlier training notes and re-editing to appeal to an online audience has been a really interesting task. I have done a fair bit of research into how others develop, structure and present workshops, and what software services are available to bring this all together, and it’s a really huge marketplace, and extremely competitive, but with so many folk now learning online and the forecasters predicting significant growth even ‘BC’ its a very very large pond with huge numbers of fish.
So what am I offering?
The aim is to maintain the ethic of my in-person training for individuals and small groups with the emphasis on Creative Photography which avoids getting too technical.
My original plans were to start by offering a free foundation ‘Understanding your camera’ course, I am a strong believer that having confidence in your equipment is essential to being creative so this intro will form a basis to develop skills in other courses. Offering the first course at no cost not only helps to generate a following but also offers the chance for future students to ‘Try before you Buy’, something that most companies and individuals offer.
Not under estimating the amount of work required to develop a full course to the level to fully showcase future courses I decided to start small, to be organic and allow for fast growth. I am doing this by offering a small number of 1-2-1 personal mentoring programs, I took the first 5 that responded to a couple of ads with 5x sessions each where the sessions are tailored to their needs. This is essentially what I have been doing for years with my 1-2-1 workshops, the only real difference is we are separated by a couple of computers, plus the odd telephone line, servers and satellites.
Zoom offers the best solution to running the classrooms at the moment backed with a Training Management System on a WordPress site which enables my students to each have their own personalised website login. Their private area has modules that I have assigned along with student notes, and we can individualise progress with their own program tracker. Once setup the system works extremely well.
Follow on courses will be more advanced camera control, work in specific areas of photography such as landscape, portrait and fine art, and of course Post Production. Screen sharing is so easy today that this is an area that will be quite exciting.
And the future ?
One area that I am really keen to introduce artists to and develop knowledge and skills in analogue photography. The challenge here is that analogue printing is either darkroom or workroom based so whilst I can demonstrate techniques and results allowing students to have that tactile experience will be missing, but am confident that workshops can be developed to help those keen to learn.
Then in the future when we settle into the next New Normal we can go back to in-person training, or as I predict many courses will have a mix of both.
Exciting times await, look forward to seeing you in our Wildgrass Classrooms.
Dave Hunt from Wildgrass Studios