Rich Wagner's Take on AWAI Photo Workshops

I’m not a big fan of goodbyes. “See you later” is my exit of choice. But like it or not, my week as guest editor at The Right Way to Travel has come to an end.

Before I sign off, though, let me give you my take on AWAI’s Photography Workshops.

Even though I’m one of your lead instructors at these events, when I’m not teaching my own sessions, I’m listening and learning. I have never taught at an AWAI-hosted workshop where I didn’t learn something new. It’s no exaggeration to say they’ve improved my photography and changed my life.

Here’s what I like most: I've been to photo workshops and tradeshows before and it’s always the same gig -- each presenter gives a little bit of practical information and then spends the rest of their time on stage trying to sell you their latest book or camera equipment.

At AWAI workshops, we do none of that.

Sure, attendees line up after the event to sign up for our next great trip to Ecuador or a photography workshop in Paris because they get extra discounts when they sign up at a live event. But you’re never “sold” anything during class.

In fact, I’ve heard Lori many times announce that she’ll explain the next workshop to interested attendees over cocktails after class, instead of interrupting the session. Interested attendees can then stay for drinks or go about their own business in town. This isn’t a time share in Florida after all.

Class sessions are meant for learning and that’s the way it should be. I appreciate that.

The next thing I like about these events is the friendship that builds among the attendees.  Not just with each other. But with me and the other staff members as well. It’s like one big family reunion sometimes. Like you’re part of a club that gets together once a year to share stories and experiences, and to have a good time.

I like that.

These workshops never feel like a burden to me. I look forward to them every year. And I feel privileged to be a part of the group.

And finally, what I like most about these events is reading the success stories that are sent in afterwards.

AWAI’s workshop attendees are more successful than most novice photographers. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen people change their course in life because of the workshop. And even more often, their new found knowledge brings some real joy and satisfaction to their lives.

Here’s a guy that wrote in after Lori’s last email about this upcoming New Orleans event…

“I just want to respond to your email question about the New Orleans Photo Workshop, ‘What are my chances of walking away from this workshop with pictures I can sell right away?’ I attended the Denver Travel Writer's Workshop and the follow-up one-day Photo workshop. Soon after, my article on the Denver ‘CowParade’ was published in the Anniston Star along with two of my photos. Another of the photos sold at an AWAI Photography Show in Florida. Great training!!!” -- Chuck Belitz

So if I can leave you with anything this week, it should be that this recession is your opportunity to shine. Now’s the time to reinvent yourself as a photographer and sell more photos this year than ever before.

I’d also like to leave you with my seal of approval on the upcoming photo workshop in New Orleans.

And you’ve heard from Lori about some of the things you’ll learn. For example…

** How to sell photos as fine art, stock, editorial, and more…
** How to break into niche markets most people don’t know about and sell your photos for super-fast cash…
** How to edit your photos in Photoshop and Lightroom…
** The best way to meet new editors and photo buyers…

2009 is going to be a great year for freelancers and you can bet I’ll be chasing the money -- testing new outlets for photo sales and expanding my horizons.

I hope you’ll join me this March, and do the same.

“See you later.” -- Rich

P.S. Every year, these photo workshops sell out early and people get turned away. I know a lot of people like to wait until the last minute to register -- but in this case I don’t recommend it.  Find out about our next photography workshop here.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]