Pros: Please Be Kind Part III

Readers of my blog know that I am big on pros being kind to aspiring photographers. Here are two of my previous posts on that topic:

First post
Second post.

Well, unfortunately, it's time for Part III in this series. Below is an email I received from a very serious and disappointed  student who had participated in a photography workshop. She did not want to be named and did not want to name the instructors or the school (in this post). I did a search on the school. Shocked.

On the topic of naming the school and instructors: I am respecting the wishes of the photographer who contacted me. 

Darn lucky for the instructors and school/workshop that she did not want to mention them, I'd say. And, I guess they never heard the expressions: "People want to know how much you care before they care how much you know." And, "If you have the choice to be right or kind, be kind."

One of her photos opens this post. It's probably not the best picture ever taken in the history of the world, but I like the mood and feeling of the image. More important, it's an important image to the photographer.

Check out the photographer's email. But first, after reading the Comments here, the photographer wrote this:

I will confess that I had considered just putting my camera down after this experience for many reasons.

Reading the posts on your blog from other pros has been a healing experience for me and I can't thank you enough for renewing my faith in there being the right people out there to teach those of us who desire to learn more. I may not have a gift but I have a longing and teachers like you probably don't even realize how important you are or what a difference you make.


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This was supposed to be a series of multi-day classes with a.m. instruction in the classroom and a shoot in the p.m. with two instructors. They were "celebrity" instructors from out of the country. They actually stated in class that what they would teach would be "life changing."

In the classroom we were told things like "don't take too many shots because your camera only has so many clicks in it and then you will have to buy another." Yup, they were dead serious.

They said camera stores encourage you to take a lot of shots because they want you to have to buy a new camera.

If you don't shoot crap you won't need things like Photoshop, Nik or Topaz.

They said a friend of theirs had just returned from a trip to the Outback for 3 months and only took 6 shots the entire time.

Never shoot in RAW - it is a waste of time.

They would ask the students in each class how many other of their classes they had signed up for, and then dress them down for not attending more.

In the field I had one instructor choose a lens for me and then the other a few minutes later berated me for my stupid choice of lens.

I had one tell me the composition on one of my shots was "crap" only to find a nearly identical shot taken by the other instructor on their FB later that night lauded as great composition.

I have never had any instructor in the field actually step into students' shots to take shots themselves – as we were supposed to be taking our turn shooting a model. You would just hear from the instructor, "oh, that's good" and then there would be their back in your view.

The final blow was when my friends called me from a restaurant they were the instructors were also dining with some other folks. The instructors were trashing the students they had that day (that included me) calling them names and making jokes loudly about how stupid the students were. My friends asked their server if the loud group might be asked to tone it down and were told, "They do that here every night and I can't imagine why anyone would pay such awful people to teach them anything."

I called and cancelled the rest of the classes the next morning.

Rick, thanks for being the excellent teacher you are.  When someone can make learning fun, that makes all the difference!

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As always, I'd like to hear from you in the Comments section here on my blog. So would the student. Please use your real name.

Explore the light,