You know those little ads that pop up on Facebook and Instagram because your phone has been secretly listening to you? I never thought I'd be one to click on these ads, but a poorly made tote bag and a lighting set up later, these ads actually don't bother me anymore. In fact, I kinda embrace them. They (usually) pertain to something I'm interested in or at least talked about in my daily life, so even when I get the occasional ad for Chia Pet, it's still comical. One day, an ad for a Best Buy photography workshop popped up, and being the curious cat that I am, I clicked on it. I was skeptical, but for $50 I figured at the very least it will bring you this blog post. Your welcome! 😃
There were only a few locations to choose from, but the closest one to me being offered was in Burbank. We had to meet at the Burbank Best Buy store, check-in in front of the store, and then board this charter bus to be taken to the location of the workshop. I really didn't know what to expect, so this was quite exciting LOL.
We ended up somewhere in downtown L.A. near the garment district. I only knew this because I caught a view of the Santee Alley from the 8th floor during one of the sessions.
Once you checked in, you are given a colored lanyard with some nicely laminated quick reference cards along with your name tag. The reference cards were well done. I could see how someone attending this workshop knowing nothing about photography or how to use their camera would find these cards very useful.
Once on the bus, the guide introduced himself to us. He's a professional photographer, and used the time on the ride to the studio to explain each of the reference cards on our lanyards. I took a look around to see who was paying attention, and I would say at least half the bus was following along. By the end of the day, I gathered that of the 60-ish people who were at this workshop, there was a good mix of people who knew nothing about their camera, intermediate photographers, and a few advanced photographers.
This gentleman was the main presenter. He's shot a bunch of prestigious things and had many accomplishments in photography, so it was cool to know that they had legitimate people running the workshops.
There were four studio rooms and each group (assigned by the color of your lanyard) would rotate through the rooms. We spent about 30 minutes in each room. First up for us was the creative portraits room. There was a giant sign that was an enlargement of one of the reference cards on our lanyards upon entering.
Lenses were also available from various brands and free to borrow - you just needed to hand over your driver's license. I saw some entry level lenses as well as premium lenses, and was a bit shocked they just had them on the table like this. The check out process was very casual, and I think I just expected there to be more security, especially considering some of the cameras/lenses they had to loan out.
They had two great models (Emily Chamberlain and Anna Love) and some backdrops for their portraits. This was an enjoyable session because the models were great at posing, and there was very little work to do as a photographer aside from making sure you used the correct settings and composing the shots.
In the next rotation, we were in the self-portrait room. They had some great set ups in here with various backgrounds on the walls along with textures and a variety of lighting. They had tripods for everyone to use, and some ring light set ups. It seemed a little awkward to do this with other people around, but it didn't seem to bother most people. Unfortunately, I could not get my camera to sync with my phone until the session was almost over, so I didn't get any selfies in. I know, you're so disappointed. 😛
Our next room was for learning how to take pictures that tell a story. I really enjoyed this session, and was quite impressed with the thought and attention to detail that Best Buy put into curating each room. The artist is Abudu.
The last session was on macro and detail photography. There were a bunch of Joby Gorilla pods, Lume Cubes, and LED lights for everyone to use. Everything was set up on a few tables and we were free to roam around and shoot all the details we wanted. There were 2-3 assistants in this room that walked around either carrying an LED light, or seeing if anyone had any questions. I liked that help was so readily available to people who needed it. They also had macro lenses for people to borrow.
Once all the sessions were done, they had lunch ready for us. It was a variety of sandwiches, salad, fruit, and cookies. I know that sounds pretty basic, but I was shocked at how good the food was.
At the end, the main presenter went over what we did for the day, told us about the contest and discount coupons that were going to be in our swag bags, and then directed us up to the roof top for a group photo. It was a nice clear day, so naturally everyone was trying to get photos. It took a while to get the group photo, but once that was done, we left the building and boarded the charter bus back to the Burbank Best Buy. This was when the traffic Gods showed us that no day can be too perfect and sent us some horrific traffic getting back to the store. It took about an hour, compared to the 15 minutes it took in the morning. Crazy.
Here's a shot of the swag in our bags. Your eyes do not deceive you. That really is a Peak Design Cuff! This retails for $29.95! There was also a small cleaning kit with a blower - always good to have in your camera bag! Finally, you get a Best Buy pen and two coupons - one for 20% any lens in store, and 30% off photography accessories.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the workshop Best Buy put on. It exceeded my expectations, and I found the cost ($50) to be a REALLY good value. If you factored in the value of that Peak Design Cuff alone, it brings down the cost of the Workshop to $20 and lunch is included! I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to learn a little more about their camera and have actual humans there to help you with that learning. This workshop would also be great for anyone that wants to go take photos or is looking to expand their portfolio. I conned two of my friends into going to this, and it was also a great way to hang out with your photography friends and meet new people who dig the same hobby. A few of the people I spoke to said they really enjoyed the day, and a some had even gone to other workshops in the past. You can check out the Best Buy website to keep in the loop about when they offer these workshops. Thanks for reading! 😉