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Private Instruction

I’m often asked if I provide “one on one” private photography instruction and the answer is always yes! While I’ve conducted over 400 workshops, lectures and seminars for the past eight years, not everyone enjoys a “workshop” environment. Many folks prefer the custom-tailored, one on one, hands-on method of learning.

While there are obvious differences between a group workshop attendance and privately tailored, one on one instruction, both provide knowledge that improves on your photography and photographic style. The best photography schools in the world, like Brooks down in Santa Barbara, charge thousands of dollars in tuition and spend upwards of four-years teaching their photography students how to become great photographers. Obviously, if I could teach in two days what Brooks teaches in four years, I’d not only put Brooks out of business, but I’d be a multimillionaire starting my own photographic learning institution.

So why do a private instruction? Well first of all, I can compress what I’ve spent almost 30-years learning into one, two or several days and tailor it to you personally, at your educational and comprhensive level. At your pace with your direction. In traditional workshops, and even in classrooms like those at Brooks, the class will only move as fast as the slowest learner as it’s a group effort. I too went to college and many times I’d sit bored waiting on others to comprehend what I had already learned, this is the price of those environments, or should I say, that’s why those learning environments charge less–it’s slower and the costs are spread equally amongst the attendees.

With private instruction, you’re in charge, thus you are charged appropriately, though fairly. It’s about your learning abilities and your goals on what you hope to gain. Most of my private instruction clients are short on time with their busy schedules, thus another reason for private instruction. I’ve taught billionaires to millionaires, at my place, their place and/or on location. One client flew me to the Virgin Islands to teach him photography while he was on vacation with his wife–the wife was the subject and he captured some gorgeous sunset photographs of his wife, now published in a photography book they created for themselves via Pictobooks. In fact, every vacation should be captured photographically and printed in a beautiful book to pass on to your loved ones and enjoy in for yourself in the meantime.

Private instruction is not just that, private. I charge appropriately for my credentials and I have yet to have a client leave unhappy. (Please read this excerpt below to better understand my pricing.) In fact the client that took me to the Virgin Islands also came to my home and took me to their mountain home too! At some point the client will go on their own, though we’ll have a great friendship and I’m always available to answer questions by phone or email if I’m not at your location.

If you’d like more information, please contact me as private instruction days are limited each year. Prices start at $1,500 and up and in some cases we offer discounts. Thanks, rg sends!

From Tom Zimberoff’s book, Photography:Focus on Profit, an excerpt from the chapter, The Art of Pricing:

What Is a Picture Worth?
Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. But isn’t it also worth more than just the time it takes to make one?

It only takes 1/125th of a second or so to snap a photo, and anyone with a camera can click the shutter. Nevertheless, some photographers make big bucks while others, perhaps just as talented, merely scrape by. So why are some photos priced higher than others? Why does the work of some photographers seem to be inherently more valuable than others? What factors allow such disparities to exist? The following anecdote may give you some insight.

The story goes that a wealthy couple was honeymooning in the south of France in the early sixties. The groom was a connoisseur and collector of fine art. In fact he owned several paintings by Pablo Picasso. By coincidence, they met an art dealer at their hotel who knew Picasso personally and offered an introduction. Arrangements were made for a rendezvous at Picasso’s villa in Vallauris, just outside Cannes, the following day.

The party arrived at noon and was treated to a tour of Picasso’s studio by the master himself. In the course of small talk, the groom gathered all of his nerve to ask Picasso if he would consider painting a portrait of his bride. To his surprise, Picasso agreed. In their excitement the couple began chattering about how long to extend their hotel reservation and about buying a special gown for the sitting until Picasso brusquely interrupted to ask if a photograph of the young woman was available. Her husband took a snapshot from his wallet and handed it over. “Well,” Picasso said, “just leave this with me and go find some lunch in the village. Come back in one hour. I will have a painting for you.”

Astonished, the couple left with the art dealer for a bite to eat. They returned in one hour, just as Picasso was putting the finishing touches on a splendid if rather theoretical likeness of the beautiful bride. (Incidentally, you may assume that Picasso infringed no one’s copyright by creating a derivative work from the snapshot; the groom took the photo!) Everyone was pleased.
The groom inquired casually about Picasso’s fee, as he reached into his pocket for a checkbook. Picasso asked for $25,000 (in French francs). While price was no obstacle, the man joked about what a nice job it was to make $25,000 an hour painting pictures. Picasso’s sober retort was, “You don’t pay me by the hour. You pay for the years of hard work that made it possible for me to paint such a picture in only one hour!”