I really didn't mean to piss of so many people when I put out the as below. All I wanted to to was to make an entry into the market place for teaching photography in Okinawa. Nobody objected to me doing that. What lit the fuse was the fact that I was (and still am) offering a beginner course at no charge.
What got other photographers upset was the fact that I wasn't charing for the course and in offering it for free, I was destroying the market. Point taken, but I disagree. If I were offering anything more than a few tips over drinks and finger foods, yes, I would be devaluing the market. But I'm not. what I'm doing is trying to reach out to the people who might be interested in taking a real-deal photography course, but haven't made up their minds yet. Offering a no-commitment intro might give me the chance to meet some new people, offer them a few pointers, and hopefully sell them some real training.
Honestly, it took me a while to get up my courage before I offered this or any photo course. You see, Okinawa is home to quite a few truly amazing photographers. First, there's Pete Leong, the undisputed king of the wedding photography heap in Okinawa. Pete's work outside of weddings never fails to disappoint either. Then there's Shawn Miller, wildlife photographer extraordinaire. Sponsored by Canon to shoot for National Geographic, few can hold a candle to his mind-blowing shots of crabs, frogs, snakes and all the other natural wonders of the Okinawa. And don't forget Mark Thorpe, well rounded photographer of everything from waterfalls to starscapes to family portraits. He's got a way of making every day people look like celebrities. Next is Chris Wilson, the go-to guy on this island for distinctive portraits shot in a style all his own. I could go on, but I need to do more in this post than just list off awesome photographers.
My point is, who the hell do I think I am coming here and offering to teach photography in the shadows of these great men? My inability to answer this question stopped me from offering courses any sooner and seriously made me think twice before offering a course even now.
What made me decide to do it? First of all, there seemed to be lots of interest. People I know want me to teach them how to get the results I've been getting... and who am I to turn them down? Second, there's the fact that I've seen courses offered by "professional" photographers far less experience and I dare say less skilled than me. If they can do it, why can't I?
So, here I am, doing it.
But I'm truly at a disadvantage, since few people know me as a photography teacher. And worse than that, there are only a handful of people interested in the day-long or weekend-long courses that seem to be popular here, especially at the prices being asked. That's not to say the prices are too high. I'm just saying that people might need to be eased into the kind of courses they have to pay for. I need some way of identifying these people, meeting them, whetting their appetites and finally offering them something they might be interested in paying for at this stage of their learning..
Personally, I feel this will help everyone down the road because it has the potential to expand the market. By using the world 'free' to reach out to people who may not have even considered taking a workshop, I'm bringing people into the community. These people might take my up on my paid course offerings, They will very l likely take advantage of the offerings of other photographers who do things I don't, like trips to Iriomote Island or weekend-long off-camera flash workshops.
To the other photographers of Okinawa who feel threatened by my free offering, I say this. Send me your promotional material and I'll see that every single student who comes to my free "teaser" course gets a copy. Send me links to your courses and I'll post them right on my Facebook page. We're stronger if we cooperate and work together to make the pie bigger.
Respectful comments are more than welcome, even if they are highly critical of me. Thank you for reading.
My simple blog about the art and science of photography.