WST – Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

On average how many guests are at any given workshop?

We strive to offer workshops that offer some of the smallest group sizes in the industry. We don’t have one generic group size that we limit all of our workshops to, rather we make sure that the group size is appropriate to the area / subjects that we will be shooting. All of our workshops feature a minimum of two guides and we have never exceeded a ratio of five participants to one guide. Our focus (yes, pun intended!) is to make sure that we provide a superior workshop experience and that our participants go home with new knowledge, new images and new friends. Return to Top

What is the average age of your workshop participants?

Typically our workshop participants are between the ages of 40 to 70 years old, but we have had participants that have been either younger or older than that average. By policy we don’t allow anyone under the age of 18, unless they are accompanied by a parent or chaperon. Participants under the age of 18 are interviewed to ensure that they have the proper patience and interest in the techniques, topics and schedule that we are going to deliver. As we see each of our workshops as not only photographically oriented, but a networking event as well, we expect all participants to engage in group sessions throughout the course of the workshop. Return to Top

What level of photography skill do I need to have?

All we require is a passion for photography! Whether you are just getting started with photography or a seasoned professional, we have something to offer for everyone and we are quite adept at tailoring our messages and lessons to each shooter’s level. We see a wide range of equipment, technical mastery and knowledge of composition in our varied participants. In very short order we can talk with each participant to understand their goals and needs during a workshop. While our normal itinerary has us both in the field and in seminar sessions, our number one emphasis is getting you to that shot that you want, so you can go home with something to shows for your efforts and investment. Return to Top

What if we experience bad weather?

We say awesome! Okay in all seriousness, for the most part we embrace inclement weather as it provides unique texture, mood and color to our images. Some of our guide’s best images have been taken in the worst weather. Please review our “Photography Gear / Processing Recommendation” section for information in regards to camera protection items you may want to consider for those “not so perfect” days in the field.

At the same time we always have an eye on developing weather systems, to ensure that we don’t get caught in the field in an unsafe situation for our participants. In the rare event that this turns our to be the case, we will elect to find an alternate, altogether much more pleasant location to spend some time working on our editing and processing skills. At our workshops we can always find something to learn and do.

Lastly, and this is important, while we encourage all the participation, in the workshop, that you can muster up, we also understand that during a multiple day workshop, that you might want to take a day off. That’s okay with us, it’s your experience, make the most of it! Return to Top

Are non-photographers (spouses / significant others / friends) welcome?

Short answer is, of course! Some people like to get away at our workshops and others couldn’t imagine traveling without a companion. We are good with whatever works best for you. As we plan our itineraries as group experience we hope that your traveling companion will be good engaging with our group of new-found friends. A fresh perspective is always welcome at the “viewing” table and we always appreciate the input of a non-technical viewer, you’d be amazed and the different points of view that exist and how they can help the way you see things. Return to Top

What types of accommodations are offered on your tours?

That’s a tough one to generically answer, but what we can say is, we strive to find quality, clean, safe and welcoming places to spend our nights. Each location is a little different and so is the lodging that we might find available there. If a location is remote, or less visited than say a larger tourist town, our accommodations could be simple, but certainly ample. We are always look to maintain a balance between photography locations that not everyone has been to and serving the needs of our participants. Return to Top

What type of local transportation will be utilized?

Over time we have found that, more often than not, our participants are happier when they have their own vehicles and can come and go as they please. We will and have connected participants together, prior to a workshop, so that ride sharing and rental cost can be split up, but those arrangements are the responsibility of those involved. Our guides typically arrive in advance of a workshop start date and are doing scouting / preparation for the upcoming workshop itself, as such our guides are not available until the meeting date / time at our destination lodging.

For workshops that require specialty transportation, for example snow coaches in the Winter, or 4X4 vehicles in the desert, Soft Lite Studios will contract for and provide that necessary local transportation service. This will be specifically called out in the itinerary for a workshop when such transportation is included in the cost of a workshop. Return to Top

Can my dietary needs be accommodated?

Short answer is yes, we will do our best to do just that. When you are filling out our registration form, please indicate special dietary needs that you might have. As indicated in our itineraries, our shooting schedules will often time necessitate “mobile” meals and you find that we arrange for food to be available either during our transit time or out in the field while we are shooting. Breakfast and lunch are the meals that are most often offered on the move, as it were, and we have complete flexibility over the items that we purchase and bring along.

Often times dinners are the best time for our group to sit down, relax, enjoy being waited on and reflect upon the day. Other than when they are specified on the itinerary as included in the cost of the workshop, dinners are typically the responsibility of the participant and in those cases dietary needs would need to be discuss with the restaurant directly. Return to Top

Do you have a cancellation / payment policy?

We do! Please refer to the section “Money Matters / Policies” for specific information on how we handle deposits, payments and refunds. Return to Top

What is included in the price of a workshop?

Each workshop is custom tailored based upon the location we are visiting, the prevailing cost of lodging, food, etc. at that location and local resource fees that we might have to pay (access costs, local guide fees, local transportation, etc.). Additionally length of workshop, meals, etc. all have a bearing on the cost. Please review the “Workshop Cost” section, of the workshop you are interested in, to determine what is and is not included and the overall cost of that workshop. Return to Top

Do you offer equipment rentals at a workshop?

Unfortunately we do not. The logistics of transporting gear, even just the guides’ gear is fairly complex and comes at a relatively high cost. Managing rental gear is simply not feasible on a workshop by workshop basis. You will find that we typically have some sample items available (filters, etc) that we will try to let participants try.

Those interested in a rental, should contact a provider such as BorrowLenses.com to see their selection of gear that is available for short term rental. Might be the ideal way to try that new lens before making the financial jump. Return to Top

What is your smoking policy?

We are getting ready to go out into the great outdoors and smelling that fresh clean air is a thing of beauty. We do not allow smoking in the vicinity of our guides or other participants at our workshops, it’s simply the respectful thing to do. You may choose to go off on your own and smoke if need be, as long as you are abiding by the local laws and regulations of the park, hotel, motel or establishment we are visiting. Return to Top

How can I get in touch with about additional questions I may have?

Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions and / or concerns that you may have. Your inquiry can be addressed to:

Information@SoftLiteStudios.com

or we may be reached at:

1 (614) 565-7900

It is important to remember that our primary business is teaching photography workshops and as such we may be in the field for extended periods of time. If you don’t hear from us immediately, it doesn’t mean that we don’t care about you, or aren’t listening…we may simple be in a remote location. Return to Top

How quickly do your photography workshops fill up?

Spots in our workshops don’t last long from the time they are announced to when they are gone. We are currently planning 2 years in advance and fully expect that most slots will be gone about a year in advance of a workshop date on the calendar.

Of course the best way to get a spot, for a specific workshop, is to sign up as soon as you can. We do maintain waiting lists, for workshops, but we find that once people sign up, they are committed to making that event happen. Return to Top

Is travel insurance a good idea?

We are currently working on finalizing a contract with a travel insurance provider. Return back to this information for an update on that arrangement. Return to Top