Happy Thanksgiviging! First, not all instructors are alike. I know Glenn is a great instructor, with a great location and obviously you two have a great dialogue going on, so that's all I'll put in for now. I missed Canada this year but hope to make it back in 2007.
On another note, other parts of your posts are interesting. Again, not all instructors are alike. I've heard/seen some that make it a "gang bang" shoot, nothing more, strictly pass the remote and never teach anything but unprofessionalism. Even had one instructor who took all my photo tips onlline, copied them after removing my credit-line and the URL, then passed them out as his. There are other instructors that charge way more than their credentials would even allow in the non-Internet world, then there are those don't even pay their models and sometimes MUA's.
Yes, some are even sponsored, some are not. Sponsorships bring benefits for those looking to purchase at discounted prices or product incentives for attending. While I'm very sponsored, I only use what I believe in, and I will demonstrate such use. I had one attendee, a pro, who attended only for the sponsors promotion at the time, they saved money.
Part of workshops is providing a conducive environment for folks to work in, to produce images while learning and practicing. Many attend because they don't own anything but a camera, and they need the experience using equipment, some to make informed purchasing decisions. Most attend to learn, though there is always a few that attend cause it's the only place they can shoot sexy gals in sexy clothes or lack of.
While I do provide "one on one" training that is based on a particular persons needs and equipment, my group workshops would not function if we had to set up each attendees lights each time, no workshop could function like that when you have more than 10 people at a gathering. Experiencing the use of pro equipment can show someone why pro equipment costs more in addition to providing you what you really need, especially lighting.
Often, like most recently in Dallas, I purposely do "one-light" set-ups even though I have enough lights to do multiple light set-ups. I prefer this method to emphasize how easy it is to light with one light while showing where the dificulties lay too. In fact I show up with an Olympus E-500 (8MP, $700) camera and my Leica (10MP, $9K) to show that even cameras with two price extremes of each other can produce similar results--lighting is key.
Your statement is like telling someone they should not shoot with workshop or agency models, instead workshops should have family and friends from the street as models. In an analogy of your statement, it's like saying you don't have high-end talent at home as a model, so why photograph higher-end, experienced talent? I think that's wrong--you have to show people where they can go with their work given better conditions--give them a goal and the will. Something to work towards.
Too many people spend thousands on camera bodies because of the megapixel hype/war, when instead they should purchase a "prosumer" camera and invest in lighting. I don't mean they should spend thousands, they should instead buy one piece at a time with the goal to have a full set of lights down the road. The purpose is dual in that it will hopefully teach them to learn what one light can do for you first--the key is to master one light not try and throw up three or four lights with no clue.
In a nutshell, yes, learn your equipment, but also learn fundamentals too. Set goals for your equipment and work towards that, even one higher-priced piece at a time is better than three pieces of crappy, cheap equipment. Make informed decisions, including when it comes to workshops. Remember, light is to an image what blood is to the human body. Would you ask for "grade c" blood during a transfusion? Evaluate the instructor, ask questions, then determine if the value is a good value or not. Just my two centavos worth.
Wishing you a great Thanksgiving and Glenn a great week since I don't think Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving...wishing you all the best, rg sends!
Re: What is it with people in this industry---Rant---