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|| News Item: Posted 2008-04-01

Workshop-Mania: A Few Ideas On How To Pay For That Workshop Experience
By Jenn Jedynak

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

SSA Instructor Michael Goulding (right) helps workshop participant Daniel Putz during an editing/critique session.
So, you want to attend a workshop? Maybe make the trip to So Cal for The Academy? You think it's beyond your reach financially. You say to yourself, I am a broke college student, I live in Podunk and I can't possibly afford to do this. Here are some tips to help you get there:

Shoot Something
You got on, right? That means: A) you probably have a camera and B) you have some talent. So use them!

• Shoot a sports tournament. Parents of Podunk kids rarely have the opportunity to buy decent action shots of them. A good-sized tournament could allow you to pay for your entire trip to a workshop like the Sports Shooter Academy and pay for a few people to help you with shooting, editing and selling.

• Find a league in need of a photographer for their annual team and individual photos. Hockey, soccer, baseball, football, swimming, etc., etc. It's boring work, but one league will net you enough to pay for that workshop with money left over.

• And don't forget weddings. Depending on how much you can charge in your area, one or two weddings will cover the entire cost of SSA. Two days shooting and two days editing in any of these instances, (four days out of an entire year) and you're set.

Sell Stuff
I'm sure most of us have gear we don't use. Turn it into cash. Looking around I could probably raise $1,000 tomorrow if I needed to, just by selling some stuff I have that I never use. For example, the 75-300 zoom I bought with one of my earlier digitals…that thing hasn't seen the light of day in four years. Or the digital police scanner I turned on once. The list could go on and on.

Air Miles
They're underestimated. I love air miles! If you or a family member has an air miles credit card, put purchases you normally wouldn't on it. Important note: I am NOT saying charge a bunch of stuff. I am saying flip your purchases. Let's say you're buying a new body (camera or otherwise), buy it with an air miles credit card and pay for it the same day or the next day. You will get the air miles points and not have to pay any interest. If you do this with business purchases or big-ticket items, it's amazing how quick they add up.

If you're a college student without a credit card, ask your parents or someone else you trust to do this for you.

Most air miles companies don't care whose name the plane ticket is in as long as the cardholder is making the reservation. And if you do end up having to purchase a flight, shop around. You can get some amazing deals online with a little bit of effort.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

SSSA V participant Patric Schneider covers the U.C. Irvine vs. Cal State Fullerton game at the Bren Events Center.
Flights to California from where I live used to be well over $1,000 and some still are, but with a little bit of searching, I found a return flight for $400 for SSA V. If possible, be flexible by a day or two or with your flying times. You can save hundreds this way. It was $200 cheaper to take the same flight on a Monday than Tuesday and $400 cheaper than flying out on Wednesday. Personally I'd rather have an extra day or two in the sunshine than give that money to the airline. But that's just me.

Toonies and Loonies
Okay, I know you Americans don't call them that, but I was excited to discover during SSAV that there is now, in regular circulation, a U.S $1 coin similar to our Loonie. I don't think you have a $2 coin, but here's a tip for the new $1's. Don't spend them. You will rarely miss a dollar, it becomes like a quarter, change for the jar. But, they add up very quickly.

I typically save $1,000 a year in just Loonies and Toonies and I never, ever miss the money. If you were embarking on a savings program, I'd say put that thousand at the end of the year into a savings bond or mutual fund or that sort of thing, but for this year, put it into going to SSA. It may just pay for your tuition, shared room, and a good portion, if not all of your flight.

Join a Stock Photography Company
Notice I didn't say Microstock. The new PhotoShelter Collection ( is free to join. Upload stock shots that, let's face it, we all have, because it's what we love to do. That one legged seagull shot you took for no other reason than it was cool (OK that was me) now has a home other than your hard drive, and it just might earn you some dollars for that trip to the workshop.

Find a Part-Time Job
OK, OK … if you're in school it's tough to do but, but it can be done, even if it's just on weekends. Deliver pizza, wait tables or tend bar, anything with tips. I'm being completely serious. Two of my friends worked at the busiest bar in town through college. They earned a ton of money in tips. Another friend took a side job delivering pizza to his day job of laying out the local newspaper.

Most nights in a few hours, he made more on tips than he did working all day at the paper. For me, the best job I ever had was as the beer cart girl for a golf course. Tips were crazy. I worked for the government Monday - Friday 8:30AM -4:30PM and I earned more on the weekends driving around the golf course in the sunshine, than I did all week stuck in an office. The same can be said for countless other jobs of this type, they are out there, and they will afford you the opportunity to attend SSA.

Finally … Don't Allow for Excuses
Believe you can go, and be willing to make a sacrifice or two if necessary to pull it off. As the latest Sports Shooter Academy just ended, you have a fair amount of time before the next one. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get some loonies!

Before each major workshop, we read on the message board students (and even pros) expressing their desire to attend … and then moan that their "resources" won't allow them to attend.

With some careful planning, inventive use of your time, hard work, a desire to really improve your photography and make connections in this business, you could get to that workshop of your dreams.

Hope to see you at SSA VI!

(Jenn Jedynak attended Sports Shooter Academy II and V. She is from Northern Ontario, Canada. You can view here work on her Sports Shooter member page:

Related Links:
Jenn's member page

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Wanna see some cool golf shots me! ::..