fbpx

Our Instructional Approach

JBFA Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is all about capturing an image that embodies the spirit of the outdoors. When a viewer looks at your work, they should feel the same way you felt when you were there taking the photo.

Great landscape photography revolves around three factors: (1) finding a great location, (2) being there at the right time, and (3) waiting for the precise moment when the light and environment are at their absolute best. While very few people want to wake up at 3AM to see a place at its most beautiful, that’s how great work gets created.

If all goes well, you will manage to capture the perfect moment when it feels as though no other point in time could express the essence of the event so perfectly.

Choosing the Right Landscape Photography Workshop

Landscape photography workshops can vary greatly in scope from basic photo guides that take you to a series of scenic locations, to true photography workshops where camera fundamentals and editing techniques are taught, to full-immersion photography workshops where students are mentored both in the field and in the classroom. And, while there is no “right-or-wrong” with any of these workshop formats, it is important to understand both the benefits and limitations of each format.

  • Basic Photo Guides – if you’re looking for basic assistance with where to shoot and when to shoot, consider hiring a photo guide to help you identify the best photo locations and to simplify the logistics of getting around. Most national parks offer a variety of hiking & photography guide services, and most cities also have visitor centers and local bus tours that can help you select your locations.
  • True Photography Workshops – the second category of photography workshops is what is often referred to as true photography workshops where camera fundamentals, shooting strategies, and post-editing techniques are taught. These types of workshops vary greatly in terms of content, and they can include topics such as how to configure your new camera or how to create depth of field on a beginner level, to topics such as the basics of studio lighting and night photography on an intermediate level, to topics such as working with luminosity masks or mastering high-speed sync as advanced techniques.
  • Full-Immersion Landscape Photography Workshops – a final genre of photography workshops is the full-immersion landscape photography workshop where students are mentored both in the field and in the classroom. The greatest benefit of our full-immersion approach to landscape photography workshops is that students are able to go into their workshop experience fully prepared, evaluate what worked and what didn’t work at the end of each day so that they can make adjustments during their next day in the field, and do their post-production work under the guidance of seasoned experts.

Full-Immersion Landscape Photography Workshops

Our full-immersion landscape photography workshops use a four-phased approach designed to help you take your photography to the next level.

In general, we will do most of our shooting during sunrise and sunset as well as the blue and golden hours when the light is at its best. We will use the daytime hours for classroom time and to scout locations.

Pre-Workshop Classroom Planning & Research

Prior to your workshop, we will provide one or more classroom sessions during which we will do a visual walk-through of the locations we will be shooting, discuss specific challenges and shooting techniques associated with each location, and identify specific skills and techniques that participants should practice prior to the workshop itself. A primary outcome of these activities is that each participant develops a specific vision for what and how they want to shoot the location. These sessions will also include expected protocol and behavior, general fitness requirements and expectations, how to organize/carry camera gear and equipment for the workshop, health & safety measures, and appropriate clothing for the workshop.

In-the-Field Guidance & Mentoring

Out in the field, participants will explore different ways to visualize the scene, composing ground/sky/sea landscapes, and managing complex highlight and shadow scenes. Participants will learn techniques such as dynamic bracketing, focus stacking, neutral density filters, and exposure blending. With an experienced mentor by their side, participants are encouraged – sometimes challenged – to contemplate their shooting objectives for the day before they start shooting.

Classroom Sessions During the Workshop

Back in the classroom, participants will spend time developing their post-production workflow – learning when Lightroom is enough and when they need to move their work into Photoshop. We will practice techniques such as luminosity masks, exposure blending, and how to solve contrast, color, and blending issues. Most importantly, we will evaluate what worked and what didn’t work at the end of each day so that we can make adjustments out in the field the next day.

Post-Workshop Classroom Sessions

Upon your return home, we will host one or more online post-production classes during which participants will have the opportunity to share their work with the other participants, develop advanced post-production techniques, and have their work critiqued by a Master Photographer.

 

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the full-immersion approach is that participants have the greatest potential for in-depth learning and the opportunity to develop a complete production workflow under the direct guidance of a seasoned instructor in real-world conditions.