Professional Photo Instruction
Landscape photography is 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 took the photo.
Great landscape photography revolves around around three essential elements: (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 3 AM to see a place at its most beautiful, that’s how great work gets created.
If all goes well, you will capture the perfect moment when it feels as though no other point in time could perfectly express the essence of the event.
Choosing the Right Landscape Photography Workshop
There are a few things to consider before selecting a workshop. The first is what you hope to get out of the workshop. If your goal is simply to learn the basics of landscape photography, then a shorter, less intense workshop may be a better fit. On the other hand, if you are hoping to get some one-on-one time with a professional photographer and really hone your skills, then a more intensive workshop may be a better investment.
The second thing to consider is your budget. Workshops can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, so it is essential to pick a format that fits your budget.
The third thing to consider is your schedule. If you only have a free weekend, a shorter workshop that meets for just a few hours each day may be your best bet. You can commit to a more intensive workshop if you have a week or more free.
Finally, consider your location. Some workshops are offered in remote locations, while others are held in more populated areas. A remote location is a better option if you want to combine your workshop experience with a vacation. A more populated place may be better if you are looking for a workshop close to home.
Travel photography workshops vary significantly in scope, and it’s essential to understand the benefits and limitations of each format option:
- Basic Photo Guides – if you’re looking for general assistance with where to shoot and when consider hiring a photo guide to help you identify the best photo locations and 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.
- Authentic Photography Workshops – the second category of photography workshops is often called authentic photography workshops, where camera fundamentals, shooting strategies, and post-editing techniques are taught. These types of workshops vary significantly in terms of content. They can include topics such as how to configure your new camera or how to create depth-of-field on a beginner level, topics such as the basics of studio lighting and night photography on an intermediate level, to concepts such as working with luminosity masks or mastering high-speed sync as advanced techniques.
- Full-Immersion Landscape Photography Workshops – with the full-immersion approach, students are mentored in the field and the classroom. Participants begin their workshop experience fully prepared and evaluate what worked and didn’t at the end of each day so they can make adjustments in the field the next day. All of their activities, including the pre-workshop planning and post-processing classes, are done under the guidance of an experienced photographer.
Full-Immersion Landscape Photography Workshops
My 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 and 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.
Prep & Orientation Classes Before the Workshop
Before your workshop, I will host one or more online classes to do a (1) visual walk-through of the locations we will visit, (2) discuss the shooting challenges and techniques associated with each site, and (3) identify the specific skills and techniques that participants should practice before the workshop itself. Each participant will then develop their vision for what and how they want to shoot the location. We will also review expected protocol and behavior, general fitness requirements, how to organize/carry camera gear and equipment for the workshop, health & safety measures, and appropriate clothing.
In-the-Field Guidance & Mentoring
In the field, participants will explore different ways to visualize a scene, compose ground/sky/sea landscapes, and manage complex highlight and shadow scenes. Participants will learn dynamic bracketing, focus stacking, neutral density filters, and exposure blending techniques. Participants will be 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-Processing Classes after the Workshop
Upon your return home, I will host one or more online post-processing classes where participants can share their work with the other participants, develop advanced post-processing techniques, and critique their work with a Master Photographer. You may also extend your training with one-on-one sessions for an additional fee.
The most significant 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.