FAQs

Are Photography Workshops Worth It?

Landscape photography workshops are often (and justifiably) criticized for simply herding people around from one location to another with everyone taking the same photos, shooting itineraries that have never happened, with anyone willing to pay the tuition allowed into the workshop.

How to Ensure a Photography Workshop is Worth it?

The Instructor:

A first consideration is the instructor for the workshop. Most instructors lead workshops that reflect the type of photography they personally enjoy doing. As a result, they are likely to bring a lot of passion, technique, and experience learned from “having been in the trenches” to the learning environment. Working with an experienced and skilled instructor who “knows the ropes” can be a tremendous opportunity to learn from a master and improve your photography.

It can also be important to consider these additional instructor qualities:

  • Take a look at their Body of Work – does it resonate with you? What types of images do they generate, e.g., if they are primarily a landscape photographer, do they specialize in seascapes, sunrises, mountains, etc.? Does their work appear to be mostly recreations of well-known landmarks, remote/hidden locations off-the-beaten-path, or combinations of both? What level of post-production work does their finished work embrace, e.g., photos enhanced/retouched for maximum effect as opposed to photos with overly dramatic composites added.
  • Review their Instructor Bio – is their experience and background a good fit with what you’re looking for? What aspects of their experience suggest that they will have a lot to offer as an instructor? Are you looking for an instructor that can help you navigate the worlds of gallery exhibitions, magazine publications, and photo competitions, or are you more interested in working with someone who can teach you advanced camera techniques and skills? Are your interests and goals in sync with those of the instructor?
  • Evaluate their Testimonials – What do past students have to say about their experiences working with the instructor? Their workshops?

Workshop Format:

A second consideration revolves around the teaching methodology of the workshop. Landscape photography workshops can vary greatly in scope from basic guides that take you to a series of scenic locations, to true photography workshops where camera fundamentals and editing are covered, to full immersion photography workshops where students are mentored both in the field and back in the classroom toward the production of high-quality fine art landscape prints.

In addition to helping students expand their visual voice, workshops that include a strong post-production training component allow students to see what worked and what didn’t work out in the field so that they can make adjustments during the next capture session in the field. Lastly, does the workshop have all of the required commercial permits including a clearly defined itinerary for learning in the field, time spent back in the classroom, with specific shooting locations identified?

Practical Benefits to Enrolling in a Photography Workshop:

  • Camaraderie – I’ve met some awesome friends and colleagues from workshops and photo assignments. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning for sunrise, traveling to remote locations together, shooting stars together in the evening, and sharing your work with others is a great way to meet and get to know like-minded individuals!
  • Safety in Numbers – how many times have you wanted to do something, but not felt comfortable doing it alone? And, there’s something to be said for having an experienced guide to show you around when you’re in a new place for the first time.
  • Confidence – students new to landscape photography often default to just recreating the same photos that others have taken – and not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, as students learn and gain confidence in their ability, you’ll be encouraged to create your own unique and classic images.

Ultimately, the value of a landscape photography workshop cannot be measured just by the cost of the tuition, the number of learning days, the location, curriculum, or the instructor. The answer to “Is it worth it?” is a value-based judgment that must take into account the fit among the instructor’s background and experience, the depth and breadth of the teaching methodology, and the richness of the learning environment relative to where you are at in your own professional development.

 

Our Commitment to You

We know that you have other choices and that yes, you can spend less money on other landscape photography workshops and guided photo expeditions. Our commitment to you is two-fold:

  • To create the best possible experience, with maximum value and minimal hassles, while providing you with the best photographic experience and instruction available.
  • To have you depart the workshop having expanded your photographic capabilities with a trove of dynamic images you can proudly display back home.

Here are some of the more common questions that people have. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional information regarding our policies and procedures. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have.

Some Reasons to Consider a Landscape Photography Workshop

There are also some very practical benefits to enrolling in one of our landscape photography workshops or guided photo expeditions:

  • Camaraderie – I’ve met some awesome friends and colleagues from workshops and photo assignments. We’ll be together for several days straight, waking up in the wee hours of the morning for sunrise, traveling to remote locations together, and sharing our photos. It’s a great way to meet and get to know like-minded individuals!
  • Safety in Numbers – how many times have you wanted to do something, but not felt comfortable doing it alone? Together, we’ll be up in the early morning hours, often driving and hiking to get into position for sunrise, or walking back to our car in the dark after sunset. And, there’s something to be said for having a guide to show you around when you’re in a new place for the first time.
  • Confidence – students new to landscape photography often default to just recreating the same photos that others have taken – and not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, as you learn and gain confidence in your own ability, you’ll be encouraged to create your own unique and classic images.
What Makes Our Landscape Photography Workshops Different?
  • The group size for each workshop is limited, allowing for a high level of personal interaction, planning, and guidance with your photographic leader.
  • We will spend time identifying your skill level at the beginning of the workshop so that your learning can be tailored to your specific needs and goals. We’ll continue to monitor how things are going throughout the workshop, and conclude with what your next steps need to be.
  • Our workshops include a unique blend of capture time in the field, guided hikes, 4×4 travel to remote locations, and class time for post-production instruction. You will have the opportunity to photograph some of the best-loved locations in the parks – and some of the most remote areas seldom seen by others – at the best times of the day.
  • Out in the field, we’ll explore different approaches to scene visualization, ground/sky/sea compositions, and how to manage complex highlight and shadow scenes using techniques such as dynamic bracketing, focus stacking, framing, and neutral density filters.
  • Back in the classroom, we’ll spend time developing your post-production workflow – learning when Lightroom is enough and when you need to move your work into Photoshop – using techniques such as luminosity masks to create and solve contrast, color, and blending issues.
  • You’ll benefit from our guidance, hours of capture time in the field with an experienced mentor by your side, and classroom instruction as you learn new techniques and strategies for creating dynamic images.
Enrollment & Registration
  • You may enroll and pay your tuition online or by phone. We accept check, Paypal, and most credit cards.

    • The group size for all our Landscape Photography Workshops is limited from 3 to 6 students ensuring a high level of personal interaction, planning, and guidance with your photographic leader.
    • Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Your space in the workshop is not confirmed until a $500 non-refundable deposit has been received.
    • Participants will be billed full tuition 60 days before the start of your workshop. Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just contact us.
    • Registrations made 60 days or less prior to the start of a workshop must be paid in full and are subject to the same cancellation policies stated herein.
    • Please do not make air travel arrangements for a workshop until checking with us first.
    • If we need to cancel a workshop for some reason you will be given a 30-day notice and receive a full refund of all payments.
    • If you are on a waiting list, you will not be charged a deposit fee or tuition until space becomes available for you and you confirm your desire to register.
    • There are no additional fees.
    • All of our standard Terms and Conditions apply.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
  • We understand that attending our workshops requires advance commitment, and also that things can happen in life that may require you to cancel from a workshop. Cancellations, for any reason, must be in writing (email or regular mail).

    Based on the cancellation date, the following apply:

    • If you cancel 60 days or more from the workshop start date, you will receive a full refund, minus your $500 deposit and any Paypal/credit card fees.
    • If you cancel 31-59 days from the workshop start date, 50% of your workshop tuition will be refunded, minus any Paypal/credit card fees.
    • No refund will be given if canceling 30 days or less from the workshop start date.
    • If you enroll 30 days or less before the workshop, full tuition is due at the time of registration and you are not eligible for a refund.
    • Funds paid are transferable to another workshop if you cancel more than 45 days before the start of your workshop.

    We make NO EXCEPTIONS to our $500 non-refundable deposit policy. Our workshops take place on Federal and State lands which require substantial planning, insurance, investment, and permits. If you wish to protect your investment in the workshop and travel costs, you may wish to investigate travel insurance with a carrier such as Travelex.

Your Tuition Includes:
  • Photographic & post-production guidance and instruction (Field & Classroom / Group & One-on-One)
  • Workshop materials & handouts
  • All field meals, snacks, water, coffee, etc.
  • Discounted/block rates with lodging
  • All local ground transportation during the workshop
  • Fun, inspiration, and a great time!
Your Tuition Does NOT Include:
  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Transportation to and from Basecamp
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Anything not specifically listed as included
Meals and Transportation
  • Your tuition includes field meals, snacks, water, coffee, etc. Other meals are your responsibility. If you want to bring your own snacks, please do so.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, you are responsible for your own transportation to/from the Basecamp. We’ll provide high clearance 4×4 vehicles to access remote locations. Students are not permitted to use their own vehicles during the class.
Qualifications
  • You must (1) bring all your own camera equipment, (2) have complete knowledge of how to use your camera equipment, and (3) be reasonably proficient with both Lightroom & Photoshop. With such a full curriculum, we simply won’t have time to teach people how to use their cameras or software programs.
  • Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition and should be able to comfortably walk several miles a day on uneven terrain.
What Camera Equipment Should I Bring?

Here is a list of recommended camera equipment for one of our workshops – specific recommendations and equipment needs will be discussed in greater detail prior to your workshop:

  • Laptop with both Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop installed & registered with Adobe Cloud
  • DSLR or Mirrorless Camera
  • Tripod
  • Camera backpack
  • Lens cleaners
  • Extra batteries & chargers
  • Extra SD & CF cards
  • Lenses – a variety of wide angle zoom such as a16-35mm, a mid-range of 24-70mm, and an intermediate telephoto of 70-200mm
  • Flash units (optional)
  • Filters – polarizers and neutral density (optional)
  • Remote Switch/Controller (optional)
  • External drives/storage as necessary
Workshop Structure & Organization

Landscape photography workshops can vary greatly in scope from basic guides that take you to a series of scenic locations, to true photography workshops where camera fundamentals and editing are covered, to full immersion photography workshops where students are mentored both in the field and back in the classroom toward the production of high-quality fine art landscape prints.

Our full immersion workshops include a unique blend of capture time in the field, guided hikes, 4×4 travel to remote locations, and class time for post-production instruction. You will have the opportunity to photograph some of the best-loved locations in the parks – and some of the most remote areas seldom seen by others – at the best times of the day.

In addition to helping students expand their visual voice, workshops that include a strong post-production training component allow students to see what worked and what didn’t work out in the field so that they can make adjustments during the next capture session in the field. Lastly, does the workshop have all of the required commercial permits including a clearly defined itinerary for learning in the field, time spent back in the classroom, with specific shooting locations identified?

The primary reason for selecting the locations we do is to provide a diverse and unique range of photographic options and challenges for students. While our basic instructional philosophy remains the same across all of our workshops, our approach is tailored to the specific location, designed to put you in special places at the right time so that you can bring home the most unique images possible. We’ll explore different approaches to envisioning and composing a memorable image, ways of managing complex highlight and shadow scenes, and techniques for developing dynamic images in post-production. We’ll strive to help you develop a workflow that starts with your capture time in the field and ends with a final print.

Workshop Schedules

Prior to your workshop, we’ll provide you with a detailed schedule and itinerary. Schedules are subject to change due to a number of factors, including weather, geologic disturbances, road closures, fires, and other factors. We’ll also provide you with a set of workshop materials to help you plan and prepare for the workshop. We expect students to study these aids so that our photographic and classroom time is more productive and fun.

Orientation Meeting

Each Workshop starts with an Orientation Meeting the evening before the Workshop starts. In addition to being an informal meet-and-greet for students and instructors to meet one another, this meeting is used to review the safety procedures relevant to the location, review the workshop schedule and itinerary, and develop individual goals and priorities for our time together.

License, Bonds, & Insurance
  • We are an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service. Our workshops operate – as warranted by the situation – with a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) permit, a No-Trace Left Behind certificate and a detail travel itinerary. Many workshops operate illegally outside these requirements of the National Park Service and are at risk of being fined or even terminated.
Safety
  • Students are expected to be in reasonably good physical condition and able to comfortably walk several miles a day on uneven terrain. Safety standards and procedures – appropriate to the location – will be outlined during the initial orientation meeting.
  • Students are expected to adhere to all safety rules and regulations in each location.
  • Although we carry first aid kits and supplies, please note that we have no medical personnel on staff, and students should be aware that medical care, emergency evacuations, and similar/other services might be some hours away.
Data Privacy and GDPR Compliance

We collect information from you to (1) deliver our newsletter and various mailings to you, (2) provide services to you as you are deciding on a workshop, and to (3) deliver the workshop experience to you if you register for one of our workshops. We will never sell or rent your information to anyone.

Please see our Data Privacy & GDPR Compliance for additional information regarding our data privacy & GDPR Compliance policies and procedures.