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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 exact photos. I know that I’ve certainly had my fill of “master” level workshops where the itinerary I paid to experience never happened, anyone willing to pay the tuition was allowed into the course regardless of skill level or appropriateness to the workshop, the classroom teaching and instructional time never materialized, with the one-on-one mentoring nothing more than just an illusion. You deserve better!

Our landscape photography workshops and guided photo expeditions include a unique blend of capture time in the field, guided hikes, 4x4 travel to remote locations, and class time for post-production instruction. More importantly than just getting you to some of the best and most remote locations at the best times of the day, our photo expeditions will challenge you to take your photography to the next level and to develop your own photographic voice.

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.


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, 4x4 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.

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 4x4 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.

Registration & Cancellations

  • Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis up to the maximum of students for a workshop.
  • A deposit or payment-in-full guarantees your registration for the workshop. The entire tuition must be paid 60 days prior to the start of class; failure to complete payment may be treated as your cancellation. Need special payment arrangements for your deposit? No problem, just contact us.
  • Should you need to cancel, you must cancel 60 days prior to class or you will lose your deposit. Please review our Terms and Conditions for additional information regarding our cancellation and refund policies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Please do not make air travel arrangements for a workshop until checking with us first.
  • Note that there are some non-refundable workshops for which the above terms do not apply (e.g., Tanzania's Great Migration). For these workshops we do not offer a refund of any payments made under any circumstances which is why you are strongly encouraged to get travel insurance for these workshops. This will always be noted clearly in the workshop description as “Payments for this workshop are non-refundable under any circumstances, our other Terms and Conditions apply.”
  • All of our standard Terms and Conditions apply.

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 Organization & Structure

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.