Workshops & Mentoring

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Many of you are seeking something specific when it comes to photography workshops and mentoring.  I have created options to choose from based around one-on-one mentoring sessions, and groups - for all levels. You love photography, but you’re frustrated because you know you have it in you to be better at your craft. You could attend a large workshop or convention, and listen to many speakers, but how will you apply what you learned there and measure your growth?

In my sessions I will mainly focus on techniques related to my landscape work that I do or weddings depending on the program you choose. I started offering these programs because I want to help photographers get to where they want to be. Together we will work to discover your strengths!

1.  JUST SHOOT (1:1)

If you’re someone who learns best by doing, let’s do a session together one on one, and I can show you how I use light and locations, as well as how I direct and interact with my clients. Then I will turn the reins over to you and act as a coach, cheering you on as you create great images. The session starts with a half hour consultation and camera set up, followed by two hours of hands-on outdoor photography. This session can be customized to either be more focused on landscape photography or wedding - your choice. 

$550

– Additional hours available at $120 per hour

– I am available to travel outside North Bay CA, also out of state and country– travel and lodging fees are additional*

2. BLITZKRIEG

A one-hour session at an outdoor location shooting, picking my brain, learning, applying – going home with a little bit more knowledge.  This is a condensed version of the ‘Just Shoot’ session. A lot of information blasted at you within one hour, or we can focus on one particular area you are interested in. This option can also serve as a great gift for someone as a photography lesson.  This session can be either more focused on landscape photography or wedding - your choice. 

$250

3. CRITIQUE ME

The fastest way to grow as a photographer is to have someone else review your work and help you know what you don’t know. My critique style is honest and gentle, with my goal being to encourage you and give practical feedback that you can use. These sessions can be done in person, by phone, or online using an online gallery.

$200 two-hour phone critique

$280 two-hour in-person critique at your location*

*additional travel fees may be added for on-location consulting and critiques

4. GROWTH SHOP

This is an opportunity to learn in a hands-on fashion outdoors all day. We will spend a productive day together starting with instruction and image review, ending with a hands-on photography experience to apply what you’ve learned. This programs main  focus is landscape photography. Outdoor location(s) and more details will be provided once you are booked. 

$1500

5 hours of one-on-one instruction, image review and discussion

30 minute lunch (where depends where we are shooting that day)

2-hour hands-on session, photographing alongside me as I explain my process

2-hour image review phone session of photos from session and your follow-up practice session

A head shot you can use for personal and business purposes

– Additional hours available at $120 per hour

– I am available to travel – travel and lodging fees are additional

5. HITCHED

Tag along while I shoot a wedding. You will not “assist” this is purely learning. Watch me organize my timeline of shooting events throughout the day, scout first looks shooting areas, talk to and pose bridal parties, manage family portrait time, how I deal with natural lighting and bad indoor lighting, see what gear I use in different situations and more. You are welcome to ask me anything and talk photography all day long!

$500

6. REACH OUT

Don’t live in California or have the time to for an in-person mentoring? Then perhaps customized Skype or phone mentoring is for you. I have helped photographers who live as far away as Germany and Italy! Sessions can be on any topic from the photography to business.

$675

- 6-hour block of time (used in half hour increments)

- Any topic you wish to discuss

How do I book?

Go to the contact page in the menu above and message me which option works best for you. Tell me a bit about your level of photography and yourself. I look forward to hearing from you. As stated before above. I am located in Sonoma County CA, but will travel outside this area, state, and country. Travel and lodging fees are additional. 

Frequently asked questions

What camera gear do you use?

A lot of people ask me this, but before I list my gear, I want to share with you this thought: good photos have a great deal more to do with who is behind the gear than the gear itself. The gear is a means to an end and while I do believe in using the best possible equipment, spending a lot of money does not mean you will take great photos just like having expensive cookware doesn’t mean you will cook a tasty meal. It takes years of practice, learning, and even blood, sweat and tears to become a great photographer.

-Nikon D750 (backup) and Nikon D850

- Nikon 24-70 2.8 VR

- Nikon 135mm f/2 Defocus Ring

- Nikon 35mm 1.4

- Tamron 150-600 f/5 VC

- Tamron 15-30 2.8 VC

-  Nikon SB910 Flash

-  Tamron Macro 90mm 1:1 2.8 VC

- Nikon 85mm 1.4D (old version)

How do you get such crisp and sharp photos?

A great deal of sharpness comes from the lens you choose to use. Cheap lenses will not give you sharp images, so invest a little more in your lenses if you want sharp images. When considering a lens purchase, read reviews and pay special attention to comments about sharpness. Prime lenses (that don’t zoom) are generally sharper than zoom lenses. Zoom lenses that have a constant aperture setting tend to be sharper than those with variable aperture settings.

I rarely use a lens “wide open” at it’s lowest aperture number. That’s usually where it is the least sharp. For instance, with a 50mm 1.4 lens, you want to try and stay around 1.8 unless you need the light. So then why buy a 1.4 lens instead of a 1.8 lens? Because the overall image quality is better.

I generally use the center focus point on my camera body. I focus on my subject – the eyes if my subject has eyes (most do!) – and then recompose the image the way I want it to look. If I am working close up or at a very shallow depth of field, I will use other focus points. I only use cross-type focus points, as they are the most accurate.

I’m careful to keep my shutter speed above 1/focal length. So for a 200mm lens, that would be 1/200th. However, if you know that you are a person who moves a lot while shooting, you might find that’s not enough and then you want to bump it up a bit if you want to be assured of a sharp photo. Using lenses with image stabilization changes the rules a bit. I will go as low as 1/60 with an image stabilized lens if my subject is not moving. Images stabilized lenses will cost you more, but they really help with sharpness.

How do you process your photos?

I sort the keepers from the tossers, then color/density correct, and convert from RAW to JPEG in Adobe Lightroom. Tweak in Photoshop "only" if necessary. I use a few Photoshop actions, but I mostly use actions and Lightroom presets I developed to fit my style of shooting and processing. Mainly utilizing dodging and burning as I would when developing film (darkening and lightening).  I'm pretty old school and still physically attach filters onto the lens itself. Not that software filters are bad, I just prefer to not use them. I rarely crop photos and truly believe that a photographer should strive to get everything right "in camera" out in the field, rather than behind your computer monitor. Why spend all that time in the field, and then spend another hour correcting the photo in a chair? Makes zero sense. That is not photography. 

I am not big on commercial photo actions and heavy image processing. I prefer rather to let the photograph itself take center stage - not the processing.

Why do you shoot a lot of photos in black and white? 

It is my favorite format to shoot in, and also suits any type of photography such as portraits, landscapes, architecture and so on.  B+W also adapts well to all lighting situations. For me, B+W is just more moody in low light situations and a lot more moving. I also do not find a lot of distractions with black and white, like I do with color photography. B+W is raw, stripped and most of all - honest. I find it is the best way to express myself or whatever emotion I am trying to convey through my photos. 

What gear do you bring with you on your wedding jobs or travel photo assignments?

Quite simply with me, less is better. I absolutely hate carrying stuff on my travels, on the job or anywhere in general. On all of my wedding jobs or even on travel jobs I bring absolutely no lighting gear. I really utilize natural light everywhere I go when I shoot. That's just my style, and it works for me. For weddings I usually have 2 to 3 lenses, my backup camera and my main camera. All in one messenger bag. With travel photo assignments, that is a little different. If I have my car, then it is easier to have the Pelican case loaded up with my lenses, and one camera hiking backpack. In my backpack there is usually 3 lenses, sometimes just 2. Really depends where I am going to or what the plan is to photograph that day. Because I sure as hell do not want to carry a camera in my bag, 150-600 lens, 14-30, 24-70 and whatever in there all at the same time. Way too heavy for hiking. So long story short, I like to travel light. Less is better. It also forces you to use what you have when making photos. Instead of having so many choices and doubting yourself, "Should I switch, maybe....hmmmm." Just make the shot. Even for vacation when flying somewhere, one body, and maybe 2 lenses.