The power of color leaves a deep and lasting impression on our imagery. The key to confident editing is understanding why color behaves the way it does. In this intensive class, you will gain insight on how color theory creates richness and depth, conveys mood, illuminates focal points and composition, and directly communicates your story. Learn subtle color control through the mindset of a painter, working with the HSL (Hue/Saturation/Luminance) panel as your palette. Utilize color theory in LIGHTROOM to correct color casts, analyze color relationships, and separate colors for more sensitive and dynamic color range in your work. Perfect the "Art of Seeing" through deep self-critique to push your own personal boundaries and confidence with editing. Finally, embrace a no-short-cut approach to editing - one that will bring greater understanding of every image as a singular work of art. Be prepared to take risks, try different approaches, and bravely reinvent color in new ways.
We are only as close as parallel lines.
Art makes our own skin a suit others can slip into.
Find your way to the letter you need to write yourself,
Print the photographs to slide into the envelope,
Send it out to the world.
All writing is memoir, some wrapped in imagination.
In every photograph you will find the photographer.
Memory is alive in pictures in our heads.
Pictures in our heads only make it out alive in the blood of words we wrestle out.
We are the architects of our stories.
We are the meaning makers.
It is up to us to find the parentheses that the flow of real life leaves out.
Say it new.
Make it yours.
Use truth as noun, verb, and adjective.
Make poetry a prompt for image.
Make images an inspiration for narrative.
Let it mix together, ask the questions, answer them.
Tell us what happens when we reach the edge of the frame.
Give us the story of what came before it, and what comes after.
Show it with something we can see clearly, hold in our hungry hands.
Lace the visceral with truth, rim it with the glitter and glow and clarity of hindsight.
Say the risky things you knew and couldn’t the first time around.
By learning to pay attention to intersections in art and life,
We focus on the space in which more than one medium or concept come together.
Making bridges to our own histories
Telling stories with pictures.
Making pictures with words.
Everything starts with paying attention, in this wildly imperfect, fighting-through-it life right now, all of us living it in our own way. Love is art for me, and all art comes from the same place - our most pure and stripped away truth.
This class is about diving into that truth with every pore open, every tool sharpened.
Are you ready to jump start your business or are you in dire need to resuscitate it? Looking for a no nonsense, straight to the point class that can lay it all out for you step by step? The Business of Photography is a class I developed to hone in on the key factors of business that need to be addressed in order to run a successful photography business. Having a career for over a decade in advertising and marketing for some of the biggest brands in the world (Oraph, People, Seventeen) helped me to jump start my photography business in near record time back in 2009. Through my guidance, candid sharing of missteps I made, and my knowledge of the importance of marketing and branding, I aim to set every student on the right path to loving their brand, their business and truly recognizing the unique gift we all can offer to clients. The gift of a timeless image that will be shared and passed down for decades to come.
Stories live behind closed doors, inside hearts, on street corners, in nursing homes, in children’s hands, at kitchen sinks, in the shuffles of running feet, in screams and quiet prayers. It seems that humans are becoming more and more disconnected from our shared story of humanity. We retreat to our homes and into our social media circles but, honestly, stories are what connect and bind us to each other. Stories, even the smallest of stories, allow for empathy and for the space to recognize shared values, experiences, and hopes. Coming together to understand each other’s stories is more important than ever. Documentary photography is the slow intimate way of capturing a person’s truth, life, and legacy. So join me in this workshop and start a project that pushes you to explore and connect with the world around you.
We will learn how to research ideas, formulate a project, communicate with subjects and contacts, and make critical edits. We will talk about picking the right project and also discuss what “success” means in terms of our own personal journeys and in relation to our projects. We will examine the work of notable photographers to learn about the history of documentary photography but also study their different approaches to photo-based story work. In addition, each participant will present their idea and a plan for a project that they will in turn initiate...just little baby steps to get going and face their fears whatever they may be. We will also do a lot of sharing and discussion. Sharing hopes, fears, and our dreams...our big dreams for our projects.
Awareness and intention are two of the most influential tools in framing an effective composition. Whether you are drawn to the visual and graphic nature of a scene or are an emotionally driven shooter, knowing how to arrange those elements is crucial in conveying your intended message to the viewer. My first run of the Inside The Frame here at Illuminate was wonderful, challenging and inspiring. Each week of the three-week class builds through daily lessons and offers exercises and weekly assignments to have students practicing each technique or concept. I was inspired while watching the students push and challenge themselves to put the new lessons to practice with a better understanding and fresh approach to the topics they were already familiar with.
Not all assignments in the class were related to shooting new images, but exploring the value of studying your own imagery as a whole to develop more insight to your own innate way of seeing. Recognizing what draws you and drives you to frame a scene is the foundation for developing your eye for more dynamic composition.
Conversation and question is key to gaining knowledge. The dialogue with the students and myself about lessons, along with the feedback on critiques I gave on assignments and exercises had them questioning their intent and evaluating their own images in ways they had been overlooking, unaware of, or possibly forgotten over the course of their journey of learning. So much insight was gained from not only their own personal critique, but reading and following the other questions and feedback in the class.
The Simple Edit is not about image processing as much as about the process itself, about the role post production plays in making photographs. This first class of students was amazing, eager to learn and so full of potential. In our two weeks together it was all about unraveling that potential, exploring it in their work and bringing it to life with their edits.
Beyond the mechanics of learning the Lightroom program, during the first week of class we took a look at student work by editing images. In this process, not only did they get a first-hand look at how Lightroom worked, but also gained insight on “seeing” edits and what we can learn from our images in post processing. Here are a few photographs from that exercise.
Growth occurs in the process of making choices about our work. The better we understand our own work and the direction we want to take it, the easier the choices become. From choosing color temperature to image contrast, to which photos to show in a session or in our portfolio’s or even with our personal work, making choices helps define us as artists. By shooting and editing and making more work, it’s in this process that we all have the opportunity to make better work.
By the beginning of the second week students are asked to look at their own work and select 6-10 of their top images. These images begin to define the kind of work they want to make. It’s amazing how many of us have a hard time, for whatever reason, making these decisions. But once we push ourselves to make hard choices, the result begins to tell us not only about our work but about ourselves.
Over the weekend, students are asked to make work using the process presented in class. Part of the exercise is about using Lightroom, so if questions arise, they do so during class. More importantly, it’s about making new work and to practice making choices in post-production. Here are a few images students submitted, and I was so impressed with the progress in just a little over a week.
"I have been teaching the Magic of Light workshop going on four years now and every class I feel so incredibly honored and humbled that these talented photographers saw something in my work that made them want to spend their time with me in class. It is amazing to see significant growth in these artists in such a short amount of time. I was able to witness many "aha" moments. Nothing makes me happier than to see photographers begin to gain the tools and knowledge that will help them bring to life the images that have been previously stuck inside their heads. Or even seeing them begin to develop the confidence that they can walk into any lighting situation and know how to create the images they want with intention vs by "happy accident." I saw a lot of that during this last class. The Magic of Light workshop is more than just learning technique though, it's about slowing down and seeing all the beauty around us, being inspired by it, and then using your camera to capture it deliberately and with intent. It's about trusting in your own creative vision, no longer being a slave to your camera, and creating cool images in whatever light is available. All light is not equal but you really can create good images in any kind of light. It's also about having an open and safe space to learn and grow…
These are some of the images that the talented and inspiring photographers created during the last run of the workshop…"
"3 years ago I wrote an article called Get Out of Your Own Way. That article sparked an intense reaction from many photographers who felt it spoke directly to them, their fear of failure and what crippled them creatively. The response was so moving I felt compelled to create a class called Rewind. Rewind urged students to take the necessary time to work on themselves, to address insecurities and target what they needed to do to move forward on their personal creative path. After amazing feedback from the community I revamped the class into Rewind 2.0 to reflect what former 'rewinders' wanted to see more of as they tackled their issues head on."
"Recognizing and embracing the artistry in your photography is what will eventually separate your work from the work of other photographers – it is what will make your photographs special, compelling and uniquely yours. In this course, Embracing Your Inner Artist, students will will begin to explore the relationship with their individual creativity and artistry more deeply. Students will reflect and critically think about their photography and who they are as an artist."
"This course is for people who have had a bit of a play with filming. You have been experimenting with making short films and videos but want to take it to the next level. Maybe you want feedback on your films? You want to know how another film-maker makes it work - bringing a personal or commercial project together. You are ready to dive in a bit deeper and understand more about your settings and how to tell a story. If this is you, join in and come along!."
There is a popular saying, “A picture paints a thousand words.” Isn’t this why so many people take photographs? We need these mementos to help us remember the past. Because without them we forget. But the truth is even with them we forget. This is because our brains aren’t capable of retrieving all the specifics that make up actual stories. With the passing of time the story lines become twisted. If the who, what, when, where, and why never get answered, what becomes of the story? The answers can only come from those who lived the stories. And if these answers never get recorded, the photograph is merely a piece of paper with some people’s images printed in ink. It is through the narratives that we attach to these pictures that our stories live on long after we are gone.
In The Family Historian, I challenge my students to search their souls for what is most sacred to them and therefore must be preserved. I encourage them to let down their guards and document their families with honesty.
During the first week of class, I show the students how to capture what matters most in their family stories while using creative light and composition. I believe that you can document your everyday authentically and artistically.
In order to leave behind a rich, authentic family history, I encourage the students to capture not only the good but also the bad. I was so proud of all of the students who allowed themselves to be vulnerable. They embraced the mess and chaos of raising children and captured it not only accurately but also beautifully.
A major goal of mine when teaching this workshop is to not only embolden students to step into the frame with their families, but also to write themselves into the story by photographing themselves in real everyday moments with their children. I want them to take self-portraits that show connection. These photos might one day be all that our children have of us. Shouldn’t they show them who we really were and how intensely we loved them?
The final assignment required the students to put everything they learned about light, composition, authenticity, and writing narratives together to document an important part of their family history. This is when all those important questions get answered. The narratives connect the dots. They bolster the photographs. Together they tell the stories that make up a family legacy.
Perhaps there should be a new saying, “A picture inspires a thousand words.”
Over the course of two weeks, I quickly became enamored with the beautiful voices who came together to share their stories, their hopes and fears, and their hearts. I look forward to keeping in touch with these students and hopefully getting peeks from time to time at the lovely stories that they are writing for themselves and those they love most.
Where do I start? What an incredible two weeks we had together and I was absolutely blown away by the dedication of these students and all that they accomplished.
This was my first, but definitely not my last, Project Development & Fine Art course here at Illuminate. It was a jam-packed two weeks of information, sharing, learning and growing but the Illuminate platform made it so easy to follow along, discuss and ask questions. The students asked incredible questions, which sparked even deeper discussions on each day's topics.
Towards the end of the course, the students were asked to share an assignment that they had been working on since day one, but remember it’s a two week course so they had started only 10 days prior. The series of images that the students produced inspired me on so many levels. Seriously, did I mention that I was blown away? I was! I offered each student honest and heartfelt feedback and critique -- but what impressed me so much was how dedicated they all were to working on the assignment. They were SERIOUS about this class, which made my heart so happy. So today, I want to feature a few of the students projects (but they really were all so good). Each student started working on a concept at the beginning of class and this was their resulting series, 10 days later...
I wanted to share a special note about Melissa and her workshop journey, which I am sharing with her permission. She emailed me on day two or three and said that she didn’t know if she could continue on, as it was just too much. We talked a bit about what was going on and strategies in moving forward. I told her that I knew she could do it, if her heart was in it. Well, she not only continued on, she did so fiercely and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Sometimes it just takes a little support and encouragement and I’m grateful that was there for her, to urge her on.
I am absolutely honored to be able to teach, guide, share and inspire and I take my role as a teacher and mentor very seriously — each and every time. To all my students, thank you of entrusting me with your time, energy, hearts and minds; I am beyond grateful for the opportunity. I look forward to the next time!
It's one thing to film documentary and lifestyle images in your own home, in a space where you feel comfortable, where you know the light inside and out and where the subjects are always readily around when an image presents itself. It's quite another thing however to walk into another person's home, not know the subjects as well, have to get familiar with the layout and light (fast) and capture that same unrehearsed, candid vibe.Read More
Challenge your eye and mind to explore the fundamentals of arranging elements and their relationship to one another to create inspiring, dynamic compositions in your photographs. Inside The Frame will take a detailed look at many of the basic rules of composition to further your understanding of not only how, but why they work. You will be introduced to various techniques and creative concepts to discover new ways to improve visual interest and impact within your images. We all see the world differently and have our own story to tell. This class will give you the insight to observe, identify elements and frame each image with intent to convey your most compelling artistic vision.
Where are you at with your own editing? Are you able to finish your photographs with edits that speak to your voice as an artist? In this class we will explore this concept, along with the concept that it’s not always in the edit; it’s in the photographing itself. Sure you can use editing to fix some mistakes that may happen while photographing, but learning to understand how to edit can also help you begin to take better photographs. In this class, we'll look at ways to fix in-camera mistakes with editing, and at the same time, move you toward making better images all around.
The Magic of Light will push you creatively as well as give you new technical knowledge and confidence that will help you let go of any fears about controlling the light around you and help you get the images that are stuck in your head out into your camera. All light may not be equal, but you really can make an interesting image in any kind of light.
"Students will explore the process of developing a body of work and learn about the necessary skills to move into the world of fine art photography. Students will receive lessons on how to prepare and present a fine art portfolio, writing an artist statement, bio and curriculum vitae. Information regarding competitions, portfolio reviews and exhibiting will be discussed."
"This class was born not only out of my deep, unshakable love and awe I have for birth, but for my desire to create a space where we can safely explore what it means to attend birth as a photographer. In this class we will not only explore the documentary nature of birth photography, but about the art and science of birth itself. What is so moving about true documentary work, is that the photographer knows their subject. Just as the photographers Gordon Parks or Mary Ellen Mark were entwined with their subjects, we must also have a deep understanding of birth itself to make a lasting impact on our viewer. As a true documentary photographer, we hold the delicate balance of documenting, in real time, a woman's transformation into mother, as well as holding space for all who accompany her on her journey."
"It is hard to let go, to slow down. We live in a hectic world where we constantly zoom through our days. We hurry our children too. They resist as they try to live every moment to the fullest. They linger in this happy state of wonder and joy that we call childhood. This existence is momentary though. Our physical time with them is minuscule, yet its effects are colossal. You have the choice to quit skimming through this chapter of your life. You can savor these moments before they slip away. You can stop rushing them and instead take the time to soak up their elusive sweetness. What’s more, you can take all of the sweetness, the wonder, the joy, and the magic that your children create and preserve it for a lifetime. As a photographer and a parent, you have an amazing opportunity to create a legacy for your family. No one knows the intricate details of your family’s story like you do. With your camera, your words, and your love you can create the most precious gift for your family. You can tell their story. "
"Three years ago I made a move that some would consider business suicide: I dropped all 'location' shoots and went to a totally in-home documentary offering only. Not only did it work- it rocked. Since then I have been coaching and encouraging students to make that leap- because when you shoot what you love, success and self-fulfillment comes."