REVIEWS FROM PAST STUDENTS:
"I walked away from Deb's class feeling motivated and inspired. I am shooting, culling, and editing with greater intent and purpose now and am feeling stronger than I was before the class. I was in a good place before I took the class but now I am in a really great place. A place that includes tons of shooting and taking some risks. A place that is mine to own. A place that would not have existed had I not signed up for this class."
Deb Schwedhelm is to me a great inspiration. I love her perspective on things, photography and how to develop oneself and grow as an artist and photographer. This is my second class with Deb and I definitely recommend her classes highly. Both classes inspired me to start the projects I always wanted to photograph but wasn't sure if and how to do it. Deb inspires to see your own photography from a new perspective, to improve your portfolio and the upcoming pictures you'll take.
"Deb is a phenomenal teacher and mentor, gifted & talented in both distinctive abilities..she has a way of guiding you to helping yourself while being there with you all the way..the fog clears, there are more "aha" moments that can be counted...we come in "here" and she helps us get to "there" wherever those places are for each one..it is raw, genuine, real in every way. I've taken lots of photography classes & workshops, but Deb makes it an experience that is absolutely life-changing...no matter individual skill level, one can't help but improve along the journey..by the end, you know you have really just begun & you walk away fired up for tomorrow & continuing what is truly a life's journey. It is just so much, much more than photography although that is the focus, without an internal focus first, nothing happens in the photographic art we are seeking. I am recommending Deb's classes to everyone I know & looking forward to pursuing personal tutoring!"
"I wasn't sure when I signed up for this class what I would get out of it or if I had even picked the right course for my first Illuminate class, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed at this moment. It was a great experience and the assignments/feedback I received re-established my love for photography. I was able to recognize my voice and reaffirm my style. It was wonderful. Thank you."
"Deb’s workshop really makes you think. She pushes you to look inward and to find your own answers within yourself. She helps you to see and makes you realize who you’ve been as an artist all along."
Russy Feldman Tendler
"Deb has the unique ability to articulate style in a succinct, to the point manner. In a way that three or four words feel like a light bulb moment and suddenly your path forward is very clear. If you have doubt, uncertainty or feel a little bit lost this course is an incredible opportunity to move through it."
"Where to start. This has been the best class I’ve taken thus far. I’m not someone who takes every workshop or purchases workbooks. I always have a fear that I will not get my money’s worth. The amount of inspiration and knowledge you will walk away from is truly priceless. I could not recommend this class enough."
"I started this workshop not really knowing who I was as an artist. I had spent the past year very rarely picking up my camera. When I signed up for the class, I initially signed up for silent, but then decided to change over to active, and I'm so glad I did. This class was amazing. It really opened up my eyes to who I am as an artist. Deb was very thorough in her responses, and I really loved that she provided video feedback in most of the assignments. I learned so much in the past three weeks, but most importantly I have my mojo back! I'm not where I want to be, but I no longer feel lost. If you are interested in this class, don't hesitate to take it. Push yourself even if you are a little nervous, you won't regret it! Do your best with the assignments, and you'll be amazed at what you learn about yourself."
"This workshop has reignited my passion for photography! I feel more confident and more joy in my work than I have ever felt. My husband even commented on, how he could feel my joy and passion for photography was back! Deb is an amazing teacher. She gives thoughtful and prompt feedback and pours her soul into this! She is honest and raw and just amazing! I can not thank her enough. Thanks to Deb, I feel brave enough to start pursuing my photography dreams. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
"This is an incredible class. I believe the best one I have taken since I started my photography journey. Deb is so kind, honest, passionate, and raw in this class. She gives great examples and outstanding material to find your true self. If you are feeling lost or in a rut or feel like you're truly not going anywhere in your photography no matter how far you are into it or if you just started. THIS is the workshop to take. It is worth every dollar you spend on it. Deb gives honest feedback and pushes you in other levels you would not expect it. This is definitely a journey and not a destination. I have taken so much from this class and will continue to apply everything that was taught throughout my journey. Please do yourself a favor and wow yourself with something that is worth an eye opener to photographers of all levels. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing class!!"
"This was a great class. I feel that Deb supported our learning and really encouraged us. She gives feedback, which I thought was extremely helpful. She answered our questions and did a good job of meeting our learning needs in class."
"The class was not really what I expected from a technical standpoint because we didn’t take a lot of new photos and when they were critiqued it focused more onboard style and what kind of message you wanted to convey in your photos. There was a lot of emotional support for the ups and downs of being a creative person and steps you can take to keep yourself on track and bring joy into your work. I hadn’t been shooting got very long, but Deb made me feel like there was a place for me in the class with those who were skilled professionals. While I feel like maybe I could have waited a year or two to take the class to truly take advantage of her website and portfolio reviews, I feel like I have a better understanding of my style and where my strengths lie. This will be helpful as I continue my photography journey and hopefully make it into something profitable and special. I now don’t expect perfection and realize I will take a lot of bad photos before I really feel comfortable in my work. It’s nice to know that those who are career photographers experience the same fears and don’t always follow all the technical rules. Deb made it clear that you should photograph what makes your heart sing and keep persisting."
"This class was deeper than I thought. It makes you find the why on your photos, it is inspiring and strong. Deb takes you to each step to find your true authentic self. I really loved it, it exceeded my expectations."
"I found Deb to be an inspirational and thorough teacher. She was quick to respond to any questions and her answers were detailed and insightful. I found the class helped me to look at my own path and question my journey as well as encouraging me to take the steps i need to take to keep moving forward. I would love to thank Deb for all her help and effort she clearly puts in."
"This course really helped me solidify my style of work and what I'm truly drawn to. Deb was able to give wonderfully useful advice that I will carry with me through the rest of my photography journey."
"Deb made me think. I had to really reevaluate my purpose--my why--so I feel like I had an awakening. I was doing documentary style and loved doing maternity---but when she asked my why--what do I REALLY want to do? I realized that I wanted to do a more fine arts photography---creative portraits. Now I feel that I have to start over in a positive way to fulfill my artist's soul. Thank you Deb!!!"
"I love taking classes from instructors whose work I admire, but is completely different than my own, which is why I took Deb's class. I'm a big fan of the opportunity to have critiques for seeing how images can be interpreted and strengthened, but these critiques were so thoughtful that they seemed to really go deeper than any I've had done before. I love how Deb leads us throughout the course, but then really used each of our own work to teach us, so it almost seemed like we were learning in person or through a mentorship rather than a packaged course."
“Deb seems to have a great knowledge and genuine love for photography and it shows! It was awesome to hear about her journey to artistry throughout the three weeks and see what inspires her. She is a very encouraging and positive teacher.”
"I went into Deb's course burned-out and apathetic towards photography. It had completely lost its luster for me and I desperately wanted it back. I got it, and then some. Deb is a phenomenal instructor- truly inspiring. She helped to open my eyes that have been essentially closed for years."
"Embracing Your Inner Artist is a great class for anyone during any step on their creative journey. This class gets you to dig deeper into the why you are shooting what you are shooting and the way you approach your photography."
"Embracing Your Inner Artist was exactly what I needed. I've been in a year long creative rut, just totally burnt out and needed something to pull me back my roots. I had heard really good things about the Illuminate classes so I gave one a try. Deb is so full of knowledge and really relatable. The feedback she gave was especially helpful to get me to push my boundaries. I've taken courses with other organizations before, but never had an instructor give such careful and personalized responses to assignments. This class forced me to take a very introspective look at who I am as an artist and helped rekindle the love I have for making art. I would recommend for any photographer to take this class, no matter how far into your journey you are."
"As a photo enthusiast with no immediate plans to submit my work or become a professional, I was hesitant to enroll in a class with established photographers. At the encouragement of a friend who has taken Illuminate classes, I enrolled and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Deb Schwedhelm is a wonderful, knowledgeable and encouraging instructor for photographers of all levels of experience. She engages with her students, using her own examples of success and failure to explore the creative process. From my experience. I am inspired to continue on my photographic journey and plan to enroll in future Illuminate classes."
“Deb's class was so inspiring. I felt like the information gave me the tools to connect with my inner creative self. My eyes were opened to the fact that photography for me isn't just about a business, it is a creative release and brings me joy.”
“I am at the very start of my photography journey and was hesitating taking the class, even as a silent student. Having completed the class, I still think that I would get much more out of it if I were a more established photographer. But this is not to say that i regret taking it now. I learnt so much about the composition, editing and experiences of fellow students that I have noticed an immediate improvement in my photographs. I feel hugely inspired by Deb and her work. I am really happy that I had an opportunity to learn from her from the start. There is so much information for the beginner that I think it will take me a while to process it all and many many hours to put into practice. I think may re-take this class in a year or so and maybe even as an active student next time. I found that the class is hugely interactive, so I have a feeling that it will be different each time depending on the group of students that join it and so I will learn a whole lot more next time.
Another thing that was super useful is that I am of course filled with huge doubts about myself as a potential photographer and what I can bring to this art, questioning why I want to do it etc, so I was honestly surprised that some really established, successful photographers go through similar doubts. I felt like something got released inside me when I realised this and I am now learning photography which much less anxiety and doubts and just enjoying it as I go along. I think myself very lucky that I got to think about many of the issues surrounding photography as an art so very early on, I think it will save me from a lot of stress in this pursuit. Really grateful to Deb and apologies for the delay in providing feedback, as I say it is taking me a while to catch up with all the materials.”