The Santa Fe Workshops, Part 1

Last year, my boss tells me that there is money in the budget for training, would I be interested in taking advantage of it? Let’s see, it took about 1/1000 of a second for me to answer – YES! So I immediately logged onto the Santa Fe Workshop web site to see when the next Joe McNally class was being held, the last week of February, perfect, I found my training! I’d like to start off by saying, it’s amazing that you can shoot professionally for almost thirty years and think you know it all, yet are immediately humbled to learn you really don’t know as much as you think you do”¦

I had to admit that I was both nervous and excited about spending a week working with Joe. How would I compare to the other photographers, what would Joe think of my work? I went into the week with one goal, to learn something new! Let’s just say I really exceeded my goal, but what did I take from this workshop and do I think it has helped me as a photographer? First about the workshop itself; if you ever have the opportunity to visit Santa Fe, and specifically attend the Santa Fe Photography Workshop, you will not be disappointed but be prepared, Santa Fe is 7500 feet above sea level and if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to suffer from altitude sickness, which doesn’t make for a good week, so you need to drink plenty of water. I’ll save my food poisoning story for another post, but Santa Fe itself is a beautiful area. We lucked out with the weather, normally it should have been in the mid to upper 40’s we actually hit 70. The workshop is a regular who’s who of photographers. The week I was there with Joe, Lee Varis, author of Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies (one of my favorites) was teaching a class and the week after my class, Greg Heisler was the scheduled instructor, now that’s cool.

The chance to study with Joe was a tremendous opportunity. Our workshop consisted of fourteen people from all over the country and beyond – Denmark and Paris to be exact. In addition to myself, there was another corporate photographer, a couple wedding shooters, and portrait and editorial shooters as well, just a great group of people. Registration took place on Sunday with a reception and dinner Sunday night. After a brief orientation we were separated into our teams where we met Joe and were given an outline of what to expect for the week. More to follow”¦.

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