What kind of lodging options are available?
Depending on each workshop, accommodation is either included in tuition, or you may find your own accommodations. We offer many suggestions representing the best of San Miguel on the Accommodations page.
When do the weeklong workshops start and conclude?
Please arrive on Sunday afternoon to check-in to your hotel, and meet at headquarters for our welcome dinner and preliminary discussions of your week on location. Class starts early Monday morning, when we go over your portfolio, discuss your project for the week, and participate in a group critique. You will have a few meetings with your instructor during the week. While much of each week is planned, we allow for the spontaneity that inevitably arises. Workshops end officially after the party and multimedia presentation Friday night.
What is a typical day like?
We start early in the morning to take advantage of some of the day's most beautiful light. While it's not required for students to be up at the crack of dawn, we hope that you will be open to experiencing the magic of our locations at sunrise. Critique sessions and classes begin at 10 a.m. and last until about 2 p.m. In these meetings, please be prepared to discuss and show an edit of your pictures from the previous day's shooting. At the end of each day's class, students will head out into the field to continue working on their projects. We will occasionally meet informally in the evenings at an interesting local spot for assignments and conversation or back at headquarters to welcome guest speakers. Our guests include local photographers, artists, curators, and writers, all of whom bring unique perspectives that add new dimensions to our workshops.
How much free time will I have during the workshop?
You will be photographing early in the mornings, working in class during the late mornings and early afternoons, and photographing again for the rest of the day and sometimes into the night. We won't be guiding you each step of the way, and in your daily travels, you will be free to see what you please. With each workshop's Friday deadline for producing a completed photo essay, students typically feel compiled to work quite intensively. Part of our philosophy is removing the stress from the process and we will offer ideas to incorporate your work into your daily life. You will be seeing and experiencing much of each place where we will hold workshops. We also recommend arriving a few days early or staying a few days after your workshop to relax and visit area museums, sights, and restaurants.
Would you be willing to curate a customized workshop for my group?
Yes, we will use our international experience and contacts to organize a unique workshop just for you. This service is open to anyone or any group. Please contact us to discuss your needs and we will be happy to prepare an estimate.
Who attends these workshops?
Enthusiast amateurs, emerging professionals, mid-career photographers, curious beginners, or anyone in need of a creative recharge and a proper adventure. Our only request is that you come prepared to grow and learn. We will tailor each student's workshop to his or her experience level.
What type of photo gear do I need to bring?
Students are free to use digital cameras of their choice, from professional DSLRs to iPhones. As technology improves every year, which camera system to use becomes less important. What is essential is to be comfortable and adept at using your gear. We encourage the use of minimal gear and will encourage you to simplify to remain agile and more focused on your subject matter. By concentrating on vision and creativity rather than camera equipment, you will learn how to think and see differently, using advanced techniques refined by the world's best photographers. With that in mind, here is a list of important things to pack:
DSLR or iPhone
Battery charger and at least four batteries for DSLR. If using iPhone, an external USB battery pack or a Mophie battery case which extends daily use of an iPhone.
High speed memory cards with capacity of 16GB or more.
Sensor swabs and cleaning solution.
Giotto rocket blower for cleaning external dust off cameras.
Microfiber cloths for cleaning LCDs and lens elements.
If flash is part of your aesthetic, bring an on-camera speed light and batteries.
We recommend short lenses in the range of 20mm to 85mm with large maximum apertures, such as f1.4 or f2.8.
Microfiber cloths to keep everything clean.
A laptop with external power supply or an iPad with adequate software for editing and correcting photos is required. You will not be able to participate in the workshop without one.
Portable hard drive to back up digital images.
A card reader as needed.
All appropriate cables as needed to make connections between devices.
Workshops in Mexico do not require international power adaptors for students from the United States. The outlets are the same as in the United States. A surge protector is a good idea.
A low-profile camera bag that is comfortable to carry and preferably does not look like a traditional camera bag.
A small flashlight.
Notebooks, pens, and pencils for sketching ideas, taking notes, and brainstorming sessions.
Additional information about camera formats and equipment for individual workshops will be supplied in a letter from the instructor.