While not a professional photographer herself, she is, as Michael's photo assistant on his commercial assignment and stock photo shoots, a valuable asset to the workshop team. Her enthusiasm, organization skills, and "go get 'em" attitude provide the workshop participants that extra touch. A former software engineer, Lauri is the "1-800-Help-Desk" behind the team and strives to deliver to best customer service and user experience possible.
Why do we offer only a few workshops in a few select locations? The short answer is we still have an active assignment and stock photography business and are not doing this full time. Our commercial specialties are adventure sports, lifestyle, and tourism. How is our commercial work relevant to teaching workshops? Read on. It will hopefully make sense in the end.
Shooting successfully for commercial clients requires a lot more than technical mastery. In fact it’s about everything else. Making images with visual impact that appeal to a mass audience AND meet the client’s needs is about vision - not technique. Vision is about your creativity and how you see and photograph the world. It is about how you use and craft lIght. It’s about how you motivate and bring out the personality of your subjects. And a lot more. Our assignments and stock productions involve challenging our creativity, solving problems, organizing logistics, working with other creative professionals and/or talent, and performing in less than ideal conditions under pressure.
Meeting the challenges of commercial work has taught me a lot. I believe being a working pro is a strength I bring to my workshops. Participants can benefit from my commercial eye and knowledge of what makes a great image and why. I am not ready to retire just yet from commercial shooting to become a full time workshop instructor. There is nothing wrong with full time teaching. I am just not ready for that. Time may change my priorities.
But I love to teach and share knowledge and that is why I am doing this. I teach what I know and what I am passionate about and that’s it. I am still passionate about and actively shoot landscapes. Though landscape photography is mostly personal work, we still manage to license a fair amount of landscape images as stock for calendars, books, magazines, corporate board rooms, etc.
Photo credit: Makayla Crist
Photo credit: Makayla Crist
When not doing something commercial, we are out adventuring or photographing landscapes in inspiring locations. We are avid hikers, backpackers, skiers and paddlers. We often shoot adventure imagery in the same locations where we shoot landscapes. In addition to our expertise in landscape and adventure photography, adventure, love of wild places and desire to teach and share knowledge with like-minded people, we bring years of wilderness and travel experience to our workshops. In past year, we have backpacked over 700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail through the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, explored several technical slot canyons, completed another multi-day whitewater river trip in a canoe, and hiked the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim (North to South) in a day.
I like to teach more than technique, which is important. I much prefer to teach and promote photographic vision, creativity, and finding your own style. These are more difficult to teach because they are not as qualitative and scientific as is technique. But I am up to the challenge and will keep seeking ways to help photographers discover and exploit their visual strengths.
In our workshops, we want to do more than just bring you to our favorite places and telling you how to shoot them. We want to expose you to inspirational locations to foster creativity and help you develop your own style and vision. We want you to learn the entire creative process of aspirational image making from: 1) finding and exploiting the best light, 2) finding the image and emphasizing your visual strengths, 3) capturing the most information on your sensor, 4) flawless technical execution, and 5) bringing out the most in your images in post processing using Adobe Lightroom.
Many times I’ve heard participants convey how they would rather spend more time in the field than behind the computer processing images. As someone who processes 20k+ images a year, I totally get that. The truth is, we all want our images to look great and to share them. Unfortunately, digital processing is an integral component to the art of photography. We do not offer comprehensive A-Z Lightroom workshops, however, tips and demonstrations, particularly in the Develop module, are part of our workshops. Learning Lightroom saves you time which means more time spent in outside doing what you love.
Hope you can join us on one of our photo tours and/or workshops.