I have a really great relationship with a vibrant community of photographers in The Woodlands, Texas. For quite a few years, I’ve been running classes and workshops with The Woodlands Camera Club (TWCC) and for some reason, they keep asking me back! They have a membership of a couple hundred photographers and their monthly meetings are packed. In between club meetings, they regularly meet in smaller special interest groups called SIGs to teach each other and improve skills. TWCC is truly inspirational – so much so that I think other camera clubs around the world could learn a lot from TWCC. To a person, they are good-natured, positive, and encouraging. They are exactly the type of people you want to hang out with.
You’re Invited to TWCC Workshops This May
My partner in crime, Rick Hulbert, and I are headed back to TWCC from May 7-11, 2018 to run a week-long series of workshops. You don’t have to be a TWCC member to attend. In fact, the last time we ran workshops with TWCC we had quite a few people attend from all around the USA. We’d love to have you there and all levels of photographers are welcome.
I promise you that these workshops will be great. Rick and I have taught hundreds and hundreds of workshops over the years and we are both intimately involved in the photo world. We love art, we love technology, but most important, we love teaching and mentoring in the craft of photography.
Here’s a link to the workshop information page for more details –> The Woodlands Workshops 2018.
May 7-11, 2018.
The Woodlands United Methodist Church
2200 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380
Monday, May 7, 2018
Keynote presentation with The Woodlands Camera Club
All are welcome
7:00 PM – 8:45 PM
Rick Hulbert – Photographing the Great Indoors vs. the Great Outdoors … From the Texas State Capitol Building to Antarctica
Mike Hagen – Proven Techniques for Wildlife Photography. Methods and Gear to Create Stunning Photos of Animals.
Tuesday May 8, 2018
Photo Lecture Series Day 1
Morning: Candid Photography in Urban Settings
Afternoon: Beautiful One Flash Portraiture and Lightroom CC Retouching
10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tuesday May 8, 2018
Photo Walk: The Woodlands Waterway
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
FREE. Everyone welcome. Please RSVP.
Wednesday May 9, 2018
Photo Lecture Series Day 2
Morning: Create Powerful Multi-Media Presentations with Your Images
Afternoon: Photographing Heritage Structures
10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Thursday & Friday, May 10-11, 2018
Workshop Track 1 – Architectural Photography that Sings
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM both days
Workshop Track 2 – The Art of Travel Photography
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM both days
As always, feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help.
Hi everyone –
Just a quick heads-up that I have three live broadcasts this week and they are all free to watch! I always work to make my content meaningful and actionable, so make sure you tune in for some great tips.
Since these are all live, feel free to send in questions and comments during the broadcasts. I’ll do everything I can to answer your questions during each of the shows.
When – Wednesday, 12/13/17, 11:00 AM PST
Who – RockyNook
Topic – DIY Lighting Projects
Link – https://events.genndi.com/register/169105139238464306/1959d7313c
Note – This broadcast includes projects from our new book, The Enthusiast’s Guide to DIY Photography
When – Wednesday, 12/13/17, 1:00 PM PST
Who – Photobacks TV
Topic – How and Why to Create Your Own Presets in Lightroom
Link – https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2039351464791690498
Note – I’ve recently started working with Photobacks TV to provide photography education. This is our second live show and we have many more planned throughout next year.
When – Thursday, 12/14/17, 10:00 AM PST
Who – CreativeLive
Topic – Giving the Gift of Print
Link – https://www.facebook.com/creativelive/
Note – This Facebook Live event is a follow-up to our printing classes from PhotoWeek 2017. There were a lot of questions around printing issues that I couldn’t get to in the studio classes, so chime in during this week’s live event with your printing questions.
Our 2018 trip to Cuba is posted and ready for signups. Check out our information page, then send me an email if you have further questions.
Main Tour: October 6-14, 2018
Trinidad Extension: October 14-17, 2018
Next week is Photo Week with CreativeLive.com and I’m proud to be a part of their production. I’ll be teaching three live classes, hosting a live travel photography critique, and will be hosting the closing event with a panel of accomplished photographers including Ian Shive, Clay Cook and Michael Clark.
The awesome thing about CreativeLive is anybody can watch for free during the live broadcasts. I’d love to hear from you during the classes, so RSVP at the links below and say hi during the live shows!
PhotoWeek October 9-13, 2017
Here are all the links you need:
1. Class 1, October 12, 2017, 1:15 PM –> Introduction to Macro Photography w/ Mike Hagen
2. Class 2, October 13, 2017, 9:00 AM –> Fundamentals for Great Prints w/ Mike Hagen
3. Class 3, October 13, 2017, 10:45 AM –> Color Management for Better Prints w/ Mike Hagen
4. Travel Photography Critique, October 13, 2017, 12:15 PM –> Clay Cook and Mike Hagen
5. Photographer’s Panel, October 13, 2017, 5:00 PM –> Mike Hagen w/ Ian Shive, Clay Cook and Michael Clark
6. Link to all Photo Week classes and events –> Photo Week 2017
7. Mike’s CreativeLive Instructor Page –> Mike Hagen’s classes with CreativeLive
If you miss the classes during the live broadcasts, no worries! You can still purchase the classes to view on your own time, on your own schedule. CreativeLive will also be rebroadcasting all of the classes as the week progresses.
See you there!
Join me on June 6th for a free live broadcast of our newest CreativeLive workshop: Introduction to Outdoor Flash Photography.
Here’s the direct link to RSVP and watch event live –> CreativeLive Introduction to Outdoor Flash Photography
How To Overpower The Sun For Great Photos
Relying on natural light may work for many scenarios, but how do you learn to control light more effectively with flash? A small flash can help make the most of your outdoor situations whether working in direct or dappled lighting. It gives you the ability to overpower sunlight and add warmth to overcast days.
Mike Hagen will walk through how to easily take control of your lighting and ultimately control of your photos. If you’re new to using a flash, this course will teach you:
– The essentials of your camera and flash settings
– How to build and set ambient exposure
– Using your flash on and off camera
– How to freeze action and add motion blur
– How to use modifiers and reflectors with off camera flash
No matter if you’re shooting portraits, sports, or macro photography, Mike Hagen will show you all the ways to define your subject and enhance your images. This class is a perfect follow-up to Mike’s How to Shoot with Your First Flash and will give you the confidence to use your flash in all situations.
Lots of times in photography we want to compose the scene we’re photographing so that it appears as if it is from a specific era. Professional photographers often want our images to appear timeless. This approach gives our images more staying power and therefore allows them to be used in any decade. As I travel the world, I make sure to compose a good percentage of my images so they don’t include elements from vastly different eras in the same scene. This is often easier to do in nature photography, but it can be very difficult in urban environments.
During a recent trip to Cuba, I was constantly struggling with this approach. Much of Cuba is stuck in 1959 but their nation is also struggling to fit into the modern world. For example, many of the cars are pre-1960 American vehicles, while the many of the buildings are from the 1700s and 1800s. Couple that with the modern imported cars from Asia and all the people with cellphones walking the streets and you have an amazingly diverse visual setting.
Trying to isolate a visual element while eliminating elements from different eras takes quite a bit of effort and patience! At some point during my trip, I decided that I would embrace the juxtaposition between old and new and use that as a thematic element in my story telling. Rather than fight it, I decided to embrace it! I set about tell Cuba’s story in a way that would show how the modern era is quickly emerging.
That’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again in photography. I go into a scenario with a certain mindset and find that reality is different than I expected. Rather than trying to impose my will on my surroundings, I find I get better images when I adapt to the scene. Next time you go out photographing on a trip, I encourage you to adapt to your scene as well. Your photographs will thank you.
Over the last year, I’ve been working with CreativeLive to teach a wide variety of classes aimed at helping photographers become proficient shooters. The topics range from panoramas to studio photography to Nikon wireless flash and autofocus. CreativeLive is one of the premiere educational platforms available today and I’m proud to be a part of their team of high-caliber professional educators.
Here are links to the current classes posted at CreativeLive.com. Be sure to check out classes from their other instructors as well!
Here are the classes and links.
Our January 2016 Newsletter is posted. We have a great series of articles covering everything from book reviews, to backpacks, to new products.
In This Month’s Newsletter
– Stuff I Like This Month
– Workshop Updates
– Our Newest Book: The Nikon Autofocus System
– Book Review: The Digital Negative, 2nd Edition
– Book Review: Jay Maisel, Light, Gesture & Color
– Long Term Gear Report: Naneu K5 v2 80L Backpack
– Workshop and Business Updates
Check it out here: Visual Adventures January 2016 Newsletter
One of my favorite things to do is lead private workshops for individuals who want to take their photography to the next level. I’ve been teaching photography and running photo workshops since 1998 and find that sometimes the best way for a person to learn a specific topic is via one-on-one mentorship.
I like to think of of private workshop sessions as a great way to turbocharge someone’s photographic skillset. Some individuals thrive while learning in a group setting while others learn best in a one-on-one environment.
The advantage of a private workshop is you get to learn exactly what is most important to you. Over the years, I’ve taught photographers just about every photographic topic imaginable.
Individuals have wanted to spend an entire day learning off-camera flash, so we set up a studio and did exactly that until they fully learn the process. Others have wanted to learn best practices for landscape photography, so we traveled to a beautiful location and practiced exactly that skill. Many individuals have just purchased a new camera before taking a vacation to Europe. Together, we spent a day setting up the camera’s menus and buttons while also learning the overall operation.
There are a variety of ways I teach private workshops. Each is customizable to your own learning style or photographic interest. Whether it is for an hour, half a day, full day or multiple days in a different country; you name it, I’ve done it. Some of the venues where we meet for private workshops are:
1. At my office in Gig Harbor, Washington
2. At the client’s house
3. At the client’s business location
4. Over the Internet via Skype or Google+ video hangout
5. At a predetermined outdoor location like a park or waterfront
6. Over a weekend in the city
7. Over the course of a week in a scenic area or a foreign country
For each person’s private workshop, I put together a learning plan that covers all of the topics the client wants to learn. We talk about the learning objectives in advance of our meeting and then agree to a final plan for our time together. Here’s an example of a learning plan for a 4-hour workshop I ran last week:
As I mentioned above, people have asked me to teach on just about every photo subject. Here are a few stories of people I’ve recently worked with:
Michael V. flew in from California for three days of private instruction. His goals were to learn the Nikon D810, learn Lightroom CC, and learn autofocus techniques in the field. Each day was planned out in great detail to help him learn digital photography from the ground up. He used to shoot extensively with his collection of Nikon F film cameras, but stepped away from photography for a few decades to focus on his career. Now that he’s retired, he wants to get back to the joy of photography. After three days, he was all set to move forward in his photography after feeling comfortable with the operation of the Nikon D810 and comfortable working with Lightroom CC. This three-day private session was just what he needed to get over the steep digital learning curve.
Kids and Travel
Scott J. and Matt J. are a father and adult son who both own Nikon DSLR cameras. They travel quite a bit and each has family that they love to photograph. They spent a day with me to learn their cameras, better understand exposure control, and set up their autofocus menus properly for children’s sports and international travel. Matt’s young daughter has started playing youth soccer, so one of his goals for the private session was to improve his camera skills in order to get great photographs of his daughter in action. Scott travels with his wife all around the world. They are planning on taking a three-week-long European river cruise and wanted to make sure everything was set up with his camera system before leaving on the trip. He also wanted to practice autofocus techniques as they pertain to travel photography. We set up scenarios to mimic sports photography and travel photography so each could practice their craft under real-world situations.
Camera Operation and Exposure Theory
Hannah D. and Angela C. live in northern Washington State, about two hours from my office. We met at a lakefront park mid-way between our towns to go through exposure control, metering usage, autofocus techniques, menu setups, and video usage. Both wanted to become better with landscape and portrait photography. Both Hannah and Becky are hands-on learners, so we spent the entire private workshop outdoors, going through real-world scenarios.
Dr. B. is a cosmetic dentist who wanted to set up a photo studio in his office to photograph before/after shots of his surgical clients. We spent a few hours setting up the studio including lighting equipment, backdrop, gels, camera, etc. Then, we allocated the rest of the day to working on photographic technique and digital asset management.
Monthly Mentorship Over the Internet
David S. is a photographer in southern California. We schedule one-hour Internet sessions approximately once a month to go through camera technique, image reviews, Lightroom methods, and lots of other photo-related topics. We use Google+ hangouts to host our meetings since it allows us to share video, share screens, while communicating in a very natural way.
Photoshop and Computer Setup
Ray V. is a retiree in Florida who is a very active photographer. He hired me to come to Florida for a three-day private session where we spent the majority of time learning Photoshop techniques, improving his digital asset management system, and setting up his computer for optimal performance.
Sam B. from Chicago, Illinois wanted to learn how to be a better street photographer. He travels quite a bit for business and loves to photograph the cities he visits along the way. He was feeling a bit insecure about photographing people on the street, so he flew to Seattle, Washington so we could spend a day together. We walked the city streets while photographing people and street performers, while working on his people interaction and photography skills.
New Camera Operation
Tom G. flew in from San Diego for four hours of private instruction on his Nikon D750. We met at a waterfront location in Gig Harbor and spent the morning going through camera operation and autofocus technique. We also worked on setting up portable lighting equipment for location portraiture. He flew back to San Diego that evening learning exactly what he wanted to know.
Backcountry Hiking and Photography
Ron L. is a businessman from the southern USA. He loves hiking and has always wanted to photograph the wild areas of Washington State. I set up a photo itinerary for Ron that included scenic vistas, beautiful seascapes, and towering mountains. Together, we’ll spend four days hiking and photographing the best of Washington State.
Sarah M. is a high school sports photographer who was having trouble consistently getting sharp photographs at football games. We set up a private workshop where we spent a few hours going through technique and camera setup, then the remainder of our time together we spent at an actual Friday night football game on the sidelines. We photographed the game together, going through technique and method while reviewing shots in real time.
If you are interested in a private workshop, feel free to email or call and we’ll set up a date. For more details on private workshops, check out our workshop page here: http://visadventures.com/services/private-photography-lessons/
Four of our 2016 photo workshops are posted and ready for signups. We’ll be going to Tanzania, Galapagos, Iceland, and Prague. I’m looking forward to seeing you and I know you are going to love these photo adventures and workshops. Great photography. Great food. Great people. I take great pride in putting together incredible journeys to the most incredible locations on earth. Join me in 2016!
Our Czech Republic and Prague workshop is a new destination for us in 2016. We’ll be traveling to during the second week of October, 2016 and our goal is to take advantage of the fall colors . Imagine photographing the Czech Republic’s castles, forests and cities with the backdrop of vibrant colors. It will be beautiful.
2016 Workshop Information Pages
Email me at [email protected] if you have any questions. I’ll get right back to you!