Foundation First

Foundation First: Photography is an artform and a business that’s most often practiced in solitary conditions. It can get lonely when you’re not only the head of the creative department, but also the CEO and the accountant. Believe me, that makes for some pretty strange executive team meetings 😄

When I was a newspaper photojournalist I had the benefit of being a member of a diverse and creative photo staff. You could always turn to a colleague for advice and encouragement. We supported and helped each other grow.

Now that I’m on my own I count on a network of photographer friends locally and from all over the country. Workshops and conferences are an important part of the equation when it comes to professional growth. For the past couple of years I’ve had the honor of being on staff at Foundation Workshop, which is widely regarded as the most demanding wedding photography workshop.

The Value of a Great Workshop Experience

It’s an intense experience that is geared towards successful mid-career professionals who are looking to grow their skills to a higher level. This year my friend Huy, the founder of Foundation, decided to offer a workshop to less-experienced photographers who might not feel that they’re ready for the classic Foundation Workshop. It was designed to offer more hands-on teaching to the students out photographing subjects in the field. I was asked to help teach.

So a couple of weeks ago I joined some very good friends to help teach 14 eager students. While it’s fair to say that most of these folks are in the early part of their careers, they’re hardly beginners. We got to know one another a little bit on the evening before the workshop and it was readily apparent to me that each of the students was filled with an overwhelming desire to learn and grow as photographers. Great things happen when desire meets experience is combined with hard work.

I’m so grateful to have been able to share some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career with these folks. I got so much in return. It’s wonderful to see a student have that “Aha!” moment when they grasp the concept behind the lesson that you’re trying to impart to them. Really, learning is a lifelong endeavor and it’s great to see what’s possible through the eyes of someone newer. It reminds me that we’re not alone on the path towards becoming the very best version of ourselves. Learning is a two-way street.


Here are some photos I made during the workshop.

Huy sips a cup of coffee while a slideshow plays on the screen behind him.

silhouette of a man drinking a cup of coffee with a screen displaying the name Foundation Workshops

Craig Fritz demonstrates his amazing juggling skill!

a man laughs as he attempts to juggle

Melissa and Juan Carlos watch the slideshow. It wasn’t chilly enough for winter coats, but hey they’re from the Riveria Maya so anything below 80 is cold!

A woman sits in a darkened room while listening to a lecture. she wears a green puffer coat.

The amazing Candice Cusic from Chicago gives a lesson on seeing light.

A red headed woman points while the sun rims her. squiggly plants are in the background.

Kansas City-based photographer Tyler Wirken briefs the students before setting them loose at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

a man in an orange coat leans against a cut out of a cowboy with a raised handa photographer lays on the ground in a stockyard as farmers walk by leading their cattlea silhouette of a photographer sitting on a corral fence

Bridget Eldridge has an emotional moment while describing her experiences photographing at the stock show. It’s great to continue these relationships – she’s helped me out on a couple of weddings in Washington DC.

a woman holds her hands to her face as she stands in front of a group of people seated in a conference room.

What a crew! There’s so much talent in this group. I miss y’all!

a group photo of smiling people with a swimming pool in the foreground