© Dennis Buchner

Overview of Skill Levels and Experience

The Workshops welcomes all levels of photographers, from beginners to professionals. We want to make sure you find the workshop tailored to your interests and skill levels, so we collaborated with our instructors to provide the info you need to make an informed decision. Each workshop description indicates the skill level required (Who Should Attend), the technical skills participants are expected to have (What You Should Know), special details for that workshop (Special Notes), and if an image submission is required for acceptance (Portfolio). We welcome phone calls to discuss workshop details, (505) 983-1400 ext 111.

Who Should Attend

Four photography levels help identify the appropriate workshops for you: Beginners, Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs, and Professionals.

BEGINNERS have little to no experience with digital cameras, photography, or image editing software.

AMATEURS have been photographing for a while, have a working knowledge of the basic features on their cameras, and are familiar with digital workflow and image editing software.

ADVANCED AMATEURS have a working knowledge of manual mode on their cameras, have a working knowledge of digital workflow and image editing software, and are familiar with artificial lighting, digital printing, or other techniques as required in a particular workshop.

PROFESSIONALS earn a majority of their income from their photography, have a substantial body of work, and are proficient in all aspects of photography, as required in a particular workshop.

Regardless of your photographic skills, all participants are expected to have a working knowledge of how to use a laptop computer. If you are having a hard time determining your skill level, please call us, (505) 983-1400 ext 111, and our staff will help you assess which level is most appropriate for you.

For more information about camera guidelines, computer requirements, and manual mode please see the Cameras and Equipment section below.

What You Should Know

We want to make sure that you feel confident working not only with your instructor, but also with other participants. The desire of staff, instructors, and participants alike is to maintain a consistent level of photographic proficiency in every workshop. Since each workshop has a unique set of technical skills, there are three standard phrases to indicate expected knowledge.

FAMILIARITY: You have a basic understanding

WORKING KNOWLEDGE: You are competent and can navigate comfortably

PROFICIENCY: You have in-depth experience and are a high-end user

As an example, you might see: Working knowledge of your digital SLR camera; familiarity with digital workflow and Adobe Lightroom.


Our sincerest desire is to maintain a consistent level of photographic proficiency among participants in each workshop, therefore many workshops for Advanced Amateurs and Professionals require a portfolio submission prior to acceptance.

Your application and deposit will reserve a space in the workshop of your choice, but you are not officially accepted into a workshop that requires a portfolio until we review appropriate samples of your photography. We encourage you to submit your portfolio within two weeks of registering. If you cannot meet this deadline, please let us know.

Images are reviewed by The Workshops staff. If we do not feel that your workshop choice is appropriate, we will contact you to discuss other possibilities. If you choose not to transfer to a suggested alternate workshop, we will refund the deposit, less a $60 processing fee.

After registering for the workshop, submit your images. Viewing a personal website or images submitted via email (see below) are the preferred method of submission. Please follow these guidelines:

To email your portfolio:

  • Select 20 cohesive photographs that are appropriate for the content of the workshop
  • Format your images at 1500 pixels on the long edge; save as a JPEG
  • Send your images via email to portfolio@santafeworkshops.com

If you have questions regarding your submission, please call (505) 983-1400, ext. 111.

Cameras & Equipment

Digital SLR or mirrorless cameras and laptops are required for most workshops, unless otherwise noted in the workshop description. You are expected to have a working knowledge of downloading images from your camera to the laptop, organizing files using your image editing software, and selecting images for critique. The only exceptions are for participants in “Basics of Digital Photography” workshops in Santa Fe.

The following indicates the minimum equipment requirements all participants should bring (computer workstations are provided for workshops in the digital lab):

Computer Equipment

  • Mac or PC laptop computer with up-to-date operating system; iPads and similar tablet computers are not recommended as an alternative to laptops due to their limited functionality for photo management and processing
  • Minimum dual core processor (processing speed should meet or exceed specifications of your image editing software)
  • 4 GB or more of RAM
  • Minimum of 50-75 GB of free hard drive space
  • Power cable for laptop
  • External hard drive or other storage device for digital lab workshops
  • Current version of image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop with Bridge or Lightroom.

Camera Equipment

  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless camera and lens(es)
  • Digital memory cards with reader (recommended to have at least three or four cards of 16GB or more)
  • Power adapters and cables for digital camera
  • Manuals for camera, flash, etc.
  • Batteries and charger for rechargeable batteries
  • Tripods are not typically required but are recommended if you regularly use one when photographing in low light situations

Please Note: We do not recommend bringing a brand new camera that you have not had time to become familiar with using.

At this time, The Workshops is not able to support the use of film cameras in any of our photographic workshops. If you would like to shoot film during your workshop, you will need to take the film home for processing. This will inhibit your full participation in the workshop process.

Manual Mode on Your Camera

Working knowledge of your camera in manual mode means that you are capable and comfortable with evaluating your in-camera light meter and choosing the appropriate manual settings.

The following statements can help determine your comfort level with manual mode:

  • You have a working knowledge of aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual mode, and understand the difference between each setting.
  • You understand how to adjust the aperture and shutter speed to control the light your camera captures.
  • You understand that in order to maintain the correct exposure, as aperture becomes larger, shutter speed becomes faster.

Special Notes

This area indicates unique details about a particular workshop. It is typically used to communicate special technology information, such as computer workstations provided to participants for workshops held in the Digital Lab.

Portfolio Requirement

Many of the workshops for Advanced Amateurs and Professionals require you to submit a selection of 20 images; when a portfolio is required it is indicated on the workshop description page. For complete submission guidelines, see the Portfolios section.

The Workshops staff is always available to answer your questions or help you find the workshop that best suits you. Give us a call at (505) 983-1400 x111.

Activity Level

To get the most from your workshop experience, participants should be in good physical (mobility, stamina) and mental health. Come prepared for the high elevation of Santa Fe, long days, and seasonal weather. You must be able to carry your own photographic and personal gear at all times, both on campus and on location. You are responsible for being open and honest about your physical fitness, and we reserve the right to remove you from the workshop if we find your fitness to be less than that which you have described.

Some workshops do require that participants are of a certain fitness level; this is for your safety and the safety of others in the group. Please view the Activity Level section on each workshop page under Additional Information for full details.


The Workshops is pleased to offer these discount opportunities:

Frequent Photographer

Offered to participants who take two or more four or more day-long workshops in Santa Fe during the same calendar year. The discount is a $125 credit applied to the tuition of the second, and any subsequent, workshop taken during a calendar year. This discount may not be combined with any other discount or scholarship program; other restrictions may apply. Online workshops do not qualify for this discount.

Next Generation

Intended to instill a passion for photography in the younger generation, participants ages 18-24 can receive a special discount of $250 off the tuition of in-person workshops in Santa Fe . This discount may not be combined with any other discount or scholarship program and can only be applied to one workshop per calendar year. Other restrictions may apply.

Active Duty Military

Any active-duty service members of any US military branch receive 10% off tuition on all workshops. This discount may not be combined with any other discount or scholarship program. Other restrictions may apply. Valid active-duty military ID required.

Group Pricing

Perfect for camera clubs, companies, schools and other groups! We offer special pricing for groups of eight or more. Call for pricing and availability.