SFW On Location

The Photographic Book Today: An Overview of Traditional and New Publishing Options

with Mary Virginia Swanson

July 31 – August 4, 2023

  • Tuition $1995.00
  • Location Fee $75.00
  • Standard Deposit $400.00
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Course Description

Join respected author and educator Mary Virginia Swanson in Santa Fe this summer to gain a broad understanding of the process of bringing your long-term photography project to print publication.

Through Mary Virginia’s comprehensive lectures to a series of site visits to book designers, publishers, and photobook vendors, participants are exposed to the necessary steps to publishing a book of their photographs. From assessing whether your project is ready for publication, to researching publishing brands and understanding contract terms, to exploring the options available to you through self-publishing, you leave this workshop with a path to publication that is right for you and your work.

Our days together are a combination of richly illustrated lectures, site visits, and guests visiting our campus classroom. Mary Virginia brings a teaching library from her vast collection of photobooks that introduces participants to successfully executed publication projects and how these projects came to print and found their way into the hands of buyers.

Each participant is invited to bring a selection of work from a project they wish to publish to share with the class in conversation with Mary Virginia, who provides feedback and help brainstorm possible collaborators, identify potential publishers, and confirm the audience(s) you should target (30 minutes per person; comprising 25% of our course time).

Additional Information

COVID-19 UPDATE: For all in-person workshops and trips in 2023, Santa Fe Workshops highly recommends that all participants, staff, and instructors attending be up to date with Covid vaccinations (per definition of the CDC). For international trips, local laws will apply, so it is important that you confirm you will be fully vaccinated according to the countries on your trip.


Photographers who are considering bringing their completed project to publication will benefit from this broad overview of publishing options.

What You Should Know:

This workshop is designed to provide awareness and knowledge to participants of the many options for publishing photobooks today, whether choosing in the end to work with a publisher or choose to self-publish your work.

Special Notes:

Sharing conversations and resource libraries with Susan kae Grant’s simultaneous class, The Handmade Artist’s Book: Envisioning Form & Content, offers participants the added sense of community and additional insights into the many formats of photobooks from handmade to limited editions to traditional publishing.

Required reading prior to attendingPublish Your Photography Book, 3rd Edition (Spring 2023, radiusbooks.org).


Participants are responsible for making their own housing arrangements in Santa Fe. On-campus accommodations are not currently available.

Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner at the Friday evening Image Presentations, and daily beverage service.
Book Making, One-of-a-Kind, Professional Development
© Allison V. Smith
Mary Virginia Swanson

Mary Virginia Swanson is an advisor, educator, and author who helps emerging and established photographers find the strengths in their work, identify appreciative audiences, and present their work in an informed, professional manner. Driven by her passion to help artists find their audience and her keen interest in identifying new markets, Mary Virginia is a respected teacher and mentor who has guided countless photographers through the changes in the photography and imaging industries.

Mary Virginia co-authored with Darius Himes the acclaimed Publish Your Photography Book, now in its third edition (Spring 2023, Radius Books).

An active and celebrated contributor to the photographic community, Mary Virginia’s educational seminars and public presentations are highly anticipated due to the range of information and depth of personal insights she shares with her audiences.

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This workshop is currently full. Use this form to sign up for the waitlist, and SFW will reach out if a seat becomes available.

Image S75 by Petra Stavast.
Designed by Hans Gremmen, published by Roma Publications, 2022.