On Location
International Expeditions

Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

with Marcela Taboada

Course Description

Oaxaca is one of the most enchanting and captivating cities of southern Mexico. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it encompasses the country’s diverse stages of history—pre-Hispanic, colonial, and contemporary—and is renowned for its music, gastronomy, handicrafts, and traditions.

One of the most important Oaxacan traditions is the celebration of the Day of the Dead, an intimate family observance where locals gather in their homes to pay tribute to their ancestors, who are celebrated with honor. It is believed that their souls return to visit, and for that reason families prepare altars laden with their favorite food and drink, decorated with orange cempasúchil flowers. These petals also lead up to the altars, helping the dead find their way.

This workshop offers participants the chance to photograph colorful Day of the Dead celebrations, turning their lenses to family altars, sand tapestries, market scenes, graveyards full of candles and flowers, and much more. Our host in Oaxaca is the Hotel Parador de Alcalá, located on a pedestrian-only street where various comparsas (dances and parades) are held just outside the front door.

Marcela Taboada leads group edits and critiques to assist you in improving your approach to photography. All the while, you immerse yourself in the natural light and people of Oaxaca—a splendid and unique cultural venue perfect for visual exploration.

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.

Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs, Professionals
What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR camera. Participants must be able to download, select, and transfer images to their own jump drive for class each day. Experience with low-light photography is helpful.


View Payment, Refund, Withdrawal, and Transfer Policies for this International Program.


Refer to Package Price description for details on lodging and meals.

Package Price INFO:

$3,695 (USD) includes double accommodations for 6 nights (Sunday through Friday nights — ideal for couples and friends traveling together; single supplement for solo travelers is an additional $500), breakfast daily, three lunches, opening and closing dinners, group transportation for locations, and applicable model/location/materials fees.

One-of-a-Kind, Storytelling, Travel Photography
Marcela Taboada

Marcela Taboada is a freelance photographer based in Oaxaca, Mexico, who works on long-term stories. She has received many national and international accolades, including a Hasselblad Foundation scholarship and a National Geographic All Roads Photography award. Her work is in the collections of the Hasselblad Center, the Sonoma Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Wittliff Collections in Texas, and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, among others. She has twice received the National System of Art Creators Award in Mexico.

Marcela has taught workshops for the Manuel Álvarez Bravo Photographic Center and from 1996 to 2012 she produced workshops in Oaxaca with Mary Ellen Mark.

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