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You are invited on a photographic journey to explore one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets, Todos Santos. Located in a region that transports you back to the slower, simpler times of Old Mexico, this charming town offers photographers a transformative experience that’s not to be missed.
Todos Santos and its surrounding area are home to some of the world’s most stunning rugged natural beauty. Saguaro cacti point the way to old dusty roads waiting to be explored, and palm trees sway in the wind with the gentle breezes. On our adventure we immerse ourselves in these entrancing elements while practicing a range of photography techniques and skills.
As we set aside preconceived notions of travel and portrait photography, we learn how to enhance our personal style while striving to tell an authentic story of the people and the land of Baja—whether it’s surf culture, fishing and farming life, cuisine, or regional biodiversity.
We make our home base just out of town at the Serendipity Hotel, located a short way from the beach. By walking a few minutes oceanward in the early morning or late afternoon, you may well see whales spouting as they make their way to their birthing lagoons!
On our arrival day, we get acquainted with our accommodations and each other, taking a sunset beach walk and enjoying a welcome dinner. Our first full day together focuses on Todos Santos itself and features a lecture and gear check, a lighting demo, and some sessions photographing models, all before an evening out at a restaurant in town.
Day two offers the chance to review any challenges from the previous day while delving into techniques for working with fill flash and reflectors. We set aside time for learning about local fishing and surfing culture, taking photographs of surfers and fisherman. Then we settle down to a group dinner at a seaside restaurant where you may see whales spouting in the ocean.
Our third day focuses on farming life and the land. As we explore methods of getting outside out of comfort zones as photographers, we learn how to tell a visual story with a strong editorial point of view. After lunch, we go for an easygoing hike and photograph local plant life and landscapes along the way.
A day four side trip to La Paz on the Sea of Cortez takes us on a boat ride through beautiful waters surrounded by rock formations—and lunch on the beach at one of the coves. We discuss the ins and outs of shutter speed and apply this knowledge to photographing water. Throughout, we get to know various aspects of La Paz, including the old part of town, the historic cathedral, and Malecon, the picturesque beachside street filled with shops and restaurants.
Your final day is for personal projects to further explore Todos Santos, returning to places visited or venturing out to new ones. In addition, Julien schedules one-on-one image review and feedback sessions this day.
With its rugged topography, friendly people, romantic restaurants, charming streets lined with art galleries, and nearby pristine beaches, Todos Santos is a gem of southern Baja. As you open yourself up to its culture and discover what makes the area so magical, you are rewarded with photographs that convey a rich narrative of the sea, the land, and the people (not to mention plenty of fresh fish tacos)!
Working knowledge of manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera.
Julien McRoberts is a lifestyle brand and editorial photographer/producer based in New York City and Lisbon, Portugal. Her unique ability to capture intimate cultural moments, places, and people has garnered her a wide variety of clients, including National Geographic Traveler, Calvin Klein Home, USA Today Magazine, Sunset, Variety, Marie Claire UK, and more.
Much of Julien’s work conveys a sense of the stolen glance, from the bustle of the streets of New York City to ancient Native American rituals. Born in the American West, this world is hardly foreign to Julien. “I have the West in my blood but feel equally as home in a fast-paced city environment,” she says.