Here are some answers to questions you may have . If you have other questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
Some of our group hamming it up
on the Maine coast.
Our philosophy in a nutshell?
Travel light and inconspicuously;
Take time to savor what is offered;
Be adaptable, a necessity, given the nature of photographing in different
locations (Mother Nature has a mind of her own!); and
What's included in the fee?
Daily group and individual instruction from Margo and
Arnie in both the field and classroom (we each work with
each participant up to twice a day, if the participants wish and if they don't disappear!);
Daily group critiques that
many find is a very valuable part of the workshop experience
(hint, hint — don't leave early unless you absolutely
have to, as the final critique is just as important as the others);
All other expenses are the responsibility of the individual participant; except in cases when we have a Travel Package.
How are the days structured?
Our days our full, as we want to give you the best value possible;
On the opening day, we start out with introductions, some technical
information, proper use of lenses, our Basic Principles of Photography (you'll get a book), double checking your Lightroom set-up and Copyright templates, and other basics before heading out for our first afternoon of photography;
Depending upon weather, we often get up pre-dawn to have
enough time to get to our morning destination, scout,
and set up to capture the beautiful light of those early
hours as the skies lighten;
After our morning shoot, we return to our base
for editing and imaging on our laptops; occasionally, participants squeeze in a nap, but don't plan on it;
Along with discussions on composition, techniques, and
resources, there are daily individual critique sessions
where participants learn to recognize their successes
as well as what they might have done to make their images
stronger; sometimes, of course,
we have the so-called chimp factor — oooh-oooh
ahhh-ahhh — and sometimes the supreme compliment of "I hate you," that translates to "I hate you, because I am jealous and wish I had done that shot mysself!";
Participants can either go out and grab some lunch or,
depending upon our location, we can arrange to have it brought
in, as long as one of the participants is willing to arrange the orders and monies;
Mid- to late-afternoon, we leave for our afternoon/evening
location, scout, and create more images;
Choice of dinner locations is always up to the individual
(although almost always, everyone prefers to join Arnie and Margo for more fun, frivolity,
and shop talk); and
We suggest that participants download images ASAP, even
allowing the computer to chug away while you sleep or
have breakfast or dinner.
When should I arrive on the first day?
For those workshop in the U.S., we start at noon on the first
day; for our international workshops, check the individual workshop pages for specifics, as they
start at different times. We pack a lot into the first few hours of our workshops, so please don't be late;
It is extremely important if you are new to us to plan your travel arrangements accordingly. Missing that first welcome session will detract from your workshop experience, since we do not repeat that session, rather iterate the various mantras we have presented.
When will the last day end?
For our domestic workshops, at 2:00 in the afternoon,
after our final group critique session,
to give people time to catch planes and/or drive home;
our international workshops end later, generally with a final dinner together, so again, check the individual ones for specific times, and make your travel plans accordingly.
For those who must leave earlier, we always try to show
your images first so that
you will not miss out, as everyone looks forward to the
group critiques and learns so much from it; that said, please try to stay as long as possible, so you don't miss anything.
What programs do I need for the workshop? Use this as your check list!
We have put this all on a separate page called Workshop Preparation that
you can use as your check list.
What Level of Photographer Do You Accept into Your Workshops?
Because there is a maximum 6:1 ratio of students to instructors, Margo and Arnie can and do work with each person individually, whether a relative beginner eager to get started in the right direction or a seasoned pro who comes for a creative fix, challenge, and guidance to head to the next level;
We have a high percentage of returning alumni from both categories, and everything else in between;
It gives us great satisfaction when a seasoned pro admires the work of a relative beginner; the latter may not have goten stuck in a rut and may think outside of the box, something that may provide inspiration to the seasoned pro.
In addition to all you have learned ...
You will go home with:
Our information-packed Principles of Photography booklet;
A headful of things to think about when you go out shooting and continue to grow as a photographer; and
Two creatures (Ravens, perhaps) named Margo and Arnie, who will continue to sit on your shoulders and remind you of the various mantras you have learned!
Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures always arranges for
a place where we can all stay, often with a workshop discount that includes our imaging room or location; those who stay elsewhere, please expect to pay a minimal of $75 to cover our workroom costs, as our imaging room can cost quite a bit, and we get a break based on our participants staying at "our" hotel; besides, there is more camaraderie if we all stay together, and it is much more convenient for the mandatory carpooling mentioned above;
It is recommended that you make
your room reservations early, as rooms fill up quickly in our locations; you
can always cancel later (exceptions are for workshops with a Travel Package, but you can get travel insurance); and
You may choose to stay elsewhere, BUT — and this is a BIG BUT — in cases where we have negotiated a discount, we will need to charge you your share of our imaging room. On most of our workshop information pages, for those who sign up late, there are links to other options and in some cases, suggestions.
How will we get around?
Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures has a philosophy of maintaining minimum impact on the environment, as many places we visit have limited parking at best;
This means that we carpool; in the US, we carpool, generally with at least four, sometimes six to a car; and in Europe, we either rent transportation that everyone shares, or in many locations, we just plain walk, take public transportation, or use UBER;
With advance notice, we can try to connect people for ride shares in rental cars.
May I bring along a spouse, SO, or
Absolutely yes, and there is no workshop fee for them, only room and board; we always welcome them in both the field and
classroom as observers;
We go to beautiful areas, and it gives them a
chance to enjoy the surroundings while you photograph
or do imaging;
Out of respect for our paying participants, however, they may not tote more than their smart phone or a basic, pocket-size point-and-shoot camera with no tripod. It is also great if they do shots of the participants (Purple People Eaters) for our Students in Action; it is also understood that they will not in any way get in the way of our paying participants.
Mother Nature, of course, is capricious and has a mind
of her own, but....
Check out our weather page
for average temperatures and precipitation in our various
Remember that inclement weather can produce some really
dramatic and wonderful images.
What equipment should I bring? Use this as your check list!
Your camera, of course, along with an assortment of fixed
and/or zoom lenses; whatever lens you have that you don't bring, you will wish you had; that said, there is an old mantra that the less you carry, the more you will see;
For those who
want to experiment with other lenses, check out our Resources
page for rentals at very reasonable prices;
If you do not have a digital camera, we highly recommend that you borrow one so that you can maximize your workshop experience;
Extra compact flash disks;
The card reader and cable for your camera and compact
flash disks (best not to download directly from camera to computer);
Extra battery/batteries for your camera and a charger for those batteries;
Your camera's manual (VERY IMPORTANT, as there is no way these days that we can be
familiar with the different features of every model of every camera manufacturer); we highly recommend downloading a digital form of your manual onto your smart phone;
A small 3"x5" notebook for recording tests
and unusual conditions that might not show up in your
metadata, as well as notes from lectures and critiques;
Waterproof protection for your camera in case of rain
(see weather question below), or a couple of large Ziploc
bags and heavy elastics that can be fashioned into protection; we prefer the very expensive (read FREE) clear shower caps such as you find at hotels in your travels;
A sturdy tripod and ballhead (most photographers find
the two-handled or pistol-grip models much too frustrating and time-consuming)
strong enough to carry the weight of your camera and lens;
it is usually recommended to get these with a capability
of at least 11 pounds, more if you can (if you are considering
buying a new tripod and ball head, contact us first, as
we may be able to guide you in a direction appropriate
for your budget and keep you from misspending your money
on something that will cause you frustration). Check out our blog on Tripods and Ball Heads;
A small flashlight for light painting and for working
in low light, not to mention walking in the dark;
A laptop with the appropriate programs installed (see
next section below);
Model/property release forms in case you wish do photograph
someone or something where permission is needed (if you sell your images commercially); for those
who don't have any, you may download our model
release and/or property
release and substitute your name for
"Zann and Pinkerton Photography" and "Photographer" for
Granola or power bars for when you don't have a chance
to grab something to eat;
A refillable water bottle with a loop that you can hang off your camera bag with a caribiner, so you don't get dehydrated;
Foreign adapter plugs if you are coming from another country or heading off with us to another country; we also find that those little gray three-prong adapters are useful if you meet a plug that does not have a ground and your unit does.
Your GPS unit if you have one with maps updated; we never leave home without Old Snot Face (don't you name your GPS?);
Your Annual Pass or Senior Pass (National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series) if you have one; if you don't, you can get one at the park entrance, usually around $10 for a week's pass for a car, and for any US citizen or permanent resident 62 or older, $10 for your lifetime pass: and
A clear and rested head (don't laugh, if you are exhausted
when you arrive, you won't be your most creative).
What should I pack? Use this!!!
We dress comfortably, so a combination of slacks and/or
shorts is appropriate (some eateries have
dress codes involving shirts with sleeves, etc.);
Layers are always best, as one can keep warm more easily
without having to pack too much (remember, pre-dawn
and post-sunset hours can be cool);
Rain gear, just in case; a poncho works really well,
as it can keep your camera bag dry, too;
Sturdy shoes for tramping on rocks or uneven territory
(I nearly forgot to mention this, since I rarely wear
A hat to protect you from the sun (and hopefully NOT
Sunscreen in a heavier rating than you usually use;
Insect repellant, as one never knows when those little pesky
critters will be out and about. (Arnie and I use wipes that are easily added to your camera kit.)