Your Questions Answered


What level of experience do I need to attend one of your workshops?

Beginning to advanced photographers are welcome to attend any workshop. Some workshops, however, may be specific to certain skills or experience level and may not be suited to your current knowledge level. Each workshop description lists a recommended skill level. Please read the workshop description and if you have any questions about whether the workshop is a good match for you, please contact me.

What camera equipment should I bring?

That's always a tough call because no two photographers photograph exactly alike. Generally, unless specific equipment is recommended for a given workshop, bring the gear you're comfortable carrying on a moderate hike, through airports, that you use often or want to explore and experiment with. The workshop description may suggest the type of lenses, filters, and other accessories that would be appropriate for the goals or location of the workshop. A suggested equipment list is provided to participants as part of the balance payment package. Workshops are a good opportunity to try new equipment as well. There are several quality businesses that rent camera gear, bodies, lenses, etc. I can help point you in that direction if you have an interest.

How many participants will attend the workshop?

There will be no more than 10 participants in any workshop I lead without another instructor, to ensure my ability to provide adequate guidance to everyone. Typically, workshop size is 4-6 participants which helps with flexibility and logistics should changes need to be made during the workshop, such as modifying the itinerary or moving locations to take advantage of changing conditions.

Will there be instruction?

I conduct two types of photography excursion: workshops and trips. A workshop emphasizes the learning experience in an interesting and challenging location. During a workshop, my goal is to help you improve your skill and awareness. My attention is on you, first, so I photograph only when you are comfortable on your own and for demonstration. You won't need to chase me over the ridge to find me to ask a question. Whereas, a photo trip emphasizes location over learning and I will likely be photographing alongside you at each location. However, I enjoy teaching and even on trips there are opportunities for instruction and information sharing.

What is a typical workshop day like?

Most workshop days begin early and end late. The emphasis is on photography, so we will be exploring many different opportunities and situations of light and weather. You can expect full days of photography, but throughout the day there will be time for instruction, discussion (group and individual), image processing and review, and non-photographing activities like relaxing/napping, journaling, and contemplating. I enjoy engaging with the local community, and we will take meals at local restaurants when possible. Since the emphasis is on photography, time for other sightseeing or shopping is limited. There are usually many more things to do in the areas we visit, so I suggest extending your trip a few days before or after the workshop for non-workshop activities.

Do you photograph during the workshop?

While I select locations I like or would like to visit, I organize my workshops to provide you with a learning experience, not to provide myself with photographic opportunities. I use my gear in the field for instructional purposes and to lead by example. I may photograph during the workshop, but only secondary to assisting you. Observing me photographing a situation, perhaps walking through the process, is hopefully a useful experience for participants. Over the years I've recognized that, effectively, I can either teach or photograph. Since my primary goal is to teach on a workshop, you will receive as much attention from me as you request.

Can my non-photographing spouse or friend attend the workshop?

They are welcome to accompany you to the workshop location, but unless they are a registered participant in the workshop they cannot attend any of the workshop-related activities, including group meals. The intention of the workshop is for it to be a period of time dedicated to photography. Non-photographing guests reduce the number of photographing participants, can impact the focus of the workshop and your level of participation, and can be a distraction to other participants. So I discourage non-photographing guests on most workshops. When they are allowed, it will be noted in the workshop description.

Do I have to rent a car?

Most Blue Planet Photography, LLC workshops include on-site transportation. I've found it easier for the group to engage in discussion en route and between locations, stay together, and offers greater logistical flexibility. You may rent your own vehicle if you prefer, and some workshops do not include on-site transportation. The status of on-site transportation is stated in the workshop description. I do not mark up the cost of on-site transportation if provided.

Do I have to reserve my own hotel accommodations?

Many Blue Planet Photography, LLC workshops include accommodation, either hotel or vacation home rental. Over the years, I've found it easier to keep the group together, especially if transportation is included. A shared vacation home allows the group to be more interactive and is usually a significant savings over individual hotel rooms when adding in the cost of restaurant meals. The type of accommodation and your responsibility is stated in the workshop description. You are not required to use the accommodation provided, but there is no discount for opting out. I do not mark up accommodation if provided.

What does the workshop fee cover?

Workshop fees cover instruction and the day-to-day operation of the workshop. Where applicable and to make registering for a workshop convenient for you, on-site transportation, accommodation, facility/vendor/guide/admission fees are included in the workshop fee. I do not mark up these costs. Any fees not included are stated in the workshop/trip description.

Can I bring photographs to review?

Certainly. I encourage you to bring previous work to show as it's a learning experience for others as well when we look at the work of others (if you elect to show your work to the group). You're also welcome to provide me with online links to your work or email a few examples prior to the workshop. This gives me a sense of your photographic preferences and skill level so I can be better prepared to assist you during the workshop. A questionnaire is sent to participants which also gives you the opportunity to tell me where you are photographically and the types of photographic subjects and subject matter you gravitate toward.

What type of correspondence should I expect to receive related to the workshop?

I'm happy to answer any questions you have about the workshop, the location, expected weather conditions, equipment, etc. You're welcome to contact me by email, website contact form, or by phone and I'll answer your questions and respond to comments as best I can.

When I receive your deposit, I will respond with an email that I've received it. Between the deposit and balance payments you're welcome to ask any questions about the workshop/trip, possible equipment, etc. and I will answer them as best I can.

When I receive your balance payment I will send you:
  • 1. A simple questionnaire to help me get to know you, your experience, and expectations for the workshop.
  • 2. A simple medical information form that provides me and medical personnel with pertinent information such as allergies (food, medication, bees), dietary preferences, prescription medications, medical and emergency contacts. This information is voluntary and kept strictly confidential. The medical form is destroyed when the workshop is completed.
  • 3. A liability release waiver. This waiver must be completed and received by Blue Planet Photography, LLC before or on the workshop start date or you cannot participate.
  • 4. A suggested equipment list that includes camera gear, clothing, and other items you might consider for the particular workshop you'll be attending. If there are specific equipment or item needs, these will be listed. This is a suggested list and is not a requirement for you to purchase any equipment, clothing, or other items.
  • 5. I will coordinate with you when, and if necessary or requested, arrival and departure times to and from the gateway city/airport for the workshop if you are participating in the on-site transportation. Airport pickups and drop offs will be arranged with all participants to ensure the most convenient process. If pickup and drop off arrangements can't be made efficiently, participants will be required to find their own transportation to and from the airport and/or workshop location. If transportation is not provided, participants must arrange their own transportation to and from the workshop location and on site. Car pooling/ride sharing is encouraged to reduce the environmental impact as well as keep travel logistics under control. I will help as much as possible with ride share arrangements.

What is the payment process?

To reserve a spot on a workshop or trip, you will need to pay the deposit amount listed on the workshop description. Following payment of the deposit, I will contact you regarding your preference for balance payment. I will either email an invoice for the balance that can be paid online with a credit/debit card or you may elect to pay the balance by personal/business check, cash, or bank transfer. Please see my policy page for complete policy information.

What is your refund policy?

All monies are non-refundable. Some portion of class and workshop deposits and fees is for non-refundable deposits and third party expenses related to the workshop, such as reservations (accommodations, classroom, equipment, car rental, etc.), permit and vendor fees, among others. If you cancel participation in a class or workshop, your remaining available registration balance, minus non-refundable fees, may be transferred toward registration in another Blue Planet Photography, LLC class or workshop under certain conditions. Transfer of fees to another class or workshop is not automatic and is decided solely by Blue Planet Photography, LLC. We reserve the right to transfer your fees to another class or workshop. Transferred funds must be applied to another class or workshop offered by Blue Planet Photography, LLC within 12 months of the start date of the original class or workshop. Participants transferring from another class or workshop will be registered for the alternate class or workshop if space permits. If you choose to attend a higher-priced class or workshop or if the fee has increased, the difference in price is the responsibility of the participant. Your registration is guaranteed only when we have payment in full. We reserve the right to change this policy at any time. If a class or workshop is cancelled by us, you may receive a refund minus non-refundable expenses. Trip insurance is recommended to cover cancellation or disruption for any reason.

If Blue Planet Photography, LLC receives deposits that do not meet the minimum for a given class or workshop, participants who have paid their deposit will be notified and given the opportunity to continue with the class or workshop with an additional small group surcharge or to transfer the deposit to another workshop/trip or class. The amount of the small group surcharge will be given as part of the notification. In some cases, your deposit may be refunded in full or minus non-refundable expenses.

Gift Certificates are non-refundable.

What if the class or workshop is cancelled?

Cancellations or rescheduling of classes or workshops on the part of Blue Planet Photography, LLC may be made resulting from certain foreboding circumstances beyond the control of Blue Planet Photography, LLC. We also retain the right to cancel or reschedule any class or workshop when inadequate enrollment makes the class or workshop economically unfeasible for our company. In those rare cases, participants who have paid an initial deposit will be notified via email or phone after the deposit due date has passed. A full refund of the deposit, minus any non-refundable prepaid expenses related to the workshop or trip may be made by business check or applied to another class or workshop in the 12-month period following the original booking at the discretion of Blue Planet Photography, LLC. Blue Planet Photography, LLC will not be responsible for additional loss or expense incurred by the class or workshop participant and/or his or her non-photographing guests, such as airline tickets, airline cancellation fees, travel insurance, guide fees, and other related charges. Please be assured, however, that it is with the utmost consideration that Blue Planet Photography, LLC ever considers such cancellations.

Cancellations on the part of the participant must be made in writing or email and received by our office by US Mail, courier, or confirmed email unless otherwise stated in the class or workshop description. A phone call from the participant is also recommended to confirm receipt of his or her written cancellation. Travel, guide, and other transportation fees may not be refundable.

If a class participant needs to reschedule a session, a $90 rescheduling fee will be applied at the discretion of Blue Planet Photography, LLC.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect from unforeseen circumstances that may prevent or impact your workshop attendance. A plan offering coverage for medical and dental emergencies, lost or damaged luggage, missed connections, and trip cancellation is recommended to cover the most common incidents. Blue Planet Photography, LLC is not responsible for cancellation due to medical or family emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable portions of the workshop fee such as airline tickets, accommodations, permits, vendor and guide fees, car rental, etc. Please see my policy page for complete policy information.