Whatever You Are, Be A Good One

Dear photographer friends,

I encourage you, as a photographer, to purse the greatness within you. Your art can (and should) be distinctively your art! Sometimes we artists might find our creative selves sort of drifting between copying other’s styles or losing inspiration entirely.

I am a firm believer in embracing your individuality and don’t really worry about imitating others or even seeking the approval of others. Find the part of this art that motivates you to create more art, to improve in your skills and vision, which will lead to even better art!

Photography has been my life for a lot of years, and know first-hand how we artists can sometimes lose our inspiration. Or even if we do feel “inspired,” we still might feel like there must be something more we can do to expand our creativity.

Having taught countless photographers over many years, I have found many photographers think the key to better photography is just knowing their camera features better, and managing exposure modes, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and all that. Yes of course those aspects are important. They are our “tools of the trade,” but they are just the starting point. The REAL journey in the art of photography begins when you get in touch with yourself and your creative vision.

I consider this SO important, I created a class for that called Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop. The funny thing I’ve observed is that a lot of photographers think they don’t need that class but I sincerely believe every photographer would benefit from this workshop, so I can’t emphasize it enough.

Here’s one example comment from a class participant:

“It’s so easy as an amateur photographer to become overwhelmed with all the technical aspects of photography. And as a photographer at any level, there is often an expectation of working to get the best technical picture. Kevin does a wonderful job of teaching the technical aspects of photography, for sure, but his Finding Your Way class focuses instead on the joy of photography, on photography as an experience and way to express ourselves. We are all creative beings, an image of the great Creator, and it is healing to the soul to pursue that. In addition to revealing the depth of Kevin as an amazing person, this class gives permission and encouragement to explore our individual path of creativity using photography. We laughed, we cried, we learned, and we found the spark that drew us to photography in the first place. Thanks, Kevin.”

At times, I am tempted to say this class is required of any photographer who wants to take any of my other classes, but such a requirement just isn’t practical. So, I am left with just “urging” you to sign up, and see what you discover about you and your photography. (You can thank me later! 🙂 )

Whatever type of photographer you turn out to be, be a good one!

Here’s The Link to Learn More and Sign Up


Some Insights to Consider:

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

Edward de Bono

There is no such thing as creative and non-creative people, only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.

Brene Brown
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The Path to Learning Photography

There are many ways to learn photography. While there is no one “right way,” there are choices you can make in where you devote your energy while trying to learn. For example, if you have a DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, you’ll find it has so many options and features. Which modes should you use? Which should you avoid? What features matter most? These questions lead to important answers. When you are just starting out, you don’t really even know the questions to ask. All you know is you want to take better photographs!

As with anything in life, some lessons have to be learned the hard way. You’ll make mistakes, but those are learning opportunities. If you find a solution for a problem you’ve encountered, you have grown in the process. Still, I want to encourage you to consider some suggestions on paths you might choose in your process of learning photography.

Learn the Fundamentals

Get to know the basics of how a camera operates. Learn about the Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure Modes, White Balance, etc. While you could just use your camera’s fully automatic mode, you’ll miss out on some great capabilities you might not even realize your camera can do. Starting with a firm foundation in the fundamentals of photography is always a good possibility for beginning your learning. I have a class called Photography 101 Fundamentals of Great Photography that would be a good starting point. Also check out my book on Amazon, “30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs.

Expand Your Creativity and Inspiration

Just as important as the technical details are the artistic considerations. More than camera settings, this is about how you see the world, what excites you, what motivates you, and what inspires you. It is so important to explore this side of the art of photography as well. In fact this is also a good starting point. Or after you learn the basics, I’d recommend devoting some time to this other artistic side of photography. I highly recommend taking this course I teach “Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop.

Gradually Advance Your Skills Further

Once you have been exposed to the basics of camera settings, etc. It is wise to remain always in that mode of seeking to learn more, and practice, practice, practice. I encourage you to keep striving to be more comfortable with adjusting camera settings for a variety of different scenarios, indoors, outdoors, actions shots, night sky shots, portraits, wildlife, nature, etc. I have a Photography 201 – Expand Your Photography Skills class you might consider. Also, sharpen your nature photography skills with this class: Nature Essentials Photography Class.

Be a Student of LIGHT

Pay attention to light, both in the good qualities of light and the not-so-good qualities of light. Learn to manage and manipulate light. Quite often a photograph can be improved dramatically by simply using better light. I occasionally offer a course on light and photography. As we move further past this pandemic, I am sure I will offer this class again! Either way, this is something you can study on your own, too. Pay attention to the qualities of light that you find attractive, and take more photographs with that type of light. The more you do this, the better your photographs will be! Also, if you are trying to figure out how to use electronic flashes (often called SpeedLights) I have a class for that: Flash / Speedlight Photography Workshop.

Learn the Software

A very important part of digital photography is the process you choose for managing and enhancing your photographs on the computer. I love Adobe Lightroom Classic. It’s a very powerful and full-featured program. I offer a class that will get you off to a great start: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Workshop. And then, when you are ready to really explore the full amazing photo editing capabilities of Photoshop, I offer this class: Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers Workshop.

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My Love of Photography and Teaching

I have always loved photography.

With my having a Master of Science Degree and a love of art, photography is a perfect combination of science and art for me.

I also love teaching. The first photography class I ever taught was back in college, which was decades ago. I have since organized numerous photography groups in the Austin area, and have taught countless numbers of photographers from beginner to very advanced.

I love helping people improve their photography skills and find their own artistic expression through the camera. In my later years, especially, I am finding great joy in that. (That’s one reason I encourage every photographer take my “Photograph: Finding Your Way: Creativity and Inspiration Workshop.“)

To be honest, I’ve never been one who is too motivated to “market myself” to impress others about how great I am. In fact, in many cases, ego gets in the way of true artistic expression. I believe we all just need to pursue the art that excites and inspires us without worrying about comparing ourselves to others.

I love this insight from Ansel Adams:

“No person has the right to dictate what other people should perceive, create or produce. Everyone should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” – Ansel Adams

When I look back on my career, what I remember most fondly are the experiences I have had and the wonderful people I have met along the way. In fact, I can honestly say I have really loved the people and the experiences even more than the photography itself.

I feel so blessed to have had this experience as a photographer and educator and friend to so many people who have come through the door of studio or joined me on our many destination workshops.

What I find particularly touching are all the kind and humbling words I have heard from former clients/students. Thank you for that.

Click Here to See What Former Students Have Said

I am in a perpetual journey of gratitude for my experiences with all of you. Thank you all for being a part of my life, either because you gave me the honor of allowing me to photograph you or teach you about the art and science of photography.

Kevin Gourley

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The Importance of YOU

It is often so tempting to think the most important aspect of our photography is the camera we own. Ansel Adam’s insight is critical for all of us photographers to acknowledge. “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!” (YOU).

If you want to improve your photography, instead of upgrading your camera, upgrade the photographer! Photography is all about YOU and how you see the world around you, AND it is about operating that little machine called the camera. Remember the camera is just a machine. You are the artist.

We offer a workshop that I encourage ALL photographers to take. It is called “Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop.”

If you are wondering what steps you can take to advance your photography, this class will help you discover the way forward. It is about photography. It is about you. It is about your art. It is about creative expression. It is what I wholeheartedly believe all photographers will benefit from exploring.

Journey with us as we help you find your way to better photography, greater artistic inspiration, and if you feel like you’ve been in a rut, we’ll get you out of that rut and back on the road to creativity!


See what former class participants have said about my Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop:

  • “I really didn’t think I needed this class, but I signed up anyway. Wow, I am SO glad I did. This class totally renewed my passion for photography and how I see the world around me! I fell in love with photography all over again! Thank you!!!”
  • “It’s so easy as an amateur photographer to become overwhelmed with all the technical aspects of photography. And as a photographer at any level, there is often an expectation of working to get the best technical picture. Kevin does a wonderful job of teaching the technical aspects of photography, for sure, but his Finding Your Way class focuses instead on the joy of photography, on photography as an experience and way to express ourselves. We are all creative beings, an image of the great Creator, and it is healing to the soul to pursue that. In addition to revealing the depth of Kevin as an amazing person, this class gives permission and encouragement to explore our individual path of creativity using photography. We laughed, we cried, we learned, and we found the spark that drew us to photography in the first place. Thanks, Kevin.”
  • “I just finished taking Kevin’s “Finding Your Way” Workshop. Wow. I have been a passionate photographer for most of my life but over the last 18 months I have struggled due to my health. As a nature, wildlife and landscape photographer it became very difficult to photograph the things that spoke to me for so long. So, having taken many classes from Kevin before, I decided to see if I could re-ignite my flame for photography. I did some soul searching and was able to focus my attention using a different approach. Now I have several projects lined up as well as a strategy of combining three of these projects together to reach a goal. Kevin, as always, you never disappoint. You are not only a great photographer and teacher but even more importantly a great person. I can recommend Kevin’s workshops without reservation. Thanks so much.” – Don Simpson
  • “Thank you for providing an avenue for me to begin to recapture my love of photography!”
  • “When I was preparing my homework for the Finding Your Way class, I found that I actually enjoyed it; whereas, in the past the thought of sharing my work with others absolutely terrified me. This is huge.
  • “If you are in a rut and don’t know what to shoot or don’t even know if you still like to shoot, you MUST take this class. It is a virtual buffet of ideas that builds on itself each day of the class. There are dozens of ideas, videos, music, poems that are guaranteed to stimulate your imagination and make you want to get out and start taking pictures. This is one of the best photography classes I have taken in a long time and I now have a long list of project ideas to work with. Even if you have great technical skills or know everything you need to know about Photoshop and Lightroom, this class is for you. It is not about skills, it is about tapping into your creative mind which so often gets pushed to the side. This is one of the best investments you can make as a photographer.”
  • “This class has been an inspiration, and an opportunity to once again learn how photographers see so differently from one another. I have learned much from your sharing of your photo projects, and from the other participants as well. It’s been a great use of my time and effort!
  • “Thank you for a wonderful workshop. I always believed you could not teach someone to be creative. You did it. I came home with many ideas that I could tackle that would bring my unique self to my photographs.”
  • This class is different than any other photography course I’ve ever taken in that it lends one to truly thinking about photography in a way that deepens the connection and benefit one gets from not only taking images, but how they interpret and share them. The material and content was diverse and thorough and ultimately Kevin assembled and presented a large collection of information that everyone can put in their personal creative toolbox and use it every time they use their camera. As usual, Kevin also provides nice outlines and a notebook to memorialize the experience and collective analysis of a topic that any photographer who is wanting to up their personal approach will take aways in a very meaningful manner.”
  • “I took this class last year and it was so good and inspiring and so broad in its scope. I could not imagine how I could learn creativity by taking a class, and I was so shocked to discover how well you did it.”
  • “I want to tell you that the class yesterday was EXCELLENT. It is different than any other and better than most any. I have played it over in my mind many times even in the short time since it ended.”
  • Great inspiration and offerings to stretch my thinking when considering a photograph. Made me THINK! And finally a photography project to implement those thoughts.”
  • “Once in awhile, as constant learner, you take a class that shifts your way of thinking and approach to a subject. I found Kevin’s course to have that affect. As an amateur and hobbyist photographer, I really appreciated Kevins approach to looking inside your self and how you view it vs. getting new equipment or going to an exotic place for inspiration. As the saying goes the change comes within yourself. I like this new approach to getting out of a rut. Kevin also demonstrated that you can take your photography to other venues of providing service . I think this helped me look at possibilities of going into a different venue for photography. That in itself was worth the class. I highly recommend this class if you want to start carrying your camera again and just start shooting. Great course.”
  • “Kevin presented a rousing, creative program that really enabled me to visualize a host of new directions for me move that will give me more joy in my photography. He helped me ‘take my blinders off.’ Now it’s apparent that there is a universe of new ways to help make my photos more meaningful TO ME!”
  • “I felt the thoughtful, caring attitude that was projected not only by the teacher but students was the strong point. I very much liked the huge number of thought provoking suggestions and the videos were delightful but more than that they got the points across.”
  • “I like the stimulation to get out of my photographic rut(s). Showing me innumerable examples of different photographic approaches was very helpful. But mostly, I liked your non-critical, non-directive encouragement for me to find more satisfying ways to enjoy photography.”
  • “I have been on a number of workshops with Kevin, which were all amazing, but this was exceptionally different.”
  • “a chance to consider new ideas and approaches, a chance to try new things”
  • “I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for new sparks or wanting to push yourself in new ways creatively and technically.”
  • “really helped me to look at my photography in a more emotional way rather than being so concerned about technical aspects”
  • “I loved the projects and homework we were given to apply the information after leaving the workshop”
  • “It was a fantastic experience.”
  • “Kevin’s creative ideas for sparking photographic enthusiasm and the opportunity to think about project ideas, and go out and photograph with that new philosophy, made holding a camera in my hand new and exciting again.”
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Help Us Choose What Classes to Offer Next!

Dear photographer friends,

I was looking over my schedule for the next 3 or 4 months, considering what other classes to offer (besides those already on my calendar). As is always my priority, I am here to serve YOU, so I decided to ask all of you what classes you’d like me to offer next to better serve your needs.

I’ve created a survey. Please go to this survey if you’d like to give feedback on what classes YOU want me to offer next and when!

Survey Deadline: 11/24/2021 10pm CST

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Holiday Gift Ideas For That Photographer in Your Life

Consider giving the gift of a photography class to your photographer friend / family member! We offer several options including local Austin, Texas classes as well as fun destination workshops!

  • In-Person Class:
    Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop

    Whether you are just starting out in photography or you have years of experience, this class will meet you where you are and help you find new directions to head to discover your unique artistic expression in photography! Fall in love with photography, all over again!
    • Mid-January Weekday Morning or Weekend Options Available!
    • Register by December 25th and SAVE $30!

2022 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops

A fabulous photographic adventure in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

2022 Texas Hill Country Spring Photography Retreat

Relax and have fun on this 3-day weekend photography retreat in the beautiful Texas Hill Country! Don’t think of this as a workshop. Think of this as a fun photographers “retreat” to get away and just have fun exploring with other photographers.
March 31 – April 3, 2022
Register by December 25th and SAVE $50!

2022 Fall Photography Fundamentals Workshop

Learn the important fundamentals of photography in this wonderful 4-day educational workshop at a beautiful ranch retreat center in the Texas Hill Country!
October 26-30, 2022

Register by December 25th and SAVE $50!

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Enjoy the Journey

My wife (Gail) and I went out for a walk this morning on a trail very near our home. It was such a nice cool morning, we just had to escape from our daily routine to enjoy the outdoors for a little while. I call these walks my “sanity walks.”

I have been SO busy lately, leading a variety of destination photography workshops and local classes. I totally enjoy these experiences and the wonderful photographers I have met along the way, but this was our personal venture into the nearby forest to simply walk, with no agenda other than to enjoy the journey.

I didn’t bring any sort of “fancy” camera. I just had my iPhone 12 (which arguably IS a “fancy” camera in its own way). I used my iPhone just to capture images of a few things that caught my eye along the trail.

Sometimes if you go hiking for exercise, the objective is to get the exercise done. It’s about pace and time and heart rate. Pushing those objectives aside, there are times where the venture might be a richer experience if we focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Take more time to just pause and look around. Take in your surroundings with all of your senses. Feel the cool air. Pick up a fallen leaf. Smell the scent of the cedar trees still damp from this week’s rains. Listen to the birds and the rushing water at a nearby waterfall.

Look in all directions, not just where you’re going, but also where you’ve been. A trail can look totally different if you simply turn around. You might even see something beautiful you missed along the way.

Sometimes just stop for the sake of stopping. Rest. Give thanks for this miracle of life on this amazing planet floating through space. Give thanks for your ability to walk and see and hear and feel and enjoy the trail. Give thanks to be alive. Never take ANY of this for granted, or you’ll miss the beauty of it ALL.

Walking with a deeper sense of gratitude, you might just see things you would have otherwise passed on by without giving it a second thought.

We only have so many days on this Earth. Enjoy the journey.

Kevin Gourley

P.S. I invite you to join us on some of our future photo workshops!

P.P.S. If you’d ever like to go hiking with us, let me know! We could organize a future hike for anyone interested.

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We Are Back From Our Fall Workshop!

We just returned from our Fall Photography Fundamentals Workshop. What a wonderful group of photographers!

During our classroom time, we covered many important fundamentals of photography, and then the group had plenty of time to explore beautiful Mo Ranch, put into practice the various concepts learned in class, have time to just relax, and enjoy fellowship and meals with the rest of the participants.

Here are some comments from this year’s participants:

  • “The Fall Photography Fundamentals Workshop was truly the very best workshop I’ve ever attended (and not just photography workshops). Kevin’s level of organization was top-notch, from the initial email containing information about Mo Ranch, a very detailed itinerary of every day of the workshop, maps, lodging information, and menus. I arrived with a high level of comfort about the logistics of the entire package and no surprises once I got there. I am an intermediate to advanced photographer and was actually thinking the fundamentals would be a review for me and the location would be the selling point, but during the 4 days I learned so much about my camera functions, the myriad of shooting options, as well as absolutely gorgeous scenery to capture. Being able to recreate some of the beautiful pictures that are shown in the website was an unexpected delight. I have already signed up for the Rocky Mountain Fall Photography Workshop and the Lightroom Classic zoom class.” – Linda Davidson
  • “I enjoyed the Fall Photography Fundamentals Workshop at Mo Ranch so very much! The information and presentation were very well organized and professional, but also delivered in such a way that a photographer on any level would feel comfortable asking questions. The handouts were very helpful and a great reference source for us to take home with us. It was a pleasure to meet someone of your integrity and be a part of this class! I hope to be able to attend another one in the future. I highly recommend your workshops to anyone interested in photography.” – Peggy Craft
  • “The workshop was FABULOUS! You’re the best!”

If you would like to join us in 2022, we have officially opened registration!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
OR TO REGISTER

Here are a few photos I took during or in between teaching sessions.

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Having a Great Time on Our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop!

We are having a great time in Colorado! The weather has been spectacular, with a light dusting of snow on the mountains happening a couple of days ago. High temperatures have been in the 70’s and lows in the 30’s. We just finished the workshop for Group A, and Group B arrives this evening for more great adventures in magnificent Rocky Mountain National Park.

We would LOVE to have you join us in 2022 for our Summer or Fall Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops! (Currently about 50% full!)

Here are a few photos from the past 4 days.

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Let’s Get Through This Together!

We have been through one heck of tough year and a half due to this pandemic. It has certainly been a nightmare for many of us, especially those of us who own and operate a small business that requires interaction with people, like mine.

The last thing we wanted was to see our COVID-19 numbers rising dramatically as they are today.

Different people are choosing to deal with this pandemic in different ways. For me, in MY business, I am always going to do what I can to respect the fact that we CAN make choices to help reduce the spread of this virus such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and get vaccinated. Disregarding these guidelines has led to greater spread of this virus and its continued mutations, and thus a greater burden on society, hospitals, individuals, and businesses. Therefore, the in-person photography classes I am currently offering require wearing masks when in my studio and we distance our tables apart. In our destination workshops, we are following CDC and local safety guidelines.

And I believe we are at a threshold where any NEW classes I add will have to be online classes only, at least until we see where this pandemic is going.

I am hoping my small business can make it through this latest round of pandemic crisis. We’re most definitely feeling the impact on our business now. If you know anyone who wants to learn more about photography or they need a photographer, please send them my way!

For my upcoming classes that still have openings:
  • Online Interactive Course:
    Photography Essentials Levels 1+2 Class
    Start your photography learning here! Or take this course as a refresher on the important fundamentals of photography. Learn important photography essentials! Up to 9 hours of learning in this interactive online webinar course! Monday/Wednesday Evenings November 1,3,8,10 2021 – Four Sessions
    SAVE $40 IF YOU REGISTER BY OCTOBER 1ST!
  • Online Interactive Class: Lightroom Classic CC Class
    Learn how to organize and enhance your photographs with this powerful program! Tues-Thurs Oct 12-14, 2021 6:30pm – 9pm
    Save $20 if you register by September 18!
  • Online Interactive Course: Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop Whether you are just starting out in photography or you have years of experience, this class will meet you where you are and help you find new directions to head to discover your unique artistic expression in photography! Weekday mornings beginning October 4th WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS CLASS FOR ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS!

  • Photography 201 – Expand Your Photography Skills This is a sequel to my Photography 101 class. Currently it is scheduled as an in-person class but we may be switching this to be online instead. Beginning Nov2nd. If you are interested, sign up online! Just note that this may be switched to become an online class instead of in person!

  • 2021 Fall Photography Fundamentals Workshop This is an expanded version of Photography 101 held at a beautiful resort ranch in the Texas Hill Country on the Guadalupe River! The group size is small and our classroom space allows excellent social distancing and we’ll be doing a lot of fun photography around this beautiful ranch! This is a GREAT escape from the COVID-19 mess in Austin! October 27-31, 2021.

  • Texas Bird Photography Ranch Workshop Sharpen your photography skills in bird photography at a wildlife ranch near Uvalde, TX. Our group size is limited to just 5 photographers. Only one space left. Sunday-Tuesday October 17-19, 2021.

  • Online or In-Person Private Instruction Focused on: Your specific photography needs + Your schedule. We can do this in person or online via Zoom video conferencing.

  • Rocky Mountain 2022 Photography Workshops A fabulous photographic adventure in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

I sure thought we were getting beyond this pandemic, but it looks like the best we can do is deal with what happens and do our best at helping keep each other safe. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED IN MY OFFERING MORE ONLINE CLASSES AND WHAT YOU’RE INTERESTED IN! Contact me at kevin@kgphotoworkshops.com

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Kevin Gourley Photography Workshops, Austin, TX – Austin Photography Classes