March Update

© Paul Burwell

© Paul Burwell


The March of Winter

Seems Stalled…

I don’t know about your part of the world, but from where I’m sitting in my office in Edmonton, Alberta, winter has overstayed its welcome. We’ve just gone through the coldest week of the winter and now we are promised snow each day until the weekend, when finally, we hope to see temperatures above freezing.

With the whining over, let’s get to some news. This issue we’ll talk about the very successful first edition of our Fashion and Glamour Photography class with Master of Photographic Arts, Tracy Grabowski. While our students routinely give our classes positive reviews, we’ve never seen feedback as wonderful as Tracy received. Keep reading for more information.

We’ll also bring you news on some new dates for sold-out classes we’ve added. Additionally, we have a new class for students who have completed our Digital Camera Fundamentals class, and who want the chance to do more practising and receive direct feedback on their images.

 Our First Fashion & Glamour Class

© Bradley Asmussen

© Bradley Asmussen


“The Fashion and Glamour photography class was excellent. Tracy brings experience and knowledge that she is excited and eager to share. I gained valuable knowledge on how a fashion shoot is run; tips and tricks of the trade and how to work with the models. The hands on, shooting experience really helped to further my skills and understanding. This class is amazing!”

“…a most exhilarating action packed educational weekend. The time flew by and I am still on a high. Highly recommend this class and the Burwell School of Photography!”

Tracy Grabowski, MPA, taught our first Fashion & Glamour Class the weekend of February 22-23.  Her students absolutely raved about her and the class (see above).  The only complaint we heard is that they all wished the class was longer.

While the dates aren’t set yet, we’ll be offering another edition of this class during the fall.  Stay tuned to the newsletter for details on when the class will go on sale.

Here are a couple of more images that student’s made during the class.  The image on the left is © Teresa Bolinski while the image on the right is © Dago Chou.

© Dago Chou

© Dago Chou

© Teresa Bolinski

© Teresa Bolinski









Very Popular Classes see New Dates Added!

Due to popular demand, we’ve added some additional dates for some of our classes. These classes have consistently been very popular, so as best as the instructor’s time and room availability allows, we’re trying to accommodate you…

Wedding Photography Class

Chris Stambaugh, MPA, has agreed to add another edition of his popular Wedding Photography class for the weekend of March 29-30, 2014. The last class sold out months in advance and this class is already half sold out. This $250.00 class (plus GST) compares extremely favourably to others that are selling around the $1,500 mark. Don’t be fooled by the cost. Chris’ students rave about the class and him as a teacher. Interested students can register for the class through this link.

Digital Camera Fundamentals Class

This is our most popular class and we’ve now added an edition of the class that runs the weekend of June 15-16, 2014. This edition of the class will be taught by Tracy Grabowski, MPA, who has years of experience teaching classes like this. If this is the class you’ve been wanting to take, don’t hesitate because it promises to sell out early. Interested students can register for the class through this link.

Off Camera Flash Class

We’ve convinced Bruce Clarke to add another edition of his popular Off Camera Flash class this spring. Bruce is going to have to squeeze this class in between wedding shoots and so this 12 hour class will run on two consecutive Sundays on June 15th and June 22nd. Bruce always brings in a model or two to help the students practice the techniques taught during the class. Interested students can register for the class through this link.

Landscape Photography Class

Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou’s inaugural BSOP Landscape Photography Class sold out in record time and month’s in advance of when it is running in May. So, we’ve already added a fall date for their class. The dynamic duo behind the the popular website promise to bring a lot of fun, creativity and photography in their classes. The fall edition of the class runs the weekend of September 19-21, 2014. You can find more information on the class or register for it through this link.

New Class – Photography Play & Critique

© Olivia Kachman |

© Olivia Kachman

Our Photography Play & Critique class is designed for students who have an understanding of their digital SLR’s manual functions and the fundamental design principles of creative digital photography. Students are required to have completed our Digital Camera Fundamentals Photography Class as a pre-requisite and have taken the time to practice and integrate this knowledge on their own time and are ready to take their photography to the next level through:

  • practical in-class experience with hands-on photography play time each week at the beginning of the class
  • submitting photos on a weekly basis to be critiqued for the second half of the class that demonstrate specific manual photography skills

This class is for those students who are ready to refine their skills and who will commit to submitting their best photos for critique in a timely manner each week. The success of the class is based on the full participation of every student!

You will be practising:

  • Large and small apertures, aperture priority, macro mode dial setting
  • Slow and fast shutter speeds, shutter priority
  • Creating the perfect exposures, trouble-shooting exposures, exposure compensation, reading histograms
  • Creative and artistic compositions
  • Manual focusing scenarios; foreground frames, creating depth through layers
  • Portraits of people and places/landscapes
  • Photo essay; telling a story of a person, event or place in a series of pictures
  • Guidance on selecting images for a portfolio

Also, unless you’ve previously taken the Digital Camera Fundamentals class from us, you will unfortunately not be able to register in this class. Even if you have previous photography experience we have to ensure all our students start the class with the same background so that no material has to be retaught.

Because this is a follow-up to the original class, we’re offering this class at a very special price of just $200 (plus GST) for twelve hours of education spread over four Thursday evenings in May. The class runs on May 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th from 6:30pm until 9:30pm.

If this is a class that sounds interesting to you, please don’t hesitate because it has a strong chance of selling out.

Register or More Information

Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop

© Paul Burwell

© Paul Burwell


If you have any interest at all in photographing animals, our Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop in Kalispell, Montana is the absolute best place to fill your memory cards with memorable images of baby and adult wildlife. This workshop runs from Thursday evening, June 19th until noon on Monday, June 23rd/2014.

We’ve been visiting and running workshops at the Triple “D” Game Farm for almost ten years now and have the experience necessary to make sure that you go home with the best possible images. Beginner, advanced amateur or even aspiring pro photographers all tell us that our instructional wildlife photography workshops are simply the best. Read some testimonials for yourself.

During the mornings we’ll be out at the various photography sites photographing the animals. During the shoots, Paul, the instructor for the workshop, is on hand to make sure you get some awesome images. You won’t have to worry about interrupting Paul’s shooting to get some attention, Paul is strictly there to help you get some compelling images. In the afternoons and early evenings, we’ll either be photographing or having time in the classroom helping you hone your skills.

Here’s what you can expect during this workshop:

  • The opportunity to photograph extremely healthy and happy wildlife in natural surroundings
  • A minimum of 8 sessions photographing the animals over 4 days
  • The benefit of Paul’s years of experience photographing at Triple D and scouting the locations
  • You will be safely closer to animals like Cougars, Lynx and Siberian Tigers than you ever imagined possible
  • A copy of Paul’s ebook, Triple D Photography Tips, Tricks and Techniques
  • Small group size to a maximum of 10 participants allows for maximum flexibility
  • The opportunity to bring at least 10 images with you for critiquing
  • The opportunity to learn techniques for preparing images with Lightroom and Photoshop along with developing an optimized workflow

We are continually impressed with Triple D’s humane treatment of their animals and the sensitivity with which they work with their animals. The ranch itself is close to all amenities and we get a great rate at the local Holiday Inn Express (which is less than a 5 min drive away). Triple D is set in a beautiful, natural setting right on the river-front. Come and see why past clients of our Triple D workshops will often return again and again. Past years have seen this workshop sell out quickly, so please register soon if you’re interested.

Register or More Information

Upcoming Classes with Spots Still Available…

Posing for Families and Children

© Tracy Grabowski Photography | BSOP Instructor

© Tracy Grabowski Photography, MPA, SPA

Tracy Grabowski MPA, recipient of the Master of Photographic Arts designation from the Professional Photographers of Canada, presents this class exclusively focused on the posing of families and children for better portraits.

One skill that frequently eludes many photographers is finding a way to skillfully and naturally pose their subjects. With enough practice, posing adults can become relatively easy because they’ll usually listen to your feedback. However, posing children requires an entirely special skill set.

Through a series of classroom lectures, demonstrations and hands-on exercises, Tracy will help you learn to pose children and families in a natural yet dynamic way.

This is a 12 hour class that covers a large number of topics around the posing of families and children in portrait photography including:

  • How to set an appropriate atmosphere for productive photography with families and children
  • Setting realistic expectations
  • Learning to interact with your subject(s)
  • Flattering poses for adults and children
  • Creative compositions
  • Patterns and Symmetry in Posing
  • Posing for Infants and Children
  • Posing for Couples
  • Posing for Families
  • Posing for Large Groups

Tracy’s inaugural Posing for Families and Children class will feature lots of demonstrations, Tracy’s infectious enthusiasm and some time for students to practice. The class will be held the weekend of March 29-30, 2014.

Register or More Information


Travel Photography

© Darlene Hlidebrandt - Her View Photography

© Darlene Hlidebrandt – Her View Photography

If you have a trip planned for the future and want to come home with images that tell your travel story, consider attending our Travel Photography class that runs on the weekend of March 22nd and 23rd and is presented by Darlene Hildebrandt.

Darlene will have just returned from recent trips to Cuba and Nicaragua as she again presents our Travel Photography class. In addition to being a professional photographer for over twenty years, Darlene is the managing editor for the Internet’s largest photography learning site, Digital Photography School.

Regardless of the type of digital camera that you use (DSLR, Point-and-shoot, camera phone, etc.), Darlene will share with you the tips and techniques she uses to make sure that every trip remains a vibrant memory every time the images from a trip are reviewed. During the class you can expect to learn about:

  • Safety on the road
  • How to back up and store files
  • How to compose better images
  • Photographing people on the street
  • Learning about “good light” and how to find it
  • Location scouting and planning ahead
  • How to create a series of images to tell a story
  • What to do with your images when you get home

Register or More Information

Studio Photography

© Moments in Digital Photography

© Moments in Digital Photography


Join professional wedding and portrait photographer Bruce Clarke for a hands-on photography class that will provide you with the opportunity to learn studio lighting from basic set-ups to advanced configurations, equipment and techniques. Learning to photograph in a studio environment can seem a daunting task. This class is designed to demystify the studio equipment and provide you with hands-on opportunities to gain an introduction to studio lighting and techniques.

During this 12 hour class, you can expect to learn:

  • Studio set-ups
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Backdrops and props
  • Hot lights versus strobes
  • Mono Lights versus Speed Lights
  • Metering in studio
  • White balance
  • Basic portrait set up
  • Essential modifiers
  • Key light, fill light, hair light
  • Overview of light sources
  • High key lighting
  • Low Key Lighting
  • Creating mood with light
  • Controlling the background
  • Gels and accessories for modifying backgrounds
  • Grids, Spots, cutters, gobos, mirrors and more

Studio Lighting features a ton of gear, some models to photograph and a wonderful instructor. The class runs the weekend of April 26-27, 2014.

Register or More Information


Night Photography

© Darlene Hildebrandt - Her View Photography

© Darlene Hildebrandt – Her View Photography

Join former Professional Photographers of Canada’s Photographic artist of the Year for Alberta, Darlene Hildebrandt for a photography class on Night Photography. This course will teach you to make compelling images during the time of day most people don’t try to photograph: night time.

Darlene will teach you about the equipment required along with the different technical considerations that are necessary when photographing at night. The class also includes a field trip that will provide you with hands-on experience under Darlene’s watchful eye to capture interesting images at night.

What You Will Learn During our Night Photography Class
how to photograph at night using long exposures
what equipment you need for night photography
the technique of painting with light
using alternative sources of light to your advantage
using a small flash(es)
do’s and don’ts
look at sample images using all these techniques
what problems you might encounter and how to solve them
a field trip to give you hands-on experience with Night Photography
This class features both classroom time and a field trip to do some night photography. The class runs over the weekend of May 3-4, 2014.

Register or More Information

© Olivia Kachman |

© Olivia Kachman


One of the great things about digital photography is that there is virtually no cost to making a ton of photographs. Unfortunately, one of the bad things about digital photography is that this is virtually no cost to making a ton of photographs.

Not to sound like an old codger, but in the “old days” there was a real cost to making each and every photograph. It either meant a valuable frame of slide film was used up and would need to be processed or another negative and print would be developed. In those days, I imagined money leaving my wallet with each click of the shutter button and I was very careful to spend my money wisely in terms of deciding when to make a photograph.

That approach had the advantage of forcing a photographer to be very mindful of the type of images they were making. Exposure was carefully checked, as was the framing and composition of the photograph. It came at the cost of experimentation, but each photograph was mindfully made.

One of the problems with the “no cost” world of hungrily snapping away without too much thought to the matter is that it can lead to making photographers a bit lazy in terms of exposure and compensation. When I teach my students I always try to stress how preferable it is to get things as perfect as possible in the camera both in terms of composition and exposure. This greatly cuts down on the amount of time one has to spend time processing images on the computer and increases the time for creativity and photography.

So the next time you’re out photographing, try to imagine that each time you click the shutter button that it is costing you a dollar. Carefully examine what you’re seeing in the viewfinder. Reposition yourself, your camera or the framing of the shot so that you’re only including what you want to be in the photo to help tell a story and more importantly exclude anything that doesn’t directly benefit the story. Make sure you’ve got the technical aspects right in terms of exposure and focus and then make the decision to spend the dollar and make the photo.

Not only will I bet that you’ll find your photographs a whole lot more creative and interesting, you’ll also find yourself with more time photography and less time chained to the computer.

In the meantime…

Hopefully by the time we’re working on the next newsletter, some snow will be gone and there will be a hint of spring in the air.

We continue to be hard at work bringing you the best possible photography classes that we can put together for you.

We’ve still got plenty of exciting things planned for the future and are extremely grateful that our clients have helped us become Alberta’s largest independent provider of Photography Education services.


Paul Burwell
Owner, Burwell School of Photography

“Indoors or out, no one relaxes in March, that month of wind and taxes. The wind will presently disappear, the taxes last us all the year.”
– Ogden Nash

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