Foundation First in 2017

2017 will be the second year of the brand new Foundation First workshop which is developed by the organizers of the world-renowned Foundation Workshop. Truly living up to the definition of the word “Foundation”, it is focused on teaching the fundamentals necessary to create compelling images.

This 3-day workshop will see you matched with a mentor responsible for only 2 students, giving you unprecedented one on one time in the field. Under the guidance of your mentor you will learn to create dynamic compositions in an ever-changing, fast-paced environment, as well as learn advanced exposure techniques and use of all types of light for maximum dramatic impact. These mentors and educators are many of the same teachers you will find at the Foundation Workshop and represent some of the best minds and talent that our industry has to offer.

This workshop is perfect for photographers who are early in their careers as well as more advanced photographers who are looking for a creative jumpstart. Whether you’re looking to learn how to add interest and drama to your already solid work, or to build a strong foundation on which to develop a documentary style, this is a perfect starting point. Of course many of you will also be interested in the full Foundation Workshop experience in the future, and this can act as an excellent starting point to address some of the finer points of camera and composition technique. Skills you will want to have locked down before tackling the rigorous mental and physical challenge that the full workshop entails. While it’s not expressly a pre-requisite, many photographers will find that attending Foundation First will facilitate a much deeper learning experience when they move on to the Foundation Workshop.

Lead by experienced Foundation Workshop instructors, the Foundation First workshop offers 3 days of:

Photojournalism Lessons: One full day of group instruction by some of the world’s best documentary wedding photographers. You will learn valuable techniques as well as the mindset required to execute these techniques. These lessons will help you to be a better all-around photographer and will directly apply to your wedding photography.

In-the-field Mentoring: One full day of shooting under the guidance of a qualified and experienced photography mentor. One-on-one teaching to help you implement the new skills and techniques you learn during the workshop. Mentors are former Foundation Workshop students and/or teachers who are well versed and adept at teaching and implementing these new skills. With a ratio of 2 students per mentor, you’re assured you will receive all the guidance you require.

Honest Critiques: One full day of critiques in group sessions that will give you valuable insight into what worked, what didn’t, and why. You’ll take these insights home and use them to continue to improve and develop your skills as a photographer. This is not a hard “tear-inducing” critique session, but an open and honest discussion centered on improving and nurturing your skills as a photographer.

Rest assured, we will take excellent care of you educationally and logistically within this new format. Over the past 13 years we have conducted 26 Foundation workshops all over the world, and our very capable staff will ensure that you have a top-notch learning experience.

If you’re ready to ratchet up your photography skills, or looking for a tune up before attending a Foundation Workshop in the future, we invite you to consider attending Foundation First 2017 and start building your foundation now…


Dates: January 20-22, 2017
Location: Ft. Worth, TX
Spots available: 18
Tuition: $2,600 USD per student for tuition only. Students are responsible for their own travel, lodging, car rental (NOT required), some meals, and incidental expenses.

Tentative Schedule:
Day 0 Thursday January 19, 2017 –  travel day, everyone arrives, pre-workshop dinner
Day 1 Friday January 20 –  Classroom Day
Day 2 Saturday January 21 – Shooting Day (Ft. Worth Stock Show & Rodeo)
Day 3 Sunday January 22 – Critique Day 
Day 4 Monday January 23 – travel day, everyone departs for home

FF17 Instructors & Staff

Huy Nguyen
Huy NguyenDirector
Kelly Rashka
Kelly RashkaManager
Tyler Wirken
Tyler WirkenTeacher
Sergio Lopez
Sergio LopezTeacher
Candice Cusic
Candice CusicTeacher


Rob Whelan

“So, I came to Foundation wanting to learn how to take better pictures. Check, check, but that’s not what’s important. Did I become a better photographer? Yes, but not in the way I thought I was going to. I’m a stronger photographer now with more depth and insight into what actually makes a better photograph. Patience, Love and Connection to the subject. Being fearless doesn’t mean climbing trees to get cool composition. Sure it helps, but being truly fearless behind a camera starts inside your heart and it means going into any situation and finding meaning in what you’re doing. You have to work for it. Anticipate it. Go after it. Then, go after it some more.”

Rob Whelanread more about his FF16 experience...
Shelly Sessions

“Photography is not an academic pursuit. Foundation First is not about making the grade, passing a test, or receiving accolades. Foundation First is about falling in love – messy, tumultuous, tear-inducing, cathartic love – with yourself, with the possibilities, with the light, and with the gift of being alive, and conveying that message to the world through photography…”

Shelly Sessionsread more about her FF16 experience...
Jenny Petersen

“It was astounding to watch fourteen people, one after the other, admit truths to our group that they may never have admitted to themselves let alone to an audience. I knew while listening to everyone that I had never felt something so honest before, had never been in a group of over twenty adults so willing to bare their fears and struggles and I was unlikely to have the opportunity again so I joined. And I cried (nay, even blubbered), and I hugged and I kissed and I held hands and rubbed backs and pumped my fist in the air because I needed to physically show these beautiful people how profoundly they had affected me, and changed how I saw the world and myself.”

Jenny Petersenread more about her FF16 experience...
Bridget Eldridge

“I hear you’re having problems going up to people.”
“YES! It’s SO scary!”
“Alright, well how did you meet your husband?”

Bridget Eldridgeread more about her FF16 experience...
Carlos Calderón

“I left him with tears in my eyes and kept shooting my assignment. This time I followed his advice and I finally found what I was meant to look for. I found love. And stuck there.

If I ever get lost again, I now have a beacon, a bonfire, a lighthouse.”

Carlos Calderónread more about his FF16 experience...
Christine Sanchez

“It was spending three amazing days with thirteen other students trying to soak up all the knowledge that our mentors could offer, and three days of our mentors trying to drown us in all the knowledge they possibly could. It was learning how to “see the light,” how to use continuous focus, how to express love in your photographs, how to be patient and wait for a moment to happen. It was being brave enough to show my crappy images to my peers, so we could all learn how they could have been better photos. It was cheering for another student when he displayed an incredible, portfolio-worthy photo. It was exhilarating, embarrassing, exhausting and energizing. It was turning strangers into family. It was amazing, and I loved every minute of it.”

Christine Sanchezread more about her FF16 experience...
Melissa Suneson

“I left Foundation First with a lot of inspiration, a lot of wants, a lot of thoughts on what to work in and on how to put together the pieces of the puzzle to make my images stronger, more meaningful. Emotions rule our world, we just need to embrace them fearlessly, know what we are doing, and then good things will happen and a connection with purpose will be made between the photographer, the subject and finally the viewer.”

Melissa Sunesonread more about her FF16 experience...
Tina Doshi

“And, I laid down (literally!) next to the cow shi*t to get the shot! I started experience a whole new meaning to the word… Fearless.

Instead of focusing on pain, I started to see beauty again.

Instead of looking for moments, I felt them.

And, there was love. Love in a way I had never seen before.”

Tina Doshiread more about her FF16 experience...
Veronica Rodriguez

“This day was very important. We learned school stuff. It was a combination of what I had learned in 5 workshops plus more! I learned how my brain and my heart compete against each other instead of working with each other. I felt like I was slapped with a dose of Holy poop I do that to myself?? Yes… I do that to myself. My technical abilities challenge my emotional content. I got to understand how all these feelings and confused emotions were normal and were shared by my colleagues. Felt good to not be alone.”

Veronica Rodriguezread more about her FF16 experience...


Registration for FF17 will begin on Monday  February 20, 2016.