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Foundation Workshop 7

Foundation Workshop 7 Participants

Foundation Workshop 7 Participants

February 1-5, 2009

February was a crazy and exciting month for me. I wanted to catch up a bit on some of the things I’ve been involved in.

For the past 3 years I’ve been involved as a team leader with Huy Nguyen’s Foundation Workshop in Dallas. Foundation is a workshop for wedding photographers that is loosely modeled after the Eddie Adams Barnstorm, a very prominent workshop for photojournalists and documentary photographers.

The idea behind Foundation is to teach wedding photographers to think like photojournalists. I absolutely believe that this is the best teaching workshop available today for wedding photographers.

Students are placed on a team with a team leader, 2 shooting mentors, and a team assistant. Each team is comprised of 5 students. Each student gets a real  editorial assignment to photograph and has two full days of shooting to complete a picture story.

The shooting mentors meet each student out in the field while on the assignment each day to help them problem solve and troubleshoot. At the end of the day, the students come back to the team meeting room for an open, group edit and critique by their team leader. They go back on the second day and try to put into practice the things they learned from the previous day’s critique. The mentors are right there with them on the assignment for more hands-on training, as needed.

(R-L) Nic Dragomire, Verna Pitts, Jennifer Domenick, Kate Mefford

(R-L) Nic Dragomire, Verna Pitts, Jennifer Domenick, Kate Mefford

On the final day, the team leaders make the last selections and create a slideshow presentation of each student’s work. That night all the teams come together for a dinner party and each student has the opportunity to introduce and present their story to the entire group

The presentations are often emotional moments for both the students and the team leaders as they discuss the breakthroughs made during the week. Many students have described the experience as life changing. It is an intense and powerful week of learning.

This year I had the good fortune of working with another great group of people. As a team leader, it’s important to have a great supporting staff to help the week flow smoothly for the students. This year I was paired with Jennifer Domenick and Joe Dickie as mentors and Tina Carter as my workshop assistant. Jennifer and Tina were returning members of my team and Joe was a new addition.

Ray getting instruction from Joe

Ray Anthony (R) getting instruction from Joe Dickie

We had an outstanding group of students -  Ray Anthony, Nic Dragomire, John Heisel, Kate Mefford, and Verna Pitts. They were given some challenging assignments and they all responded to the call. In the end however, Foundation Workshop is not about the slideshow or story you produce, it’s about how much you learn and grow as a photographer.

More information can be found on the FW7 website at

Registration has already started for next year. Information can be found at

Here is some of the imagery produced by my students this year:

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Ray Anthony produced a nice story on a major rodeo in neighboring Fort Worth.
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Nic Dragomire had a story on the only female taxidermist in the state of Texas:
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John Heisel photographed a real character – a man who works as an exterminator but also runs the world’s only cockroach museum.
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Kate Mefford produced a very sweet story on a local senior center:
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Verna Pitts captured the very colorful Bill Smith Cafe:
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Here’s a nice little slideshow of the FW Experience produced by workshop photographers David Pullum and Anna Kuperberg:

FW7 Slideshow from Anna Kuperberg on Vimeo.

Finally here is a GREAT video produced by Vladimir Chaloupka on the FW7 experience. This video was produced with the new Canon 5D MKII camera.

FW7 from Vladimir Chaloupka on Vimeo.

  • March 6, 2009 - 11:23 pm

    David Murray - Nice work by all. That rodeo shot of bull/ clowns by Ray is killer. Some real fine work by your team. Needless to say, some fine direction by you and the staff!

  • March 8, 2009 - 11:28 am

    Nic Dragomire - I didn’t realize you maintained a blog!

    FW7 was a week that will not be forgotten and you were a big part of it for me. Greg, thanks for helping me in my pursuit to be a better photographer and journalist. Thanks for not making us stay up until 5am and your easy going personality was very well received.

    até a próxima vez meu amigo

  • March 25, 2009 - 5:57 pm

    What do I do during the slow season? | Ray Anthony Photography - […] It seems that my slow season is getting shorter and shorter each year!  I usually try to get caught up on marketing materials, like updating the website, making new brochures, getting together with other wedding vendors, etc.  This year I concentrated on my photography skills.  I participate on a forum called the Foundation Workshop which has many current or former news photojournalists who have become wedding photographers.  I collaborate with this very talented group throughout the year critiquing each others’ wedding photography and sharing business ideas.  This past February, I had an opportunity to be a student at their annual workshop called FW7.  The purpose of the workshop is to put wedding photographers into a real life situation for a couple of days to photograph it like a newspaper or editorial style photographer.  I did it because I wanted to be challenged by the countries best.  I was fortunate that my mentor was Greg Gibson – a two time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalists.  He was assigned by the A.P. to be President Bill Clinton’s photographer for the last term of his presidency!  You can check out Greg’s blog where he put a post about FW7 and mentions myself and the other students that he mentored.  You can also see some of my work there.  Click here. […]

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