digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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Weekend Photography Workshop in Southern Alberta May 2-5th, 2019

weekend-photography-workshop-in-drumheller-alberta

In this photography workshop, you'll experience four days and three nights of photography where you'll have a chance to capture the Hoodoos lit up with the setting sun and stars behind – while another night, learn and practice light painting in a prairie ghost town, and finally star trails or other nighttime photography.

Capture sunrise over the Alberta badlands in an early morning shoot and then photo lessons and image review throughout the day. Learn how to position and light a model with the Atlas Coal Mine as your backdrop, then tour and photograph the once thriving mine.

Learn Lightroom and image editing techniques in a classroom setting while reviewing your images. Come and enjoy a 4-day weekend of photography with other avid photographers.

Spring 2019 will be the 11th edition of this weekend photography workshop!

Photo of the hoodoos in Drumheller Alberta at night by student Karen Albert

Student Image – Karen Albert

4-Day Southern Alberta Photography Workshop

    • Where: Drumheller, Alberta
    • When: May 2-5th, 2019

  • Who: You and up to nine other fabulous people. Spouses and non-photography types are welcome (single supplement applies, and inquire about a meal package).
  • What: Photography workshop with on-location lessons including a portrait session and night photography.
  • Why: To expand your photographic horizons, meet some new friends, learn a trick or two and have lots of fun.
  • Max Group Size: 10
  • Remaining Spots: 10

Price: $1195 CAD

A second instructor will be added if the number of participants for this workshop is 9-10.

Register Now – $250

Note: While the price of this workshop is listed at $1195 Canadian dollars, you will be charged only a $250 reservation fee with the remainder being invoiced 60 days prior to the workshop.


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All in all a very enjoyable weekend

Brian Hayward , Drumheller Workshop

Darlene was very receptive to working with individuals as well as the group and tried to tailor the material to suit individuals wants and needs. All in all a very enjoyable weekend.

Best Light

You get to photograph at the optimal times of day for the best light possible, not like other workshops where you end up at the best locations at midday, and the worst lighting conditions. This is a workshop and designed for photography.

Night Photography

Learn and practice night photography to dazzle your family and friends! Even if you’ve never done night photography this workshop will help you learn some ins and outs of shooting at night, and once again, on-site help as you’re shooting.

Gain Confidence

You will get to work with an experienced photography teacher, Darlene Hildebrandt, who will show you how to create great lighting on location and pose people. With a little guidance and support, you’ll be photographing with confidence. YOU will take images so good you may surprise yourself!

It's Easy

All the arrangements, bookings and schedules are planned for you – all you have to do is register, pay and show up! What better way to spend a weekend.

Portrait Shoot

Our photography workshop includes a non-intimidating photo shoot with a model (an old miner). With professional photography instruction and assistance during the session, the fear factor will be removed from the equation. If you’ve never worked with people or done any portrait photography, now’s your chance!

Your Images Will Sing

With class time to review images, learn how to make improvements, post processing tips and tricks that are easy and you can do yourself. You will leave with knowledge on how to take your images to the next level.

student taking a photostudents photography the sunrise at

The Drumheller area of southern Alberta is an oasis on the prairies. It’s a desert in the middle of wheat fields, where you’ll find old coal mines, dinosaur bones, deep canyons, ghost towns, and even a tumbleweed or two on occasion. If you are not familiar with the area, it’s sort of like a mini Grand Canyon, mixed with Arizona desert, mixed with the old west. If you live in Washington, Idaho or Montana you’re just a days drive away. Of course, if you live in Alberta, BC or Saskatchewan you are even closer.

Experience a Uniquely Beautiful Valley With Other Photography Enthusiasts

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All in all a very enjoyable weekend

Brian Hayward , Drumheller Workshop

Darlene was very receptive to working with individuals as well as the group and tried to tailor the material to suit individuals wants and needs. All in all a very enjoyable weekend.

This is a tentative schedule, may not be exactly as shown here:

student photographer getting in close
Alberta ghost town Rowley at night
Rowley Alberta railway station at night
coal miner as photo model
atlas coal mine drumheller alberta

Thursday Evening
Arrive at 5 p.m. in Drumheller to check in before a meet and greet between 6 and 9 p.m. We will discuss logistics for the weekend. Workshop notes will be handed out and we'll go over general tips to get the most out of the weekend. You'll learn some shooting tips for sunrise, sunsets, texture, shooting around your subject and just generally get to know one another.
Friday Morning
We'll be up bright and early for a stunning sunrise photo shoot over the valley of the Badlands. Then lessons and a few exercises at a local attraction and another interesting venue, all before 9 a.m.
Friday Mid-Morning
A few hours on your own from 9 a.m. until noon. Take a nap, look through your images and grab a lunch meal with a buddy before some optional one-on-one time with your instructor. (lunch on your own, not included)
Friday Afternoon
One-on-one time with your instructor after lunch, in scheduled time slots from noon until 1:30 p.m., followed by image review from the previous evening and the morning photo sessions. Then night photography instruction in preparation for the evening's activities.
Friday Early Evening
Supper out with our group before the evening activities (dinner is included in your fee)
Friday Evening
An evening workshop south-east of Drumheller at the Hoodoos. We'll get there just before sunset and then spend a few hours working on night photography. It's this first night that you may begin to understand that photography doesn't have to end when the sun goes down, that's when it just starts to get interesting.
Saturday Morning
Join your instructor at the Atlas Coal Mine, along with a former coal miner, for lessons in lighting and portraiture. Following the portrait session, feel free to wander around the mine and photograph anything that captures your eye. Your mine tour fee is included in your registration fee and our miner model is quite happy to lead the tour explaining what it was like in his day. An abandoned train trestle nearby provides ample opportunity for some great shots, as does an old cabin from years ago.
Saturday Early Afternoon
Lunch in the historic East Coulee School museum tea room, time on your own to tour and photograph in the school, or just learn the history of the area from the miners' perspective. We'll do a lesson in HDR photography and then practice at this unique location. Your instructor is available to answer any questions.
Saturday Afternoon
Free time from 2-5 pm and a great chance for image review with the instructor, get some extra Lightroom tips and examples and have us answer your questions.
Saturday Evening
Dinner out and then night photography at a ghost town a short distance from Drumheller. Sunset photos with the dramatic backdrops provided by the ghost town. Classic prairie landscapes with the rustic charm of a small practically abandoned (but cared for) ghost town. Photos of old buildings and once the sun sets, night photography on site with a light painting demonstration and practice. Make use of the grain elevators, a restored railroad station and plenty of rustic buildings and machinery. Things wrap up close to 11 p.m., so be prepared for a very long day – from just after sun up until well past sundown.
Sunday Morning
We get to sleep in a little and will then have a final image review and wrap-up. You'll be on your way by about 1 pm, so time to drive home or back to Calgary for any late afternoon or evening flights.
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Loved the workshop!

Lee Ann Man , Drumheller Workshop

I learned so much about night photography as well as getting to know my camera settings better. It was great to get so many valuable tips on how to make my photographs more interesting. I'll tell everyone I can about this workshop.

Pricing for Drumheller Photography Workshop

Price: $1195

Register Now – $250

This workshop is a great value. Everything below is included:

  • 3 nights accommodation (prices based on double occupancy, if you wish to have your own private room, $250 will be added to the price). If we cannot match you with a roommate the single supplement will apply.
  • 3 continental breakfasts.
  • 1 lunch.
  • 2 dinners.
  • 5 on-location photo shoots.
  • One shoot at an old mine which includes a private guide and model who used to be a miner when it was still operating.
  • 2 sessions of class-time for review of images, processing tips and a general question and answer time.
  • Ongoing instructor support during the location shoots.
  • Photography instruction and tutoring from an experienced professional photographer and teacher.
  • A private Facebook group to share your images after the workshop and continue to get feedback from the instructor and fellow workshop participants.

Your Instructor Darlene Hildebrandt
Darlene is the creator of Digital Photo Mentor, a photography teacher, tour leader, traveler, and a cat owner. She has over 30 years of experience as a professional photographer and has been teaching photography since 2011. She is a Fuji shooter but speaks almost all other photography languages including; Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax and more. Whatever your skill level and experience, she can help you unlock the next level and take better photos.

Cancellation policies

If for some reason you need to cancel your registration (of course we'll be very sad!) the following cancellation and refund policies will apply. Due to the limited size of the workshop, if you reserve a spot and then cancel, it may mean that we have turned away other interested people. So after the cut-off dates, a retainer fee will be charged based on the date of cancellation. Please read these policies carefully, there will be no exceptions.

  • In the event of a cancellation, your initial deposit is non-refundable unless we can fill your spot.
  • Final invoices will be issued 90 days before the workshop and are due 60 days in advance of the start date.
  • Cancellation more than 60 days in advance – you will get a full refund of your final payment (not including your $250 deposit).
  • Cancellation 31-60 days in advance a 75% refund of your final payment will apply (not including your $250 deposit).
  • Cancellation 15-30 days in advance 50% refund of your final payment will apply (not including your $250 deposit).
  • Cancellation less than 14 days before the workshop – no refund will be issued. At that point hotel rooms, meals, and other booking fees will have been paid in advance and cannot be returned to the workshop organizers, so any last minute cancellations, unfortunately, cannot be refunded and the full balance is the retainer fee.
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Learn your camera better than you thought possible

Dara Choy , Workshop participant

Be rested and ready because you are going to learn your camera better than you thought possible and also get a gallery of shots that surpass anything you ever imagined being able to take!

This workshop IS for you if:

  • You are a beginner to intermediate, amateur or hobby photographer.
  • You have a DSLR, Mirrorless, or Micro 4/3's camera (that has manual controls) and want to get more out of it.
  • You like meeting new people.
  • You love to travel.
  • You love learning new things.
  • You want to improve your photography.
  • You want to know how to make your images have the punch they seem to lack.
  • You want to have new experiences.
  • You are fun and open-minded.

This workshop IS NOT for you if:

  • You are a working professional photographer (this is not a portfolio expansion opportunity).
  • You have a point and shoot camera (unfortunately those cameras are a bit limiting and there isn't' as much to learn about them so you may not get as much value out of the workshop).
  • You already have some good images (you think) but want someone to review them for you.
  • You are under 18 (sorry no minors).

Don't take my word for it, see what past participants had to say:

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Pete Seerden Drumheller Workshop

Highly recommend anything Darlene does

Not every good photographer is a good teacher however, in my opinion Darlene has both fields covered very well.

I've taken classroom instruction from Darlene, private photography tutoring and attended her workshop. I can't recommend her enough.

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Dara Choy Workshop participant

Learn your camera better than you thought possible

Be rested and ready because you are going to learn your camera better than you thought possible and also get a gallery of shots that surpass anything you ever imagined being able to take!

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Mike Perkins Drumheller Workshop

Darlene really knows her stuff

She's patient and instructs in a laid back way that encourages learning. I learned so many things in this workshop including back button focus which will help me with my bird photography.

I look forward to attending more trips, tours and workshops with Darlene.

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Kelly McNaughton Drumheller Workshop

I LOVE that learning never stopped

I feel much more confident navigating through the settings and menu's on my camera and also using a tripod. The one-on-one instructor contact, combined with enthusiastic participants who were willing to share, was invaluable.

Pricing for Drumheller Photography Workshop

Price: $1195

Register Now – $250

 Note: Once we receive your completed registration form, you will be sent an invoice for a $250 reservation fee in Canadian dollars with the remainder being invoiced 90 days prior to the workshop. The price equates to approximately $900 USD or $1220 AUD respectively. Prices are based on double occupancy, there is a $250 CAD single supplement price if you would like your own room. (If you request a roommate we will endeavor to match you with one, but cannot guarantee this. If a roommate is not available the single supplement will apply.)

This workshop is limited to just eight people so we can keep the group small enough for individual attention from the instructor.

Update: A second instructor will be added if the number of participants for this workshop is 9-10.

Our Photo Tours & Workshops

Click here for our complete list of photo tours of Central America, Africa, Asia and South America, and if you'd like more hands-on, photography education, you'll love one of our workshops, held in Western Canada, Mexico, Barbados and soon SE Asia.