digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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


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.

Penny D Oregon, USA

I learned a lot about light, lens selections, & night time settings, and equipment handling.


The workshop schedule allowed for many varied time of day opportunities. Sunrises, sunsets, the blue hour, total late night. I learned a lot about light, lens selections, & night time settings, and equipment handling.

Exposure to people with my same interest was also one of the highlights I had not expected and a real treat for someone who lives in a very rural Oregon community.

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

Bev Holoboff Drumheller Photography Workshop 2012

Time very well spent


The Drumheller weekend photography workshop was a great opportunity to immerse myself in two straight days of learning.

Not only were sessions planned to take advantage of the unique location, enabling us to experience different types of photographic situations, but it all happened under the guidance of a helpful, patient, and knowledgeable instructor.

All in all, time very well spent.

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.
Kelly Driedger Drumheller Workshop

Learned MORE than I thought I would


Darlene does a very good job at explaining Lightroom / photo processing techniques and has excellent shooting knowledge. Our group experienced a vast variety of techniques.

I myself learned more about image processing, general camera use and about paying more attention to the light!

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.
Lee Ann Man Drumheller Workshop

Loved the 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.

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:

Brenda Hochstein Drumheller Workshop

Instructors were available and approachable

Having instructors that were available and approachable is very important when someone is not always confident in what they are doing. Darlene was great with instruction and the image reviews each day were most welcomed.

While I knew about lighting, I wasn't using it as effectively as I could have been. My time at the workshop helped me become better with natural light and so much more.

Stacey Oviatt Drumheller Photography Workshop

Darlene, you are most definitely meant to teach

I was not sure what to expect going in, as I knew I had a lot less experience than anyone else in the group. I was basically starting from scratch with SLR photography. The group size was perfect for me to ask questions, get some help, and then play around on my own. Darlene you have an incredible amount of patience with everyone, most definitely meant to teach. I feel inspired to keep learning, and will be back for another photography workshop in the future.

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!

Karen Albert Drumheller Photography Workshop

That single moment was worth the entire trip

I have never quite accomplished a good night shot when it comes to including skies and stars, even after a class in night shooting and multiple tries on camping trips. I was attempting it again while practicing light painting at the hoodoos and after a few suggestions from Darlene, I had a turning point moment. I looked at the preview in my camera and I was stunned, I could hardly believe I had taken the picture I was seeing.

That single moment was worth the entire trip

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.

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