JUNE 6-7


The Power of Ideas in Photography:

Nurture your documentary ideas to develop and execute a compelling self-directed photography series

$625 (includes lunch)



Getting started on your idea can be the hardest part of any project (it’s why most fail). The best way to develop your photographic style and discover where your passions, experiences and creativity intersect, is through self-assigned projects. Powerful and impactful self-assigned projects can make a photographer’s career but they can also be daunting. The process of ideation, research, outreach, production, execution and publishing is often a challenge. It is easy to get off-course or discouraged. 

This workshop is for photographers of all skill levels who wish to imagine, create, refine and complete self-assigned, portrait-based projects. Award-winning editorial and documentary photographer, Richard Beaven, will provide invaluable guidance on how to successfully complete impactful, unique and visually-driven projects. In this workshop experience, Beaven will provide a safe and nurturing environment for you to brainstorm, construct and fine-tune your approach, and share your vision. Challenge yourself to commit to your ideas and learn how to build those ideas into a cohesive and compelling project. While not a requirement, you will get the most out of this workshop if you already have a project in mind and can talk about it.


There will be one short destination shoot assignment, with the objective to experiment with style and treatment for your project/series and to get comfortable approaching and directing your portrait subjects. Your final shoot image selects will be reviewed in a group critique led by Beaven. Students will leave this workshop with a clear vision for their self-directed project and the tools needed to successfully research, outreach, shoot, edit and share the final completed work. 


• Project ideation and development
• Determining if your idea has life
• How research can inspire and inhibit
• The importance of feedback and critiques
• Where inspiration come from

The role of reference materials
• Working your way towards a personal and aesthetically-driven vision
• Overcoming a fear of approaching and connecting with strangers
• Evaluating and editing your own work
• Knowing when your project is complete

• Getting your work seen and out into the world
• How to leverage self-directed personal work into professional opportunities


One destination portrait shoot with a group critique of the final edited image selects. 


Lunch is provided on Saturday and Sunday. Please let us know if you have any food allergies or aversions in the registration paperwork. Accommodations are not included. We recommend booking a local Airbnb, hotel or motel in Camden, Hope, Lincolnville, Rockport or Rockland. Here are links to a few local favorites in the Midcoast Area:

Lincolnville Motel (hip, laid-back, affordable, renovated vintage motor inn)

Drift Oceanside Inn (oceanfront cabins close to the Camden Hills State Park)

Whitehall Inn (boutique hotel within walking distance to downtown Camden)

250 Main (high-end boutique hotel in Rockland Arts District)

Camden Accommodations (vacation rentals in Midcoast area)

Airbnb (Camden, Hope, Lincolnville, Rockport or Rockland are all within a 25-minute drive)


Please come prepared to class with a camera you feel comfortable shooting with (iPhones and point-and-shoots are okay to use), a laptop computer, tablet or phone with editing software, a thumb drive or Dropbox to deliver images for critique and a notebook/pen for brainstorming and note taking.   

Skill level

This workshop is designed for people of all skill levels. Students should know how to use the camera they bring (camera phones, tablets and point-and-shoots are okay), know how to edit their images using their preferred editing software, and know how to deliver final images for critique. 


A maximum of 12 students, and a minimum of 6* 


*If minimum enrollment is not met within 45 days of the workshop, a full refund will be provided for all registered students. We recommend waiting until you receive our confirmation email that minimum enrollment has been met to make your travel arrangements or investing in travel insurance to reimburse your expenses if the course is canceled


Class will run from 9am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday with a 1-hour break for lunch.






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Richard Beaven is an award-winning editorial and documentary photographer. In 2012, Beaven left a successful career in advertising and moved to the small community of Ghent, NY. Beaven's passion for photography started at the age of 11. After moving to Ghent, Beaven was able to concentrate on leveraging his own project work, along with newspaper and magazine assignments, to build a reputation in photography. He gained wide recognition for his In Trump Country (before) and In Trump Country (after) series. Beaven just recently completed his most ambitious self-assigned project to date, All Of Us: Portraits of the Ghent Bicentennial, which includes 276 portraits of residents in his town. His Ghent portraits will be released in a book published by Daylight Books in the autumn of 2020.  


Beaven's editorial clients include The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Public Radio, BBC News, Buzzfeed, Psychology Today, The Week, and De Zeit. He has been featured on the Kodakery Podcast, NPR, Hudson River Stories, BuzzFeed, BBC News and the Jeffery Saddoris Podcast. In addition to his photography career, Richard and his wife Mimi, own and operate Little Ghent Farm in the Hudson Valley, NY.