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Produced by: Hessler Creative & Urban Exodus


September 5-26


Portrait Projects

Nurture your documentary ideas to make a compelling self-directed portrait series.

Tuition: $370




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. I aim to provide invaluable guidance on how to successfully complete impactful, unique and visually-driven projects. The course will provide a 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. It’s not a requirement, but you will get the most out of this workshop if you already have a project in mind and can talk about it.


While we can’t physically gather as a group at this time we will make maximum use of the available technology to make this an interactive experience. I want this course to have of clarity of purpose, to share direction rooted in real experience and offer a tangible output for you - a well-crafted and achievable project proposal or simply a clearer vision. Either way it will be progress for your approach, your work and your project as a whole. Along the way we will discuss ideas and questions in a group setting. I know that receiving constructive criticism of our own work is helpful and instructive as is hearing feedback for other photographers’ projects. This is not a shooting workshop but feel free to share work you are making over the time the course is running, photographs already made for your project as well as previous work.


Introductions (this includes personal backgrounds, photography approach, project motivations, personal connection and thoughts), course objectives & plan. How to start thinking about your project and making it your own; the idea, research, references to inspire the work and your personal aesthetic. (Follow up is to send me question / subjects you would like to hear more about).



I’ll do an illustrated talk about some of my work, discuss making honest photographs, chat about photographing, building and editing projects as well as funding and identifying outlets to share the project. At this stage you’ll be honing your project ideas and approaches.



We’ll talk about approaching and photographing strangers, handling rejection, following up with subjects and knowing when the project is concluded. We’ll share everyone’s ideas or proposals with comments. 



In the final week, I will be meeting for one-on-one with each student for 15 minutes. These one-on-one sessions can be used to review your portfolio, your website (web edit), discuss any individual needs or questions you have about your business, learn more advanced Photoshop and/or Lightroom techniques,  create business goals, and any specific questions about gear. 




Class will meet every Saturday at 3pm (Eastern Time) - September 5th, 12th and 19th. Each weekly group session will run roughly 1.5 - 3 hours, depending on lecture and discussion times. One-on-ones will be scheduled on September 26th. One-on-one sessions are 15-minutes long. 


Skill level

This workshop is for photographers of all skill levels who wish to imagine, create, refine and complete self-assigned, portrait-based projects. Sessions will be hosted on Zoom. Once you have completed registration we will send you your Zoom login information for the course. You do not need to download Zoom to participate on a desktop or laptop computer. You do need to download the Zoom app if accessing from a phone or tablet.


Weekly sessions will be hosted on Zoom every Saturday at 3pm (Eastern Time) from September 5th until 19th (3 sessions). Sessions will run roughly 1.5 - 3 hours, depending on lecture and discussion times. One-on-one sessions with Richard will be scheduled on September 26th


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


*The workshop will be cancelled if minimum enrollment is not met within 7 days of the workshop start. If cancelled, a full refund will be issued to all registered students. 


$370*per person (+$15 processing fee)

*10% of the proceeds of this workshop will be donated to the Town of Ghent Food Pantry



Click the pink registration button to pay your tuition via credit card or Paypal. You will receive an email with your course specifics after registration.

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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, New York. 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. 

Richard Beaven Online
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