Upcoming Photography Classes and Workshops

Mary Louise is an experienced photography instructor who has trained hundreds of amateur photographers. Many of her students have gone on to earn awards for photographs made following their training with her. She can help with both the technical and aesthetic aspects of picture making.

August 2021

Adobe Lightroom Classic is a fantastic tool for photo editing and if you're like me, it is my primary "digital darkroom" tool. However, it does have it's limits and there are tasks that are simply beyond it's scope. Fortunately, Adobe Photoshop is there to step in and accomplish those more sophisticated tasks. "Oh no, but Photoshop takes years to master" I hear you saying. Well, yes, but we don't need to learn ALL of Photoshop to be productive in doing these more sophisticated editing tasks. This class teaches you the essentials of Photoshop specifically so you can accomplish more advanced tasks like:

  • More sophisticated selections
  • More advanced content-aware adjustments like fill, move, scale, etc.

  • Combining editing effects from multiple app programs

  • Localizing adjustments from multiple app programs

  • Blending 2 or more images, whether for HDR, selective colorization of a B&W image, adding a texture overlay, or another reason

This approach makes learning Photoshop more manageable and relevant to photo editing problem solving. No previous experience with Adobe Photoshop is needed.

Sessions will be recorded for later viewing in case a participant can't make all the live sessions. This class is offered in collaboration with the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC.

The smartphone is the camera many people have with them at all times. The camera integrated with these phones has advanced with each smartphone generation, making it worthy of our attention as a legitimate camera. In this session you’ll learn about basic iPhone camera functionality like focusing in a specific place, adjusting exposure, shooting in bursts for action and high dynamic range (HDR) shooting for expanded tonal range. We will then practice in the gardens of the arboretum.

September 2021

Our eyes naturally go to areas of sharpness in a photograph so we can use a mix of sharpness and blur in a photograph to direct the viewer's eye and tell the story of an image. Mary Louise will explain how we can adjust camera settings to control where there is sharpness (AKA depth of field) in an image. Then we'll practice shallow and deep depth of field techniques by photographing the trees, plants, and flowers in the Arboretum.


  • October 28, 2021  Top tips for photographing fall color
    (Thursday 10 am - noon ET)
    Location: (In Person class) JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606
    Class size limited to 12 participants.

As the leaves start to turn fall colors, we are inspired to capture their glory in a photograph. Mary Louise will explain her tips for how to best capture the color of the season from what photo equipment to use, to successful techniques, and advice on where and when to go to locations convenient to the Triangle area. We will then practice in the gardens of the arboretum.
Suitable for all types of cameras from DSLR and mirror-less, to point-n-shoot and smartphone. A variety of lenses can be used from wide angle to telephoto, even macro.  

With digital photography, the capturing of the image with the camera is just the start. Photographers also must understand how to process their images for their intended use - whether that be to print photographs, create web pages and social media postings, create slide shows or even albums/books. Adobe Lightroom is a leading software application designed to handle the full photography workflow from organizing images, to editing images (a.k.a the digital darkroom), to sharing images by preparing them for print, slideshow, web page or book. Adobe Lightroom Classic is suitable for beginner to advanced photographers. This 5 session beginner class is for those who are interested in learning the basics of how to organize and edit their images using Adobe Lightroom Classic software. This class will concentrate on the essentials of Adobe Lightroom Classic's Library and Develop modules. Participants will learn how to:
      •  organize their images so they can be easily found

      • quickly identify which images to work on from a photo shoot

      • optimize their images for tone, color and artistic vision

      • edit photographs to remove unwanted objects

      • do basic portrait retouching - export their images for a variety of uses including social media

Sessions will be recorded for later viewing in case a participant can't make all the live sessions. This class is offered in collaboration with the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC.

Some comments from past attendees:

"Mary Louise has a relaxed, but methodical teaching style. It was apparent that she had spent a lot of time preparing for the class. I learned a lot about Lightroom and improved my workflow. The Zoom format worked well - very satisfied with this class, it was extremely helpful - highly recommend it." - Pam S.

"I have been trying to learn how to use Lightroom for a long time and attended two different all-day sessions, but nothing took until taking Mary Louise's course" - Julia M.

"The class was excellent. The course was very comprehensive and took a step-by-step approach, so that each component prepared me for the next concept. It was very helpful having the session recordings. Having them to go back and review was great. I also appreciated the extra recordings and handouts that covered additional content. Homework is good as it made me practice what we learned on my own photos. I learned more than I expected. Even though I've been using Lightroom for several years, I still had many questions and gaps in my knowledge. This course filled in those gaps and made Lightroom so much more powerful a tool for me to use. Your organization and the structure of the course was great. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn more about Lightroom." - Pat M.

  • October 31, November 7, November 14, December 5
    (Online, Sundays 1:00 - 3:00 pm ET)
    (one class split into four live, online sessions) Creative Abstract Photography Workshop

    Class size limited to 20 participants.

    PLUS, optional in-person photo shoots in Raleigh, NC with Mary Louise Nov 8, Nov 11, Nov 15 from 10 am - noon
    (photo shoot sessions can be purchased a la carte)
    In-person session size limited to 6 participants.

Abstract Photography allows the photographer the freedom to discover and explore "ordinary" subjects from a fresh perspective for the sheer beauty of their characteristics of color, texture and shape. Learning abstract photography techniques is an excellent exercise in expanding and refining the "photographer's eye" and enables participants to create images that are uniquely their own. It is a valuable learning exercise that will improve the participant's ability to take a more creative approach in all types of images going forward, not just abstracts.

In this workshop, Mary Louise shares some her favorite techniques for creating abstract photographs in the studio and the field. The combination of lecture, demonstration and hands-on photography shooting sessions is sure to spark the imagination and produce some unique and beautiful abstract images.

This workshop is best suited for those who understand basic camera use (DSLR, mirrorless or smartphone) and are looking for a creative challenge, unique photo opportunities and to expand the vision of their "photographer's eye".

Some techniques covered include:
  • Architectural abstracts
  • The play of light on contours, including bubbles
  • Distorted reflections in translucent as well as opaque materials
  • Movement during long exposures, including intentional camera movement

December 2021

A calendar is a great gift idea to showcase your best photographs and share special moments from throughout the year. Mary Louise will demonstrate how to design and fully customize a calendar using easy-to-use online templates to incorporate your own photographs, artwork, text, and special dates. Then it's your turn to create your own calendar designs with her help. Finished designs can then be ordered online for professional printing.

January 2022

  • Dates TBD Digital Photography Essentials  
    Location: (In Person class) TBD

Registration Coming Soon

This beginner class is for people with a digital camera who are interested in learning how to successfully use their camera beyond automatic / program modes. The class concentrates on the 5 essential camera settings that have the most impact on the look of a photograph: focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. We also discuss how to interpret the image histogram, a camera feedback mechanism, and use that information to adjust and optimize image exposure for the next shot. Students learn how to adjust these settings using their own camera.  

March 2022

  • March 21-25, 2022 Digital Black and White and Infrared Photography Workshop 
    (Monday 1 pm - Friday 1 pm ET)
    Registration Coming Soon
    Location: Mt. Pleasant, SC (Charleston, SC area)
    Workshop size limited to 6.

    We're working to keep you safe. Read our COVID-19 Policies

In this workshop participants will learn black and white photography from selecting a subject, to shooting in color or infrared, converting to black and white and editing using a mix of software from Adobe Lightroom Classic to Silver Efex Pro and Photoshop.

In a world of color, black and white photography offers the photographer the opportunity to get back to the basic essence of photography – the importance of visual design, composition and exposure. That is why well executed black and white images have such enduring appeal. But shooting for, editing and printing black and white images require different considerations than working in color. Today’s digital cameras, digital darkroom software programs and digital printers provide phenomenal advantages for producing black and white prints that would make Ansel Adams envious.

In this hands-on workshop, Mary Louise will explain how to identify and pre-visualize scenes with strong black and white image potential. She will explain how to photograph color images with the intent of converting them to black and white. In addition, Mary Louise will explain how to make photographs using infrared light and how those images can also make interesting black and white images. Participants will have the opportunity to practice these techniques photographing a variety of subjects including:

  • Brookgreen Sculpture Garden
  • Historic Magnolia Cemetery
  • Antique Fire Engines
  • Boone Hall Plantation
  • Folly Beach Pier

Over the course of the workshop in addition to photographing in the field, participants will work on editing their own images with input, guidance and feedback from Mary Louise. Mary Louise will share her step-by-step approach for optimally converting images from color to black and white using Adobe Lightroom Classic, Silver Efex Pro and Photoshop programs.

May 2022

  • Dates TBD (with additional live online lectures)  Artistic Bird Photography Workshop 
    (Thursday 9:00 am - Friday 2:00 pm ET)
    Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Scotland Neck, NC
    Workshop size limited to 12.

Have you ever watched birds fly, swoop, eat, fight, court, or play out any of their myriad of amazing behaviors and said to yourself, "I wish I could capture this moment?" Birds provide a fascinating and inspiring subject to the photographer, and also a hugely challenging one. Artful bird photography is inspired by and celebrates our fascination with birds from our own backyards to vast natural expanses. It is a way of seeing birds and striving to photograph them in ways that capture our imagination.

Professional nature photographer Mary Louise Ravese partners with award-winning bird photographer Alan Clark to co-teach this workshop. They offer lots of practical tips and guidance in the field and classroom. 

In this workshop, participants will learn the finer points about bird photography from planning to equipment and shooting techniques. In addition, we will address how to capture bird images that go beyond a documentary approach, to capturing birds in an artistic manner that fills our imagination - a style worthy of hanging on your wall and sharing with others. The workshop includes hands-on photo shoots at Sylvan Heights Bird Park, a unique 18-acre facility featuring walk-through aviaries that give an up-close view of a variety of birds from around the world, ranging from waterfowl to parrots, flamingos, exotic birds and more! It is the largest bird park in North America and the largest waterfowl park in the world. During the workshop we will have "photo pass" access which allows key access to specially designed ports in the aviary fencing that allows your lens to pass through for unobstructed photographs of the birds. Additionally, there will be over 10 hours of live, interactive online video conference-based sessions to cover lecture content before and after the in-person photo shoot. A few weeks after our hands-on session, we will have an optional follow-up webinar when class participants can receive feedback on a selection of their workshop images.  Each of the 2 hr online sessions will be scheduled based on registered participant availability and will be recorded so they can be watched offline if 100% attendance isn't feasible.

More Classes and Workshops coming soon!

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