The Friedman Archives

High-impact Photography Seminars

How to Wow.  Intuitively.

Click here to jump to the tour schedule.

I started the Friedman Archives High-Impact Photography Seminars because I got tired of seeing so much poor advice disseminated on the online discussion forums when a beginner would ask how to improve their photography. “Start shooting in Aperture priority mode”, one person would opine. “Learn Photoshop” blurted another. “Examine the EXIF information of pictures you like online and see what they did!” And the most ill-prescribed advice which I see all too often: “Shoot RAW!”

Well, that kind of advice may be well-meaning, but it’s not effective. Never in my life have I seen a rank beginner switch to RAW (or shoot in Aperture Priority mode) and then suddenly start producing “Wow!” type images. And so I thought it was time to share the (seemingly) forgotten knowledge that all successful Kodachrome shooters knew back in the day – how to take pictures that make other people say “Wow!” with nothing more than a point-and-shoot. (Even Photoshop is optional if you know what you’re doing!)

And so the seminars were created with the goal of dispelling no end of online myths and explaining what’s REALLY important in photography. And they’ve been a hit with both newbie and experienced photographers alike, all over the world! Geared toward anyone who owns a digital camera, this pair of day-long seminars is for anyone who has ever said to themselves, “I spent money on a great camera. So why aren’t my pictures better?” They are geared toward those who would like to learn more, reinforce what they already know, experiment, and become inspired to become better photographers. All in a fun, friendly, and nurturing environment.


These seminars are presented by the photographer behind the stock photography website, and are structured differently from almost all other photo courses. Whereas most other courses bombard you with the technical stuff first, The Friedman Archives Seminars recognizes that modern cameras do a pretty good job with focusing and exposure, but do a miserable job with composition and the art aspect of photography (realms best left for the HUMAN). So the first day emphasizes composition, light, art, capturing emotion, and how to get high-impact photos — all without ever leaving AUTO mode. These are the forgotten skills that the Kodachrome shooters once knew to get awesome images without ever using Photoshop. As the seminar progresses to Day 2, the subject matter delves into the technical aspects of digital photography, making for a very well-rounded weekend. As many past attendees can attest, this weekend seminar cuts through the confusion and gives you everything you need to know to start shooting confidently, improve your creativity, deepen your technical understanding, and give you the means to realize the shot you have in your head.

How much does it cost?

  • The cost is affordable, and varies by city.  An exact price will appear on the signup page for each city (top of page).

What cities will you be visiting?

Here’s another factor that sets these seminars apart from all the others: THERE IS NO SET SCHEDULE!  We can travel and present these seminars anywhere in the world when enough people in one region express their interest.  Scroll to the “Touring Schedule” at the bottom of this page for the current schedule.

(Are you a member of a photo club?  Fire off an email to and ask how to get me to speak to your club for FREE!)

Here’s some (some!!) of the things you’ll learn from this seminar:

Day 1 (“The Creative Class”, or “The camera can do quite a bit by itself. Teach me about creativity, composition, and light and things that only the human can do!”)

The compositional secrets of the National Geographic photographers

What the Kodachrome shooters knew about high-impact images (hint: they never needed  Photoshop!)

How to “see” light like the Hollywood Cinematographers do

Compositional rules derived from the world of fine art

The difference between snapshots and photographs (and why both are important)

The secrets to outstanding travel photography

Making the most of available light

Computational Photography – How smartphones are handling high dynamic range images better than the big cameras (and other mythbusting topics)!

In-class exercises for creativity and composition

A practical “zen” approach to compelling images without having to get bogged down in technical stuff


Day 2 (“The Technical Stuff”)

How your exposure meter thinks (or “Why can’t the camera just make it look the way I see it?”)

The three variables of exposure, explained intuitively.

The three types of metering, and which ones are actually useful.

Add drama to your images with wireless flash (with live demonstrations)

Basics of Portraiture Lighting techniques

The RAW vs. JPG dilemma explained without religious ferver

Histograms, explained intuitively.

How to avoid horrific .jpg compression artifacts

The important problem of print vs. screen resolution

The only eight Post-processing functions I use

There will also be ample discovery exercises to allow you to become familiar with your camera’s operation and experiment with certain features.

What others are saying about the Friedman Archives High-Impact Photography Seminars

“I’ve been taking pictures for 30 years, and your demonstration of exposure principles was brilliant. Whereas I was fuzzy on the concepts before, I now intuitively understand them!” – Rod Schultz

“It’s the best money you’ll ever spend for a photo class. Gary obviously loves what he does and can also make a complex topic easy to understand, which is a great combination. It made me a better photographer!” – George Saadeh

“In a world of dry, artsy information, you bring a vibrant, humorous and fun approach to the subject. Best of all, I feel a renewed enthusiasm for photography. You are an excellent teacher.” – Lee Friedman (no relation)

“Having had a few days to reflect on this last weekend, I have come to firm conclusion that your seminar was the best I’ve ever attended. I learned and re-learned so many things, and it was just plain fun. Kudos to you, sir.  – Richard Cooledge”

“Gary has to be one of the very best in his field of knowledge and presentation that is interesting, informative, entertaining and inspiring. Hard to beat and worth every penny.” – Bonneville from

“Ever since I ordered your book on the Minolta A2 I have been “hooked”. Your ability to explain things in “plain, understandable, English” borders on the unbelievable! I have since ordered four more of your books as I upgraded to newer cameras. As president and founder of the Durango Photography Club I felt that I had to get you to Durango to present your seminars and workshops. I figured that if you were half as good in person as your books were, it would be great! You weren’t half as good, you were twice as good because we could ask questions, observe your demos and get personal attention where needed. Thank you for helping everyone from novices to semi-professionals learn a lot.” – Howard Rachlin

Best two days of learning I’ve had in my life! Take two days and see what you’re missing.” – Archie Lappi

“Well worth it!! Learned sooooooo much from Gary in San Mateo! My wife went for the 2-day, and raved about it so much after Day 1, I signed up for Day 2! Ya, that good – thanks for all the after-seminar advice, and ‘being there’ for technical questions, a year later! Fun and informative.” – Daniel Devane

“Best seminar I have ever taken. – THANK YOU!!!” -Joseph R. Conklin

“Attended on the Sunday and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Gary has to be one of the very best in his field of knowledge and presentation that is interesting, informative, entertaining and inspiring. Hard to beat and worth every penny.” – Bonneville from this thread on

“You helped me find the fun in photography again, and for that I am very grateful.” – Brian Dennick

Read more…

The Friedman Archives Seminars represent the fastest and most enjoyable way to learn the basics of photography. Invest in yourself and take “Wow!” type pictures forevermore, regardless of the type of camera you have!

Can’t make any of these listed below? A streaming video course is now available! Click here to purchase

Touring Schedule

Plymouth, MA (an hour South of Boston April 27-28, 2024 Sign Up Here!  
  Florence, AL (An hour away from Huntsville; 2 hours from Nashville) Sept. 14-15, 2024 Sign Up Here!  
  Kansas City, Kansas Sept. 21-22, 2024 Sign Up Here!  
  Kiawah Island, South Carolina September 28-29, 2024 Email for waiting list  
  ===COVID BREAK ===    
Indio, California January 11-12, 2020 Closed  
Copenhagen September 14-15, 2019 Closed  
Santa Ana, California August 10-11, 2019 Closed  
Las Vegas, Nevada April 26-27, 2019 Closed  
Scottsdale, Arizona November 10-11, 2018 Closed  
Broomfield, Colorado October 20-21, 2018 Closed  
Portrait Photography Workshop July 2018 Closed  
Atlanta, Georgia August 18-19, 2018 Closed  
Tacoma, Washington August 26-27, 2017 Closed  
Manchester, England June 10-11, 2017 Closed  
Edinburgh, Scotland June 17-18, 2017 Closed  
Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) March 18-19, 2017 Closed  
Tuscon, Arizona Feb. 14-15, 2017 Closed  
Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada May 21-22, 2016 Closed  
Melbourne, Australia Nov. 21-22, 2015 Closed  
Sydney, Australia Nov. 14-15, 2015 Closed  
New Zealand Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2015 Closed  
Nashville, TN May 30-31 Closed  
Boston, Massachusetts May 2-3, 2015 Closed  
Orlando, Florida January 10-11, 2015 Closed  
Los Angeles October 18-19, 2014 Closed  
Seattle, Washington September 28-29, 2013 Closed  
Singapore March 23-24, 2013 Closed  
London September 15-16, 2012 Closed  
Durango, Colorado Lecture Thursday night, July 12th,Seminar July 14-15,Field Workshop July 21-22 Closed  
Santa Monica, California Seminar: June 9-10, 2012 Field Workshp: Saturday, June 16th 2012 Closed  
Copenhagen Seminar April 21-22, 2012 (There will also be a Field Workshop and a separate lecture on my days as a NASA engineer) Closed  
Nashville, TN October 1-2, 2011 Closed  
Ottawa, Canada September 3-5, 2011(Two days lecture + one day field workshop) Closed  
Nova Scotia, Canada Seminar: July 23-24, 2011 in Pubnico, Field workshop: July 30-31st, 2011 in Yarmouth Closed  
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada Seminar: June 11-12, 2011Travel Lecture (evening): June 17, 2011Field Workshop: June 18 and 19, 2011 Closed  
Boston, MA May 14-15, 2011. One-day field workshop on May 21st. Closed  
Northern California February 19-21, 2011 (Two days lecture + one day field workshop) Closed  
San Diego, California January 15-16, 2011 Closed  
An outdoor workshop in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia August 7-9, 2010 Closed  
Truro, Nova Scotia August 14-15, 2010 Closed  
Orlando, FL July 10-11, 2010 Closed  
Copenhagen March 20-21, 2010 Closed  
Amsterdam(Technically it’s Utrecht) March 27-28, 2010 Closed  
San Diego, CA February 20-21, 2010 Closed  
Southern California November 14-15, 2009 Closed  
New York, NY October 17-18, 2009 Closed  
Nashville, TN September 12-13, 2009 Closed  
Nova Scotia, Canada August 8-9, 2009 Closed  
Northern California February 28-Mar 1, 2009 Closed  
Southern California February 21-22, 2009 Closed  
Boston (Somerville) October 18-19, 2008 Closed  
Oregon (Roseburg) May 17-18, 2008 Closed  
Southern California February 2-3, 2008 Closed  
Los Alamos September 15-16, 2007 Closed  
Chicago July 14-15, 2007 Closed  
Southern California April 21-22, 2007 Closed  
Lethbridge, Canada March 10-11, 2007 Closed