Yosemite Photography Workshops


Landscape & Night Photography Classes, Workshops
and Photo Tours

The ONLY Yosemite Workshop chosen as one of the "50 Awesome Workshops Around the World"*

Sponsored by

Fine art prints
All students receive 30% off any prints.

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All students get a free bag with a $50 purchase or more!


Photo of workshop students at Taft Point in May of 2012. El Capitan is center.  

The Yosemite Photography Workshops
and Photo Tours

Phil Hawkins Photography Yosemite Photo Workshops

"I learned more in the first two days with you than in the last 3 entire workshops I have taken." - Sonia, workshop student January, 2012

"I can and do travel anywhere in the world and yet I chose to come back to Yosemite for a second Phil Hawkins workshop - something must be right." -Derek, from Glasgow, Scotland; workshop student February, 2012 and November, 2011.

"I am blown away; totally blown away!" -Kelvin, workshop student Nov. 2010.

"I could not have asked for anything more; it was perfect!" -Edoardo, workshop student June, 2014

Award-winning landscape photographer from Fresno, CA.
Photoshop, Lightroom instructor
I've been backpacking and photographing the High Sierra for 29 years.
My work has appeared in National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, Sports Illustrated, Digital Photo Pro,
and many other publications.


Feel free to call 559-307-7773 for more information.


Hands-on, one-on-one photography instruction conducted in awesome
Yosemite National Park, California

* Intensive 5-day and weekend workshops in different seasons
* Go places only a 33-year, award-winning, local Yosemite photographer will know
* Learn how to get those "Wow!" shots.
* Night instruction; shooting during a full moon (conditions permitting), capture star tracks, get the elusive "Moonbow" from Yosemite Falls
* All week-long workshops include Photoshop instruction.

You'll learn
Concepts of exposure; the histogram and how to read the graph.
ISO speeds, aperture and shutter speed, how to ignore the numbers and get GREAT shots.
Composition; learn the rules and then how and when to break them.
Use of polarizing filters.
Use of neutral-density filters.
"Dragging the shutter"; extended exposures (motion blur), even in full sunlight.
How to make sure you got "the" shot in any given situation.
Learn the value of patience; how to read the weather
Reflections in small pools or on the majestic Merced River (seasonal conditions permitting)
Yosemite's waterfalls; the different ways to capture flowing water; Moonbows and "Sun" bows
Night photography; shooting the Milky Way, stars, and moonlight
Shooting for black and white conversion
Wide angle and telephoto lens use.

Plus, ALL workshops feature instruction on how to capture and process
stitched panorama photos!

Custom workshops can be arranged outside the published schedule. 
If you have a group or special timeframe that does not coincide with the scheduled workshops dates, let me know
and we'll schedule a special date or group sessions.

What we do, how we are different

The Yosemite Photo Workshops are different; please read below so you will not be disappointed when attending.
Basically, the goal of my workshops is to teach you to reduce the amount of time thinking about your camera and increase the amount if time thinking about your subject matter and still get mind-boggling shots.  I will teach you how not to agonize over settings and still get the highest quality image your camera can capture.

Beginners are welcome!

First, we are for any level experience photographer.  If you don't know the difference between an aperture and a hole in the ground, fear not.  There is no such thing as a dumb question.  We welcome brand new photographers.  Sometimes we have photographers who are well familiar with their equipment and only need to be shown where to shoot.  Or, they know the equipment, but have never shot night photography, so they need instruction.  But no matter your level of experience, you will come away with new knowledge about how to get the most out of your equipment and your effort. 
Newbies are welcome and encouraged to attend!

We have a strict limit of 14 spaces per workshop.

Read This:
For the most part, we do not get up at the crack of dawn.  Yosemite National Park is a west facing park, and the light is best during late afternoon and sunset.  During the summer, we will be shooting sunsets until 8:30 and 9pm, sometimes at Glacier Point, which is an hour's drive from Yosemite Valley.  We often do not get into bed until 11pm or midnight.  Night shooting adventures can keep us out until the wee hours if people want, so getting up at 5am is almost never an option.  (Many workshops will grind out an 18-hour schedule every day, leaving you burned out.  We want to have fun and not be pushed to the limit of physical and emotional endurance).  The opportunities for good sunrise shots are far less than what we can find at sunset.  Most mornings we start about 10am, and after a hard day hiking, or on the 3rd or 4th day of a week long, we might not start until 12noon.  Basically, we start late and stay out late.  HOWEVER, having said that, the exception might be during winter; if by chance, a strong winter storm clears out over night leaving a pristine blanket of snow on the valley, we will be up before dawn.  Nothing is quite so beautiful as Yosemite Valley early in the morning after a good snowfall.  We will know the night before if this is going to be the case...

NO Itineraries 

The whole reason one comes to Yosemite is to find the best opportunity to get the best shot.  And that is dictated by the weather.  We wait until we know what the weather is going to do and then decide on the next day's loose itinerary at that time.  

Yosemite National Park is it's own climate.  Clouds, rain, snow, fog, mist etc comes and goes in fleeting moments.  Understanding these patterns comes from long experience and research enabling me to know exactly where to be when, and whether we need to race to the next location or simply wait for conditions to evolve. You will be able to take advantage of my 32 years shooting Yosemite to know where to be when, and what to expect as conditions evolve.  My past students can tell you things can change on a dime.  We issue two-way radios to drivers in the car pool which enables me to instantly communicate with students when I see changes in light, clouds, etc.  We also use these radios for folks who wish to roam and explore alone, enabling them to maintain communication with the group and myself.  Many times we have been on the way to some area to shoot based on current observations, then en route, seeing a change, I have issued instructions that we are going somewhere else based on what's going on NOW!  We are flexible, always observant, and react quickly to avail ourselves of the best opportunities for the best shots possible.

We also hike. Although people differ in their abilities, hikes are generally about a mile or less.  Some can be steep and require a modicum of fitness, although I can tell you several times that for folks who felt they could not make the hike, we split up their gear, carrying it for them, and several times we have actually assisted students walking up some of the steeper grades, literally bearing 50% of his or her weight as we go up.  No one is excluded from hikes and if we can do it, we will get you there.  I don't want ANYONE missing out on a potentially spectacular shooting scenario.  People in my workshops are extremely nice and helpful, and generally will do whatever is necessary to help a fellow student with access to the various, more dificult-to-reach shooting locations.  I can absolutely guarantee you that my workshop students are the nicest, friendliest and outgoing people on the planet.  Lifelong friendships have been created many times as a result of attending my workshops.  I have frequent repeat students.

If you want structure, schedules and rigidity, do not sign up for these workshops.  I will teach you how to get the most out of your camera and your efforts, and the way to do that is maximize what mother nature gives you.  Flexibility.  This is what we do.

We help each other.  Experience levels differ, and when someone needs help, we help each other.  I'm a Canon guy, but someone else may know Nikon much better than myself and will help you out.  I can honestly say that by the end of every workshop, especially on the week long workshops, students have all become friends, and stay in touch after returning home.  We've had students from foreign countries (England, Scotland, China, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Japan), and from all over the US.

The workshop begins at 6pm the evening before the first full day of shooting and ends after sunset on the last day.  Travel should be arranged to arrive on the day before the first full day of shooting and depart the day after the final day.  Food is handled by each student.  You are on your own for breakfast.  Lunch is either a sandwich on the trail or at the food court, and dinner is usually at the food court or the fancier Mountain Room restaurant.  In spring we can also eat at Curry Village.


Upcoming Workshops

 if you want to see what past students have captured, scroll down to "Past Workshops" and choose one corresponding to the workshop your are considering.

The Yosemite Early Summer Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($795)
The High Country! Early summer/late spring is a perfect time to see and shoot Yosemite! Waterfalls, and the high country; Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and the like! We shoot waterfalls, obviously, and motion-blur, lots of moving water and bears! Bears are emerging from their dens and roaming around looking for a meal. Humans are not on their menu, luckily, and if we are observant, we can see bears in their natural habitat. The week long features post-processing instruction with Photoshop, Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro 9.
The Italian Dolomites Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($4,395)
5 days, 6 nights in the Cortina D'Ampezzo area of the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy, some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in all of Europe. All food, lodging, cable cars, ski-lifts, park entrance fees for 5 days and 6 nights is included. Please note; For lodging, there is NO single supplement! Each student will have his or her own private room. We have room for only 10 students for this special workshop!
Go Here for more details
The Colorado Fall Colors Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($2,895)
5 full days shooting the spectacular fall colors, wildlife and mind-boggling sunsets of the southern Rockies and San Luis Valley. We have exclusive use of an 80,000 acre private ranch, the Cielo Vista Ranch near Alamosa, CO. All food and lodging is included in this price. We will have a guide with 9 years experience guiding hunters on the ranch. Meals will be prepared by the cook who has been cooking for large groups of hunters for 5 years. We will not go hungry!
For details, Go Here
This workshop has been canceled by the owner of the Cielo Vista Ranch

The Yosemite Fall Colors Weekend 2 full days ($435)
2 full days shooting the spectacular Yosemite fall colors in Yosemite valley and the Glacier Point
area. Oaks, cottonwoods, ferns all display their golden brilliance. The crowds will be gone and we'll have the park virtually to ourselves! We'll probably go up to the Vernal Fall area where the colors are great and shoot motion blur with fall colors! Plus, night shooting for those who wish to participate.

The Yosemite Fall Colors Week Long 5 full days ($795)
5 full days shooting the spectacular Yosemite fall colors in Yosemite valley and the Glacier Point
area. Trips to spectacular Sentinel Dome, Washburn Point, oaks, cottonwoods, ferns all display their golden brilliance. The crowds will be gone and we'll have the park virtually to ourselves! We'll probably go up to the Vernal Fall area where the colors are great and shoot motion blur with fall colors! Plus, night shooting for those who wish to participate.

Past Workshops
The Yosemite Spring Waterfalls; See Full Report
Yosemite Photo Workshops
Photo by workshop student Huw
Yosemite Photo Workshops
Photo by workshop student John

Yosemite Photo Workshops
Photo by workshop student Pam

The Colorado Fall Colors; See Full Report
Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop
Photo by workshop student Phil Bull
Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop
Photo by workshop student Robyn Bottens
Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop
Photo by workshop student Staci Gahm
The Yosemite Fall Colors Week Long; See Full Report

Yosemite Photo Workshops
Photo by workshop student Bernie
Yosemite Photo Workshops Yosemite Photo Workshops
Photo by workshop student Laurie
Yosemite Winter Private Workshop; See Full Report
Yosemite Photo Workshops
Shot by private workshop student Andrew
Yosemite Photo Workshops Yosemite Photo Workshops

Yosemite Spring Weekend Waterfall Workshop; See Full Report

Yosemite Photo Workshops

Yosemite Photo Workshops
Photo by workshop student
Jeff Bushnell

Yosemite Photo Workshops
The Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop; See Full Report

Photo by workshop student Huw

Photo by workshop student Wanda

The Yosemite Fall Colors Weekend Photo Workshop; See Full Report

Photo by workshop student Karim

Photo by workshop student Karim

Photo by workshop student Henrik

The Yosemite Fall Colors Week Long Photo Workshop; See Full Report

Photo by workshop student Michon

Photo by workshop student Cong

Photo by workshop student Michon

The Yosemite Early Spring Two-Day Photo Workshop; See Full Report

A mom and her two cubs

Photo by workshop student Holly Fisher

The Group on Sentinel Dome

The Yosemite Early Spring Week Long Photo Workshop; See Full Report

The view from Taft Point

Christine shooting the waterfall on Tioga Road,

Tioga Lake still frozen over!

The Yosemite Early Summer Week Long Photo Workshop; See Full Report

Photo by workshop student Edoardo

Photo by workshop student Huw

Photo by workshop student Lauren


Photos by workshop student Caleb Austin

Lodging is up to each individual participant.  However, we have reserved accommodations for workshop participants at Yosemite's Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals where, for the price of a tent cabin at Curry Village, you can get a condo w/ kitchenette, sat. TV, and full bath. Be sure to call about the special rate for workshop students! See http://scenicwonders.com
and tell them you are part of the Yosemite Photo Workshop w/ Phil Hawkins.  I encourage participants to stay here so as to make it easier for us to all convene and conclude the days activities with a minimum of travel.

You are responsible for getting to Yosemite National Park.  American Airlines has great connections to Fresno through Dallas, Texas. For those flying in from distant locations, it is recommended you rent a car.  I have found that once in a while participants have to leave early for family emergencies, sickness, etc and so as not to disturb the agenda for remaining participants, your ability to travel independently is important and required.  

As for local transportation, we will carpool to the various shooting locations.  Otherwise, we will use the local Yosemite valley public transportation system.

The workshop begins at 6pm the evening before the first full day of shooting and ends after sunset on the last day.  Travel should be arranged to arrive on the day before the first full day of shooting and depart the day after the final day.  

Food is handled by each student.  You are on your own for breakfast.  Lunch is either a sandwich on the trail or at the food court, and dinner is usually at the food court or the fanicier Mountain Room restaurant.  In spring we can also eat at Curry Village.

Photoshop Instruction
All week-long workshops will include at least one day of Photoshop CS4/CS5 instruction and image critique.

Items to Bring
Although it does not matter what equipment you have, you will get the most out of it if your camera has manual exposure settings and shoots RAW and the ability to connect a cable shutter release. 

Obviously, bring your wide-angle lenses.
Best tripod you can muster w/ extra clamp plates (that go on the bottom of the camera).
You'll be very disappointed if you lose your one and only tripod clamp plate... (This happened one time)

***Cable release***
 (I emphasize this due to so many students not bringing them.  You will not get the maximum out of the class unless you bring a cable release.  We will use them for all shooting situations.)

Neutral density filters; one .6 (or 4x) and one .9 (or 8x) if possible; these should be the screw-in type.
Polarizing filter; buy the size for your largest diameter lens (82mm?) and then a step-down adapter for use on smaller lenses (77mm, 67mm etc).

Don't forget your lens shades
Extra memory cards and spare camera batteries
Bring your camera's owner's manual; this will help solve problems with settings.

Bring several lens cloths and cleaning liquid; I will have liquid, but bring your own cloths, if possible please.

Be sure you have a wearable backpack photo case for daily hiking trips.

Though it's not crucial, you will find that you will want to look at your images at the end of every day to enforce what you learned...  So bring a laptop computer.  Don't forget your CF card reader!!  People forget these all the time!

Rain and cold weather gear, both for your equipment and for you.  Winter shooting could involve standing out in the rain or snow. Water-proof hiking boots would be very useful, especially in winter.



"Great workshop....worth crossing two continents and an ocean!" -Karim El Baradei from Egypt


"You have, by far, the best workshops anywhere!" -2x returning student Julie from Redlands, CA


"I could not have asked for anything more. It was perfect." -Edoardo from Padua, Italy


"On a scale of 1 to 10 this was a 15!" -David from San Francisco


"This was way, way beyond my expectations!" -Brad Warner


"I can't remember the last time I had this much fun!" - Randy Welton


"Thanks for another wonderful weekend. You do such a great job! I learned more stuff, met some wonderful people, and had a great time out in nature. I love it!" - 4x returning student Jeff Bushnell, from San Diego, CA


"Thanks again for the workshop! I've never had so many awesome landscapes from a single photo trip" - Chris Stark


Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for the time you gave so generously.  You have enriched my Yosemite experience so much, that I'll definitely be looking to do it again next year. -Julie Haynes, from Redlands CA


"Thank you so very much for a most educational and fun photo workshop.  Mena and I enjoyed every moment of the workshop, but more so, your company and photography skills. Your knowledge of the area enabled us to be at the right place at the right time to capture some stunning shots.  Our only regret was that our time in Yosemite was all too short.

By the way, on the last day out of Yosemite there was a bear sighting and we were able to get some photos before it was chased away.  That was a fitting end to our Yosemite adventure.  Thanks again for the hints and tips, as well as teaching me to actually “see” the scene through the viewfinder and to shoot in the manual mode… you’ll be happy to learn that I’m still doing so. We hope to be able to join you in another of your workshops in the not too distant future (read Patagonia ;-))

All best wishes and warm regards" - Earl and Mena


"Thank you for the great time I had photographing Yosemite National Park. You provided perfect timing for photographing the many sites we were able to reach during the workshop. It would not be easy to find these sites with good lighting without your experience. I also enjoyed meeting everyone in the workshop and sharing with like minded photographers. Perhaps we'll meet again during the winter season and photograph the snows of Yosemite." -Earl Merritt


"Phil, Fabulous workshop. Sharon and I had a great time, learned a lot, got some great shots! Definitely would recommend to anyone ..."  - Ken Haley


"...Not knowing quite what to expect, it surpassed any expectations that I had. I learned loads in those 5 days, not only about my camera, but how to shoot and some great Photoshop tricks, and I've been into photography for years. We had great fun too, we had a lot of laughs.  I just hope I get the chance to do another one of your workshops. I highly recommend this to anyone that wants to learn how to be a better photographer, have fun and see Yosemite."   - Lem Lattimer from Long Island, NY.  


"Again, I can't tell you how much fun I had.  Look forward to doing it again sometime, perhaps in the UK? Italy?
.great memories from a wonderful week that I'll never forget."
   - Leana Di Benedetto from Baltimore, MD.


Phil- Thanks for an amazing experience.  Our small group of four was great fun!  Not only was I able to develop my photographic skills under your expert and easy to understand tutelage, but I was able to explore the wonders of Yosemite at just the right time and at just the right place to capture photos I had only dreamed of taking in the past.  Thanks for a great time!!!" - Scott Jenkins from San Diego, CA


"I just wanted to pass along a heartfelt thank you for the wonderful time I had in the Yosemite Falls weekend workshop.  I not only had a great time seeing the park, getting to know you and making new friends, but I genuinely feel that I’ve returned a better photographer then when I arrived for the workshop.  My overall skills have improved and very importantly I’ve learned more about “seeing” the subject and the patience it takes to truly become open to a landscape scene. 
Thanks again and I hope to see you soon." -
Tom Collins from St. Louis, MO.


"It was nice meeting you !  I've enjoyed very much !  I will receive my developed films on SAT. night in Osaka !  I will let you know more in details later soon.  I would like to say JUST "Thank you very much" for your kindness.  With my best regards,"  - Shiro Tanaka from Hiroshima, Japan.


"I want to thank you for the great time that I had on the Yosemite workshop.  I'm not so sure that I was ready for that type of shooting but I learned so much.  Every time I describe my experience to someone I can hear the excitement in my voice grow as I tell them about the workshop.  And I have sent numerous people to your website and hear nothing but praise about your photography.  It was truly an honor to be able to spend that time with you and hope that I can enjoy that experience again in the future."
-Raul Lopez


Just wanted to say thank you, it was the best experience I have had, I learnt a lot. It was wonderful to be at the right location at the right time which made a huge
difference. Looking forward to more workshops with you in future and I would definitely recommend this to any photographer who wants to shoot in Yosemite." - Sunkara

Terms and Conditions

In the unlikely event that the workshop does not fill enough spaces to warrant continuing (which, in 7 years, has never happened), the class will be canceled and a full refund given. You will be notified at least two weeks in advance if a workshop is not going to take place.  The Yosemite Photography Workshop is not responsible for non-refundable airline reservations in the event of workshop cancellation.  I strongly recommend retaining trip insurance.

Participant-initiated cancellations of weeklong workshops received prior to one month (30 days) before the workshop will receive a refund minus $300 ($100 for weekend workshops) unless the spot can be refilled, in which case 100% refund will be given.  Due to the unusual complexity and extensive planning required for these workshops, no refunds will be offered for participant-initiated cancellations after 30 days prior to workshop date unless the spot can be re-filled.

Bears are a natural part of the national park environment.  It's not likely, but it is entirely possible we will see bears.  There are NO Grizzly bears in the Sierra Nevada range.  Our species is 100% Black Bears, also known as 300 pound furry chickens. For more information on putting this very misplaced fear into proper perspective, see this link:
http://www.yosemitefun.com/bears.htm  This information is written specifically for Yosemite National Park.  If you follow the protocol for food handling we will have no problem with bears.


Yosemite Photo Workshops accepts no responsibility for extreme weather conditions that prohibits us from moving about as we wish, or accessing certain areas of the park.  Each student accepts responsibilitiy for providing your own tire chains in winter.  Carrying them at all times is required by park policy, and at various times you may be asked to show them in your car at checkpoints established by the park rangers.  

It is not uncommon for Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas to experience extended periods of electrical failure during bad weather, particularly in winter.  Yosemite Photo Workshops accepts no responsibility for inconvenience resulting in park closure or extended periods of road closures.  If the workshop is unable to function due to either weather or park closure (which, in 7 years of operation, has never happened), a spot in a future workshop will be offered to affected students.  No refunds will be given.

*Photoshelter's "50 Awesome Photography Workshops Around the World" February, 2014


Yosemite Photo Workshops operate under a Conditional Use Authorization (CUA) permit #8800-11-290 issued by the
Office of Special Park Uses,
Yosemite National Park,
El Portal, CA.

Workshop liability insurance provided by Great American Insurance Group

2015 Phil Hawkins Photography
5132 N. Palm, #118
Fresno, CA 93704