with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Workshops and Programs Presented by Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Field Trip in

Lorelle’s charm, wit and enthusiasm
will knock your socks off.
Brent’s patience and technical expertise
will help you get any image you want.
Bob LaTorre, Program Participant

We present a wide range of programs covering photography, nature, personal safety, and writing. Our programs are energetic, distinct, and customizable. We enjoy bringing our diverse topics to different groups, including photo clubs, writing groups, youth and senior groups, educational association, and travel clubs. If you are interested in bringing a VanFossen Production to your group, let us know.

Program Categories

We teach a wide variety of programs and have grouped them by subject.

Creativity in Photography

Elk in rut, Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Brent VanFossenWild Thing, I Think I Love You
One of their most popular programs, Wild Things, examines the wild side of life. All aspects of photographing in the wild, in national parks and wildlife refuges, zoos, wildlife parks and game farms are covered. Safety precautions, ethics, and stalking are discussed. Fun and innovative, this program covers a wide variety of techniques for photographing the wild things in nature.
Patterns in Nature: Bows and Flows of Angel Hair
and Ice Cream Castles in the Air…
Curl of birch bark by Brent VanFossenThe artistry of nature is fascinating, and the magic found in the patterns in nature are vast. Nature does not create without a purpose. This program explores the amazing design elements of the natural world, from basic composition to lines, shapes and even abstracts. Excellent for beginners or advanced photographers, artists or nature lovers.
I Long to be Close to You…
Underneath your feet is a fascinating and complex world often overlooked. Participants will explore and discover the little things in life: insects, mosses, butterflies, plants and the animals which survive in the “small world”. A lot of photographic how-tos on closeup and macro photography are thoroughly discussed including the use of extension tubes, teleconverters, flash and close-up lenses.
How To? What For? The Basics of Nature Photography
Tricolored Herons courting, Florida, Photo by Brent VanFossenA weekend workshop or all day seminar, this program includes the basic elements of photographing nature: exposure, composition, equipment, how-tos and what-fors. Have fun exploring the world through the camera, as well as learning about natural history. The program may include a day in the field for hands-on learning. A variation of this program targets nature and environmental writers, improving their editorial images.
The Light Show
Photography is the art of “writing with light”. Learn about the different types of light and how it influences your photography, and different techniques for enhancing the light on your nature subjects.

Find the Subject in Your Subject
What is this a picture of? Sometimes the approach to photographing your subject is the most important part of the photographic process. This evening program covers the compositional elements that help the viewer get a clear picture of your photograph. Students learn how to maximize their artistic ability in nature photography with our simple steps to creating a dynamic image.

Business of Nature Photography

We offer a variety of customizable “business” programs for the nature photographer and related fields. These include:

Photograph of a red legged frog in a slide frame. 
Photo by Brent VanFossenThe Business of Nature Photography
A general overview of how the general and nature photography industry works and what the marketplace looks like, as well as some simple steps to make yourself ready for selling your images.
What does it take to be a nature photographer
Nature photography is a market that is very diverse. Yet the business side of it is the same as any traditional business. This short program covers the professional and field tactics it takes to be a serious nature photographer.
Photographers Writing for the Editorial Market
The ability to create dramatic photographs doesn’t mean you can also write. This program covers how to develop basic writing skills and tips and advice for taking your photographs to the editorial marketplace.
Where is it? If you can’t find it, you can’t sell it
Setting up a photography catalog and inventory is easier than you might think. There are a variety of computer tools out there, but the organized cardboard box works well, too. Here’s how to organize your images so they can be in the mail within an hour of receiving the orders or stock list.
To be professional, you have to look professional
Most photographers in the nature and related fields don’t ever meet their customers face to face. So how do you create a professional image? By making sure that what they do see looks professional. This short program covers establishing a business identity, business stationery, business cards, invoices and delivery memos and making sure that when your images arrive in the customer’s hands, they KNOW who you are before they open the package.
Shhhh, They’re Listening…Maximizing Your Networking Ability
Success in business isn’t just what you know or who you know but how to maximize what you know with who you know. It’s about connecting the dots. This program isn’t your normal “learn how to network” class. It includes exercises and in-class networking as it examines how you network, expanding your network, and what networking tools are most effective for you.
Solduc Falls, Olympic National Park, photo by Brent VanFossenMarketing for Nature and Outdoor Photographers
Heaping piles of photographs fill your closet. Now what? If you’re interested in making money or expanding your nature photography business, then this is the workshop for you. The program covers networking, marketing, promotion, editing your images, and how to maximize your choices within a variety of markets for nature photography sales.
Getting In The News
Think you have to be a multi-national corporation to get in the news? The media is always looking for an interesting story about small business ventures, owners and employees. Interested in getting yourself and your business in the news with little or no cost? Learn how to write a press release and what works to attract the attention of the media.
Photograph of a bunch of slides on a light table. 
Photo by Lorelle VanFossenSelf-Editing: Becoming Your Own Best Critic
Getting your photography seen means presenting the best work you have. With so many images, how do you decide which is good, and good for whom and what? We cover how to critique and judge your nature photography images for the different markets.
Getting Published
What does it take to get your nature images out there? How do you get on the cover of a magazine? Do you have to write articles or can you just sell your pictures? I’m writing my own book. What do I do next? This short program covers the different aspects about getting published, what it takes and how to get noticed.
Marketing for the Editorial Nature Market
If you have some experience selling your images and writing for the editorial market, this program will help you streamline your efforts and expand your potential.
Take Your Show on the Road
Interested in presenting workshops? This program includes tips and techniques for successful photo seminars, field trips, classes, and workshops.
Asking For It
A day long program which helps the photographer and/or the photo club develop strong photo programs. It includes soliciting, marketing, promoting, and presenting a successful program for a variety of audiences. Students learn about the wide range of markets available to the photographer for presenting their work, and how to cultivate them.

Photo Club Specials

Putting It Together: Slide Show How-Tos
It isn’t magic, but the finished product sure looks like it. A successful slide show is a combination of structure, organization, planning, and great images. If you are interested in learning more about putting together a slide show, with or without music, this is the program. We will cover the choices and techniques for different projection equipment and program planning.
Brent and a gang of photographers line up to photograph birds. 
Photo by Lorelle VanFossenBecoming Your Own Best Critic
Most photography clubs have competitions and exhibitions. How do you choose your best work? How can you try to figure out what the judges are really looking for? What makes a nature images move from good to award winning? We discuss how to critic and edit your own work in preparation for judging or exhibition.
Admitting It’s Awful
It’s not easy telling someone their photographs are awful, but judges and critics have to do it all the time. We’ll share some of their techniques and thoughts about judging nature photography in the hopes that it will help you learn more about what makes a good photograph.
Taking It Outside
Studying nature photography in the classroom is fine, but the nature is OUTSIDE. Taking a group of people on a field trip or outdoor adventure is more complex than one would imagine. This evening program covers the aspects of making your nature field trips more fun, safe, and successful.
Take Your Show on the Road
Interested in presenting workshops? This program includes tips and techniques for successful photo seminars, field trips, classes, and workshops.
Presenting Your Best Side
Photography clubs are dependent upon getting good programs and activities going for their members, as well as involving their membership in presenting programs within the club and outside. This day long program helps the photographer and photo club develop strong photography programs. It includes soliciting, marketing, promoting, and presenting a successful program for a variety of audiences.

Travel Themes

Brent uses the car door to support his camera. 
Photo by Lorelle VanFossenTaking Your Camera on the Road
When it comes to taking your camera on the road, there is more than exposure and equipment to worry about. This program offers tips on packing, working from the vehicle, personal safety, working with wildlife and scenics, equipment, lodging issues, how to plan for a photographic trip or vacation and how to return with quality images, no matter what the weather. Available as an evening or all day seminar.
Too Much Stuff
This program covers the basic equipment for nature photographers. Some take it all with them when you go, but when they have to decide what gos and what stays, our tips will help you narrow the field. Topics include blinds, filters, flash, light accessories, special lenses, tripods, and camera bags.
Mailboxes, Texas, photo by Brent VanFossenWhere To Go When
Want to go? Where do you go? When should you go? What should you take with you when you go? What about weather? What is there to photograph when I get there? These and other questions are answered in this program as we help the nature photography travelers time their adventures to maximize their photographic returns.
Personal Safety in the Outdoors
Taught by self-defense instructor, Lorelle VanFossen, this program covers the basics in personal safety in the outdoors, including tips and techniques for confrontations in the campground and on the trail. The program is aimed at men and women of all ages and physical conditions who want to feel safer while exploring the outdoors. Available as an evening or all day seminar.

Writing

Sample of a newsletter. 
Photos and Design by the VanFossensNature Photography Basics for Writers
A unique program, this teaches some of the basics of nature photography especially for writers. The call for environmental and nature-oriented writers is greater than ever. Tips on basic exposure, composition, working with wildlife, and how to tell a story with images and words are thoroughly covered. Available as an evening or all day seminar.
Reading an Editor’s Mind: Selling Your Writing
The business of writing means selling your work to your customers. Your customers: Editors. Learn how to target editors for the editorial marketplace, attract their attention, and how to keep it. Learn how to write queries that work and how to research the marketplace to help the editor do his or her job better.

Computer Programs

Internet Basics: Tips and Tricks to Get You Started and Understanding the Internet
The Internet can be intimidating for even the experienced computer user. This 3 hour program would offer a variety of tips and information to un-intimidate the Internet and make the process much easier. It is for the beginner to the intermediate computer and Internet user. The student will learn about search engines and finding things on the Internet, shortcuts that make the process quicker and easier, how to print web pages, and how to really find the information you want and need. It can include tips and information on shopping on the Internet.
Designing Your Own Web Page Basics
People not only want to get on the Internet to search and explore, but they also want to BE on the Internet. This 4 hour program teaches the basics for designing your own personal or small business web site on the internet. The student would learn how to get a web “address” and name, how to “rent space” on the internet for their site, about the software which makes the process easier, how to get “found” on the Internet, and some basic information on how to design and “install” a small, but effective web site. Participant will layout their web site on paper, giving them a start to creating their own web page on the Internet.
Introduction to Web Page Design
Want to share your hobby or talents with others? Have some poetry or short stories to share? How about a book you are writing? Or photographs you’ve taken? With a little creativity and do-it-yourself software, you can share your passions with others on the World Wide Web. This four session (approximately 12 hours) class covers the basics of designing a web page. Participants are introduced to easy web page layouts and design elements, what works and what doesn’t, terminology and jargon, and how to get a web page on the Internet. Participants will create their own web pages. Familiarity with email, the Internet, and word processing software recommended. The program will cover:

  • Design Elements: From newsletter or brochure to a web page
    • What makes a good web page?
    • What are the choices in web design software?
    • Exploring layouts, fonts, colors, graphics, design elements
    • Creating a uniform design
    • Creating hyperlinks to other pages and web sites
    • Creating hyperlinks from text and graphics
    • Creating a table of contents and site map
    • Adding graphics and sounds
  • Web Page Administration
    • Establishing the purpose of a web page
    • Creating a web site hierarchy and structure
    • Choosing a web site name (domain name)
    • Registering and posting web pages to the Web
    • Testing and validating web pages
    • Encoding a web page for search engines
    • Adding a web page to search engines
Getting Serious about Web Page Design
Do you have a web page already? Do you really want to let loose your creative juices upon the World Wide Web? If it is time for you to get serious about web page design, moving beyond do-it-yourself software, this is the course for you. Over six weeks (18 hours), participants will get a good understanding of HTML code and learn how to format a web page with animated graphics, sounds and other multimedia events, developing a “search engine friendly” web site, and how to create user friendly web pages through the use of Cascading Style Sheets. Participants will be provided a CD-ROM with support information, technical manuals, class notes, and shareware for web page design and elements. Participants will create a web page using the elements they have learned. Familiarity with basic web page elements, email, the Internet, and word processing program recommended. The program will cover:

  • Web Page Development
    • Domain Name and Registration
    • Examine the purpose of the web site
    • Grouping Content Through Web Page Structure and Hierarchy
    • Terminology and Jargon
    • Getting Found (designing for search engines)
    • Designing for Accessibility
    • Foreign Language Recognition and Controls
    • Web Page Validation and Testing
    • Understanding Cross-platform Issues
  • Web Page Design Elements
    • Design Layout and Format
    • Creating Design Uniformity
    • Frames vs Tables
    • Web Safe Colors
    • Creating and Designing Navigation Bars
    • Soft and Hard Web Page Layout Designs
    • Adding Multimedia Events
    • Creating Animated Graphics
    • Understanding Hot Spots and Creating Image Maps
  • Understanding Html Codes
    • Tags, Attributes, Fonts, Links, Formatting, List
    • Tables and Body Elements
    • Cascading Style Sheets
    • Understanding W3C Recommendations and Conventions
  • Javascript
    • Introduction to Javascript
    • Creating Rollovers
    • Finding Javascript on the Web
Introduction to Excel
Do you keep track of the stock market, inventory books you’ve read or videos you have, or want to track your checkbook your way? Do you want to explore the magic of spreadsheets? This one day workshop introduces you to Microsoft Excel, a program designed to handle information in a spreadsheet. You will learn how to create a spreadsheet and workbook, create basic computations like adding a column or calculating sales tax, how to format and design a spreadsheet, and get an overall introduction to Excel. Hands-on class and familiarity with the computer and word processing is recommended.
Introduction to Digital Image Manipulation
Want to send your favorite pictures to friends by email? Want to create a scrapbook with your computer? Want to have fun with your pictures? This basic program introduces the participant to understanding digital photography and how graphics are scanned in and manipulated with graphic software. The program covers the basic techniques of sizing, cropping, retouching, and saving photographs in different graphic styles for use via email, web pages, or other programs. Also covered will be basic image manipulation, from adjusting the colors to removing red-eye or just playing around. Hands on class and familiarity with the computer, email, and word processing is recommended.
Introduction to the Inner Workings of Your Windows Computer
After you turn it on, experiment with a few programs, what next? Understanding the capabilities of your computer and how it works expands your choices and builds your confidence. What is your Recycle Bin and what do all those icons on your screen mean? How do I move or copy a file? By the end of the class you will feel better about your computer, its abilities, and your own. Familiarity with word processing is recommended. In this one day workshop, you will learn how your computer works and how to:

  • Explore Windows Explorer
  • Create folders
  • Move and Copy files
  • Rename Files
  • Find Files
  • Install and remove a program safely
  • Compress files to save space and transport them to another computer
  • Customize the desktop to make the computer look and work the way you want
  • Talk computer jargon
Designing with Microsoft Publisher
Do you want your holiday family letter to look awesome this year? Do you enjoy doing newsletters, brochures or flyers? Want to self-publish your own booklet? Create a scrapbook? Design a simple web page? If you want to learn how to design anything on your computer, Microsoft Publisher is one of the best and most inexpensive desktop publishing programs around. It can handle just about all of your publishing needs. This one day workshop (or 3 – 4 week course) examines the ins and outs of Microsoft Publisher. You will learn how to layout pages, arrange columns, manipulate graphics, play with fonts and design elements, number pages, and get a good foundation on desktop publishing, creating your own original and exciting artwork. Hands-on course, and familiarity with the computer and word processing is recommended.
Making The Software Work for the Writer
Are you a writer? Do you dream of being one? Do you write a lot of articles or reports? As a veteran writer and computer trainer, Lorelle VanFossen shares her tips and tricks and familiarity with Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect for the writer. During this all day workshop (or 3-4 week series) learn how to format pages for different publishing needs like reports or manuscripts, and how to prepare submissions for sending via email. Learn which fonts and layouts are required for different marketplaces. Learn how to create tables of contents, tables of authorities and indexes with only a few clicks of the mouse. A variety of page formatting techniques is covered including creating headers, footers, and footnotes. Learn expert tips on how to speed up the process of editing and formatting to size. Familiarity with the computer and Word and WordPerfect is recommended.

Miscellaneous Workshops and Programs

We offer a wide range of programs dealing with public speaking, presentation styles and development, self defense and personal safety, and other social and professional topics. Here are a few samples.

Programming Your Program
Are people asking you to share your talent of painting or your last vacation pictures with them? People WANT you to do a program or talk. How do you do it? Sharing your knowledge and experiences with others is a dream of many. What does it really take to create a dynamic workshop or program? This one day (5-8 hrs) workshop examines the tips and techniques of giving a good presentation, getting over the fears of public speaking, and how to handle props and equipment. We will also cover what to do when it all goes wrong and how to work with a crowd. The participant will get a chance to give a small “presentation” and get the feel of standing before a group.
Asking For It: Developing your own workshops and programs
A four – six evening session program dedicated to cultivating your creative outlets and sharing them with others. It specifically tackles how to take your talents and skills and turn them into workshops and programs. As we become experienced with certain skills, we want to share that knowledge with others. You need to learn how to start “asking for it”, the process of asking to do programs and getting yourself invited to teach. Lorelle has written a series of articles on this topic for the Photographic Society of America Journal and other magazines and she has compiled them into a booklet called “Asking For It: Sharing Your Talents With Others”. It will also examine how to take your programs outside the country as well as within. The program covers the following:

  • Designing a Workshop or Program
  • Customizing a Workshop or Program for a specific audience
  • Attracting an audience (press releases)
  • Attracting attention (how to find an organization who wants your program)
  • Developing an asking price
  • Basic negotiating skills
  • Contracts and Letters of Intent (Professional correspondence)
  • How to determine expenses and handling income
  • Determining your equipment needs
  • Taking a Workshop Outdoors
  • Learning from the mistakes of others (how to do better)
  • Creating a resume and portfolio for your future program proposals
Getting In The News
if you have a service or product, or even an event, that needs to get into the news, how does it work? How do you attract an audience? To get responses, you have to be “seen” and one of the great places for exposure is the newspaper. What does it take to get into the newspaper? This one day ( 5-8 hrs) workshop helps the individual or small business get noticed by the newspapers. The results can be free publicity through listings in the “What’s Happening” sections or even an article or two. The program covers targeting your audience, writing and understanding press releases, appropriate business stationary, and designing a “promotional plan” for your business or service to keep yourself in the news.
 

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