Vision and Technique Workshop

an Intensive 4-day worship with 

Richard Boutwell, Paula Chamlee and Michael A. Smith


Limited to eight participants

Friday evening through late Monday afternoon

October 6–9, 2017 at Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee's home/studio in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


This is a workshop for intermediate and advanced photographers, and our aim is to make it so complete that it will be the last workshop of its type that you will ever need.

I truly enjoyed your workshop. The experience expanded my perspective and I have not felt this level of excitement since I started in photography. The best workshop of the dozen that I have attended.
— Mark Roh

Although we primarily work with view cameras and demonstrate with them, the workshop is not format specific, and will cover all aspects of digital black and white.

The main purpose of this workshop is to help you make better photographs, and through doing that, to experience personal growth. If you already make beautiful photographs, but find that you don’t do so consistently, then this workshop will show you how to begin to have a better understanding of what makes those photographs beautiful—from a technical, visual, and emotional level—which will inform how you begin to see everything around you.

In this workshop you will not learn any “rules.” You will go beyond "composition.” You will learn to see more than you already see and to take a more creative approach to photographing, and, as a result, based on our past experience with former participants in our workshops, your photographs will be better and you will have a higher percentage of keepers.

The new workshop format is ideal for those working traditionally and digitally to experience and learn all the aspects of the vision part of the workshop together, and then show how those things can be applied technically in their chosen workflows. This will allow people interested in the developing sheet film by inspection and contact printing with Azo (now Lodima) and Amidol time for that, and those interested in digital printing will be able to learn the same ideas we teach in the darkroom expressed through digital techniques.

Complete Workshop Description

The workshop will begin on Friday evening at 7P.M. It will continue from 8:30 A.M. Saturday until well into the night, and on Sunday from about 9:00 A.M. until approximately 4:30 P.M. The option for the attendees working digitally continues later into Sunday evening and then from 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday afternoon.

Our workshops are intense. Our objective is to help you develop your skills and give you the tools to make the best photographs you possibly can. We will try to teach you everything we know about the fine art of black and white photography, both visually and technically. We have no secrets.

Friday Evening

We take a preliminary look at your photographs followed by a discussion of our own work and the visual things that go into its making.

Saturday morning

We meet for breakfast together at the studio to allow for additional discussion around the Friday evening presentation. After breakfast we take our cameras into the field and demonstrate how we work when photographing. During this time Paula will work with each person individually and demonstrate a creative way to use a camera that will, in all likelihood, expand your way of working. Although we will be using an 8×10 camera for this demonstration, this is valuable regardless of format. There will be time for you to make your own pictures, and Richard and Michael will be answering questions, helping with different aspects of photographing with different formats, and reviewing compositions and approaches to different subject. 

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

After a break for lunch we break off into the digital and analog groups. The analog group will go into the darkroom where we demonstrate our printing techniques and then apply them to negatives you have brought with you. The digital group will go into the digital editing studio and will work through raw working with raw images in Capture One Pro and exporting to Photoshop for more detailed editing work.

For those on the digital track, extensive knowledge or experience in these programs is not required, but due to the time constraints we can’t cover basic camera operation and or cover an introduction to Photoshop. If you have not used Capture One Pro, I do go through a quick tour, and explain why I think it is a better RAW converter than Lightroom. I then demonstrate my unique Capture One workflow for digital black and white and how. I approach the concepts from a standpoint that is easy to understand, and will allow you to then utilize some of the advanced features in these programs—Photoshop especially.

We ask that you bring digital images or negatives that were difficult to print, or that yielded satisfactory prints only after many hours of effort, or ones that never did result in the print you hoped for.

We will then all have dinner together and have a general discussion into the night.

Sunday Morning

We will begin with a light breakfast with time to answer more questions and discussion. After breakfast we begin the critique session as a combined group, where we will then take a careful look at your photographs and discuss them in light of all that has gone before during the weekend. Our hope is that by this time you will almost be able to anticipate everything we might say. The more photographs you bring with you, the more helpful we can be. Bring as many as you would like us to look at, though thirty or forty would be maximum. These photographs should be in as finished a form as possible and preferably mounted.

We look at participants’ photographs both before and after brunch. We will also demonstrate mounting prints and spotting both prints and negatives. At the end of the workshop, we can cover any topic you like that we have not dealt with.

Sunday Evening

For those staying the additional day, Richard will continue working through Photoshop using the images you brought with an emphasis on printing.

Monday Morning

We will meet for a light breakfast and dive right into the digital printing session. Richard will go over advanced sharpening techniques, toning options for black and white printing, an introductory to profiling black and white printers, and printing with QuadTone RIP using UltraChrome K3 and Piezography inks. There will be a short break for a light lunch while we continue printing, and then begin to wrap up with any final questions.



There will be several different printers and papers to work with. but there are only two main editing computers with calibrated displays, so you are encouraged to bring a laptop and external drive to easily transfer files if needed. The studio is very rural and does not have a fast internet connection so please bring any files you need with you. 



Let us know if there is any specific aspect of photography, either technical or visual, that you are interested in having us cover and we will do our best to do so.


Comments from Previous Antendees

Just a note of thanks to you both for having me at your wonderful workshop. There are events that occur in one’s life that you consider a milestone for growth for who you are or become. I can honestly say that your workshop is one of my milestone events. You have renewed my photographic vision. You have reaffirmed my love of photography.
— Jeffrey Zeitlin

I have been a commercial photographer since I was 17, I went to college, assisted the top photographers in London, worked on global international advertising accounts for the last twenty five years, and last year I went back to collage to get a Masters Degree. Not once in all that time have I ever had such an interesting and informative photographic experience.
— Alun Crockford