I just wanted to thank you for giving me the push I needed at this point in my photography journey. Since your class, I am taking risks and seeing my ideas from start to finish. I think before your class, I was culling and editing without looking hard enough. I am now photographing, culling, and editing with greater intent and purpose and feeling liek a much stronger photographer than I did before the class. I still have kinks to work out and projects that need attention, but for now I am focusing on slowing down and really looking. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am very happy, motivated, and very inspired. In a place that is mine to own. In a place that would have not existed if I had not signed up for your class. You are an incredible instructor and I a truly hope that you continue to share your talents with the photography world for many years to come.
- Lisa Tullet, May 2018, 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
I first met Deb as a silent student in her EYIA classes. Her work immediately drew me in and her class description spoke directly to my inner artist. I had been on my maternity leave only to learn that I was not going to return to my teaching job. So the exhausted Momma in me and the artist in me needed a pick-me-up and Deb was exactly what the universe prescribed. I asked for inspiration and Deb appeared. Her class touched my creative heart. All of the information and feedback she provided was pivotal to my growth and is still with me today. It took me out of my own doubt and showed me my heart and it's original photographic pulse. After our EYIA course was complete, I enrolled in an active seat in Deb's Fine Art for Photography course. I went in blindly and came out with, again, empowering information and drive. Presently, I am working with Deb with private mentoring. I can't begin to explain how lucky I feel, to have found her; to have her give me honest feedback while guiding me on to my best creative path. She fills my soul and whatever work you put into her mentoring sessions, the results are beyond what you expected and everything you could have ever wanted. I've just begun working with Deb one-on-one and I know that not only have I met a photographic talent who I admire intensely, but I have also made a friend who I can openly express my creative, vulnerable self with. This, to me, is invaluable today among this large and deep sea of photography. It's refreshing to find a voice, in Deb, that is clear, focused and demands of you what you need, to bring out the best in your art and the best in your heart.
- Jo Schwindt, May 2018, private mentoring
This workshop has reignited my passion for photography! I feel more confident and more joy in my work than I have ever felt. My husband even commented on, how he could feel my joy and passion for photography was back! Deb is an amazing teacher. She gives thoughtful and prompt feedback and pours her soul into this! She is honest and raw and just amazing! I can not thank her enough. Thanks to Deb, I feel brave enough to start pursuing my photography dreams. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
- Maibritt Olsen, May 2018, 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
Deb is a phenomenal teacher and mentor, gifted & talented in both distinctive abilities. She has a way of guiding you to helping yourself while being there with you all the way..the fog clears, there are more "aha" moments than can be counted. We come in "here" and she helps us get to "there" wherever those places are for each one. It is raw, genuine, real in every way. I've taken lots of photography classes and workshops, but Deb makes it an experience that is absolutely life-changing. No matter individual skill level, one can't help but improve along the journey. By the end, you know you have really just begun and you walk away fired up for tomorrow and continuing what is truly a life's journey. It is just so much, much more than photography although that is the focus, but without an internal focus first, nothing happens in the photographic art we are seeking. I am recommending Deb's classes to everyone I know and looking forward to pursuing personal tutoring with her!
- Sandra Reid, May 2018, 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
I wasn't sure when I signed up for this class what I would get out of it or if I had even picked the right course for my first Illuminate class, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed at this moment. It was a great experience and the assignments/feedback I received re-established my love for photography. I was able to recognize my voice and reaffirm my style. It was wonderful. Thank you.
- Beth Rooney, May 2018, 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
Deb’s workshop really makes you think. She pushes you to look inward and to find your own answers within yourself. She helps you to see, and makes you realize who you’ve been as an artist all along.
- Russy Feldman Tendler, May 2018, 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
Deb has the unique ability to articulate style in a succinct, to the point manner. In a way that three or four words feel like a light bulb moment and suddenly your path forward is very clear. If you have doubt, uncertainty or feel a little bit lost this course is an incredible opportunity to move through it.
- Marina Locke, May 2018, 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
This class is for the all photographers. No matter where you are at in your journey, starting a project, or finishing one. There is so much information share by Deb, and her feedback is amazing. She goes above and beyond to assist you in your process. I noticed in doing this project, this has helped fine tune my voice and vision as an artist. I highly recommend this course and Embracing Your Inner Artist.
- Tanya Reeder, February 2018, 'Project Development + Fine Art' class
I attended this class as a silent student and my experience in the class was beyond my expectations! I have taken many online classes in the past and none of them had even come close to what Deb has created with this course! During the two weeks of this course she was online every day answering every question that was asked with thorough and thoughtful responses. Deb’s “live’ thought process of sequencing her photos was amazing! And her video feedback on the assignments were so well done, so incredibly informative, honest, heartfelt and truly inspiring! You can tell that Deb was really invested in the students projects and wanted to help them achieve their goals and create the best final product that they could! Deb was thoughtful, honest, encouraging, helpful, and always suggesting ways to improve upon your body of work! I learned so much from watching the video critiques from all the project assignments.
- Nicholas Brudnicki, February 2018 'Project Development + Fine Art' class
I wondered if this class would be a good fit for me since I pursue photography as a passionate enthusiast rather than a business professional. As it turned out, the class served to strengthen my belief that I am an artist and the work I make matters. Creating a body of work is such a personal endeavor and regardless of whether I ever sell a fine art print, I've grown and learned from the experience. This class was worth every penny and Deb is an extraordinary teacher, the perfect mix of mentor and friend. I learned so much - about fine art and project development - but also about where I'd like to go next on my own journey as a photographer.
- Donna Hopkins, February 2018 'Project Development+ Fine Art' class
Thank you Deb for a wonderful two weeks together. I really loved this class! Again, because it was an alumni run for me, I learned even more this time. Deb, you are the best instructor and guide ever! Truly, you take every person and their different journeys into account and manage to make it special for each and every one of us. Thank you!
- Merja Varkemaa, February 2018 'Project Development + Fine Art' class
This class gave me some much needed direction. The feedback I received from Deb was invaluable. She presents her thoughts is a gentle, loving way. It really takes away a lot of the fear you can have when presenting your work to others. I learned a lot from this class and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in fine art.
- Monica Hart, February 2018, 'Project Development + Fine Art' class
I recently had the great privilege of attending Deb's 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' workshop online. I had not picked up my camera much in the last two years and was considering giving up photography for good. Taking her class was my last stop and was my make-or-break moment. I am so happy I decided to take Deb's workshop. My inner artist was beyond revived. Not only did I begin to enjoy photography again, but I started sketching, painting, and writing again also. I could see more beauty in the everydayIt was an awakening and I didn't even know I was asleep. Thank you, Deb for giving me back the joy and love I have for photography.
- Tanya Reeder, January 2018 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
I am so happy that I signed up for the 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' course and with how much it has already impacted me. So much so that I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone and sharing more openly on Instagram and Facebook. It feels so good putting myself out there and being brave. Deb is such a supportive inspiration and anyone would be fortunate to cross her path.
- Renee Cameron, January 2018 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
Deb and I began our private mentoring in 2016. I reached out to Deb knowing she was an extraordinary artists with years of teaching and mentoring experience under her belt. I hoped she would help me hone a large body of work into a smaller, more cohesive and eloquently sequenced series. Together we achieved my goals and so much more. Along the way, Deb helped me fine-tune my artist statements, shared powerful insights regarding entering juried shows, and helped me step confidently into the next chapter of my fine art career. To this day I continue to call upon Deb to review new work I have created and to tap into her ever-growing knowledge of the field of fine art photography. 1:1 mentoring has been the single most important investment I have made in my personal and professional growth as an artist and I hope to avail myself of Deb’s talent for years and years to come.
- Deb Achack, January 2018 private mentoring
This is an incredible class -- the best one I have taken since I started my photography journey. Deb is so kind, honest, passionate, and raw in this class. She gives great examples and outstanding material to find your true self. If you are feeling lost or in a rut or feel like you're truly not going anywhere in your photography, or if you just getting started, THIS is the workshop to take. It is worth every dollar you spend on it. Deb gives honest feedback and pushes you on other levels that you would not expect it. This is definitely a journey and not a destination. I have taken away so much from this class and will continue to apply everything that was taught. Please do yourself a favor and wow yourself with something that is an eye opener on all levels. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing class!!
- Karina Pavlides, January 2018 'Embracing Your Inner Artist, class
My mentoring session with Deb was one of the most empowering, inspiring encounters I’ve experienced in my many years as a photographer. I love her mind and her heart - she is so encouraging and helped me decide where to focus in my photography journey by sharing openly and honestly about hers. Deb’s passion for teaching evident, she has unique view points and brilliant insights to offer photographers at every level. Her guidance allowed me to see my work with a new set of eyes and left me feeling clear-minded, confident and excited about my continued journey as an artist.
- Barb Toyama, private mentoring
Where do I start about Deb's course. It truly is chock-full of so many exercises and challenges to stimulate your creativity. I've always been told to look at other creatives to get inspiration, but Deb helped me understand how to take that inspiration and still make it my own. My biggest takeaway was realizing I needed to expand my personal work (not just focus on client work) to really grow as a photographer and overall creative. Her feedback was extremely helpful and she has a great way of providing it, while still giving you the motivation to make it even better. I'm so glad I bit the bullet and signed up. The best part is that she connects with everyone -- no matter where you are on your photography journey. I highly encourage anyone else to do sign up for Deb's class.
- Karen Koenig, October 2017 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
I can't say enough about Deb Schwedhelm's 'Project Development & Fine Art Class'. She is an excellent instructor – open, informative, kind, intelligent and a wealth of information. The class exceeded all of my expectations and has left me feeling as if I'm at the beginning of an exciting, meaningful and fulfilling photography journey! Thank you so much, Deb!
- Yasmeen Strang, May 2017 'Project Development + Fine Art' class
This class was packed with information. It answered every question I had without me having to ask. I think Deb went above and beyond what many teachers normally do. I would definitely recommend signing up for this class. It was so thorough and covered so much. I have a whole new level of respect for Deb. She is not only a talented artist but she has a wonderful way with people and educating.
- Sharon Covert, May 2017 'Project Development + Fine Art' class
I met Deb in 2007 when she took our family photos. I have love photography from a young age but this was the first time that I really took notice of how much photography is an art form. She was able to really capture the essence of our children in their portraits within the short hour she was with us. Through the years, I have followed her work via her website and found myself with the opportunity to take her workshop in April 2016. I began my own photography business a year ago and this could not have been better timing. When I signed up for the class, I assumed it would be half technical and half business knowledge. It was neither. Deb provided a little bit of technical information (of course she was always open to questions), a little bit of business knowledge, and a whole lot of behind the scenes “why do you want to be a photographer/what is your niche?” Deb provided a very heartfelt course of digging deep into what being a photographer means -- why do you want to do it?, what do you want to offer the world? kind of thoughts. Deb introduces you to different photographers that inspire her, connects you to photographers she thinks you might want to reach out to and so much more. The three-week course really got me thinking about how I wanted my business to look to the outside world and made me realize that we are “gifting our talents” to others and to value that. Thank you, Deb, for an amazing, thought provoking three weeks.
- Robyn Scherer, April 2016 'Embracing Your Inner Artist' class
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the CTJ workshop, I'm still processing everything and reading through threads on the forum. And I will be moving forward with the neighborhood project that I started in CTJ. Can't wait to share some images with you once I get a small portfolio together. One of my biggest goals this year is to develop a cohesive style across the board, the style of my client work does not match the style of my personal work and I think me catering to 'every woman' (like you said) is holding me back. I want to fix this disconnect and am hoping that you can help me figure out the best way to do a model call. I was thinking of offering three portfolio building, lifestyle newborn sessions in an effort to have enough photos to take down the styled newborns on my site and replace them with lifestyle images. What do you think? Lastly, a bazillion thank you's for the files from our family session. What an amazing gift that I am so grateful for! I really want to leave you with something special of your time in Florida before you and your family move on to your next phase. Let's make sure we can get together before you leave this summer, I will be available whenever you are ready.
- Kim Turner-Smith, 2015 In-Person Workshop
The time I spent in a workshop with Deb was transformative. During our time together, I gained so much insight into who I am as an artist, what truly inspires me, and the confidence to trust my own voice and vision. She is genuine in her desire for you to grow as an artist and believe in yourself and celebrate your journey. She pushes you in all the right ways, helping you to work through the fears and blocks that all artists face, and helping you to take time to reflect on who you are and where you are going. She is encouraging, open, and honest in every way, sharing everything she has learned along her journey to help her students grow. I would highly recommend any opportunity to learn from Deb.
- Kate Bragg
I just wanted to take a minute and tell you something. The other day I saw a friend and fellow photographer and as we were talking she said to me “I hope this doesn’t sound insulting, but I noticed your work is a lot more artistic since you took Deb’s workshop.” I told her I wasn’t insulted at all. I have been feeling that. That something has changed in me. I feel like there is my work that is “pre-Deb” and then “post-Deb”—really. I feel like you gave me the tools to search deep inside myself and find the courage to share and believe in work that was truly me. After the workshop, I still was struggling with believing in myself, but I think the thoughts and tools you instilled in us were there and I pushed through it. It is strange to say but I gave myself permission to believe in my work, and feel good about some of it, and I flipped the switch to believe and shut out the noise. There are days when I want to switch it off, when everything is telling me my work is bad, so and so’s is so much better, but I have resisted it. It feels so good. I also want to thank you for encouraging me to photograph my older boys more, not just my little daughter. Since your workshop I have been photographing them often and creating images that have depth and a deep sense of importance to me. SO I just wanted to say thank you. You really did inspire me during that short 2 week period in an art changing, soul searching kind of way.
- Melissa Lazuka
Deb’s workshops gave me the tools to look at my photography on a deeper level, getting right to the roots of who I am and who I want to be as a photographer. Deb answers questions and shares with a refreshing openness and honesty. Deb’s workshops are without a doubt substance over style; they are intelligent and authentic, qualities that i have not always found elsewhere. I was left feeling not only inspired but truly empowered.
- Lili Love
Deb is a goddess of inspiration, strength, and encouragement. She infuses life into us, reigniting our weary souls. So much so, yet so quietly and seamlessly. I know for a fact that I would not be where I am in my work and journey had it not been for her huge influence and encouragement. I have enjoyed the assignments here, but am enjoying a creativity surge overall. I am putting together my first serious series. My own personal project that has been tantalizing me for many months, but only now coming to fruition. I attribute it largely to being in her guidance and stealing a bit of the creative energy all throughout the threads here in CTJ.
- Cate Wnek
I can't thank you enough for my weekend at the Tampa workshop. It came at a time when I needed to pause and reflect on life and photography; to connect with others about art and our common journey. Finally getting to meet you in person and give you a big hug was also so important. We spend so much time in this digital age limited in our ability to connect in a truly human way. Getting to see you work, to look at your work in person, and to shoot beside you and the other super talented participants was such a highlight. And wrapping up the weekend with the portfolio review still resonates with me. Sitting with you and the others discussing my work was a first and I learned so much from that experience. I would do it again in a heart beat.
- Jennifer Capozzola
I am blessed to have found Breaking the Mold and the follow-up course, Continuing the Journey. I am so sad that they have ended, but am so grateful as I am forever changed. I have never been so excited or enthused about the journey that I am headed on, and for the first time I am questioning all of the external "noise" and slowing starting to trust myself and my art. I have been encouraged to "keep going" and to follow my instincts, which I have been hesitant to do in the past. I got more out of this than I ever imagined and if I had to sum up my time in these courses, I would use words such as soulful, eye-opening, inspiring, thought-provoking and last but not least...definitely worth it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- Becky Venteicher
I just wanted to write and thank you again for the journey that was Breaking the Mold. I'm not sure I will ever be able to fully explain what a difference this workshop has made, not only with my art, but with everything I put out into the world. I came into the workshop expecting to be inspired to shoot more and be more authentic, but I left with so much more...the inspiration and confidence to not only shoot from the heart, but to live from the heart and to be truly authentic in all aspects of my life and work. I am so grateful to you and the other workshop participants for sharing so freely and for making such an experience possible. I would highly recommend this workshop to everyone regardless of where they are in their photographic/artistic journey.
- Jodie Carson
I just wanted to thank you for the truly life changing workshop you did on The Bloom Forum. That workshop has had such an impact on my photography and my outlook. I cannot even express with words how grateful I am. I am now heading out to sessions feeling inspired, creative and excited!! That had not happened for sometime.
I am attaching an image named "for_deb" where in the past I NEVER would have thought to use this light during a session, but after you talked about it during the workshop I thought I would give it a try last night during a First Communion session and I'm so glad I did!! I love the glowing feel it lent to the image. In the past I never would have thought I could find so many opportunities to be creative at a First Communion session!! I'm also attaching a silohuette I just love from the same session.
Lots of Love!
Dear Deb, Shortly after our workshop, our family packed up and headed to the cottage for a couple of weeks. It was complete chaos and I didn't end up getting the time I needed to honestly reflect on what you gave to me at the workshop. I knew I had walked away refreshed, motivated, and inspired, but also knew that something deeper had happened in those two days. I am home now and the kids are asleep. I can finally sit down, think, and write. I can't thank you enough for your honesty and for presenting yourself as a "real" person. Until the workshop, you were some famous photographer that I worshiped. After the workshop you were Deb. Deb who had a dream, worked her ass off and is now one of the most talented photographers I know. You weren't handed your gift on a silver platter. I needed to see this more than you know. I needed to see that an everyday mommy like me, could be great at this art. You took the time to explain things and teach things that I am sure are very second nature to you. I felt safe those two days knowing that I was there to learn and you were there to teach. No stupid questions could be asked. An inside look into your work and how you approach a shoot and editing was incredible. I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned during that time! You inspired me to keep going with this art and be honest and true on my journey. These words have not left my head. Before I arrived I wasn't sure if I should be doing this or return to teaching. I am now committed to this amazing art and have put teaching on the back burner. I understand I have a long road ahead and that there is no end to the journey. Before you, this would have scared the shit out of me. Now I am excited. More than anything you have motivated me to KEEP GOING. Deb, you were incredible those two days. I could have listened to you forever. You add so much value to this art and I respect you more than I can express. THANK YOU for the opportunity to learn from you and get to know you. I would do this all over again in a heart beat. I hope that we will meet again some day but for now know that you have left a really big awesome mark in my world. So grateful for our time.
- Lisa Tullett
I went into the workshop hoping to learn a whole lot technically to improve my own photography. What I came away with was that and so much more. I saw first hand how it wasn’t magic or luck which got you to where you are – it as a lot of hard work, finding an inspiration and following through with it. Watching your workflow from our discussions on inspiration and visualization, to watching you shoot and post-process. I realized that it is entirely possible that I can follow in your footsteps, put in the effort, and become an amazing artist. I can’t help but feel like I went into the workshop thinking I was a decent photographer and I left feeling like I was blossoming into an artist. I have since found inspiration coming to me so easily and in so many forms. My mind has been opened! I have all these images dancing in my head that I cannot wait to set up and photograph. There wasn’t a question that was too simple and there was always time for another question. You shared everything that makes you who you are – an amazing photographer and an amazing person. I found inspiration not just in your product but in who you are and the amazing souls that were attracted to you and your workshop. I can’t begin to express how lovely it was that you weren’t just our fearless leader, but also just another friend in our group. I truly feel like I’ve gained a new friend in you! As terrified as we all were of the portfolio review, I saw a light turn on in each one of us. My fear of discouragement was quickly dispelled as I saw my work in a whole new, positive light. I now feel empowered and excited for this long and amazing journey. I so cherish the time we all spent together and am so excited to now have such amazing people to share in this journey! Thank you!
- Carrie Cheng
Deb, how on earth do I put it into words…. thank you just doesn’t cut it. I feel so humbled to have been a part of your workshop. This experience is one I will never forget both for my journey as a photographer and also for me personally. When I found out about your workshop, I just knew in my heart I had to be there and now that I’m home I just want to thank you so much for your beautifully kind heart, and all the experience and knowledge from your own journey that you so generously shared with us all. I’m so happy to have met all the incredibly talented and special women that I shared this experience with and have made some wonderful new friendships too! It was seriously so much more than a photography workshop!! So thank you. For bringing us all together, for sharing so much of yourself with us, and for giving me the courage to find my own path and my own vision…
- Megan Gardner