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

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

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

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 inspires her, connects you to photographers she thinks you might want to reach out to and much more. The 3 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 3 weeks. 
- Robyn Scherer

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!
-Ann Westerman

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