Day of the Dead Photography Workshop

San Miguel de Allende October 30 - November 3                                                                   

Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in San Miguel de Allende is a visual feast for any photographer. An incredibly colorful colonial town, more than 400 years old, San Miguel is one of the most popular travel and photo destinations in the world.  In fact, it may be the most beautiful and magical pueblo in all of Mexico. The city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. It's easy to see why; the streets are alive with colors, and aromas, and the endless drama of la vida Mexicana.

This workshop is about learning how to see:

We'll spend our first day activating our artistic juices.  Preparing for the challenges of capturing action  on the streets of San Miguel, we'll begin with a look at the principles and art of street photography. The first morning we'll study the work of well known street photographers and discuss techniques to create great images. In the afternoon and evening we'll share a meal together and then head out and shoot. On the 31st we'll shoot again. Day of the Dead begins November 1.

This is a workshop to learn how to see, how to relate to your subjects with your camera, and, most importantly, how to see with a sense of open awareness. You will learn techniques of good composition, how to execute a dynamic image and specifically how to  improve your work. You will become familiar with how to use depth of field to create more interesting images and how to use light and shadows to increase impact. It doesn't matter whether you are using an iPhone, a $12 plastic Holga or a $5000 Leica. Good tools may help, but they do not replace a good eye. No matter what your camera, you can produce an wonderful image.

A good photograph usually captures a moment in time and place that evokes an emotional response in the viewer. Great photographs intrigue and engage; it might be the light, the composition, or the dynamic tension between subject and background. In this workshop you will learn see the world as an image maker. I am confident every participant will go home a better photographer, with  great images to prove it.

About Me

James has been photographing for over 40 years. He has lived in Mexico for the last 7 years and currently resides in San Miguel de Allende.

James specializes in travel, portraits and street photography. He has photographed extensively in India, Nepal, Cambodia, Ladakh, Tibet, Africa, Mexico, Galapagos, Borneo, Belize, and Europe.  His documentary style speaks of the essence of place and his portraits communicate the diversity of the human condition. His work has been published in numberous books and magazines and exhibited in the United States and Mexico. In 2011 he finished his first documentary film called “Never Give Up – The Heart of Compassion” Currently he is working on a new book to be published titled     La Vida Mexicana.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS: Outside Magazine, National Geographic (on-line), Travel and Leisure, New Age Journal, Worth, Diversion, Audubon, GEO, Stern, Oceans (Harper Collin) and Spirit of the Whale (Voyager Press), “The book of Man” (Scribner  book cover) and many others. His work is represented by Getty Images, Robert Harding, Glasshouse Images and other photo agencies.

Additional Information


A working knowledge of most of the functions on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera, or phone. Participants must be able to download, select, and transfer images to their own jump drive or a hard drive for class each day so we can review your work.


This workshop is limited to 10 participants. Accommodations are not included but I can help you in making arrangements or suggesting places to stay. Transportation to San Miguel is not included but I will advise you of the options. If you are not driving and are coming from outside Mexico the best airport options are Guanajuato, Leon, or Mexico City. There is good transportation from all of these airports.

The cost of the workshop for 5 days is $650.00 (USD). The fee for the extra day at the end to learn a little about image editing in photoshop and digital preparation for print is $150 in addition. This day includes an inkjet print of you choice. 50% deposit is required to reserve your place. It can be paid to my paypal email address: or you can email me for bank transfer information. If you are having financial difficulties due to covid or other issues we can discuss a discount. Send me an email at

Día de Muertos 

Día de Muertos en San Miguel de Allende es un placer visual para cualquier fotógrafo. Un pueblo colonial increíblemente colorido con más de cuatrocientos años de historia. Fue declarado por la UNESCO como patrimonio de la humanidad, y se vuelve evidente al ver sus calles llenas de vida, colores, aromas y el interminable drama de la vida mexicana.

Este Taller es sobre aprender cómo ver.

Pasaremos el primer día activando nuestro talento artístico. Preparándonos para afrontar el reto de capturar la acción en las calles de San Miguel de Allende. Comenzaremos dando un vistazo a los principios y al arte de la fotografía urbana. La primera mañana estudiaremos el trabajo de fotógrafos urbanos reconocidos y discutiremos técnicas para crear imágenes fantásticas.

Por la tarde comeremos juntos para luego dirigirnos a las calles y comenzar a tomar fotos. El segundo día seguiremos tomando fotos para prepararnos antes del 1 de noviembre cuando comienza el Día de Muertos.

Aprenderemos a ver, relacionarnos con el sujeto a través de la cámara y, lo más importante, mantendremos la mente abierta. Ampliarás tu conocimiento sobre técnicas de composición y cómo realizar una imagen dinámica.

Te familiarizarás con el uso de la profundidad de campo para crear imágenes más interesantes y con el uso de las luces y sombras para generar mayor impacto. 

Para una buena imagen no importa la herramienta que uses, ya sea una cámara muy cara o un iPhone. Los buenos equipos pueden ser de ayuda, pero no sustituyen un buen ojo. Una buena fotografía visualmente captura un momento que evoca una respuesta emocional en el espectador. Una gran fotografía intriga y engancha, puede ser por la luz, la composición o la tensión dinámica entre el sujeto y el entorno. En este taller aprenderás a ver el mundo como un creador de imágenes. Estoy convencido de que todos volverán casa como mejores fotógrafos y con excelentes imágenes para probarlo.

Student photos from a workshop I gave at the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo in Oaxaca.

Let's have fun photographing Día de Muertos in San Miguel de Allende.

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