This is definitely a Photography Workshop and we’re going to dive deep into the technical and creative aspects of the craft. You can’t build a successful photography business without being able to put forth a great product and we want to make sure you’re prepared to make that happen. I’m going to pull back the curtain on exactly how I approach a portrait and an action photoshoot and let you get hands on throughout the entire process from pre-production through retouching in Capture One and Photoshop. You’ll be side-by-side with me to understand how I light, compose, and shoot when I’m working behind the lens.


One of the things that took us a while to understand is that a photography business is a business and you have to approach it like one. Sam and I have a combine 18 years of experience in Corporate Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Management that have allowed us to take what we learned in the corporate world and apply it to our business to make it run like a well-oiled machine. We want to share that knowledge with you over the course of our two day experience to make sure you leave here with the tools necessary to help you succeed.

Creative Voice

Your Creative Voice is the key towards finding your photographic style and watching that style span both your photography and your business. It has driven all of the marketing and branding aspects of our business, and allowed us to create a recognizable brand in Ruddock Visuals. With that said, Creative Voice is always easier to figure out with a group of like-minded individuals, so we’re going to work through this together to make sure you’re focused on what you’re passionate about. It’s that passion that is going to help you create the images you want to create, and brand the business you want to build.

Studio Social

We want to get to know you and we don’t want to wait another minute! Join us at the Ruddock Visuals studio for a casual get-to-know-ya dinner the night before we kick things off. One of the most valuable things we’ve gotten out of the workshops we’ve done have been the connections we made while we were there. Samantha and I want to get things kicked off on the right foot but introducing ourselves over a casual dinner and drinks at the studio in North Houston. We’ll get to know each other, establish what’s going on during our time together, and prep for all of the incredible experiences we’re going to share over the next two (and a half!) days together!

Photography Agenda

We’re going to cover a lot of topics and content while we’re together, but it all revolves around creating great photographs. You have to be able to deliver some amazing photography if you want to get hired, and we are going to completely pull back the curtains on how we approach our craft. Payton is going to walk you through the gear he uses, how he approaches lighting theory and crafts images, prepares for a photoshoot, shoots for a client, and retouches his images to the final product. Not only that, but both of us are going to step aside and let you get hands on during the shoot so that you absorb as much as possible. We’ve got two shoots lined up with an Action Sports Photoshoot as well as a in-studio Portrait Shoot. Here are more of the deets below!

Portrait Shoot

Portrait Shoot

We’re going to go through a Live Shoot in the studio on day 1 and I’m going to walk you through my creative process to help you understand exactly what goes into a commercial portrait shoot.

  • Pre-Shoot Logistics
  • The best way to make sure a photoshoot is going to go well is to put in the work beforehand. If you don’t know how to prep for a shoot, you’re more likely to miss something and catch yourself off-handed when it matters. We’re going to run through our pre-shoot checklist together.

  • Gear
  • Every photographer is a bit of a gear-head whether they’ll admit it or not, so I want to go over exactly what cameras and lighting gear I use when I’m shooting styled portraits in the studio on on the go.

  • Lighting
  • Lighting is where the magic happens. You can’t make great images without great light, and I’m going to walk through exactly how I build a lighting diagram and scheme utilizing an additive lighting approach. It’s so easy, anybody can do it!

  • Capturing "The Shot"
  • So much goes into capturing a great portrait, but once you identify your Creative Voice and find that quality light, it really comes down to just working with the person in front of you to tell a story only the two of you can craft together.

  • Post-Processing
  • While you have to start with some great content from behind the lens, the real refining of the image comes in the digital darkroom. While I could spend an entire day just in Photoshop (and you can with our bonus day!) I’m going to walk you through just a few of the steps I take when retouching portraits.

    Action Sports Shoot

    Action Sports Shoot

    Day 2 is going to kick off with a jump start! We’re going to get after it bright and early with a Live Action Sports Photoshoot. While some of the lessons from the Portrait Shoot are going to carry over, there are some other aspects that are much more specific to photographic sports in a commercial setting.

  • Athlete Prep
  • Just like working with a model, working with an athlete takes plenty of communication, but I’ve always felt like understanding your athletes mindset and persona in the sport is extremely important in capturing them accurately.

  • Gear & Mobility
  • We’re not in the studio anymore… I guess we can be, but most of the time you’re going to be mobile for these shoots, and knowing how to prepare for that is a completely different task than shooting in studio.

  • Lighting & Style
  • A lot of the same aspects carry over from the Portrait Shoot day one, but we’ll be recapping on some techniques and teaching new techniques over the course of the second shoot.

  • Capturing Action
  • Some of the most epic moments in sports and the briefest moments and you have to know how to prepare for and capture those moments in every crisp, beautiful detail.

  • Post-Processing
  • While I use some of the same aspects from retouching portraits, my workflow looks completely different for athletes and I want to show you what tools I use to create my treatment on sports images.

    Creative Voice Agenda

    Creative Voice is the key to creating the brand you want. If you haven’t heard me talk about it before, take a look at our video series on Creative Voice and how it not only revolutionized my photography, but helped me create a cohesive, recognizable brand for my photography business. It’s so important, we want to take the time and take a hands on approach to help you find and define your Creative Voice, and then help you begin to build your brand around your unique photographic style. Through Creative Voice we’re going to cover:

  • Identify Your Creative Style
  • We’re getting hands on to help you determine what it is that makes you tick as a person and as an artist. That fire that burns in you is more powerful you know and can completely transform your photography into a cohesive brand.

  • Building a Brand That’s “You”
  • Your brand is more than just the collection of your portfolio. It’s the name of your company, what you want to convey with your logo and brand design, and how you go to market as a photographer. All of that means nothing if it doesn’t reflect exactly who you are as a person and an artist, and we want to help you build your brand.

  • Develop a Cohesive Style
  • Putting together a portfolio is an art form in itself. We're getting hands-on with you to help you refine your portfolio into something that reflects your Creative Voice and what you want to do with your photography. We’ll be sharing some of the things we look for when we curate my portfolio, as well as sit down with each of you 1-on-1 to go through your book and help you find that perfect flow.

  • Live Your Brand
  • Your brand is more than your logo and your portfolio: it has the be a lifestyle choice. We’ll talk about how we live our brand on Social Media platform and in our every day life. You want your brand to be an outward reflection of who you are, so when you meet the client for the first time they feel like they already know who you are.

    Business Agenda

    You might be a photographer, but if you’re doing it professionally you’re also an entrepreneur. Treating your business like a business is essentially to surviving in the competitive landscape of photography today, and we are going to give you the tools we use to be successful. After a combined experience of over 18 years in the corporate world spanning sales, management, operations, and quality assurance, Samantha and I are here to help you succeed by digging in and looking at the following topics:

  • Proactive v. Reactive
  • Being a business owner can be overwhelming, and prioritizing your tasks is essential to keep your sanity. Proactive tasks and reactive tasks are the basis for everything we do in business, and we want to help you understand the key differences and why you want to spend your time where it counts.

  • Sales 101: A Course in Killing It
  • One of my core beliefs is that no matter how good a photo is, no photo sells itself. Understanding the key points of how to sell and market yourself is essential to your success, and I am going to show you that anybody can be good a sales.

  • Take Control with Workflows
  • Time management is a key aspect to your success, and understand how you spend your time will help you find a balanced work-life relationship. Workflows will help you take the reins on your business and allow you spend time where it counts.

  • Social Media & Marketing
  • Marketing yourself is more overwhelming than its ever been, and we want to help you understand the balance we use and the key points we employ to carefully target and communicate with the clients we want to work with.

  • Building a Profitable Business
  • You can’t be a successful business unless you’re making money. We’re pulling back the curtain on how we created our pricing structure, and we’re here to help you determine your own so you can fairly and accurately price yourself to succeed.


    That’s right! We’re extending the workshop an optional 1/2 day to focus on Retouching. There was just too much information in Retouching that I wanted to spend an entirely separate day devoted specifically to the topic of Retouching. We’re going to cover more techniques on how I go through:

  • Workflow Management
  • Photographers take A LOT of images, and if you don’t understand how to quickly and accurately create a folder and workflow system to keep all of that organized you’re going to find yourself in a tight situation. Fortunately for you, I am going to show you how I go through my entire ingest and workflow to get my folders ready before an image ever hits my hard drive.

  • RAW Editing
  • RAW images are were the magic starts and whether you use Capture One or Lightroom, I am going to walk through my thoughts on both programs and how I use both to achieve different looks through my workflow before images hit Photoshop.

  • Image Clean Up
  • I’ll show you the techniques I use to clean an image and provide my thoughts on skin retouching and background clean up in a non-destructive, organized manner.

  • Dodging & Burning
  • The unsung hero of the digital darkroom workflow. I’m going to convince all of you why dodging and burning is a beautiful thing and work through image files alongside all of you to show how I use Dodging and Burning to refine the look of my images.

  • Frequency Separation
  • A selective yet extremely powerful technique, I’ll talk through how and when I use Frequency Separation on images without turning beautiful skin into muddy plastic.

  • Tone, Color, and Contouring
  • Refining your photos is all in these three topics and we’re going to look at my favorite techniques to give your photos a beautiful, contrasty feel with a color balanced finish.

  • Techniques for Unique Looks
  • You didn’t think I was just going to give you the basics did you? I want to give you all of the techniques I use to get different looks. We’re discussing the one-off techniques and special layers I like to use to create different styles in my image refinement.