Backyard Bird Photography Workshop


The workshop is split into 6 sessions. The first three sessions will be held online over zoom. Sessions 4 and 5 will be in-person in Clemson, SC where participants can practice with the guidance of the two instructors. Session 6 will be online over zoom and offer participants the opportunity to share a selection of their images and receive constructive feedback from the instructors.

Session 1) Monday March 6, 2023 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm (ET) online/zoom session (gear)

Session 2) Monday March 20, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm (ET) online/zoom session (settings and techniques)

Session 3) Monday March 27, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
(ET) online/zoom session (composition and other aesthetic tips)

Sunday April 2, 2023
6:00 pm (ET) Meet and greet at the hotel.

Session 4) Monday April 3, 2023
6:30 am - sunset pm (ET) in-person photo shoot session
in Clemson, SC.  Includes 2-3 hour lunch break and photography discussion.

Session 5) Tuesday April 4, 2023
6:30 am - 1 pm (ET) in-person photo shoot session at private property in Clemson, SC.

Session 6) Monday April 24, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm (ET) online/zoom session
for participant image review and feedback

Each of the online sessions will be recorded so they can be watched offline for reference or if you can't attend an online session live.

Workshop Fee:

ACT NOW: Save $50
when you register
by February 28, 2023

$699 Early Registration
$749 Registration after 2/28/2023


Mary Louise Ravese
Bella Vista Photography
(919) 307-9054 (East Coast)

Getting There

Photo by Alan Clark

The workshop is based in Clemson, South Carolina. The closest airport is Greenville/Spartanburg: 45 min drive

Other sample drive times:

Atlanta, GA 2 hrs

Charlotte, NC 2 hr 15 min

Raleigh, NC: 4 hr 50 min


We recommend making a reservation at one of these two hotels as they are less than 10 minute drive to the photo shoot property.

Best Western Plus
1310 Tiger Boulevard
Clemson, SC 29631
(864) 986-6200

Comfort Inn & Suites
1305 Tiger Boulevard
Clemson SC 29631
(864) 643-2226

Comments from Previous
Workshop Participants

"It would be hard to overstate what a terrific workshop Mary Louise provided us... She and Alan Clark gave us far more attention and instruction than we could have expected through a series of detailed Zoom meetings. As one who was struggling with the technology of a new camera plus Lightroom and Photoshop, I emerged with much more confidence." - Julia M.

“Mary Louise knows her stuff, knows how to teach, friendly and fun to boot – Sandra B.

“Mary Louise does a great job adapting to the level of a student's knowledge – David W.

“Good value for the money, learned so many new techniques and skills neeeded to continue work at home afterwards – Lori S.

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Images copyright
Mary Louise Ravese or Alan Clark, or Carl Ackerman,
All Rights Reserved


Goldfinch with azalea blossoms Have you ever watched birds fly, swoop, eat, fight, court, or play out any of their myriad of amazing behaviors and said to yourself: I wish I could capture this moment? Birds provide a fascinating and inspiring subject to the photographer, and also a hugely challenging one. This workshop teaches you the gear to use, the settings, technique and composition guidance to capture artful backyard bird photographs.

Unique Photo Opportunities Await You

Hands-on photo shoots will be conducted at a private property location in Clemson, SC that was specifically designed for backyard bird photography. This shooting location offers multiple perches, water features, and two large photo blind structures, each large enough to each comfortably accommodate 5 photographers at a time.  The birds are acclimated to the setting and come in relatively close to the blinds – typically within 10-25 feet. As a result, heavy super telephoto lenses are not required and more manageable zoom lenses in the 150 – 600 mm focal length range can work very well in this environment.  Additionally, before our hands-on session in Clemson, SC we will have a series of live webinar sessions to get participants prepared with equipment and techniques. Then 3 weeks after our hand-on sessions, we will have a follow-up webinar when class participants can receive feedback on a selection of their workshop images. All webinar sessions will be recorded so they can be reviewed afterwards.

Note, for those with mobility issues, one photo blind is very easy access from your car, the 2nd photo blind with a reflecting pond is a 5-10 min walk, or accessible via a golf cart driven by the property owner.

What will you learn? 

  • What camera, lens, and accessory features are needed for backyard bird photography
  • Camera settings and techniques for common backyard bird photography scenarios
  • How to shoot individuals or pairs of birds, perched or coming / going from perches
  • Practical bird photography tips
  • Post-processing considerations for bird images
  • Key factors for creating a bird-friendly habitat suitable for photography in your own backyard

Who Should Attend 

Intermediate to advanced photographers, or those who are comfortable using their camera in aperture priority, shutter priority and/or manual mode. Participants must be familiar with basic camera operation, including the setting of aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation. During this workshop, the instructors will be able to offer personalized guidance suitable to your skill level.

This workshop is suitable for those with mobility issues, since photographers can sit in the photo blind and photograph either using a tripod or handheld.

Workshop size: 6-8 participants with our two instructors.

Suggested Equipment

DSLR or mirrorless camera with lenses in the 300 - 600 mm focal length range. A zoom lens e.g. 150 - 600 mm would be well suited for the shooting location. Additional equipment recommendations, including rental companies, will be supplied upon registration. .

What's included with your tuition

  • Over 8 hours of lectures on backyard bird photography planning, equipment and shooting techniques (offered as live, interactive webinars)
  • Lecture notes and resource handouts
  • 1.5 days hands-on photo shoot at private location, guided by two instructors
  • Follow-up webinar when class participants can receive feedback on a selection of their workshop images
  • Boxed  lunch on the full day photo shoot

What's not included with your tuition

  • Lodging
  • Ground Transportation to Clemson, SC
  • Meals other than 1 lunch on location

About the Instructors

Having access to two instructors means more personal attention to your individual learning needs thanks to a low student to instructor ratio.

MLRMary Louise Ravese specializes in fine art nature and travel photography from locations across the world. Her photographs are in private, university & corporate collections in over 40 states and are exhibited nationally. She has published images in calendars, magazines, books and websites. Mary Louise is a regular speaker and competition judge for photography clubs. She also enjoys teaching on a wide range of topics related to nature, travel and creative photography. Based in North Carolina, Mary Louise leads classes and workshops at a variety of locations across the US and abroad. 

Alan Clark Alan Clark is an award-winning nature and landscape photographer who combines his 30+ years of professional environmental work with a life-long passion for nature and photography.  Alan worked as a coastal wetlands biologist for over seven years with the State of Maryland, taking evening classes in photography at the Maryland Institute of Art. Since retiring as an environmental planner from North Carolina  in 2012, he has been able to devote time to his photographic art.  He has won or placed in numerous nature photography contests and juried shows including, but not limited to, Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine’s Annual Photography Contest, the Appalachian Mountain Photography Contest, Carolina Nature Photographers Association’s (CNPA) Member’s Choice Contest, Augusta Photo Festival and the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s Native Bird Contest.  He has had four solo exhibits and is a regular contributor to the North Carolina Nature Conservancy’s “Afield” magazine and other nature publications.