New Orleans Photography Experience Workshop

LIMTED TO 8 Participants

June 7th - 11th - New Orleans, LA


Photographers of all levels,  Improve your skills while capturing images of the authentic New Orleans with Zack Smith; professional photographer, New Orleans insider and Trusted Educator.

New Orleans is known worldwide for it's music, food, and cultural riches. As a photographer living and photographing this area I have made some of my favorite images that tell the deepest and most touching stories. The New Orleans Photography Workshop is the culmination of my 20 years of visual storytelling, photography education, and relationship building resulting in a photography workshop offered nowhere else. Especially by a local, rooted, dedicated artist...

Through my connections to the music industry as staff photographer for Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest I have established relationships with the finest artists in Jazz, Rock, Blues, and Swing. Through my fine art and documentary photography I have enjoyed strong personal relationships with Mardi Gras Indians, bayou communities, fisherman, and local luminaries. Through my over 15 years of teaching photography in New Orleans I have found the ways to express and share photographic concepts and stories in a way that educates and empowers.

Clarinetist Rickey Paulin of the famed Paulin Brothers Brass Band serenades the streets of the French Quarter. Rickey is a legend of New Orleans music, one of many musicians we will meet and photograph.

Connections make our world smaller, personal stories allow us to share our history. Only when we know the story we can make compelling photography.

Come with me on a 4 day journey through New Orleans and the surrounding bayou communities to photograph the people and learn the stories directly from the people who make New Orleans unique. Together we will photograph the faces, personalities, architecture, art, and performers of New Orleans. We will have One on One portrait sessions will local jazz musicians and blues legends from the dark and low ceiling bars of the city to the historic venues of the French Quarter.

The New Orleans Photography Experience is for Amateurs and Professional Photographers!

You will learn hands-on how to photograph portraits, landscapes, and architecture while learning from the artists that make New Orleans happen. Why be a bystander watching history when you can learn from it and photograph the magic up close? We will sit down at City Park with Big Chief Juan Pardo from the Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indians to learn the history and culture of the Mardi Gras Indians while learning off camera strobe techniques. We will have an exclusive private portrait shoot with jazz musicians from the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band where I will teach you musician portraiture at the famous Preservation Hall in it's subtle light and it's textured walls . Come with me down to the Bywater at have a mini-portrait session and hang with legendary bluesman Little Freddie King. This is only the half of it...

Workshop participants get up early and photograph the music of the streets!

For this workshop I have a 10 passenger van that will bring you and your gear all the way down to the small fishing communities that feel a world away from anything you have ever known. Meet the people who bring the world's greatest seafood to the tables of America. Alot of our workshop itinerary is planned, some of it is not. I am very apt to let the moment take us where it needs to, and won't think twice when being invited to share a beer or cast a crab net with the locals. Let's find the culture, let's tell the story together. Everyone we photograph or come in contact with be available to give your images or prints to when you are finished editing. As a policy in my workshops and my photography tours, there is a non-commercial photo use policy in effect with everyone we setup to photograph. You are encouraged to share your share with everyone we photograph and I can get you in touch with anyone we meet during this action packed photography weekend in New Orleans!


We will take a drive way "down the road" as the locals say and photograph the story of where all this amazing Louisiana seafood REALLY comes from and WHO makes it happen. It's not an easy life being a shrimper or oyster farmer. Life is tough, work is hard, but so rewarding. We will drive to Hopedale and Shell Beach as we wind south down the Mississippi River. o walk it's grounds and hear it's history. 


New Orleans if full of rich unique cultural traditions. Traditions are only expressed and passed on when explained and shown to the next generation, that's why at this photography workshop we not only photograph culture - we learn from it while honing our craft. We will visit the towering century old oaks in City Park to learn and photograph the Mardi Gras Indian culture from Big Chief Juan Pardo and Isaac Kinchen of the Golden Comanche Indians. I will show you how to use strobes to photograph portraits in natural settings. 

Backlit with setting sun. ©Stephen Barnes

What to Expect

This workshop takes place in the Greater New Orleans area where we will be visiting and photography cultural icons of architecture, music, and art. We will visit the French Quarter, City Park, St. Bernard Parish, and the towns of Hopedale and Shell Beach. There will be plenty of walking when we get to our destination and all participants are required to carry their own gear. It is recommended to pack light but bring what you need! You will have transportation to and from all locations and are encouraged to bring all the gear you need, and I am available to consult with you as to what gear is necessary. 


Requirements to Take this Workshop

This workshop is designed for the ALL LEVELS of Photographers! Attendees are to know how to use their camera, as well as understand basic camera operation including setting f/stops and shutter speeds, and how to download images to your computer. The workshop will provide all models, lighting gear, reflectors, and light modifiers for each grouping. I have a group of amazing assistants with us at all times to help with lighting and reflectors.

Photography of Preservation Hall musicians by workshop participant Bruce Janklow, 2017.

Photography of Preservation Hall musicians by workshop participant Bruce Janklow, 2017.

Where You Will Stay

There are many places to stay in New Orleans during this workshop, but I have always found that knowing the proprietor and keeping everyone under one roof is always easier! If you are coming solo or with a friend or group I have a few options for your stay in New Orleans and if you are coming from out of town, your cost for rooms is included with the total fee under Visiting Photographer These revered bed and breakfasts are actually run and managed by amazing photographers and are located in the heart of the city! Remember no matter where you stay, you always have front step service from me when we go on outings as I will be picking you up in our van!

Blue 60 Guesthouse - The Blue60 Guest House is in the beautiful Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. The Marigny offers a large variety of restaurants, small corner cafes with outdoor tables, live music venues, bars, and a world of charm that many tourists rarely get to experience.

Best New Orleans Rentals - Homes are 3 B/BA and 2 B/BA located in the Bywater, downtown New Orleans. 


Costs and What is Expected

There are two fees for this workshop: Home Photographer and Visiting Photographer.

New Orleans Photography Experience Workshop Home Photographer

New Orleans Photography Experience Workshop with Zack Smith: Home Photographer. Your Home Photographer workshop fee covers all operating costs for The New Orleans Photography Experience Workshop including:  van rental and gas, all meals (light breakfasts, lunch, and dinner), musicians and talent fees, water and snacks all day/night, (water, granola, fruit, healthy options!), door cover for venues and bars. Any other expenses such as alcohol, gifts, and camera equipment bought in town are not covered.

Add to Cart
New Orleans Photography Experience Workshop: Visiting Photographer

New Orleans Photography Experience Workshop with Zack Smith: Visiting Photographer. Your Visiting Photographer workshop fee covers all operating costs for The New Orleans Photography Workshop Experience including: room and board, van rental and gas, all meals (light breakfasts, lunch, and dinner), musicians and talent fees, water and snacks all day/night, (water, granola, fruit, healthy options!), door cover for venues and bars.

Add to Cart

Your Visiting Photographer workshop fee covers all operating costs for The New Orleans Photography Workshop Experience including: room and board, van rental and gas, all meals (light breakfasts, lunch, and dinner), musicians and talent fees, water and snacks all day/night, (water, granola, fruit, healthy options!), door cover for venues and bars.

Your Home Photographer workshop fee covers all operating costs for The New Orleans Photography Workshop Experience including:  van rental and gas, all meals (light breakfasts, lunch, and dinner), musicians and talent fees, water and snacks all day/night, (water, granola, fruit, healthy options!), door cover for venues and bars.

Each participant will sign a Terms and Hold Harmless waiver that states they are able to walk with their own gear, are physically able to shoot in the stated conditions, and they hold Zack Smith Photography and it's collaborators and venues not liable for damages. We also have a non-commercial 3rd party release to be signed for certain New Orleans artists.


Our local camera shops are Bennett's Camera and Lakeside Camera in the nearby suburb of Metairie. Mostly printing service providers, they do have the occasional battery or tripod but I wouldn't trust it. Metairie also has Best Buy, Walmart, and you get items shipped from Amazon to my studio or your hotel/home.

• Digital SLR Camera 

If you have two bodies, bring both & instruction manual.

• Lenses***

Wide (14-24mm) and normal focal lengths 24mm, 35mm to Portrait Lenses: 85mm-200mm & a large aperture of 2.8 or 1.4 are always great! 

• Tripod
A solid tripod for portrait photography with a sturdy “quickplate” is recommended

Lens Rentals (super wides, fish eyes!)  

• Extra batteries

At least 2, plus your chargers

• Extra memory cards
•Speedlight/Strobe Questions
All questions answered as they arise


Thursday, June 7th - SYNOPSIS: 6:30am Pickups + Coffee At St. Roch / 7am French Quarter Walk / 10am Lafayette Cemetery #1 and Garden District Homes / 1pm LUNCH / 1pm Westwego Seafood Market / 2:30p Des Allemands Bayou Shoot / 4p - Break / 6:30pm Golden Hour Walk and 7:30 Dinner / 9pm  Frenchmen St. Clubs and Live Music Shoot

DETAILS: We suggest you fly in Wednesday night, June 6th. If you live in New Orleans you can meet us at 6:30am at St. Roch Market 2381 St. Claude Avenue. We will have coffee and light snacks before heading out to the French Quarter to walk and photograph the architecture, music, and culture and engage in some candid portrait work. After the French Quarter we will drive down and photograph inside the hauntingly beautiful above ground cemetery and homes of Lafayette #1 in the Historic Garden District. We will eat lunch together in the Garden District then drive across the Mississippi River to visit the Westwego Seafood Market - the largest open air local seafood market in town. We will make a visit next to the sleepy bayou town of Des Allemands, a nice secret spot I found on a recent spelunking travel! I will drop you off at your rooms for a long break where you can download and backup your files, rest, do some editing before our 6:30 Golden Hour walk in the French Quarter into dinner. After dinner, you can opt for a trip back to your rooms or join us for a night walk on Frenchmen Street to do some night music and bar hopping photography in one of New Orleans' most lively neighborhoods.

Friday, June 8th - SYNOPSIS: 9am pickup and coffee at St. Roch Market / 9:30 - 11:30am Guided Tour in the Historic Treme' Neighborhood / 12p Lunch / 3pm Little Freddie King Photo Shoot in the Bywater / 4pm -6pm BREAK /  6:30pm Golden Hour Photo Walk in the French Quarter / 8:30 Group Dinner + Image Reviews

DETAILS: After a 9am pickup we will have coffee and light snacks before heading out to the Historic Treme Neighborhood to walk and photograph it's architecture and engage in some candid portrait work. We will visit Treme's Petit Jazz Museum, The Backstreet Cultural Museum, and learn about the history and culture of this historic neighborhood. After the Treme walk we will lunch at Lil' Dizzy's and dine on some of best soul food in the Treme. After lunch we will have a private photography session from the King of the Blues in New Orleans - Little Freddie King. We will walk and photograph the Historic Bywater Neighborhood's colorful shotguns and eccentric bars and hot spots until our Golden Hour photo walk in the French Quarter. We will end the day in the French Quarter as we photograph the architecture and street life of one of the world's most unique neighborhoods as the sun sets and night takes over. We will close this full first day with a group dinner. Each participant will be driven back to their respective hotels.

Saturday, June 9th - SYNOPSIS: 8:30am Pickupds / 9am - 1p french Quarter Street Musicians Shoot / 1:30 LUNCH / 3:30pm Big Chief Juan Pardo Mardi Gras Indian Chief Photoshoot and Learning Session / 6p BREAK / 7:30 - Golden Hour Walk Faubourg Marigny / 8:30 Dinner + Image Reviews

DETAILS: We will start our day in Jackson Square where we will meet up with our first arranged portraits of the day with bonafide New Orleans music veterans Robert Smith and Rickey Paulin who have been a mainstay in the music scene in the clubs and in the streets. We will use the French Quarter as our background and the sweet songs and sounds of these men as our muse. We will also meet up and photograph buskers and street performers while walking the French Quarter. After lunch we will meet up with Big Chief Juan Pardo and Isaac Kinchen of the Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indians. Juan and Isaac will guide us on a historical journey of what Mardi Gras Indians are and their importance to the culture of New Orleans. We will then have a private photography session of these artists in City Park as they don their one-of-a-kind suits. We will learn off-camera strobes and how to balance daylight and artificial light for portraits. After a short break we will meet for a "night shoot" of the musical nightlife of New Orleans on Frenchmen Street! Learn and shoot low light music photography in the most happening street in the city where brass bands setup on street corners and swing dancers sway to the beat of live bands. This is truly where New Orleans shines!

Sunday June 10th - SYNOPSIS: 5am Pickups Coffee-Breakfast / Sunrise at the Battle of 1812 Historical Site / 8am Bayou Fishing Community and Oyster Farmers / 11:30a Lunch at Charlie's in Violet, LA / 1:30p-3:30p Preservation Hall Jazz Musicians Shoot / 4p-7pm BREAK /8pm Group Dinner + Image Reviews

DETAILS: Zack will arrive with coffee and breakfast to go when we venture out of Orleans Parish and into the neighboring St. Bernard Parish to begin our day with a sunrise shoot. Our first spot is the Historic Chalmette Battlefield and Cemetery where on this site the Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815. 200 year old graves, century old oak trees and the winding Mississippi River rise to greet us with the sun. We will then drive "down the road" as locals call it to the lower St. Bernard area and enter wide open swamp prairie and bayous. Here we will photograph the true rural fishing communities that supply the seafood we all love in New Orleans and beyond. We will have lunch at Charlie's in Violet, LA where their local seafood menu is the largest I have ever seen! At 1:30 we will be back in the French Quarter to photograph at the legendary and historic Preservation Hall. The crown jewel of our photography experience is being able to photograph portraits and a private concert of the musicians of Preservation Hall! After our portrait session we will have a break at our respective hotels/rooms and meetup for our Group Dinner Slideshow and Critique! I suggest using the break to edit your BEST 10 to show the group and have a professional critique session by me!

Monday June 11th - Departure Day - Optional 8am coffee and Breakfast QnA at Coast Roast at St. Roch Market

DETAILS: I am not very good at saying goodbye. I want to offer an 8am Coffee QnA at Coast Roast Coffee at St. Roch Market to anyone wanting to do any follow up questions or image reviews. 

TESTIMONIALS from The New Orleans Photography Workshop Experience

"Louisiana provides one of the few truly vibrant authentic regional cultures left in our country. A visual and literal feast for photographers, and nobody delivers it better than Zack Smith; a skilled professional photographer and a native who is totally into the culture. I enjoyed your enthusiasm and knowledge, access to special people, and authenticity"


"I was so impressed with Zack's innate ability to teach in a style that worked for me. He explained camera functions in analogies that made perfect sense to me. I had several One on One courses with Zack and it has taken my photography to a whole new level! "Carol Bailey, workshop participant
"I was fortunate to have a one on one session with Zack in the early stages of a portrait project I was working on.  His insight and critique was great and much needed to help realize the vision I had in my head.  The points he made were right on track and helped me correct a few key points I needed to work on before it was too late.  It was great to partner with Zack and his professional expertise, I would highly recommend a session." - Eric Nunez
"Zack is both a highly skilled and talented photographer and an excellent teacher. His teaching approach is thoughtful and organized, and his delivery is clear and enthusiastic. I appreciate that he is quick to understand and address my needs as a photography student. Zack is also helpful and encouraging in his comments" Diane Danthony, photographer and recent One on One Photography Training Participant.
"Zack is a great teacher with alot of knowledge and patience to answer anything you might throw at him. I gained knowledge about what it really entails to become a professional photographer. I learned everything from working with clients, setting up a website, even the importance of consistent edits and building your own brand and style" - Brent Asay