Photography Workshops

“Valerie Santagto’s classes are informational, demonstrative and fun. She makes excellent use of examples of her work, and the photography of others, to demonstrate the successful use of the applications in her class. Her instruction is clear and enthusiastic, and her willingness to share her own equipment to help her students learn is priceless. Valerie is so much fun, the time goes by in a snap. She easily adapts her course and attention to the needs of the students. I highly recommend taking Valerie’s photography classes! She’s a marvelous photographer, and a superb instructor.” – Jessica C.

1. Focus your Creative Vision Workshop

Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Photographers Welcome!

Have you looked at professional photos and wondered how the photographer created such beauty? 
Do you want to impress everyone with amazing images? Has it always been your dream to become a photographer? Learn 4 secrets about lighting, focusing and motion not found in books that will make your photos look professional! Study with Albuquerque’s world-class photographer Valerie Santagto. Valerie Santagto’s career spans the high fashion world of New York City and Europe for clients like Vogue, Revlon, Pierre Cardin, Harper’s Bazaar, and Andy Warhol, to local corporate clients such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and PNM of New Mexico.

What’s Included:

  • A 2 hour lecture at the Flying Star Cafe hospitality room downtown on Silver followed by a photo safari @ National Hispanic Cultural Center; Basic to advanced photography techniques; How to use the settings on your camera; How to take photographs like a professional; By the time you are finished with my workshop you’ll be able to use your camera and lighting as tools of your artistry! You will be amazed at your ability to take striking photos.
  • This event will address: Learning the dance between the ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed; Aperture –  Controls depth of field; Shutter Speed – Controls movement; Lighting – Learn to light with multiple or singe light sources; Metering – A faster method to achieve optimal exposure; Composition -Designing a photograph using depth of field and “Rule of Thirds”;Completion – Take photos like a pro.


For $250 each student receives the following:

A 2 hour lecture teaching you how to use and understand the settings on your camera, proper application of lighting techniques, use of artistic principles and the experience of being instructed by one of New Mexico’s top photographers for the past 25 years, Valerie Santagto, followed by a 2 hour photo safari. (25% discount for return students)

2.  An Introduction to Photoshop and Lightroom

 Pros use 2 key programs to process and retouch their images – Lightroom and Photoshop.

What’s Included:

  • 2 hour tutorial & demo on Lightroom and a 2 hr tutorial & demo on Photoshop
  • Lightroom is a processing and large volume cataloging program that helps you stay on top of your workflow, i.e. the of photos that you shoot in one session. There are retouching & painting features but not as extensive as those in Photoshop. You are the Photographer and the Lab. We no longer process in a darkroom! We process in a Lightroom in our computer.
  • Pros shoot in Raw format, process in Lightroom and convert images. The key issues are shooting in RAW format and converting to JPEG, PSD or Tif format files, adjusting exposure, brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation, color, and cropping.
  • Photoshop is a post-production retouching program, it is not a processing or a cataloging system. This part of the workshop will give students an understanding of the Toolbox, Layers, Actions, History, Menus, retouching images of people, landscapes etc. and correcting just about anything in their photos.


This 4 hour workshop will give you the basics tools for using both programs. This Workshop is priced at $250


 3. Photo Bootcamp Workshop

(for more Advanced students because it’s not for the lighthearted and it’s a real workout! )

What’s Included:

  • Many students really want an aggressive photographic workout, i.e. let’s get down in the trenches; This course will focus on lighting indoors ( or in the studio) and lighting on location with a strong emphasis on directing people / models; How do you shoot people if you can’t direct them!  I found that there is a tendency with students to either under direct or over direct. Neither of these is a good solution and many people have said to me: “I can’t seem to get what I want out of the model what am I doing wrong!”; Models will be on set to work with the students.
  • Students will work in pairs and assist each other and each person will work with a model in the studio and on location; The students will receive a YouTube video dealing with the art of direction and lighting in preparation for the class. They can use these tools to refresh their memory and practice what they’ve learned; Many of the same topics from my “Focus Your Creative Vision” workshop will be addressed, please read this material on the 1st page.


It’s a 6 hour hands-on workshop priced at $ 400

Workshops are held on Saturdays by appointment. (excluding holidays)

To register, please call Valerie Santagto at: 505-366-3256