"They've printed hundreds of my enlargements over the decades, awesome company.
Great copy work
for painters too, they shoot and give you a giant file at very reasonable prices." MS
Camera Repair, San Diego. "Taken my cameras here for decades, always top notch work.
I need my cameras
working properly in distant places,
and I trust them to keep them in tip top shape." MS
If a picture is worth a thousand words,
what is a
fresh Seewald grad video worth?
Priceless, IF it helps you decide to take one... take a look-see.
Click photo to enlarge Joan Harris, left, took
third place for 'Fair theme- Fab Four' and
Kim Signoret-Paar wins BEST OF SHOW with 'Piata Mica in Sibiu, Romania'
Congrats to Kim
Signoret-Parr, a recent Seewald photo ‘fun-shop’ grad that just won ‘Best Of
Show’ at the San Diego Fair's ‘International Photo Competition’, the LARGEST
photo competition in the world. Her friend and fellow Seewald grad Joan Harris
also took a ribbon!
Funny thing was, Kim and
Joan actually both won two of the six Seewald special donated awards we gave out
there, and then took the class a year ago May. And now look at them! What an
honor to have taught them. I was there at the special grand-opening night,
viewing art and chatting with class grads and having fun critiquing art when Kim
taps me on the shoulder and informs me she had won ‘Best of Show’. She bragged
used the knowledge to fine tune the piece, cropping such and such an item out,
balancing this with that, etc., apply the knowledge she’d learned, and wow, it
won. She was soooo ecstatic, for sure. As I told Kim as I
shook her hand, I was honored to meet 'a fellow BofS. winner', I'd never met
anyone else who’d won it, after all, there is ONLY one per year! There were over
4,300 entries this year, she won top of the top. When I took Best of Show in
1996, there were only 3,300 entries I competed against! (Yep, the odds were only
one in every three thousand, three hundred years, hers were one in every four
thousand, three hundred years- not good odds at all, huh? “
Click photo to enlarge.
'Stream, Vernal Falls' by Manoj Jayadevan, Yosemite
class of 2.27.2015
“Michael, Bottom line: The workshop (fun-shop) was priceless! As I told you when
we were in the field, I've had a lot of workshops, and those ‘instructors’
basically just took us to pretty places. They answered questions if we asked,
but that was about it. You actually taught, critiquing each image; explaining
what was right, and wrong, with all my compositions, and why! And then showed me
HOW TO FIX THEM, if they needed it, on the spot!
I will no longer need more ‘classes’, as with your help I now have a map on how
to make strong art, from here on out. “
Again, thanks so much,
Manoj Jayadevan, Yosemite class of 2.27.2015
Intermediate level photographer, San Francisco, CA
NOTE: Contact info to confirm this testimony, as with ALL
we receive and post, are always available on request.
Click photo to enlarge
Jeffrey Sitcov, a Seewald understudy for an extended period over the past
few years, shows off his first place award, San Diego Fairs' International
Photography competition, 2012.
“...Michael was great! 20 years of photography and I learned more in this
class than in my previous years of study, with trial and error,
combined! ... Couldn't help but brag about his course to my family when I got home.
Taking Michael's class opened my eyes to an entirely different perspective
than I had been doing and can't wait to get my camera out this week and
get images of Old Town Temecula that haven't been done before! Can't wait
to take the Portrait class! ...”
Rhonda Mazurek, with her new
‘Certificate of Achievement’
Professional Photographer, Temecula, CA
A-Z Class of 1.24-25.’09
(And yes, she took the portrait class - Feb. 21st, 2009)
personal_attention_day1: 10 - Very satisfied-
handled all my questions
10 - Very satisfied- handled all my questions
10 - Very satisfied- handled all my questions
Way more value than what I paid
How_helpful_overall_at_becoming_better: 10 - Very helpful, lightyears ahead
of were I was
10 - Very satisfied, I'm ecstatic
amount_class_was_worth: Couple of Grand
Short Paragraph of 'how it was':
"...I am a pretty seasoned photographer, and have the technical aspects down
However, Michael really inspired me to use those technical aspects to a new
level. His instruction on composition ,will forever change the way that I
view and take pictures. He truly is a master photographer. It was a joy to
take the workshop, and have individual attention and direction in improving
...I was taking great pictures, before the workshop. I was looking to make
award winning pictures. What a bonus, that was just what happened. Thank you
so much for the instruction and inspiration."
Reed Bonham, intermediate
photographer, Fresno, Calif. USA
NOTE: Want to ask Reed, or
anyone else here, if he said all these nice things? Are these for REAL!
Please send us a request for contact info, these folks would not mind
confirming their wonderful critiques if anyone wants. MS
"The outdoor class (Day II
and III) gives the student real-time feedback
and the opportunity to practice getting it right, sometimes using Michael's
setup as an example. ...Practical advice about equipment and
Eric Yee, advanced
New York, New York
Weekend class of 9.28-29.'03
Balboa Park Grad Ceremony 1.11.'09
Photo by Pennie Ahmed
from our critique form:
Very passionate about the difference between taking
pictures and creating art. I "get" it now ...
Short Paragraph of 'how it was':
If you are even remotely interested in improving your picture taking, this
class will undoubtedly help you. Whether you only care to improve your
weekend pictures or if you are looking to take your photography to the next
level, this class will provide you with intangible things that can not be
learned from a textbook. Before the class I felt I was quite a bit
better than the average "weekend warrior" because I had taken thousands of
pics and knew how to shoot in manual mode. Unfortunately the results were
nothing to brag about. After the 2nd day I felt like I had made a couple
of HUGE breakthroughs and am definitely more confident in my photographic
ability. Originally I signed up to learn how to take better pictures and
found out that anyone can take pictures, but photography is an art.
I have been wanting to take photography more seriously for a couple of years
but wasn't real sure on where to start. Taking part in Michael's workshop
was the best thing I could have done. I wish I had been able to take it
sooner. I look at it as an investment. An investment in my equipment.
Equipment that I will carry in my head not in my bag. If you want to take
your photography to the next level, take this class as soon as you can.
Don't spend thousands on the next generation camera and lens. You probably
already have the right camera and lenses. Spend it wisely on learning things
you cant purchase on line. This may sound like an advertisement but it
is merely an expression of the excitement that I feel after the fun shop.
After speaking with a few of the other students, their feelings were mutual.
I am looking forward to taking the portrait class.
Luis Arroyo, advanced photographer
San Diego, CA
Class of 1.10-11.'09
"...The class does a
great job at equipping the student with tools to esthetically enhance any
photograph, past or future.
I used to think I was a pretty good photographer because I
had good technical knowledge of how to take pictures. This class turned
on a little "light bulb":
I have spent the last 40 years in
photography trying to say, "Look what I can do with a camera" rather than
concentrating on how to use the picture's strong points to enhance its
Jeff Fischbeck, advanced photographer,
San Diego, CA Class of 8/'03
elements of composition being explained and repeated until we finally got it!"
Carl Morrison, advanced
Placentia, California Class of 12/'98
Hey There! My name is Christee, and I
took your weekend fun class back in February 2006. I have been meaning to
e-mail you for a while, and your e-mail just reminded me. I wanted to thank
you for your time I just say how much I learned in your class. At
the time, I really new nothing about photography, and I had a friend ask me
to shoot there wedding cause they had no money. So, I took your class just
to gain some info on the subject. Well I took the information I learned from
your class and shot that first wedding. That one turned into 2 weddings and
so on. My first year I shot almost 20 weddings.
I now have my own
photo business and I seriously don't think I would have done so well if it
wasn't for your class.
I remember taking the info you taught
on shooting manually and just practiced and practiced, until it become
natural to me. I wouldn't shoot any other way now. Just wanted to encourage
you and let you know how much you helped me.
Thank you so much
and God Bless you!
Last name held per request.
name: Eileen Hallett
short_paragraph_of_how_it_was: I am a Professional Photographer
that has been long-ago and far-away sorrowfully removed from the MANUAL
camera setting. Ever since the Digital World offering the fast & easy
immediate self-gratification exploded, I too only use my elaborate camera
on AUTO. Even though I hold my camera in my hands practically daily,
I honestly forgot how incredible the camera is at
truly capturing the spectacular views that catch my eye. What a treat /
GIFT it was to be reminded of all the cool images you can capture using
your camera in its manual mode!
Using humor, tremendous patience, repetition and years of expertise,
Michael Seewald teaches & shares you step-by-step how to use these manual
settings. This class was fun, illuminating, gave
me renewed photographic interest and liberating …
How_was_michael_as_an_instructor: Due to the fact that everyone
absorbs instruction differently - Michael is a comfortable mentor that
finds numerous ways to drive his facts/teachings home. While my individual
experience had it’s up and downs – when all was said and done … I GET IT! Michael makes sure that everyone gets ‘ALL’ from
the uncomplicated, straightforward instruction, to his finer, advanced,
enhancing the quality of your own personal photographic experience.
How_was_Michaels_teaching_style: I have always had fun capturing
the sights that move me – Obviously Michael shares the passion.
He has a entertaining sense of humor and offers this
class with a serious, yet light hearted persona.
how_tough_respectful_day_one: I enjoyed the critiquing portion and
understand how truly valuable this analysis can be. One cannot fix old
habits without having comparisons. My preference is to spend a little less
time on ‘EVERY PHOTO’ and get ‘Straight-to-the-Point’. A little harsher is
this area would have been just fine with me.
how_tough_respectful_day_TWO: Having Michael view my possible
images right through the eye of my own camera was helpful and offered me
something that I have never had before. Immensely, this was comfortable
and a fast assessment teaching technique, “This is what I am seeing … Do
you see my vision? Is it a miss? What am I missing? and Michael would
what_thought_of_suggested_Ball_heads: I will most certainly be
acquiring a Ball Head Tripod! This was a very valuable photographic tool
to learn about…
Class of 3/3/'07
"...There is no question that Michael knows what he is talking about and his
enthusiasm is contagious."
Raymond Sarwinski - Cryogenic Designs, Inc. /
physicist/ “birder too”, San Diego, CA
Class of 9.22-23.'07
"Why would anyone fly across country from Massachusetts to
San Diego for a weekend photography course?
I’m an advanced
amateur, whose become very involved in photography. Have developed
some technical skill shooting, Photoshop skills, and have learned to print
to beautiful 16x20 prints. I’ve won one local contest, and have had requests
for my photos. Many of my
photos, though good, lack impact. I’ve never had formal art training, and
felt I really needed some guidance and education in the area of composition.
Our class consisted of
varying skill levels from beginners to advanced. Day one was spent learning
what makes a great photo great, with discussion of the elements (and rules)
that must be followed to make a piece work. Michael first showed some of his
art, then discussed how we look at a photo, and what makes us want to
continue to look at a photo.
We then each
showed our work, and all including Michael critiqued it with an eye toward
helping us improve composition.
It was amazing to see Michael look at a somewhat interesting but vague or
defocused photo, and in moments with cropping make it into art. He did this
time and time again. We didn’t
gain Michael’s eye or skill in a day, but we began to understand, and often
as a group we were able to dramatically improve compositions by cropping.
Day two was spent at Balboa park,
shooting. We did a number of exercises to help us learn how to use the rules
of composition. Those who didn’t understand f stops, shutters speeds, depth
of field lens selection or histograms were helped with those issues. We
spent very valuable time in the photography museum critiquing the exhibited
photographs. As the day progressed the group members were beginning to be
able to see elements of great composition before they were pointed out. At
times we were able to apply the rules to see how a composition could have
We ended by using all the rules to try
and create compositions, and in so doing learned a lot about light (our
Throughout we had
fun. The sessions were lively.
At times we were a little resistant to the “rules”. When we didn’t “get it”
Michael was patient and logical. It seemed to me students of all levels had
fun and learned.
Was I crazy
for flying across the country for a weekend course? Very possibly, but I
would do it again. I went to learn about composition and I did.
I feel grounded now in an area that was a mystery to
me. Do I think every photograph I take from now on will be a prizewinner?
Probably not, but I feel I have acquired some of the basic building blocks
of good composition. With practice and perseverance I may find it easier to
produce more of those “WOW” photos.
Was it worth the trip? An unqualified
Mike Gotthelf, advanced
Class of 2.25-26.'06
"Hi Michael- Thanks for the great workshop this weekend.
Learning about how the eye moves around the image was worth at least twice
(no -- three times) the price. I am going to try to finish the exercises to
increase my understanding of the process. With all your encouragement, I am
going to try entering the Marin county fair...(Updated note; she followed
Michael's suggestions on improvements to her art and was accepted!)
...Given the in-depth portfolio review we had
over the weekend,(and in comparison to other workshops I've
attended) I believe that your price could have been $1,750...
...Thanks again for all the help. Let me know if
I can return the favor. "
The following letter was rec'd before the student even had the second day of
the two day class!
Dear Michael, ..
added together, I probably took 18 months of classes. I'm now
realizing that the class I enjoyed today surpassed those 18 months. The prior
classes never put it all together. They talked about composition without
explaining what makes good composition. They didn't explain the goals of
composition. You laid down goals of a 'good photo' and gave understandable
directions of how we can compose a 'good photo.' The critique session of
our photos made us be honest and evaluate attempts at a 'good photo' and how
our photo would be improved. This was the first time I've been asked to look
at a photo and decide what can make it better. Wow, that exercise started
putting it all together. I understood that light was important but didn't
understand the subtleties. I now will be more aware of light; strength and
The walk around the courtyard was another
example of your subtle but effective teaching techniques. Early in the class
you pointed out that photos are one-dimensional. No kidding, I thought. But,
when you explained ... , I
thought 'why wasn't I shown this in previous classes?'
The class setting and structure was relaxed; almost impromptu. I got more
from this non-direction direction (or flow) than you can imagine. If you
would have handed out the 'Evaluation Guidelines' at the beginning of the
class, some of us may have been overwhelmed about everything that goes into
You made us 'drink out of a fire hydrant' without knowing we
were. It was like a great movie; I had to think about it (on my drive home)
before it could be appreciated... "
John Silver, advanced photographer,
Orange County, California.
Class of 6.'02
Click on photo to enlarge.
Weekend class of 5.21-22.'05.
Taken in the beautiful botanical gardens in Balboa Park near
downtown San Diego, one of the places 'worked' during day 2 of Seewald's two
day San Diego 'Fun-shop'.
"...I believe that opening yourself to the critiquing of those whose opinion
and professional input you respect is essential to one's growth as an
Michael helps you realize not only your strengths and weaknesses but your
potential as well!
I think that the class was
well balanced and covered the important points in composition.
Everyone should walk away from the class with a new outlook on how to set up
that next shot."
Del Mar, California Class of 3/'98
will look at a potential photo with more strategy now!"
Cardiff by the Sea, California Class of 2/'98
thought the class was great and very individual to each person. There was much input
on current work and improving what is already shot!
Cropping aides are invaluable-
I'm re-infused with excitement about my existing work..."
"...I feel I received more than my moneys worth!"
Chris Barley, advanced
Cardiff by the Sea, California Class of 4/'99
Click to enlarge.
Photo copyright Valerie Seewald 2.1.'03!
Class of 2.1.03
Pictured left to right. Don Dreyfus, atty., Solana Bch, Calif.,
Jim Lennon, architect, Del Mar,
Tom Shjarback, int'l. telecom. instillations, Lakeside, Calif.,
Dr. Joel Scheiner, Seal Beach, Calif.,
Michael Seewald, of course,
and Dr Stevan Silberstein, of Lunenburg, Massachusetts.
This was a 'tough group', as they were all very savvy in this art.
Sometimes we'll get more beginners, but not with this group of professional
Most had darkroom experience and other classes. A tough group to
teach/ perform for
but check out how they rated Seewald below.
After class survey/ critique results:
Would you recommend this class to
yes -100% / no - 0%
How much 'value for your money' do you feel you rec'd?
Less - 0% / About right - 80% /
More than - 20%
..."Michael, you're as good a teacher as you are a photographer!".
advanced level photographer,
Atty., Solana Beach, California
Class of 2.1.'03
"...I've made good progress
because now I have a way to evaluate what I'm seeing before I shoot. I'm not
shooting quite as much (as I'm looking more), but I'm getting more images
that I like.
concepts into practice is "always" a faster learning curve than simply
talking about them. Being able to look at Michael set up a shot where you
are trying to capture something was very valuable.
small class size in the field allows one to learn from the others too; about
equipment, their eye, & their techniques."
Dianne Arnold, advanced level
Encinitas, California Class of 9/'03
Day one presented clearly and graphically the core fundamentals of
effective composition, and how it is achieved in photography. The night
after the first day I was unable to sleep well, conceptualizing in my mind
what had been learned, reapplying it to photos I had brought to class that
day as well as to many more which I could not wait to revisit at home and
apply the principles Michael had presented in class. I have not been so
excited about my photography in years. Michael's instruction would help any
photographer improve their work, and allowed me to take "nice" photos I had,
and turn them into dynamic pieces of art.
Day two: The practical application of theory is always a
challenge, and that is what day two essentially involved. The greatest
benefit I received was finally arriving at a realization of what a center of
interest is in a piece of art, and how better to end up with the concept in
a photo on purpose rather than by accident.
advanced level photographer,
Weekend Class of 3.12.'05.
He has since taken another class, a Carmel one week workshop last summer.
He has just signed onfor another one week one this upcoming
I just want to thank you for a most
incredible weekend of learning, thinking, trying, shooting... Our discussion
on metering light and getting the balance right in our images really got me
thinking on my way back home from Balboa Park yesterday. . ...
Thank you so much for
talking about light meters and how to get decent exposures. I like the way
you present a topic, without saying it all but saying enough to make the
mind go to work on the topic and did my mind work on this one and the
results are fascinating!...
Anyhow Michael, once again, I really enjoyed this weekend tremendously,
thank you very very much for everything and I hope to come up and perhaps
visit you at the studio soon!
Francis Swarts, advanced level photographer,
(temporarily working in
San Diego, CA)
Class of 2.25-26.'06
Claudia Maddux receiving her graduation diploma,
by student Derek Tarr,
Class of 3.4-5.07
"Michael is a
remarkable photographer with great enthusiasm for teaching. As an advanced
photographer, I feel that my skills will improve much more quickly than they would
have without my taking the class. I think any beginning or intermediate
photographer would get their money's worth from this course..."
San Diego, Calif..
"Michael's photographic vision is incredible, his willingness to share that
vision is an opportunity serious photographers should not pass up."
"Like many amateur
photographers, I subscribe to several photo magazines, have purchased dozens
of books on photographic technique and technology, and spent more that I
probably should have on equipment. Why wasn't I making really great
I found most of the answers in Seewald's Workshops,
the best photographic investment I've made, short of sponsoring one of his
advanced level photographer,
Class of 5.'96
"...Michael is a great teacher, he has so
much personality and love for what he does. He kept my attention the whole
time. He is vary easy to learn from and understand.. I learned more from
him in two days than I did with a year of college photo classes.
Being able to go out and do 'hands on' with the things we learned from
day one was wonderful. Just in the first 5 minutes I was looking at my
camera differently. I had learned just how powerful my camera was, and I am
enjoying it more!
I really appreciated the brief tour of the photography museum in the
middle of our class... I look at art now with a whole new eye. Seeing how
other photographers think and work... I learned not all Art is great, ha ha!
...I know I am a much better photographer now. I hope to now enter my
work into a fair and/or other events. I am comfortable in doing that now
only because of what I learned from this class. I also hope to frame my work
and display it in my own house. Maybe even sell some to friends and family.
Michael, Thank you so much for this weekend and everything I
learned.... You have made me a much better Photographer. "
Kimberly Rizzo, advanced level photographer, Anaheim CA., Class of 2.25-26.'06
And from Kimberly's cousin who took the same class-
"...I really enjoyed the class. I agree with one of the comments on your web
site by another student, that the more I think about what we learned the
more excited I get.
I was really nervous about the second day and having to shoot all
manual mode. I thought that I would not be able to get it and feel stupid.
Michael explained it so well and I caught on really fast and came home and
taught my husband. So thank you so much for being such a good teacher...."
C. Wuite, advanced
Joshua Tree, California,
Class of 2.25-26.'06
And this just in on 5.5.'09
Hey There! My name is Christee, and I took your weekend fun class back in
February 2006. I have been meaning to e-mail you for a while, and your e-mail
just reminded me. I wanted to thank you for your time I just say how much I
learned in your weekend class. At the time, I really new nothing about
photography, and I had a friend ask me to shoot there wedding cause they had
no money. So, I took your class just to gain some info on the subject. Well
I took the information I learned from your class and shot that first
wedding. That one turned into 2 weddings and so on. My first year I shot
almost 20 weddings. I now have my own business and I seriously don't
think I would have done so well if it wasn't for your class. I remember
taking the info you taught on shooting manually and just practiced and
practiced, until it become natural to me. I wouldn't shoot any other way
now. Just wanted to encourage you and let you know how much you helped me.
Thank you so much and God Bless you!
believe my skills have improved significantly since attending the classes. I
find that my approach to "artistic" photography is very much different than
before and even snapshots and vacation photos taken since the classes now
have more 'punch'."
Rick Wight, advanced level photographer,
San Diego, California
Note: Rick has now taken 3 classes-
Students re-take the fun-shops to constantly move to
the next level of competency, and they receive discounted admission too.
Each time you learn more, building on your knowledge, and as Michael works
with each person separately in the class he helps them 'where they are at'.
"Michael Seewald is amazing to work
with! ...the class was so very helpful and surprising to someone like me who
'thought' they had a good eye for composition. He pushes you to the
limit of frustration to better bring about the artist in you. At the same
time he is fun, generous and kind. And most of all, PATIENT! I am amazed at
his graciousness with everyone no matter what the skill level or equipment
brought to the class.
His suggestions are never without merit and always
helpful. Oh, and his story telling isn't bad either. At the end of the class
you will want more and guaranteed you will want to go on at least one trip
with him in the future. Very Addictive. Very fun! Very educational!
Thank you Michael for all your generosity!"
D'Arcy Lewis, advanced level photographer,
Class of 5.'06
Critique form. By the numbers:
personal_attention_day1: 10 - Very satisfied- handled all my questions
personal_attention_day2: 10 - Very satisfied- handled all my questions
length_of_class_day1: Just right
length_of_class_day2: Just right
class_materials_day1: Told about the pre-class info page, forgot to
readclass_materials_day2: Was told to read the pre-class info, forgot
How_helpful_was_class: 10 - Very helpful
How_satisfied: 10 - Very satisfied
value_for_the_money: Way more value than what I paid amount_class_was_worth:$800 or more what_thought_of_photo_museum_tours: I think that it just
confirmed to me once more that you are the greatest living photographer
name: paul sabesky
"...As has been said by others, I learned more in 2 days then
all the class's that I have taken combined! I really want to thank you
for a great weekend and also for the many examples of what God has done in
Paul Sabesky, advanced level photographer,
Class of 1.6-7.'07
letter from Michael TO YOU...
This story is a bit
strange in that in a way it has two endings - one of them YOU get to write; A
lady from overseas called me last month. She really wanted to learn how to
take great pictures and she said she loved my work. She was going to be in
the area during my next two-day seminar and then said she takes a lot of
pictures of her travels, but most all of them were not worth looking at.
She wanted to know exactly what I taught!. "Well", I told her, "I teach people to ‘see’ as the camera sees, which is NOT how we see, and to ‘think’
as I do, so the work will have a sense of time and place to it, like mine does.
To create art so your eye stays
in the image longer, to eliminate varying distracting elements that will stop
folks from un-consciously looking at your art, so you too can create award winners,
among a few things".
It takes me two complete
days of fast paced talking and presenting and that there was no way I could tell
her 'exactly' all what I taught, per se, as she would actually have to take it to
hear all that I teach!
How do I put it in words that I transfer, basically, all the 'important' knowledge gleaned
from my entire college degree in photography, and forty years of serious
practice from working at my art-
into her brain all in just two short days?
I told her I've fine tuned the fun-shops after 20 years of presenting them and
that most of the advance folks give me the highest praise, as the beginners
don't know how much they don't know, does that make sense? Then she told
me she once ‘got burnt’ by a class in that she did not learn much,
even though the instructor took good photos. I told her all about the
great testimonials from previous students, both beginners and advanced, with
many that had told me the same story, that they had been taken to pretty places
but the instructor did not teach them all that much. Well, she said she
would have to think about it!
Think about what? Would I really have all of these great testimonials if I did
not do a good job? Think about it? Hello!!! One student reported
that he learned more in just my first day of class than he had in 18 months of
college photo classes! What is that worth, MUCHO time and money right? I
really felt sorry for her as she never called back to sign up- what a pity.
This means she will probably continue to take the mundane pictures she complains
about making; or at least take many many years to 'possibly' get good by trial
and error! More likely she will be self-condemned to mediocrity all
because of taking a class with a so-so instructor once!
Click on photo to enlarge.
Photo copyright/courtesy Kevin Nichols, class of 11.5-6.'05. Flower, Botanical Gardens, 2005
Now, as stated, 90% of MY
attendees report they received MORE THAN their monies worth, with a total
reporting they received 'AT LEAST their monies worth’! (And this rating is
across the board, beginners, intermediate or advanced students. (That .1% that
did not get their monies worth reminds me of the sign at the entrance to my old
childhood town of Gila Bend, Arizona. It read; 'Welcome to Gila Bend, home to
1,948 friendly people and one old crab'- well, what are you going to do?).
Now it’s up to you. This lady never got back to me and
will miss a great opportunity to save a lot of time and money learning how to
make great photos, (or even be able to paint great compositions). But YOU
don’t have to go that route, all you have to do is sign up before someone else
takes the spot that will get them creating those awards winners before you do in
the next FUN-SHOP! Classes are very limited in size so you can get a lot
attention from me, ALMOST one on one in effect. 90% of classes sell out at
least two weeks in advance!
See you in one of my classes soon, right?
Michael is just about the best instructor I've ever taken a workshop from.
He's very clear and easy to understand when explaining concepts; Michael can
traverse the basic to the advanced and bring the entire group along. This is
a rare gift. Michael gives just the right amount of attention as needed by
each student and keeps everyone working towards the next level.
short_paragraph_how_class_was_overall: Michael Seewald has taught
me how to look at art from a whole new perspective. Before Seewald's
fun-shop, I was guessing while composing a photo. Michael gave me the tools
to MAKE a great photo. I really enjoyed Michaels enthusiasm for his craft
and his ability to bring along both the beginner and the advanced student.
...Michael makes the learning /
growing process fun. His personal stories add richness to the learning
process and I really appreciate that he's willing to share both his
successes and challenges.
Day one benefits? - it's all
about the composition, I saw the critiques turn my OK photos in to really
good photos. It helped a ton to see this done by a master like Michael. ...
How_tough_respectful_day1_critiquing: This needs to be a
tough day / process - I don't think you can learn unless teachers are
painfully honest. Bring the pain, it can only make my art (if it ever truly
becomes art) better.
Day two benefits? - The major
benefit of the field work was the assignments, they were not easy, and each
assignment played right in to the concepts that were being taught.
...Michael is both tough and respectful. I know I was making mistakes and I
appreciate Michael pointing them out while making great suggestions.
Tripod w/ ball head good idea?
- The ball head tripod is my best photographic investment to date. The ball
head my set up and adjustment so easy. If you don't have a ball head tripod,
listen to Michael - get one now....
Final_comments? - Don't ever
stop teaching Michael, you're doing the photographic world a major service.
John Granquist, San Diego,
Class of 9.22-23.'07
Click photo to enlarge. Copyright Mark Albert 2006.
Courtesy crop by Michael Seewald
The Two Marks Self-portrait by Mark Albert of the
Class of 10.1.'06
(Note: I like the way Mark took
advantage of this great hallway that was pointed out during class to go make a
dramatic self-portrait afterwards, using all of the leaned techniques and
compositional elements combined. Move to the front of the class Mark!
We rec'd this from Mark with his photo.
Thanks for imparting your wisdom, creativity and
knowledge. Two days does not a master make, or Rome wasn’t built in two
days. But if you are able to duplicate yourself you will need half the
time. See attached (upper photo).
Photoshop manipulation was crop, levels, curves. No
cut and paste. How did he do that?
I was explaining to my wife on Saturday night the
improvements possible to my images. She jumped right in talking like a pro
after 10 minutes. So, I told her we need to visit the studio. So look for
us some weekend. ...
enjoyed the class and I came out with a lot more value from it than I
thought I would.
It made me want to use my camera for
other uses besides my commercial photography too.
It opened the door to the joy of
photography ... help me become a
Rick Whitehead, advanced level photographer,
N. San Diego County
Class of 11.5-6.'05
Click photo to enlarge.
Copyright Chris Parson, 2007
Ghost Students by advanced
photographer Chris Parson,
class of 1.6-7.07.
Some comments from Chris:
"...Action Packed, come with your thinking cap on, leave your
pre-conceived notions at homeand be prepared to have your eyes
opened up. The outdoor session - I loved learning a new train of
thought required to make "ART" and I felt it was easy to understand, just
difficult to put into play when all my bad habits wanted to keep filling
...Day 1, theory: "Comprehension was easy." Day II- "translating
it to a photo is where the going gets tough... Remembering how much more
satisfying it is to put the camera on manual, thinking about proper light,
exposure, f-stops and "making" a photo versus "taking" one."
how_tough/respectful_was_day_one_critiquing: "Rough but fair. But
always done with an explanation."
how_tough/respectful_was_day_one_critiquing: "Little rougher, but that
comes from it being harder trying to produce in a confined space with
"I would like to personally thank the many students whose
makes my work all the more enjoyable. Thanks for
taking the time to
critique me, encourage me and to help me improve too." MS
and request more
info/sign up for class dates announcements.
But IF you still Need more
But still, how is the MAGIC done?
How can Michael teach us more in one day than folks receive in two years of
college classes? Heck, I've got a degree, I'm pretty smart even, that just does
THE BIG SECRET...
learning from one particular instructor with a photo-art degree that had learned 'how the eye actually moves through a piece of art',
the only instructor of many that knew, per the
masters like DaVinci and Michelangelo, Michael has taken that knowledge and
built on it, becoming a master in that art itself.
learned more in 3 days than I had in several school classes ... The
class was fun not dreary! I would definitely recommend it. MAGIC revealed..."
Tamara Ames, beginner, San Diego, CA.,
Yosemite class of 3.20-23.'09
That's how he wins so many awards, applying the
'masters thought processes', way past 'rule of thirds'- that's kids stuff, on
HOW TO ACTUALLY CONTROL peoples eyes, and keep them IN THE ART. And what 'things' in the scene that will 'ruin' that process; he
shows you what they are, and how to keep an eye out for them, how to 'fix' you
old photos and how to use this knowledge to go forward with making strong art
from now on.
And even after explaining/showing it to the
students, even pros, it takes two entire days trying to incorporate this
process into their creating to even begin to get a clue of how this will now be
of great value, and to see it work in your, now, 'art'. Nobody can easily, and no one can perfect these
thought processes without years of practice.
Michael gives you shortcuts that he's come up
the 'masters' never even knew (since there was no photography then to practice
So, let's just stop for a second and evaluate
this students comments for a second, he came from Massachusetts after hearing
about 'the magic' that could be leaned, word of mouth actually, (from another
advanced student who came down from San Francisco). "...Michael first showed some
of his art, then discussed how we 'look' at a photo,and what makes us
want to continue to look at a photo (this took a few hours).
We then each showed our work, and all, including
Michael, critiqued it with an eye toward helping us improve composition.
It was amazing to see Michael look at a
somewhat interesting but vague or defocused photo, and in moments with cropping,
make it into art. He did this time and time again.We didn't gain Michael's eye or skill in one day, but we began to
understand, and often as a group we were able to dramatically improve (each
others) compositions by cropping. ..."
He goes on to say it was well worth coming from
N. England for the class.
Click photo to enlarge. All rights
reserved, copyright Michael Seewald 1989-2011
Ghost of Florence, Italy, '89
(Note: most don't even see the ghost, and no, it's
not the people's back)
But really, can this all be true, or is it pie in
the sky? You selling beans for a bean stock to us Seewald's? I just don't know.
You tell us: Although Michael hardly ever enters competitions, he wins often.
Why? Question, could it be plain LUCK? Good question, very good, let's take a
look. Take Ghost of Florence, Italy '89: It has been entered, over
the years, in four different competitions, two of which were against 'all arts
combined'- ie paintings, photos and sculptures, let's see how he did.
entry was into the San Diego Readers Annual
International Photo Competition, sponsored by the Museum of Photographic
Art, San Diego, 1991 (he entered only one image, and entered this
competition only once in his life). It was judged by the owner of Photo Metro
Magazine, a fine art publication published out of San Francisco, they flew him
down to judge. How did it fare? It took
Best of Show, Color, out of hundreds of world-wide entries. It ran on the
front cover in Full Color, you can not buy the cover- how cool.
By the way, one of the buyers for the museum dug
into his 'other' pocket and bought one for his own collection!
entry was into the San Diego Art Institutes 'So. California juried
competition', against over 300 paintings, 50 photos and 10 sculptures, and
judged by a sculptor! How did it fare? It
took 'Jurors Choice', besting all arts combined. What would have been your odds?
Well, one in every 360 years. But he won.
was into the San Diego Fair's 'International Photographic Competition',
it won an Honorable Mention, and
considering only one in three get accepted, and a few hundred images per
category, it's kinda like a 6th place, not bad. (By the way, one time he took
BEST OF SHOW there, in 1996, besting over 3,300 world-wide entries with his
Canal Reflections, Venice, Italy '94. (What's your odds? Well, once in every
3,300 years, not TOO GOOD, but as Michael only enters it every three or four
years, the ODDS in his case ARE ACTUALLY ONE IN EVERY 10,000 YEARS!) But he won.
And final and
entry: Michael entered it into the San Dieguito Art Guild's 'annual
juried competition' in Encinitas, California. It was up against some 150
paintings, photos and sculptures, a smaller competition, but still mostly
professional artists. How did it fare? It
won 'Best of Show' and the coveted 'Grumbacher Gold Award'. It was the first
time the organization had been able to present it, and took 30 years of hoop
jumping to be able to award it. Grumbacher is, of course, an oil paint making
So, maybe he's just LUCKY, or maybe he knows what
he's doing/talking about/teaching? Why, what are the odds of winning three out
of four major, or semi-major, competitions like this? Don't even want to try and
figure it out, but in the one in millions for sure.
By the way, Michael had 12 folks pre-purchase a
set of Italian images he had not created yet, it was his eighth time/trip doing
so (now over 55 trips around the world through his unique sponsorship program
that the Lord has blessed him with, idea wise). But how did Ghost of Florence do
during the choosing process? Good question, the folks had some 30 photos to
choose from, and after the 12 picked their favorites, the Ghost of Florence.
was still in the un-chosen pile! That's right, it was a 'reject', not by
Michael, but by them! "What's wrong with them" most folks say after seeing the
Ghost of Florence, "it's wonderful". Yes, BUT Michael has so many strong
images even the 'left-overs' are good enough to win Best of Show's in
competitions, and they do!
And that's what he says to his students, that he wants their rejects, the ones
nobody wants, to win museum awards, like his do.
By the way, the Ghost of Florence is still
for sale in various sizes, starting as low as $750 for an 11x14, e-mail for
prices of large ones, he makes them up to 40x50".
But, you say, isn't this knowledge passed on from
all teachers? NO, most don't know it, and not many professionals either. One
acquaintance told Michael recently 'he's just as good as Seewald, maybe better,
'cause he's been shooing longer! LONGER? It's not the amount of time doing it,
it's the amount of time DOING IT RIGHT!
"I've seen folks shooting a lot longer than me,
but still can't make a photo to save their lives" Michael has told us, "and they
don't even know it. A lot of guys come into the gallery and say, 'here, look at
my work, it's just like yours- you should sell it', and then I look, and am
aghast that they don't see the difference from the poorly composed images and
mine, maybe they never will!"
In fact, Michael has also said, "Look at all that art in La Jolla, dozens of
galleries and 95% of it I wouldn't want for free, boring! Not that they don't
'technically' know how to put paint on a canvas, they are 'nice' and all, but
not something I'd take precious wall space up for, even at $5,000 each, you keep
So, not many artists EVER learn it. AND Michael
knows what they DID NOT TEACH that they should have, either from not knowing, or
not being able to teach it! BUT he teaches you, and isn't that all that really
"...The night after the first day I
was unable to sleep well, conceptualizing in my mind what had been learned,
reapplying it to photos I had brought to class that day ... I have not been
so excited about my photography in years.
Michael's instruction would help ANY
photographer improve their work, and allowed me to take "nice" photos I had,
and turn them into dynamic pieces of art.....
Advanced Level (And now gallery owner of his own)
Class of 3.'05/ Carmel Class and Portrait Class of 5.'09
YES, Michael knows what you SHOULD know, and
that's what he teaches. But HOW?
Again, by boiling it all down and giving us just
the MEAT, no potatoes, no broth, no nada, ONLY MEAT, that's how!!!
And that's the secret to the "I learned more from
Seewald on day one than in two years of college" testimonies. No wonder some
pros have called him out on it, it does not seem possible, and with the average
professor, yes, it's impossible.
Yet other pros will tell you, those that realized
Michael's art is that strong overall, that it's worth even going across the
country to attaint his knowledge base, that he's worth way more than he charges.
"How could you pay what it's worth", Michael asks, "what's your time worth, what
is a college degree and 40 years of my knowledge worth, thousands actually, but
who is going to pay that?" Exactly, who? Nobody. But then again, doesn't that
make these classes such a deal at only $695 for three days, or about a $1,000
for joining him for three or four days in Napa, Yosemite or elsewhere?
And besides, I too was amazed at what your learn.
Michael 'made' me take it, as I'd collected his work for a few years (sponsored
6 trips when I was a nanny, all on lay-away, all before we started dating), then
married him. And then I sold his art in our gallery. At the end of day one of
class I asked him, "Michael, do you really think of ALL THOSE THINGS (it was
mind boggling in extent and depth) when we are out on the road?" His answer,
"Valerie, even more", and then he went on to remind me how he sometimes 'dodges
and burns' in mid-air in front of the lens at dusk or night, saving time from
having to do it in the darkroom (when darkrooms were around that is). NOTE: he
did teach me a bit of darkroom work, and I even printed some of our wedding
photos in his (our) color darkroom! ;/)
Del Mar Plaza
1555 Camino Del
Mar, Ste. 312, Del Mar, California, 92014 USA
Open Wed. thru Sun., 2 p.m. till 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturdays till 10 p.m..
Call first if
going out of your way, we sometimes close to run errands.