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Photography Workshops
in Guatemala


Notice about Covid-19:
The situation in Guatemala is very tolerable
We live mostly outside and windows are generally opened.
Naturally basic sanitary mesures are recommended as well as vaccination.

Rene de Carufel, a well known international photographer and teacher, is pleased to announce a unique opportunity to visit and photograph the magnificent vistas of lake Atitlan and the daily life of the Maya people of Guatemala. If you are interested, you will want to register as soon as possible to reserve a spot for this photo adventure of a lifetime. Each of the seven day workshops are limited to 6 participants max and are intended for experienced photographers, photography students and anyone seriously interested in photography. 

‘The Art of Seeing’ workshops with René de Carufel are designed to teach and instill the ability to tell a story through pictures. You will learn tips and techniques while participating in an exciting mix of activities, as a group or off on your own personal assignments. You will travel by boat to many of the fascinating villages that border Lake Atitlan, visit colourful markets and witness traditional Maya life. Assisted by local guides and translators, the workshops offer unique insight into the Mayan world; the opportunity to transform a vacation in Guatemala into a creative learning experience. 

As a participant, you will explore techniques, lighting, composition, and the creative use of the camera and lens. Under René’s guidance, you will learn to clarify your own personal vision and photographic language as you respond visually to the world around you. At the end of each day, the group will get together to share each other’s best pictures and the stories behind them. 
Among the subjects to be discussed:

The Decisive Moment 

The importance of the right exposure.

Can photography be learned or is it a gift?

Digital versus film, is there a difference?

Is sharpness a bourgeois concept?

Light and shadow

Understanding colour

Portrait photography

And many many others

You will have the opportunity to learn and practice with a recognized professional photographer. Feedback will be based on constructive criticism, and the perspectives offered by occasional critiques of the group's work will be an important keystone in the development process of each individual's learning.

The schedule of each field trip is fluid, so please prepare to be flexible and open to new experiences. Your willingness to embrace the moment is vital. 

Rene's approach is based on training your eye to analyze light, composition and the uniqueness of the situation, and it is this experience that this workshop is focused on - an invaluable resource that could never be taught in a classroom.

Workshop participants are primarily housed at the Mikaso Hotel, in San Pedro la Laguna. The climate is temperate (yearly average of 75˚F or 24˚C), happily, no air-conditioning is required; even better, there are no mosquitos at the altitude of 1500 meters so no vaccinations are necessary, not mentioning all the pleasant evenings outside.

The Mikaso Hotel is built in the colonial style, surrounded by a beautiful garden. Situated at the edge of the lake, the hotel and restaurant offers one of the best views of Lake Atitlan. 

The hotel has 16 rooms, each room has a private bathroom with shower and hot water.

The restaurant/bar is open from 7 am to 10 pm. There is a conference room, free Wi-Fi Internet, a communal kitchen, terrace with jacuzzi, sun loungers and pool table. 


Due to extremely variable air fares ( from 600 to 900 dollars) we suggest that participants book their own plane tickets. Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays are best days of departure as the fares are usually cheaper, spending a day or two in Antigua is highly suggested, I will meet you there.

If you arrive on Thursday we can arrange transportation from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan: a private taxi costs 100$, if possible that fee can be shared with other participants.

Recommended Gear List:

Temperatures at Lake Atitlan (altitude 1500m/5000 feet) are dry and warm during the day and cool at night.

Sweater or light jacket for possible cool early morning and evening shoots. Sandals and a pair of good walking shoes.

Flashlight or a headlamp (one of those flashlights that goes around your forehead)

Camera Equipment:

At a minimum I suggest you bring a digital SLR or mirrorless camera and one general-purpose zoom lens. Please call or email me for advice about equipment if you are unsure what to bring or purchase.

Camera manual - paper version, or download it to your laptop.

Camera batteries, at least 2, plus a charger (voltage is the same as Canada and USA)

Compact Flash or SD memory cards (2 or 3 cards), 4 gb, 8gb or 16gb. Some people like to avoid using large cards, 16 gb and above, in case the card fails. If a smaller card failed you would lose a lot less data. Bring a card reader if this is not integrated to your laptop.

Laptop and Portable hard drives, for backing up from your laptop. Redundancy is prudent. 

Computer Software: Photoshop or Lightroom, or other photo editing softwares.

You can bring a tripod and circular polarizing filter, although not absolutely essential you will get better images overall if you use them, it is also required for certain types of photographs.

Camera Bag. I always “Carry On” my camera and computer equipment. Carry on anything you cannot easily replace and anything you consider essential. You never know when luggage may get lost.

Besides your SLR digital cameras, students are asked to bring along some of their creative work to share, it can be prints or digital images. The workshop will have an LCD projector, and there will be a final show of the best images of the students work during the final session.



DECEMBER 23 (Christmas Week)



MARCH 4 & 18 

One-week Workshop fee: $950 US (includes $200 US non-refundable registration deposit, tuition, hotel fees)

Optional Two-week program: $1675 US

For those who would like to extend their Guatemala photography experience for one more week an additional $825 you can make it two-week experience.

Enrollment: 6 (maximum) participants. (minimum of 2)

You must reserve by sending an email to:

-  FAQ -

What can I expect to learn in your workshops?

Our workshops are designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully timed for the best light, but also to aid you to capture the scene best with your own artistic expression. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you go home with images to be proud of, and also use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, I will guide you to learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image.. In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. And no photography workshop would be complete without discussing workflow and editing, including Adobe Lightroom. 

What can I expect upon my arrival?

If a direct to the lake private taxi is not reserve for you, a taxi driver with your name on a card will be expecting you at Guatemala City airport to take you to a very nice Antigua hotel where I will have made reservations for you (a 40 min. ride, cost for the taxi 40$ US, hotel rates are 75$ US double, 55$ single US). I will be in Antigua to greet you personally. I will show around this beautiful city and we will take care of exchanging US dollars at a local bank (you can do that at the airport but the exchange rate is usually less good there). The next day we will travel to Lake Atitlan, approx 3hrs away.

When will I find out more details about my trip?

After you submit your deposit to confirm your registration we will correspond with you via email or phone. Our first objective is to help you coordinate travel to and from our workshop destination. Are you arriving a day or so early, or staying beyond our workshop? Two weeks before departure we will email you to make sure that everything is in order and answer any last minute questions you may have.

Can we book as a group?

Yes, we can offer discounts to groups of 6. If you’re a photography club, family or group of friends, we would be happy to make you a special offer.

What if I don’t know very much about photography?

Our workshops include photographers with varied experience, which makes the workshops more interesting and rewarding. The less you know, the harder we work. We enjoy teaching and sharing our knowledge with everyone. You’ll even be surprised how much you will learn from other students who are attending as well.

Do you offer private workshops?

We do offer private workshops for individuals, couples, families. It’s a great way to customize your own workshop based on your particular interests and desires. Contact us with the dates you would like to travel and we’ll be happy to price a package for you.

What if we experience bad weather?

It very rarely rains at Lake Atitlan from November to April, but if it can happen, but remember some of the best photos are taken in less than perfect weather. That’s not to say that we will venture out in a thunderstorm but you get the idea. If the weather is really bad, we will move to indoor locations that might include interesting architectural structure or a museum. You will learn how to make the most of every situation we encounter and that might include bad weather, but remember, this is an adventure!

I just got a new camera. Will you show me how to use it?

Of course! We try to stay up-to-date with all the latest cameras. Basics are the same regardless of what camera you own but we will explain all the technical aspects of todays sophisticated digital cameras. Be sure to bring your camera manual and we’ll work together to get you more comfortable and confident with your equipment. The camera is a tool, you are the one creating the picture.

How can I pay for your workshop?

We offer eTransfer, check or cash payment. All our prices are listed in US Dollars.

Do I absolutely need to bring a laptop with me?

A laptop computer is essentially your present day darkroom and a necessity for todays digital photography. It is required to download your day’s images and free up your memory card, and also to display your work for discussions and reviews. We’ll also be teaching you how to use editing and enhancement softwares on your computer. If you don't there are suggested softwares you can choose to download for a 15 to 30 days trial just before the workshop begins. So it can only benefit you to bring one.

Do you rent equipment?

We don’t typically rent equipment.

Do I have to share a hotel room?

No. If you are traveling with another photographer, a friend or partner, you may ask to stay in the same room.

We hope this was helpful, do not hesitate to contact us for any other question.

Comments from Participants

« First of all, I felt that getting together in Antigua and traveling together to San Pedro worked brilliantly. Getting group dynamics going is often the most difficult part of the exercise and the getting together, wandering around and having a couple of meals together really helped acclimatize everyone, started to get the group dynamics going and really set the stage for the workshop. By the time we first set down in the classroom, everyone already got to know each other a bit and we were able to ramp up quite quickly.

Having photographers of such diverse needs and knowledge was a challenge that I thought you dealt with very well. I think that you handled the material; from the technical size of the equipment to the artistic side of composition quite well. The pace was right and the order was logical, and you synchronized the build-up of both aspects in photography quite nicely. I think that people tend to either concentrate on the technical side or the artistic side of photography, depending on their own comfort zone, and handling things the way you set them up worked brilliantly.

What I did find interesting is how each of the towns had their own different charm and flavour and that was fun and interesting. The San Pedro market was wonderful photography as was the area up the volcano through the coffee plantations. I really enjoyed meeting you and the course. It was great fun and Atitlan was a great photo site; the colours and lighting were wonderful. We hope to see you and San Pedro again. »

« First, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed working with you, and the course itself. You were very open to whatever the participants wanted to do, and attentive to all of our needs in terms of accommodations, food and very necessary personal comforts such as massages and pedicures. Thank you!

What I enjoyed most about the course: the opportunities you provided for photography in a great variety of settings (city, hillside, village, market, artistic community, water landscapes, etc.), the encouragement you provided, particularly through reviewing the day’s photos and offering (mild) critique and peer review, the various daily topics (pin-hole camera, lenses, street photography, portraits, etc.), the opportunity to participate in Guatemalan/Mayan culture (Don Pedro, San Marco Mayan park, medicinal plants, artist collective, the camaraderie within the group), finally I especially liked the opportunity to “do something different” and experiment with colour and texture.

In any case, I love the pictures I took in Guatemala and thank you so much for introducing me to so many photographic opportunities! »

« I took René’s photo workshop in San Pedro in April 2014. I found that a week of intensive shooting was an excellent way of bringing my photography up to the next level. During the week René was an excellent teacher, coach and tour guide. He knows photography very well and was very instructive about technical and compositional matters. Doing street photography requires getting out there and sometimes leaving one’s comfort zone. René does this very well and was an invaluable coach in helping me get comfortable to get the shot.

He is also an excellent tour guide. He speaks Spanish very well, knows the region and is well liked by the local inhabitants. During the week we visited nearly all of the major communities on the Lake. The relationships that he has with many of the people there is a result of the time and energy he has spent photographing them and in doing so revealing their warmth, beauty and dignity. It was without a doubt, an instructive, fun and insightful experience. » 


3937, Pincipale
Dunham, Qc, J0E 1M0


Phone: 514-935-6808                     
Res: 450-295-2611