Guided by Photography teacher Dave Julian, this workshop teaches the mindset and methods for crafting rich visual narratives using the art of Adobe Photoshop montage.

Feb 7, 2023 - Feb 23, 2023

Levels: Intermediate, Advanced,
Workshop Fee: $825
Class Size: 12

Note: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom platform.
Class meets Tuesday/Thursday 1-5pm ET for 5 days (Skipping Feb. 14, 2023) + 1:1 time with the instructor. See schedule

This workshop teaches the mindset and methods for crafting rich visual narratives using the art of Adobe Photoshop montage.  With inspiration from your instructor Dave Julian’s presentation of collected works, demonstrations and individual guidance, participants learn how to form intention, conceive, shoot and create original works through expressive image treatments and artful composites.

The Extraordinary Psychic by David Julian
Llewellyn Worldwide: “The Extraordinary Psychic” by David Julian

The aesthetics of vintage photographs are also referenced for their timeless beauty, as are images from toy cameras and other alternatives visual sources. We work together through on-screen presentations, demos, off-line practice, shared reviews and 1:1 guidance. By combining experimentation and practice, participants build confident control of layers,  masking, selection tools, blending, toning and adjustment techniques to improve compositions, combine images and repeat successful ‘spontaneous inventions’. Crafting personal narratives, family histories, dreams and visual poetry are all possibilities within this workshop. 

Dave Julian shares many of his unique workflows and provides all files for the week and for review after the workshop. Whether you are at an emerging or professional level, all participants advance their abilities and will find this workshop extremely rewarding.

What you will learn

Day 1 (Tuesday, Feb 7, 5-8pm ET)

  • Introductions & Intentions 
  • Students show up to 5 favorite personal images that use Adobe Photoshop (optional)  
  • Presentation of Altered Images I’ve collected from global artists 
  • Discussion on intention, mindset, creative process and the sketch 
  • Download and explain Files on Google Drive 
    • Adobe Photoshop (as needed)
    • Setup of prefs and panels for easier workflow  
    • Beginning your project 
    • Selections and refined masking workflow revisited  
    • Resourcing elements, shooting specifically for digital composites 
  • Assignment: Concept a new composite montage/collage/image/artwork 
  • For Thursday morning: Have something to show for the genesis of your project, such as:
    • A Sketch with marginal notes (or tell us verbally) 
    • Or the hero image and any supporting elements you have gathered, then describe your intention verbally. If unsure what to do, a Self Portrait is always a good project to try. It can include you or depict you more symbolically. If you have time, begin sourcing/shooting/editing/organizing the elements for your work and bring them to share Thursday 

Day 2 (Thursday, Feb 9, 5-8pm ET)

  • Review of your artwork plans via shared screens 
  • How to Conceive and Craft Narrative and Story 
  • Diving into the layers- a look into my layered works 
  • Creating the illusion of 3D Depth using crafted light and shadows 
  • Adobe Photoshop workflows (options, paced as needed)
    • Adjustment layers 
    • Smart Layer Groups 
    • Advanced Dodge and Burn 
    • Q+A
  • Individual and Shared guidance per artist 

Assignment: Source, scan or shoot and refine elements for your artwork. 

Begin your work canvas at least 300ppi. Add elements in rough form by copy/paste, finder drag n’ drop, or layer drag n’  drop. Begin playing in the layers to flesh out the composition. I lower the opacity of my element layers so I can move them  around over the background or main image to play with composition and their relative sizes.  Try not to get lost in noodling or refining any layer— keep working fluidly responding to what you see. Refine later. 

— Note – No class on Tuesday, Feb 14 (Valentine’s Day) —

Day 3 (Thursday, Feb 16, 5-8pm ET)

  • Review of the works-in-progress via shared screens 
  • Adobe Photoshop workflows (options, paced as needed)
    • Smart Objects / Smart Filters  
    • Texturing options 
    • Coloring and Toning 
    • Realistic Shadows  
    • Skewed, Warped, Liquified and Bent 
    • Q+A 
  • Individual and Shared guidance per artist

Assignment: Continue your project…

Note: This is about your creative process. Though it’s a great goal, the work does not have to be fully refined or finished on Day 5. This way you won’t rush things. 

Day 4 (Tuesday, Feb 21, 5-8pm ET)

  • Review and Guided Refinements of the works-in-progress via shared screens  More on narrative, refining composition, creating balance, polishing the work Any requests in process, composition, finishing, Photoshop Q+A 
  • Individual and Shared guidance per artist

Day 5 (Thursday, Feb 23, 5-8pm ET)

  • Present finished works 
  • Discuss where to go next in creating a body of montaged works. Q+A 
  • Individual and Shared guidance per artist 
  • Closing

Course requirements

A basic familiarity with Photoshop’s layers, layer masks, brush, and selection tools is required for this class. A pre-workshop tune-up tutorial folder for gaining these skills is available in advance to fully-enrolled students by request. Feel free to contact Dave Julian ([email protected]) directly with questions about this workshop.

Past student work

Leap Of Faith - by Farin Rahman
Leap Of Faith – by Farin Rahman

All Images are subject to copyright.

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Instructor: David Julian

Dave is a Seattle-based photographer and educator. Between assignments, he is photography faculty at The University of Washington and Seattle Creative Academy. He has led over fifty of workshops in the US and in India, Canada, Alaska, Mexico and annually in Cuba. His publications include Nikon World, Outside, Nat Geo Traveler, Islands, After Capture, Outdoor Photographer and Rangefinder. He has also been guest and host on podcasts Hit the Streets and Black Rapid Media. He is an official Fujifilm X CREATOR photographer.