creativity

Paris Photography & Creativity Workshop, October 1-6 2019

Immerse yourself in the energy and beauty of Paris. Learn to take great photos. And reconnect to your creative spirit.

I created this workshop to help you step out of your day-to-day rhythms, hone your photography skills and get fresh inspiration from being in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Take beautiful pictures you’ll want to share with friends, family and the world

  • Style your own images and compose compelling shots

  • Shape natural light so you can take great photos at home with minimal equipment

  • Apply an easy Lightroom editing flow that will take your images to the next level

  • Use a simple back-up strategy that will make sure your images are safe in case your computer crashes or gets stolen

  • Grow your social media presence through authentic content (no diet teas or bikinis involved!)

  • Write engaging copy for social media or your website, even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer

  • Start a SquareSpace blog or website—if you need one—without wanting to throw your laptop out the window even once

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And of course there will be lots of life-changing pastries, chocolate, wine and cheese. Because, Paris.

When we’re not in the studio, we’ll head out into the city to shoot and discover some of my favorite locals-only patisseries, shops, restaurants, cafes and wine bars.

After exploring Paris’ hidden gems and sampling some of the most delicious things the city has to offer, you’ll come home feeling energized, inspired and more confident behind your camera (or smartphone) than ever!

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This is exactly the sort of workshop I wish I'd had when I started my blog.

I let my camera sit in its box unopened for 6 (!!!) months because I felt too intimidated to use it. When I peeked at the manual, it might as well have been written in hieroglyphics. I knew I wanted to launch a food and travel blog, but had no idea where to start.

I know what it’s like to have your photos not turn out how you want them to. (Click back to the early days of this blog for all the embarrassing proof!) I know how it feels to sit in front of your computer trying to find your voice. To feel overwhelmed at the whole process and unsure of what to do to get better.

I have been there, my friend.

Which is exactly why I created this workshop—to share everything I’ve learned and get you feeling confident behind the camera and excited to share your work with the world!

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This isn't your average workshop.

There are lots of photography workshops to choose from these days. But I don’t want to just teach you how to take great photos.

  • I want you to get deep into your creative energy!

  • I want you to get excited about photography and travel and food!

  • I want you to come home feeling like a badass behind the camera. Like a whole new person who’s left all the bills and meetings and laundry behind to fly off to Paris and drink wine and eat chocolate and laugh and maybe even buy herself a sexy new dress!

In order to make all this magic happen, you’ll have photography and styling lessons. But also fun writing and conversation sessions designed to help you (re-)discover what you’re passionate about and what really lights you up.

And there will be daily doses of buttery croissants and dark chocolate and cave-aged cheeses and natural wines. Because opening yourself up to life’s many pleasures is a sure-fire way to feel more connected to yourself and your creative voice.

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I guarantee that when you join me in Paris, you'll leave with the the skills to style and shoot beautiful photos. As well as a renewed sense of what gives you joy and a fresh perspective on what you want in your life.

Yes, travel can do that.

I’ve seen it happen in myself and in the people who attend my creative retreats over and over again. Every time I travel to lead a retreat or workshop, I come home with new insight into how I want to live my life and what really matters.

And I’ve seen the people who travel with me:

  • Launch blogs

  • Leave dead-end relationships

  • Get book deals

  • Cut back on their work schedules to spend more time with their families

  • Find the confidence to start dating again after a broken heart

  • Move to Italy to do a masters degree in culinary anthropology

  • Start their own businesses

Photography and travel are both about finding fresh perspectives. And they both encourage you to look deeply and to open yourself up to the beauty that’s all around you.

Have a question? Check out the FAQ

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It was wonderful to learn “on the go” - to ask questions and get tips, feedback, and 1:1 assistance as we went. It felt so much more unique and exciting than attending a class. Since taking the workshop, I am now shooting in manual mode only and have gained more knowledge and confidence.

Carrie Huseman
The Cook’s Palette

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My favorite part of the workshop was seeing Paris through Olaiya's eyes. She easily navigates through the city sharing all of her favorite places whether they be patisseries, chocolatiers, restaurants, markets or shops. Many of the places she took us I had not been to before or were not on my "to-do" list. By traveling with Olaiya I was able to feel like a Parisian instead of working my way around the city in my broken French.

Michaela Hundahl
Home Dwelling


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm a beginner photographer/writer/blogger. Can I benefit from this workshop?

A. Yessssss! I love working with beginners! I've designed this workshop for anyone from true beginners to intermediate level. The beauty of attending this workshop as a beginner is that you can make a lot of progress really quickly. You'll have 1-on-1 sessions where we can address your specific needs and goals. And we'll have a series of group calls afterwards to help you keep your creative spark bright.


Q: What if I shoot with my phone instead of a camera?

A: Totally fine. We'll cover camera basics for those who bring cameras. And we'll discuss mobile shooting and editing for those who prefer to shoot with thier phone or need to take pictures and edit them on the go. The sessions on styling, composition and shaping light will help you take better photos no matter what you're shooting with. The best camera is the one you have with you, so there's absolutely no shame in your game if you shoot mostly with your phone. 


Q: I don't have a business/blog/project idea in mind. Will this workshop help me?

A: Absolutely. The idea behind this workshop is to help people connect with their creative vision and find a way to engage with it more fully. If you have something concrete in mind, that's great. If you just have a feeling you need more creative energy in your life and need help figuring out how to get there, this workshop is for you, too.


Q: I don't eat pork or drink alcohol. Is that a problem?

A: Nope. We've had several guest who don't drink alcohol or eat pork and we can make sure there will always be options for you to choose from at our group meals.


Q: I have other dietary restrictions. Will that be a problem?

A: Probably not. I want to make sure you have an amazing time in Paris and some dietary restrictions (like a vegan diet) are pretty hard to accommodate in Paris. Shoot me an email before booking.


Q: I'm most interested in just creating beautiful images. Is this a good fit for me?

A: Yes! The main focus of the workshop will be photography. But we want people who want to do more with their images to have the opportunity to do so. There will be sessions devoted to: camera basics (shooting on manual if you aren't already + the exposure triangle), shaping natural light, sourcing props + styling, composition, editing and having a solid back-up strategy.

The camera basics part will still be useful if you're a mobile shooter. And the styling, shaping light, composition, etc. apply no matter what you're shooting with. If you don't want to do the content creation, social media, or other sections, you can work more on styling, shooting and editing instead.


Q: When should I arrive and leave?

A: The workshop will start on the afternoon of the 1st at 2.30. So you can definitely fly in that morning. If you can swing it, I highly recommend flying in a day or two before the workshop starts so you won't be quite as jet lagged and can get more out of the first days. On the 6th, we end with a group breakfast. A lot of people like to take the day to enjoy Paris on their own, but if you need to get back then this is a good day to fly out early.


Q: I'm arriving early/staying after the workshop. Can you recommend where to stay and/or things to do.

A. Absolutely! Just shoot me an email.


Q: I'm not really interested in photography or starting a creative project. I just want to come to Paris to eat delicious pastries and drink amazing wines.

A: This probably isn't the right experience for you. We're going to be eating tons of delicious pastries, chocolate and cheese and tasting some amazing natural wines. But you'll also be spending an average of 1/2 of each day learning and developing your ideas and skills. If you're more interested in a Paris culinary trip, shoot me an email and I can design a custom experience for you. :)

Still not sure this is right for you? Get in touch here


Here’s the full list of what we have in store for you:

  • A camera basics lesson to make sure you’re comfortable with your camera

  • Three days of styling, shooting and learning in a professional photography studio

  • Time to practice styling and shooting on your own + personalized feedback on your work

  • An Adobe Lightroom session with suggestions for editing your images and improving your workflow

  • A lesson on mobile editing so you can edit on the fly and keep your social media on point

  • Visits to local boulangeries, patisseries and chocolatiers with tastings

  • A tasting of French wines and cheeses

  • Neighborhood walking tours highlighting the beautiful architecture and grand history of Paris

  • Delicious French breakfasts every morning

  • All lunches + all dinners except for one cooked by yours truly or out at my favorite local spots

  • One evening free to relax, recuperate or explore on your own (don’t worry, we’ll provide recommendations for restaurants and things to do if you need them)

  • Visits to some of Paris' most unique shops and markets

  • 5 nights of accommodation at a boutique hotel

  • A bedroom all to yourself if you want it. So you can chill out when you’re tired of being around other people and get a great night’s sleep

  • Or a shared room if you want to add some bonding time with your mom, your daughter or your bestie

  • All ground transportation within Paris when you’re with the group, plus a primer on using the Metro

  • Down time every day to make sure your brain doesn’t get fried

  • A list of my favorite Paris spots--in case you arrive early or stay on afterwards and need a little help figuring out what to do

  • The fun of learning with a small group of food, photography and travel lovers!

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I want to make it easy for you to invest in yourself.

I want to see you setting aside time to hone your vision and delving deeper into your creative self.

So all you need to do is book your ticket, pack your bags and show up. My team and I will take care of the rest. Your meals, your hotel, navigating around the city--we’ve got it covered.

So you can focus on what really matters: Stretching your boundaries. Growing new skills. Discovering fresh perspectives. And reconnecting with yourself.

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The trip for me was a measure of time that feels like a really good dream I keep going back to in the midst of to do lists and carpools.

Denice Gardner
Burlington, WA


"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

- Mary Oliver

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Bespoke Culinary & Creative Retreats

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a custom experience designed just for you

Dreaming of a culinary tour, creative retreat or photography workshop designed around your personal interests and timeline? I create bespoke travel experiences for groups of 2-10 guests. 

I currently lead custom experiences in Paris, Belgium, Lisbon, Porto and the Alentejo and Algarve regions of Portugal. Possible activities include:

  • cooking classes

  • market visits

  • wine and beer tastings

  • farm tours

  • cheese tastings

  • cultural walking tours

  • meals in local restaurants

  • photography expeditions

  • visits to the studios of local makers

  • coffee tours with cuppings

  • picnics

  • boat excursions

  • meals in the homes of local chefs

  • chocolate and pastry tastings

Contact me here for information on pricing and further details.