Upcoming Workshops

Mary Virginia Swanson’s personal workshops and public lectures are her educational focus.  Artists interested in benefiting from her expertise are encouraged to apply for one of her workshops.  Below you will find testimonials from participants in previous workshops, and a brief announcement of her upcoming workshops. Applications details to

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Two upcoming educational opportunities are being offered in Arizona. One will focus on development of your personal projects – retreat format; registration on a first-come, first-served basis, the second, is my annual Master Class in January – acceptance by application only.


November 10-15, 2019 | Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn, Winkleman, Arizona
NEW! This retreat is designed to help photographers strategize their long-term projects considering the intended audience, potential sponsors, appropriate venues and other relevant concerns.  Fee for this immersive, retreat-style workshop is inclusive of all lodging and meals, price dependent upon choice of available housing options. Details »


January 13–19, 2019 | Homewood Suites at St. Philips Plaza, Tucson, Arizona
This year’s Master Class will provide an overview of today’s markets for your fine prints and existing inventory of photographs with several guest lecturers.  The workshop culminates in attending the “Legacies of LIGHT” Symposium at the Center for Creative Photography. Details for the 2020 Class will be announced soon. Applications open late September. If you are interested and would like to be contacted when applications open, email Kelsey at assistant@mvswanson.com.

COMPLETED: Finding Your Audience: The MVS Master Class
January 6–12, 2019 | Held in Tucson, Arizona
Each January since 2014, the MVS Master Class has been held in Tucson at the start of the new year to jump start your creativity and marketing awareness.

Participant Testimonials

The following remarks are from participants in MVS’ recent workshops:

Mary Virginia is a wealth of information, all of which she is excited to share. It’s clear that her aim is to help each and every student because she cares about them and she knows the importance of what she is teaching. Taking this class opened my eyes and helped me to understand how things are done. Plus it’s fun.  –Sharon H.

If you want to up your game in the photography world, I highly recommend Mary Virginia Swanson’s Master Class workshop. You will be provided with an incredible amount of information and resources. A year later, I am still trying to accomplish all the goals I set after this class! MVS will put you to work, using the knowledge and skills you gain in this incredible week. –Jane S.

Mary Virginia approaches everything she does with the utmost passion and thoughtfulness for each individual as well as the process. She is a wealth of unparalleled knowledge, simple put – a photo industry guru. Having an opportunity to spend a week with her and carefully selected experts elevated my insight, confidence and industry acumen beyond expectation. I began preparing for my first solo show six months after the class and I received highly complimentary feedback from the museum director on my proposal, materials and professionalism. This was only possible because of the guidance and knowledge I received from Mary Virginia for which I am eternally grateful. –Tricia G.

I wanted to personally thank you for a most energizing workshop in Tucson (January 2016). I learned so much on that very intensive week. I felt like you had created the workshop just for me. Everything fit so perfectly to my needs, it was as if I had special ordered the itinerary. I delivered my portfolio to the CA+E at the Nevada Museum of Art and I am thankful I waited until after your workshop, as I was able to make some small changes that made for a much improved portfolio. They were impressed with every detail of the portfolio and I have you to thank! After delivery I spent time in the museum taking in David Taylor’s show! An amazing opportunity to experience David’s studio and thoughts then take in the show! Now that educational and what fun! Now, I’m going to pursue a book from my wind energy body of work, I’ll be back, to glean from your vast knowledge of photography, as well as much needed re-energizing.  -Deon R.

The workshop was such an amazing experience, I can’t begin to tell you. It was intense in a good way. I felt it was an immersion in the world of photography and photographers, much like one learns a new language. Living, eating, breathing it for those 4-5 days has meant it is staying with me. I can’t stop thinking about it and am so excited to implement as much as I can from what I have learned from you and the other speakers. Inspiring. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure, such a resource and such a good teacher.  -Linda K.

This workshop can be summarized in one word — transformative!  Learning from MVS, the wonderful team of invited experts, and my talented co-attendees  let me see my work and myself in a new, empowered light.  Thank you.  – Julie A.

The Advanced Marketing Workshop was very useful and focused. I can’t imagine how many years it would take to acquire the knowledge and insight that were made available to us here! The workshop was a marvel!  – Charlotte T.

Attending Mary Virginia Swanson’s Advanced Marketing Workshop was invaluable for me.  Her deep knowledge of the fine art photography market is exceptional with few peers.  Every element and topic is a wealth of knowledge providing a detailed road map of what and how to advance one’s artistic career.  Mary’s insight is focused, clear and results oriented.  Attending the workshop was an eye-opener for me on the practicalities of marketing my own artwork.  Mary’s workshop is a must-have for anyone serious about advancing their career.  – Ken H.

I became much more aware of marketing opportunities beyond the traditional gallery routine. That was probably the most valuable aspect of the workshop to me. I already new my website was terrible, but I came away with a greater sense of urgency to rebuild it–and with some valuable concrete ideas on how to improve it. Overall it was an inspiring and thought provoking week. And the chance to meet a roomful of such amazingly talented people was a genuine joy.  – Evan P.

While attending a workshop this fall, I watched MVS ceaselessly find ways to inform and encourage all of us–as individuals and as members of a community. Now that I see things anew since her course, the learning continues for me in the process of following up on her suggestions. I feel that is such a strong, positive indicator of the breadth of preparation and presentation she provides.  – Harriet B.

I am continually amazed by the breadth, depth, and currency of MVS’s knowledge and the generosity with which she shares her rich insights into the multifaceted world of photography. This is a “don’t miss” opportunity to learn and be inspired by the best!  – Vicky S.

Anyone who is truly interested in taking their work to the next level and has experienced beginning interest in the magazine, gallery, and/or curator world should then attend an MV Swanson workshop, nothing else will prepare you for the information you need to advance out of the Minor Leagues per se.  – Alex E.

Thank you for the wonderful workshop. I can’t tell you how helpful and inspiring it was. I’ve got a long list of things to do as soon as I get home. Thanks so much for all of your knowledge, energy, support, and encouragement!  – Jim B.

As always I come away with so many new ideas  every time I meet with MVS.  I wish I had half her energy! It is exhilarating! The workshop was incredible and I connected with so many new people. I would not be as successful as I am without her! Thank you MVS!!  – Gayle S.

For years, whenever I’ve wanted to know what was happening in the photographic world I’ve called MVS to find out. Photographic markets are constantly changing and MVS keeps up with those changes better than anyone that I know. Her workshop was a full semester course in marketing photography condensed down to a week.  – Cradoc B.

MVS has done it again. This was an amazingly informative workshop on marketing ones photo images, and various routes one might explore in the marketing process. A variety of photo shoots were made available for us to be able to explore the area around Tucson, which was great fun. I also enjoyed seeing the other participants photo works.  – Nicki G.

So chalk full of information and inspiration that you will need the next month to process it and put it into action! MVS brings it and empowers you to take your next step.  – Jeff S.

I came away from the workshop with not only a head full of ideas and some enduring contacts but also a jolt of confidence. I can’t wait for the next one!  – Neal S.

The workshop and field trips were educational in a supportive environment.  I was inspired by the work being created by other talented individuals in the class.  The time went by too quickly.  – Bill J.


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