Hal Schmitt is the Director and Lead Instructor of LIGHT Photographic Workshops in Los Osos, California. Hal instructs all levels of photography, Lightroom and Photoshop with an incredibly approachable and easy to understand method. His workshops and photo tours are recognized around the world as incredible learning experiences.
Most people know the word TOPGUN because of the 1980's action movie of the same name. In reality, TOPGUN or the Navy Fighter Weapons School is one of the most intense, professional and demanding schools found anywhere. The preparation, knowledge, execution and standards of performance of the staff are without equal. Hal served two tours as a TOPGUN instructor.
After the crucible of the "murderboard" process Hal became the Navy's air-to-air training expert, completely revamped the tactics to meet current threats and delivered hundreds of hours of training and discussion worldwide. When life and death are involved, the training better be good.
As Director of LIGHT Photographic Workshops Hal was fortunate to train with photography and Photoshop's best and brightest and is now an expert in all aspects of the digital workflow. Although the subject matter is a little slower and safer, Hal teaches his digital courses using the same techniques he mastered at TOPGUN. Polished and confident but down-to-earth and approachable, he delivers an incredible workshop experience.
Hal's teaching style delivers results. He believes in teaching the theory and basics of everything necessary in the digital workflow. More importantly, he takes the mystery and technical complexity out of a subject allowing access for everyone. Hal will ensure you know the basics, teaching the why in addition to the how. With a strong foundation, it is amazing how quickly you can learn and improve.
When not teaching, Hal is winemaker at Volatus Wine and Assistant winemaker at Midnight Cellars. You can make an appointment to taste Volatus at the winery and also come visit the wonderful wines of Midnight cellars!
Victoria grew up in Oakhurst California also known as "the gateway to Yosemite". She taught herself about the camera and practiced "seeing" with her father's old metal body Pentax, shooting around her family ranch and the beautiful foothills of the sierra's. She was the first student at Yosemite high school's digital photography class where she was "classically trained" on a Mavica digital floppy disk camera. For two years in the class her passion grew for digital imaging and Photoshop retouching.
The summer before her senior year at high school she was lucky enough to follow her father in a few cities on tour with Supertramp in Europe. As she toured a bit with them she was able to create a portfolio in black and white and color slide of her favorite places in France and a few concert shots (where she had room for improvement). Armed with her portfolio she was accepted into Cal Poly's 10-student photography program.
She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Photography and Digital Imaging in 2005 but was hungry for more digital knowledge.
She started out as second assistant to Canon Explorer of Light, George Lepp, at his photography school in California. She was fresh out of college and she made it to manager within the year. As manager, she saw the opportunity to take over the school with her husband, Hal Schmitt.
Once they purchased the school in 2007 Victoria had a crazy dream. She wanted to create a photography festival. For 3 years she put together the plans and created a list of her favorite photo-educators in the industry to create what was originally going to be called "Canon Love Fest". The name didn't quite stick so she changed it to The California Photo Festival.
Victoria and Hal have 3 beautiful children who are often used as class models and lunch time entertainment.
Victoria loves helping students of all ages with their portfolio and their retouching skills. Her goal has always been to help others feel confident in their work and help them achieve the best work possible. Her favorite things is the "Light bulb effect" and she has also been deemed the "Spot Nazi" from time to time.
Student response has been overwhelming:
"I've gone to Photoshop world a couple of years in a row, but have never learned even half as much at the Lightroom sessions I attended there as I've learned from your online seminars."
"To tell you the truth, you are the best instructor for any subject I've ever had."
"I sincerely feel you are and will continue to be a superstar in the photo industry and we all appreciate your taking time and energy to visit us."
"The amount of information and the way you presented it, was truly enjoyable and instructive at the same time. You have a command of your subject matter and presentation skills that are a rare combination."
"I really liked the passion and dynamic style you projected. That together with your experience and subject matter skills kept the audience in focus at all times."
"It's not that I get everything that I expect taking a Hal Schmitt class, It's that I get so much that I didn't expect that makes Hal's classes are so exciting."