charles cramer

Comments from Charlie's workshops:

"Can one really make progress towards fine art printing in just three days? Well, take Charlie's intensive and find out. First, do your homework from Charlie's exercises in the course handbook (distributed well before the workshop) and refresh your basic Photoshop skills. Then, in the workshop Charlie will go over each of his techniques to greatly improve your image quality. You will come home with some highly refined finished prints and a new understanding of a fine art printing workflow which will allow you to continue to improve on your own. This is an advanced workshop with a master photographer who communicates the fine art printing process clearly and effectively. Highly recommended."
-Hank Niles Santa Cruz, California

"That Charlie Cramer is a superb teacher is well known and firmly established.
What is less well known perhaps is a crucial and distinguishing core element in Charlie's teaching: he makes it possible for people to make their own pictures, however differing in style and subject from his own work, and to make those pictures better. We have an abundance of capable "master" photographers who give workshops in which you can learn to be a marginally competent imitator of the "master." Charlie doesn't do this. He spends the time to try to understand what picture you're really trying to make- and then, with technique, patient review, clear counsel, a bit more technique and careful re-evaluation, he helps you to make your picture better."
-Jed Wormhoudt  Loma Mar, California

"Cindy and I both send our thanks for a top notch workshop experience. I will be recommending it to all my photographer friends. Your workbook was a joy".
-Charles Fritsch  Bonita Springs, Florida

"Charlie couldn't have been better. He's a gifted teacher - gentle - helpful - makes subject matter clear. Well organized and he covered and completed an amazing amount of information in three days.
-Karl Gregorius  Stockton, California

[concerning the Photoshop Techniques booklet] "It is the best thing I have read about printing in Photoshop. Very few people can write with simplicity and thought for the reader. I love it".
-Tom Upton  San Francisco, California

"Charles is a brilliant instructor. He is organized, precise and thoughtful in approach. Using the handbook pre-class was extremely helpful since going thru it for the second time with Charlie seriously helped retention. I have never attended a workshop where I can go home and fully utilize what I learned."
-Woody Spedden Fort Collins, Colorado

"Any serious photographer that wants to master the making of awesome prints should take this course from Charlie. This was an awesome class and it was also a privilege to learn about Charlie's approach to seeing and making strong images."
-Chris Prestegard  Kapalua, Hawaii

"Everything exceeded my expectations - exponentially".
- Julie Jungers  Portland, Oregon

[concerning the Photoshop Techniques booklet]  "Wow. There is a ton of very, very useful stuff in there. I'm learning a LOT!"
-G. Dan Mitchell  San Jose, California

"Charles Cramer is an outstanding teacher, passionate, patient, and creative"
-Elio Gonella  Seaside, California

"I've attended countless workshops and classes on digital imaging and printmaking and Charlie's classes are some of the best! Charlie is a superb instructor and is a master printmaker. I use much of what I learned from him at my business everyday. His wit, sense of humor, and humility make his classes a real pleasure.
-Mike Chambers, founder, Picture Element Santa Clara, California

"Charlie Cramer is a wonderful guy and a fantastic instructor."
-Ian Reid  San Francisco, California

"I learned as much about making a great print, not merely a good one from Charlie as I did about the digital printmaking process. He's a master photographer and his insights are invaluable."
-Karen Fisher  Milbrae, California

"Charlie is a national treasure as a photographer and an instructor. He is a
master printer and studying with him is the fastest way to making your own
fine art prints."
- Kerby Smith  Coarsegold, California

"Charles' humor adds hugely!"
- Lisa Dennen, Rolling Hills Estates, California


Digital Printing for the Fine Art Photographer

These workshops will cover what you need to know to make the finest digital prints from your film or digital camera files. From adjustment/optimization, to orchestrating the light, I will share what I've learned in 35 years of making prints. You will learn ways to make your images stronger and more compelling. This workshop is not for beginners—you need experience in using Lightroom (or Adobe Camera Raw) and with Photoshop.

The “Fine Art” in the title just means that you are willing to devote the time and effort to explore and optimize your images to their fullest potential. This class will give you the tools to go beyond your film or digital camera file, and spur your imagination to create stronger interpretations of your images. Much discussion will center on critiquing prints (produced both before and during the class) and exploring what makes an exceptional print. This workshop will engage both the right and left sides of your brain!

Students will need to be fairly familar with Photoshop, as that is our primary image editor (after Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw).

There will be a healthy discussion of color management and how to diagnose if a problem is due to your monitor calibration—or your printer profiles—or both! You will receive an invaluable "reference print" that can be used to test your printer, printer profile, and printer dialog settings. The pros and cons of many printer choices will be discussed and demonstrated with actual comparison prints.

This workshop requires homework! About 2 months before the class, I will mail out my 87 page workbook, Optimizing Images For Printing: Effective and Efficient Techniques to Optimize Images. This tutorial includes exercise files, so you can practice these techniques at home. You will discover the power of the most versatile adjustment layer of them all—curves. This handout covers what I consider the essential techniques to optimize and fine tune your images. Learning these techniques will not only increase your productivity, but result in stronger interpretations of your own images. I also ask everyone to bring some of their current prints to the workshop for critiques.

I have presented this workshop over seventy times at various locations around the country. As they say, “practice makes perfect”, and I am constantly refining what and how I present the material in this workshop. I strive to eliminate the superfluous, and present just the information that you need to effectively and efficiently process, refine, and print your own images.

Subjects covered will include

The Master file concept

Using Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom
Getting the most of our your digital capture
What to do in Lightroom—and what to save for Photoshop
Using Smart Objects

Using color management to insure consistent results from monitor to final print
How do I get good profiles for my monitor, scanner, and printer?
Using the supplied "reference print" to diagnose your own setup and profiles

Recommended techniques for working on files
Photoshop selection tools—tips and techniques
Setting density and color balance
Retouching, burning and dodging
Preparation of files for output to various printers
Using the “Smart-sharpening” action script (included)

Can my print be stronger?  And what to do to improve it
What makes an effective print?
This is where you learn "when" to do particular adjustments

Archival methods of mounting and matting digital prints

Students will get to fine-tune and print using their own images. I will spend time working with each person individually to discuss and refine the adjustments to your image in RAW development and/or Photoshop. You must be familiar with Photoshop, which would include performing basic tonal adjustments with layers or curves, painting on layer masks, resizing, cropping, etc.

Which workshop to take? All the 3-5 day classes cover essentially the same material. Locations vary, as do facilities and fees charged. The Ansel Adams Workshops include the opportunity to participate in field photography sessions in Yosemite Valley. For both workshops, it is recommended that you bring your own computer or laptop. There are a few computers available, but you will need to let me know to reserve one for you (numbers limited). Picture Element is also offering an "alumni" workshop for those who have survived one of my regular workshops. All the workshops have received excellent ratings from students.

CHARLES CRAMER has been photographing and making prints for 40 years. In 1997, he started scanning his original 4x5 inch transparencies at very high resolution and digitally applying the photographic techniques he used in dye transfer printing. He has taught digital imaging for the Ansel Adams Gallery Workshops, Palm Beach Workshops, Anderson Ranch Workshops, the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging, the Luminous Landscape workshops, and others. He was also fortunate to have the great Bill Atkinson co-instruct with him at many of these workshops. Charles Cramer’s landscape work has been published by National Geographic Books, Sierra Club, and the Yosemite Association. He has been profiled in PhotoTechniques, PhotoVision, Outdoor Photography (UK), and View Camera Magazines. His book "Yosemite" was published by Triplekite publishers in England, and is available on Amazon! His work can be seen in galleries internationally, and at his website,


Picture Element Logo
Picture Element
Santa Clara, California (Silicon Valley!)
Three Day Workshops

For workshop description, see the top of this page.
Most classes have alreadyh filled, but there are a few openings left in the May 31 and November 22 workshops. Email me for availability.

Classes limited to 8

Picture Element specializes in high-end reproductions of art of all kind, and have a wonderful facility with three large-format Epson printers. Picture Element is also expert in the production of prints on canvas. The classroom is quite large, with an excellent setup for viewing lots of prints at one time. Although they can provide a few computers, most students will need to bring their own laptops with the imaging software that you use. Classes will go from 8:30 AM to 9 PM on Friday & Saturday, 9-5 on Sunday.

Photographer John Ricca will be our full-time assistant. Contact me for information or to enroll.

Alumni Print-Making Session!  March 29-31, 2019· Fee: $1350 plus Lab fee of $120 · Limited to 8 · Same meeting times as above · Includes discussions and demonstrations of handling problem images, with majority of class time devoted to helping students optimize and fine-tune their own images, with extra time printing. Prerequisite: Having attended any of my previous Printing workshops.

If you need to cancel prior to 40 days before the workshop, you will receive a full refund, minus a $100 processing fee. Refunds cannot be made for withdrawals initiated within 39 days of the first day of the workshop. But, if we can fill your spot with another student, you will receive a full refund for the class tuition, minus the $100 processing fee. If we need to cancel, you will receive a complete refund of the class tuition. Although we rarely need to cancel a workshop, it can happen. If you are flying, please make sure you get tickets that are refundable or can be changed, and/or trip insurance.

Ansel Adams Gallery

The Ansel Adams Gallery
Yosemite National Park
Five Day Classes


Dates for 2019:April 30 - May 4 and November 5 - 9 (Sorry—both are already full, but a waiting list isavailable. Email to get on the waiting list).
Fee for class: $1350 · Class limited to 8

These five day workshops include field sessions in and around Yosemite Valley. I have chosen the dates for their photographic potential. May will have the freshness of Spring, with lots and lots of water! The dogwood should also be in bloom. The November dates will feature the wonderful variety of Fall color in the Valley. The sun also stays at more of an angle, creating more interesting light.

The Gallery has just remodeled Ansel's workroom (next to his darkroom) for workshop use, so this is a location with lots of history. And the location in the heart of Yosemite Valley is unbeatable. (A few steps out the door, and there's Yosemite Falls!). The Gallery has a collection of excellent printers, including an Epson 3800 and an HP Z3100.

I'm proud to have taught workshops for the Ansel Adams gallery for 30 years now, covering subjects from Dye Transfer and Cibachrome Masking to the current digital imaging and printing. (...from the darkroom, to "Lightroom"...)

Rooms have been set aside for workshop participants in Yosemite Valley.  Photographer John Ricca will be our full-time assistant.   To sign up , or for more information, go to

John Sexton Photography Workshops

October 13- 18, 2019

By popular demand we are pleased to once again offer this extremely popular workshop. The Mono Basin and Eastern Sierra have some of the most exciting photographic opportunities imaginable. Autumn light and fall colors will add to the magic and wonder of this area. This field workshop will allow you to explore the spectacular photographic possibilities of this amazing landscape under the leadership of two skilled and talented photographers, Charles Cramer and John Sexton, and is open to dedicated photographers working with either traditional or digital materials. The most important thing is to come with an open mind and a desire to work hard at improving your photography. If you are interested in attending this workshop please send your application soon. It is certain that the session will be fully subscribed.

John and Charlie have selected a number of exciting locations to explore during the workshop. We will be photographing late and early light on the unique tufa formations at Mono Lake, as well as exploring nearby beautiful Sierra canyons and the spectacular Yosemite high country. Sexton and Cramer, along with workshop assistant Anne Larsen, will be available to assist participants in the field and will be offering indoor instruction sessions. We will utilize a large, comfortable classroom facility in Lee Vining, just a few hundred yards from the shore of Mono Lake and within walking distance of our motel. Along with instructor presentations and demonstrations, an important aspect of the workshop will be constructive portfolio reviews of prints that participants bring to the workshop. It will be a time of great scenery, photography, and camaraderie.

Included in the workshop fee will be a "last supper" the final night of the workshop, as well as two lunches in the field, along with handout booklets from both Charlie and John. Lodging, additional meals, and transportation costs are the responsibility of each participant. Each workshop is limited to fourteen people, and no guests are allowed. Early enrollment is advised. The workshop begins on Sunday morning, and ends late Friday evening.
Fee:  $1700 (Includes all park entrance and permit fees)

To apply for this workshop, download the workshop brochure and application form here (pdf file). You can also visit John's website for details.


Visionary Wild Workshops will present a workshop with Tillman Crane and myself, April 15 - 19, 2019. Great Smoky Mountains National Park comes alive with the elegant rebirth of spring in the Appalachian mountains on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Redbud and dogwood trees bloom, fragile new pale-green leaves emerge, and fog brings simplicity to the chaotic the forest backdrop. This is without question one of the gems of the National Park system! This class was previously announced and is full, but there's a waiting list!