Next Session: May 10th - June 21st

e-Course: $175

e-Course + Mentoring: $350


Candela is an e-course about moving away from a technical approach to photography, and towards an approach based on the very core of the creative practice: intuition, emotion, and heartfelt personal inquiry. Sometimes, the inner artist needs a little extra encouragement and direction. Candela is designed to support new artistic growth and help photographers take meaningful new steps in their creative practice.

I believe wonderful things can happen when we nurture our inner artist. When we turn our attention away from all the bells and whistles in photography, away from the lure of newer, better, more expensive gear, and towards what really matters, we develop a richer artistic practice. 

What really matters? The people and places we love in the world, the experiences that make us laugh and cry and jump with delight, the things that connect us more deeply to life, love, and the human experience - these are the things that really matter. This is the territory we need to explore as artists. Are you ready to join me?

- Laura Valenti


I signed up for Laura’s class at a time when my personal inspiration was kind of at a low point. For me, the concept was refreshing after having taken so many courses over the years based on technical photography and the supposedly ‘right’ way to compose a winning picture. Laura approaches students with a compassionate heart, a sharp mind, and the right mix of support plus constructive criticism. She pushed me beyond what I thought I could do and I continue to work with her one-on-one as a creative consultant. Effective and more interesting work is emerging for me as I dare to break rules that can stifle creativity. I learned a life-long creative process from Laura that will continue for me.
— Jim Kushman


The e-course includes inspirational readings, audio slideshows, lectures, and weekly photography projects designed to help expand creative boundaries. Candela: Finding Inspiration Through Photography is at the heart of Laura’s teaching. Developed over ten years of teaching, the course distills everything she feels is most essential to the creative photographic process. The course is highly interactive, and you'll be cheered on and supported every day by Laura and the lively community of fellow students. It's such a fun way to learn and grow as an artist. 


If you choose the mentoring option when you register, the course will also include a phone/Skype call with Laura and an in-depth review of your past photographic work, your website (if you happen to have one), or any portfolios or extra images you'd like to share. Mentoring is a nice opportunity to chat about personal goals and challenges and to map out next steps with more guidance and support. 


Candela is designed to fit easily into your busy schedule. Four days a week, you'll get a healthy dose of photo inspiration in your inbox, and you'll have one creative photography project to complete each week at your own pace. Unlike a traditional classroom experience, Candela lessons can be taken at any hour of the day or night, whenever it suits you best. You can take the course at 3am in your pajamas, if you like! You can always repeat a lesson if you need to, and there is no such thing as falling behind. You'll have access to all the lessons for at least a year after the course ends. You'll likely need about two hours each week to complete the material. The online classroom is also a great, safe space for posting comments and receiving feedback on images and ideas. Laura will be your guide throughout the course, supporting you with encouraging feedback and advice. 


All cameras are welcome! You don’t need anything fancy to take this course. In fact, the simpler, the better! DSLRs, point-and-shoots, camera phones, pinhole cameras – I have a strict equipment nondiscrimination policy. Film shooters must be able to scan images to share in the online classroom.


Since Candela is a conceptual photography course (as opposed to a technical class), thoughtful photographers at any level may join. Students should be comfortable with basic camera operations, and must know how to upload images to their computers. We’re here to learn – if you feel you have something to learn about the creative process, you’re in the right spot.

Hey Creativity??? Guess what? I’m back! Thank you Laura!!
— Elizabeth Taylor
Laura, you were superb in your teaching and in your questioning. I could not have asked for a better class to challenge me intellectually and to challenge me to think about art, photography, and philosophy, and to challenge what I was doing with the camera in the past. Laura, you are simply outstanding. So, what you have done for me is show me the new horizon. It is now up to me to walk that path with a new passion and a new freedom and let creativity emerge. Thank you again.
— Jerry Kohler
Laura, you are so gifted in so many ways! This course has really changed my approach to photography and the joy has come back!
— Patricia Hogan
I’m sad this class is over. It has been so refreshing and different from anything else I have taken in relation to my photography. Everything we have done in this course has been liberating. I feel more relaxed, more open to the “suggestions” of the world in terms of what to photograph, and more confident and trusting of my instinct to shoot what I love...which I had started to lose when I came to this course. I had felt pulled by the voices of others - voices saying this is right, this is wrong, this is marketable/salable, etc. and this class has given me permission to do and be my own kind of artist.
— Yolanda Santiago White
The most thought-provoking photography course I’ve ever taken! It is emotionally stimulating and causes one to bring introspection to her/his photography. Candela allows for personal depth of thinking and feeling in a field fraught with technical issues.
— Deb Merchant
Candela is a safe place to get very conscious about your photographic practice, indeed a way to look at many things in your life - such as attitudes that get you stuck and ideas about how to move beyond them. Presented in a very inviting, non-judgemental way, you learn about yourself by reading about others’ experience, and through writing and doing the assignments. Lessons are presented in a variety of engaging ways - slideshows, reading, audio, and assignments are clear, fun and enlightening. Laura - you have hit it out of the park on this. Incredibly well visualized, organized, presented. I felt inspired, challenged, enlightened!
— Rebecca Benoit
I am totally loving your class and insights! It came at a perfect time for me and I think it is helping me to grow not only as a photographer, but as a person. My personal goal as I am taking your class is to find my ‘signature.’ I want to find out what touches my heart and matter the flaws or critics. Thank you for opening my eyes to that possibility.
— Penne Fossa
The class was inspiring and helpful in finding an artistic voice. I just went back to my notes and am happy to have so many lists of things I can draw from to be inspired. The thing I took away from the class was not to feel so rushed to find a project, subject, or style - but to have fun again just being who I am as a person and as a photographer.
— Jenny Shadley
I thoroughly enjoyed Laura Valenti’s course. She has a way of inspiring each of us to push through our own boundaries and hang-ups, and to expand our visions with examples of amazing contemporary artists who really break the rules. For me, it was so timely to take her class as I prepared for the reviews at Photolucida and I needed that extra bit of courage to not second guess myself and trust my intuition. She did all that and more with some great life lessons in creativity she taught us along the way. Many thanks to you Laura!
— Victoria Bjorklund
Laura is superb. Smart, knowledgeable, insightful, stimulating.
— Robert Hogan
Laura, I want to thank you again for the inspiration, thoughtfulness, patience, and encouragement you gave me in this six weeks of “conversations.” You’ve made this e-course so individualized, personal, lively, and effective. I feel I learned a lot in a very informal, relaxing, and encouraging setting. The course was exactly what I needed - I felt the need and urge of connecting my photography with something inside but didn’t quite know how to go about it. Your course gave me the means. Thanks for all the helpful guidance and thoughtful comments and the huge encouragement!
— Ning Fan
The Candela workshop was inspiring, thought provoking, and reaches to the core of your creativity. I experienced tremendous growth from analyzing the content and intent of an image. I have a renewed strength & confidence in my vision as an artist.
— Debbie Danielson
Laura, thank you for all the time you’ve spent in creating this course, and for taking the time to comment on all my posts! I never expected an online course to feel so personal!
— Sharon S.
This course has been absolutely incredible and I am so, so sad to see it end! I never imagined I would be walking away from it with so many new tools and ideas, so much more confidence, and a completely new way of looking at photography. Thank you SO MUCH, Laura - it’s been the most amazing experience! My head is actually buzzing with ideas and excitement!
— Romina Mandrini