Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photography Workshop
Autumn in the Smokies
October 24 - 29, 2023
October 23 - 28, 2024
Below is information for 2023, after this workshop passes it will reflect 2024 information.
Instructor: Andy Cook

Join us as we photograph the truly remarkable Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We'll focus on shooting fall colors, streams, cascades, waterfalls and historic buildings.

Smoky Mountains Photography Wokshop

This workshop will concentrate on exploring and shooting locations. Some days we may spend all day in the field, on other days we will have a midday break and provide post processing assistance. This workshop is geared for the intermediate to advanced photographer. However, beginners with a working knowledge of their camera can gain a lot of experience and instruction. Each participant is assisted at their level. We focus on helping participants create the most appealing compositions of each location we visit. As needed we'll delve into extensive discussions on equipment, exposure, metering, filters and personal tips. This is a workshop environment, the instructor is present to aid in the field and teach his techniques for landscape photography. If you're an advanced photographer he is happy to help or stay out of the way.

Smoky Mountains National Park Photography Workshop

Smoky Mountains National Park Photography Workshop

Itinerary Outline

Participants should check in with Andy on Tuesday, (Oct. 24th, 2023) in the hotel lobby at 7:30 pm. We'll have introductions and a discussion. We start shooting at first light Wednesday morning.

Generally, participants can expect to be at a shooting location for the start of civil twilight and we'll stay in the field well into the morning. We will provide breakfast bars and snacks for enjoyment in the field. We will not provide water bottles during this workshop; reducing one use plastic bottle waste. Please bring a reusable water bottle from home. We will have a meal after the morning shoot. On some days we'll continue to shoot throughout the day, on others we've scheduled midday time at the hotel to download, rest and answer questions before returning to the field for the evening shoot. Note: Gatlinburg is very busy. We do not schedule an evening group meal because we usually return from the field between 7:30 and 8:30 pm and a large group makes for even longer restaurant wait times. Gatlinburg offers many diverse restaurants in walking distance from the hotel. Therefore, we find it to our advantage to separate into smaller groups for most evening meals. The hotel has refrigerators and microwave ovens, some participants return to their rooms and dine on pre purchased meals while downloading and preparing for sleep.

Formal workshop ends after shooting Sunday evening.

During our workshop it is impossible to visit all of the wonderful locations in the Smokies. We feel participants may benefit by staying a few days after the workshop and continue photographing on their own.

Smoky Mountains National Park Photo Workshop
Smoky Mountains National Park Photography Workshop Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photo Workshop

COST: $1,690.00 per participant. Target number of participants is 8.

Deposit Amount: $300.00 due at time of registration. This deposit becomes non refundable 90 days in advance of the workshop.

Full payment of the workshop is due 90 days prior to the start of the workshop. If final payment is not received when due, we reserve the right to treat the reservation as canceled, please review the cancellation policy on the registration page.

Smoky Mountain National Park Photo Wokshop

During this workshop many shooting locations will be just beyond the parking lot, but some will involve trail hiking and a mild amount of elevation gain. Some of the trail hiking may deemed vigorous activity, moderate activity or low activity based upon one's condition. Our longest trail will be about 1.5 miles each way. Trail hiking surfaces and those beyond the parking lot are generally uneven, with trip hazards. Hiking boots are recommended. At some locations participants will seek vantage points amongst large boulders and rocks, this increases one's risk of falling. One doesn't have to be in tip-top shape, but a participant's enjoyment will be enhanced by good health and preparation. Please consult with a doctor before attending our workshop.

Be prepared for possible temperature extremes and sudden changes in weather.  Be aware that mornings can be very chilly. Often we will be out in darkness before sunrise and after sunset, please bring a flashlight. We plan to arrive at our morning location each day no later than 7:20 am. Sunset is approximately 6:45 pm.

Photography Workshop

More Information

Instructor's Lodging Location: Hampton Inn, 967 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Phone # 865-436-4878
Check-in Tuesday, Oct. 24th, 2023; Check-out Monday, Oct. 30th, 2023.

LODGING: For this workshop the instructor's hotel has been selected for ease of access in and out of the park during a very busy season. It is highly recommended that participants stay at the same hotel. We will reserve a block of rooms at this hotel that will give the best available rate. When the group link/code is created we will email it to participants.

To reach the hotel participants are highly advised to access via Townsend and then through the National Park to Gatlinburg. Avoid the apparently shorter route through Pigeon Forge as it will take more than twice as long due to traffic.

Driving conditions will consist of paved roads and maintained dirt roads. When possible we prefer that participants car pool with each other to help limit our impact and get to know each other. A standard rental car will be sufficient.

Smokies Photo Workshop
Smokies Photo Workshop

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photography WorkshopsEquipment Recommendations: Bring all camera equipment including the camera's manual. We recommend using a polarizing filter with most photographs on this workshop. Andy combines images of various exposures in post processing. Andy will be happy to teach participants his field and post processing techniques for doing so (requires a cable release with some cameras).

A lens range from 18mm to 400mm after the lens multiplication factor is recommended. However, we think participants should bring their entire range of lenses. A macro lens or extension tubes or diopters for shooting close-ups may also be useful. To blur water motion on a bright day, consider bringing a 6 stop or higher neutral density filter, this filter can be the screw on type. Note: Many variable ND filters have issues with banding and differential darkening, Andy does not recommend using variable ND filters. Bring lots of memory, 64 to 128 gig if downloading and formatting cards for reuse. 32 to 64 gig per day if not formatting and reusing cards.

One should shoot with a sturdy outdoor tripod that can adjust from standing height without cranking up a center post, to very close to the ground. This type of tripod does not have attachments connecting the legs to the center post; i.e. the legs can move independently. Please use a cable release or know how to work the camera's timer delay to avoid camera shake. Unless your camera has a built-in level, we recommend having a 2 axis flash shoe bubble level, it is the easiest way to make sure photos are level. Please buy these at a reputable dealer; they run about $35.00.

The Fine Print

We do not guarantee the weather or that every location we visit will be at peak during our visit. However, this workshop's time table has been carefully determined to maximize our chances of good color. Photo locations visited vary year to year. Workshop fee does not include transportation, lodging or meals. In order to keep our workshop fees as low as possible we may overbook any given workshop by 1 space. Usually this will result in 8 participants, but from time to time we may have 9 participants attending. We require an acknowledgment of risks be signed before going into the field. We will send the acknowledgment of risks upon registration, please return it at the start of the workshop. In the event Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. (RMRPI) cancels a workshop due to unforeseen circumstances such as inability to obtain permits, instructor injury, death... Then, RMRPI will refund fees collected by RMRPI for the affected workshop. In the event of a natural disaster, government closure or other happening of this nature that causes a workshop to be canceled, RMRPI may be unable to refund workshop fees. If this happens then funds collected by RMRPI will be applied as credit toward a future workshop of the participant's choosing. RMRPI will not be held responsible for other expenses (airline tickets, hotel deposits, rental car...) that may be associated with any canceled workshop.

Rain is a real possibility. Yes, we may shoot in the rain, bring an umbrella and rain proof cloths.
Smokies NP Photo Workshop



Spare Camera Batteries
Camera's Manual
Lots of Memory
Extra Shoes and Socks
Rain Gear
Hiking Boots
  Shoes for wading in water, yes, it's cold, but worth it.
Very Warm Clothes
Photography Workshop

To be as prepared as possible for this workshop, please review the 2 videos, 7 lessons and 10 workshop handouts found at the link below:

Below please find the PDF handouts recommended for this workshop. One needs to print or download to a digital device these documents before the workshop from the link above.

For this workshop we recommend that participants:

*Print: Blank Workshop Locations Visited.

*Print or download to field digital device: CFDER Field Reminder (This is useful to those new to our workshops and/or trying to develop a useful field workflow.)

*Print or download to field digital device: Steps to Capture Panorama Photographs

*Print or download to field digital device: Hyperfocal chart for camera’s LMF. (Unless you already have a depth-of-field app on your smart phone.)

*Print or download to digital device: Andy’s Camera Settings (Only if unsure about what the camera’s settings should be.)

*Print or download to digital device: Tripod Tips and Techniques (Only if one is new to tripod use or is considering a tripod purchase.)


Series of video lessons teaching post processing for Landscape and Nature Photographers
(Excellent for beginners and intermediate users of Adobe Photoshop.)
Available to everyone for viewing at anytime.

Photoshop Video Instruction

Smoky Mountian Photo Workshop

Fall Colors Photography Workshops

Participant Gallery
View participant images from our
Great Smoky Mtns NP Workshops
Smoky Mtns NP Participant Gallery

"Thank you for the great job on your workshop, I enjoyed the entire week and learned a tremendous amount and enjoyed the other participants. The experience is still sinking in! I would recommend your workshop to anybody! and look forward to attending another in the future... Many thanks!" Barry V. Downers Grove, IL

Smokies Workshop Group Photo
2022 Group Photo


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Click Here for Complete Workshop Schedule
Fall Colors Photo Workshop

Smoky Mountain National Park Photo Wokshop

Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Images on this website are property.
Please do not use them without the photographer's Permission.
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