photographers on a Black Hills photo workshop

Bryan Hansel organizes and delivers an excellent photography workshop. We went to many remote, beautiful locations that I would never have found on my own. Bryan is an excellent teacher – providing advice on the technical use of the camera as well as on photo composition. Plus he’s always cheerful and fun and makes the whole experience a pleasure.

Thanks again for a wonderful workshop! I enjoyed it immensely! Looking forward to the Smokey Mountains in the fall!

-Sandy from Davenport, IA

I just returned home from completing my second workshop ( North Shore of Lake Superior Spring Wildflower Photo Workshop) with Bryan. The first workshop being the Frozen Lake Superior Shoreline .I have done two completely different seasons of the year on Lake Superior with Bryan and it has been a great learning experience. Bryan is an amazing photographer and an equally awesome teacher. He has a wonderful style of teaching and is able to reach everyone in the class no matter their skill level. He always has time for questions and in fact encourages them and freely gives personal instruction to anyone that ask in the field shooting locations. His workshops have always stirred things up and gotten my creativity going again.

Sam from Crosslake, MN

By the way, I hope you hear this all the time, but your workshop changed my life.

Thank you for that!

Jeremy from Bayfield, WI

A few thoughts on Bryan’s Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains workshop. I have to start by thanking Bryan for his flexibility and creativity in getting us to some great venues, and for his expert advice throughout the trip. And for his sense of humor :-) From composition to lens and filter choices, Bryan truly optimized what I was able to achieve.

Like most of us, I have a decent sense of the mechanics of photography. Applying that under varying (and sometimes unpleasant) conditions is another story. I don’t pay enough attention to focal point, nor to depth of field. For macro, I really need to use a tripod more (if for no other reason than to ensure follow-up shots can be fine tuned). All of this despite Bryan’s ongoing advice, but the beauty is that I learned the hard way, by seeing pictures that I’m not entirely pleased with. And that’s not to say I didn’t have some keepers. I took 2,700 photos (nearly 200 of the bears!), so some are bound to turn out. At the same time, I feel a great confidence that I’ve come away from this a better photographer, better able to get the right shot the first time (or with only a couple of refinements).

I’ll also add that I met some great new friends on this trip. My fellow participants were a joy to get to know, and all very ready and willing to share thoughts and tips and great photos.
Sure, Jill and I could have found some photo tips for the Great Smokies and gone ourselves. But we surely would not have shot that first day in the rain, and we’d have missed the bears, and some pretty sweet river shots. And of course, Bryan was able to bring us to spots that are a little less crowded, and/or get us where we needed to be at the right time.

Already looking forward to the next adventure.

–Andy from Edina, MN

I stopped at Gooseberry Falls on my way home Sunday and took a few pics. I confidently walked down all those stairs carrying my tripod and camera, set up in just the right spots and took some fairly decent photos! It was a testament to how much I learned over the weekend at your Waterfall Workshop! I had never used a tripod, I didn’t know how to mount my camera on one, and NEVER shot using manual mode! At the beginning of Friday’s shoot I had this sinking feeling. I struggled with my tripod, had difficulties putting the filter on the lens, needed help with camera settings (scene vs. aperture mode) and couldn’t answer your question about ‘F stops’. However, due to your calm, knowledgeable, and patient teaching style, I learned. You never once talked down to me or appeared to be irritated with my lack of experience. You skillfully explained photography concepts in a way that ‘made sense’ and I was able to easily apply this knowledge in the field. Also, you didn’t hover, but were ALWAYS available for questions. It was a perfect learning environment! The workshop more than exceeded my expectations! I went in to it wanting to feel more confident using my camera and the new filter, but came out learning much, much more. The resources provided were very helpful too. The composition lecture was my favorite part. I now look at and take photos with a new analytical perspective keeping composition in mind. I’m still feeling the post-workshop zen today! :) Thank you Bryan for a fantastic experience! It was a (photographer’s) life changing experience for me!

-Lori, Crystal, MN

Having just completed a week in the Badlands and Black Hills with Bryan, I am still reeling from the quantity and quality of photographs taken during our sessions.  Bryan is an extremely affable and knowledgeable teacher of photography who brought us to fabulous locations and provided us with many practical learning opportunities while in the field.  The small class size is a bonus for the participants and it was a fabulous week of photography!

– Scott from St. Paul, MN


Bryan knows the North Shore area very well and applies this knowledge by taking students to the best places to shoot. He gives advice geared to whatever level his students are at. I highly recommend taking a workshop from Bryan


— James from Chanhassen, MN

I just finished up my second workshop, the winter workshop, with Bryan. We had a fantastic weekend of chilly, but beautiful locations. Bryan took time at every location to be sure that we all were getting the best photo opportunities. I am always amazed at his ability to teach a group with such a variety of skill levels. It was a fantastic workshop.

Lindsey, Duluth, MN

Yet another Hansel workshop exceeded my expectations! Bryan knows the Gunflint like the back of his hand. He knew just where to bring the group for incredible views night after night. I may need to put this one on the list again for next year!

Lindsey, Duluth

Bryan Hansel is the “Jason Day” of the photography world.

Cindy from Ames, Iowa

Always, one of the most fun learning experiences in our National Parks and greater Minnesota. I can’t say enough about Bryan’s workshops. Just love them and look forward to upcoming workshops!

Carla from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Just wanted to say THANKS! for the excellent workshop this past weekend.
I learned something from every session – composition, exposure, Lightroom tools, and post-processing.

I appreciated that you gave each of us the space we wanted when shooting, but offered help when requested as well as suggestions in an encouraging way. You were able to help both “advanced beginners” and more seasoned photographers – really the sign of an excellent instructor!

You got us to the best spots at the right times, provided excellent information, and made it fun.

Looking forward to future workshops with you.

Jim from Minneapolis, Minnesota

I had an AMAZING time in the Smokies.  It was by far the best class and best group I’ve been with.  I’m going through major withdrawals this week being back in the office as my desk job…LOL…

Carolyn from Des Moines, Iowa

If you are looking for the true North Shore photographic experience, Bryan Hansel Photography is a great option. Bryan lives in the area and has an encyclopedia of stunning location options for all conditions. I just completed Bryan’s Fall Color workshop. Mother Nature was a little slow in revealing herself this year, but Bryan’s leadership got us in front of amazing scenes, and with some color! The Bryan Hansel experience included several comprehensive classroom presentations tailored to provide the participants with the information on how best to photograph the type of scenes we were going to find during the workshop. Bryan also made certain we were utilizing this information in the field. If you want top notch landscape opportunities with an experienced leader, choose Bryan Hansel Photography. I am going back.

Gary from Verona, WI

I attended Bryan’s Milky Way Over Lake Superior workshop, it is the first workshop I took with Bryan. Bryan’s knowledge of the Milky Way and night sky along with the locations he took us to make this workshop great. He shares with you the ways to learn the night sky, find the darkest areas in the US, how to process your images etc. to help you continue to get great night images after the workshop. He is enthusiastic, patient, has an energetic love of photography and is open to suggestions to try different things and get the images you want while on the workshop. I can’t wait to take another one of his workshops!

Bonnie from Green Bay, WI

Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop. I’m hooked! It was so hard to come back home after being part of something so fantastic. In fact, it is difficult to articulate how truly amazing this experience was for me. Your Night Sky Photography workshop exceeded my expectations in every way. You are a master teacher with the patience of a saint! I appreciated how you were able to help every participant regardless of the individual skill levels including me, a very beginner. My goal of just one great picture of the night sky was met on the first night. Your knowledge of photography and the locations helped us all capture beautiful photos every single night. I am now confident enough to try to scout out locations and take photographs on my own. In fact, I did just that on my first night home. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and cannot wait for my next workshop with you! Thank you for making this a memorable experience!

Lindsey from Duluth, MN

What a fabulous experience! Bryan blends the art and science better than anyone I know!

Tom from the Twin Cities, MN

Bryan provided amazing opportunities for top-notch images. His expertise and selection of stunning locations are a winning combination. Thank you for a great experience. I feel as though my work improved because I had time to practice at optimal locations using your suggestions. The most take home photos ever!

Bonnie from the Twin Cities, MN

This workshop was a highlight of the year for me. Experiencing and photographing northern lights was something I will never forget. Bryan’s knowledge of the area and spots to photograph is top notch.

Scott from Mounds View, MN

I just had the opportunity to take one of Bryan’s spring waterfall workshops. Before signing up, I had read many of his newsletters, his teaching strategies and student testimonials. It was important to me that if I was going to spend the money and time to do this, that I find an instructor who was interested in how/what we were learning, rather than taking us to a pretty spot and then going off to do his own photography. Having been a teacher myself for 34 years, it was evident right away that Bryan was passionate about both the teaching of photography and photography itself. He was able to get a feel for what level everyone was at and teach to it. It didn’t matter if you were a beginner or a more advanced photographer, I think everyone was able to walk away feeling successful with many new ideas and techniques to improve their photography. There was a good mix of classroom, in the field, and image review time. Interaction and support from fellow classmates was also invaluable. This is the best learning experience I’ve had in years!

Judy from Winnipeg, MB

Are you a cold weather person, a photographer who enjoys the beauty of winter, if so, Bryan Hansel’s Lake Superior Winter Workshop is for you. Bryan takes you to some of the most beautiful places in and around Grand Marais, Minnesota. Bryan’s knowledge of exposure, technique and composition will enable each student to walk away with wonderful, inspiring photos which you will enjoy taking and showing to everyone.

Eric from Minneapolis, MN

This course gave me an approach and built on my skills to make me more confident about taking landscape photos. It left me excited to explore and become a better photographer!

Diana from Bemidji, MN

I’d like to thank you again for an unforgettable weekend. The ice trees were a chance of a lifetime to shoot. Your laid back teaching style is excellent, as well as your sense of humor and willingness to hang out in the severe cold for as long as people wanted to shoot. I learned so much! I can see why your shoots book up quickly. Hope to see you again soon.

Jeff from Forest Lake, MN

Great workshop. Thought I was in way over my head but in actuality I learned tons. Bryan answered all of my questions. I will attend more workshops.

Jana from Wadena, MN

Bryan’s genuine concern for all of our expectations as well as his unique ability to share his vast experience in a clear, concise and sometimes humorous manner sets him apart. While he doesn’t push his views/advice on you, he does make you feel very comfortable by offering his views/suggestions in a positive and honest manner. If you are looking to learn from a pro who’s down to earth, regularly adapts to changing conditions to put you in stunning destinations, Bryan Hansel is your answer.

I truly enjoyed my experience and learned a great amount of useful information that will improve my photography.

Kelley from Geneva, IL

I have taken three workshops with Bryan. He finds exciting locations and his enthusiasm for each area allows me to see great photo opportunities. He is patient and very knowledgeable, his teaching style has made me a better photographer.

Barb from Andover, MN

Gales of November is a workshop definitely worth your time and investment. Bryan’s 1:1 hands-on approach showed me new things about my camera’s operation as well as taught me how to see what I’m looking at differently. I came to this workshop with little experience using filters and as an aperture-only shooter. I finished this workshop being comfortable and confident shooting in the manual mode and with a new understanding about filters and how to use them to enhance my images. Bryan’s teaching style creates a non-threatening environment encouraging participants to take risks and have fun.

Wayne from St. Paul, Minnesota

Really enjoyed the Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop. Bryan took us to amazing spots and spent time teaching us the the correct way to capture them.

Barb from Andover, Minnesota

What I learned will take my photography to a new level.

Sid from Greenwood, Mississippi

Bryan’s classes are such great learning experiences from general photography principles, to hands-on practice, to post-processing review and peer discussion — all in the same workshop! He is such a patient instructor — highly recommended

Colleen, Eagan, MN

Absolutely amazing, awesome, wonderful… I don’t really have the words! As a beginner I found the workshop the perfect opportunity to develop my skills and I learned so much that I cannot wait for the next opportunity to practice. Meeting like-minded people with a passion for photography was a pleasure. Bryan is a very talented photographer and it was a privilege to learn from him. I found the course very well organized and can highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in photography . Very happy memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you.

Christina from Woodland Hills, California

This was my second workshop with Bryan and each time my photography has noticeably improved. I love Bryan’s approach to composition and image structure and it’s really helped my landscapes. If you want to get some great shots and have a good time as well, I highly recommend Bryan’s workshops.

Jeff from Minnesota

This morning, I was running along the lakefront in downtown Madison as the sun was about to pop over the horizon. I found myself looking around for where I would set up a tripod if I had it with me, and what options I had for something interesting in the foreground. I definitely look at sunrises differently since taking your workshop!

Michael from Madison, Wisconsin

I really enjoyed the Fall Photography Workshop. Prior to your class the only thing I knew about composition was how to spell the word. Now I have a clear path to follow when framing up an image. Down low at 24, select a great foreground then emphasis it, finally connect it to the background. Your passion for what you do makes you a very special kind of teacher, what you do comes the heart, that said, it was very easy to walk away from your workshop with skills that will greatly improve my images. As a relative newcomer to the DSLR world it was just what I needed. Can’t wait to get back out around San Antonio to test my new skills.

Jeff from San Antonio, Texas

I liked the workshop a lot and I recommended it to everyone. I improved my technical skills and I have better understanding about composition. Before the class I was taking pictures using only Aperture Priority. During the first day of the class I learned how to set the correct exposure using Manual seatings only. In the next 2 days of the class I was using Manual all the time including making adjustment to accommodate 10 stops ND filter, with Polarizer and even sometimes 3 stops Grad Filter (stacking three filters together). Also, I started using the Live View and the rear AF button on the back of the camera. The format of the class was perfect for me. I liked a lot the balance between classroom work where I was learning new techniques and then going to the field to practice what I just learned. I really appreciate that during the class room work Bryan helped me to set up my camera with specific settings to optimize the quality of the landscape pictures. Thanks to his help later in the field I didn’t waste anytime to make camera adjustments. My camera was ready to take Landscape pictures and I had the knowledge to set the correct exposure. I own the 4 photography books from Kelby but Bryan’s class helped me to see the big picture and to have better understanding of the important elements (specially exposure, composition and Lightroom processing), the balance between them and most importantly how to use them to express my vision.

Pavel, Hudson, WI

Bryan’s workshops are jam-packed with opportunities to capture great photos at every location. He has a laid-back, patient teaching style that will make you a better photographer. You’re guaranteed to meet some amazing photographers, learn new techniques, and bring home some portfolio-worthy works.

Scott, St. Paul, Minnesota

It was amazing from all aspects. It had everything; answers to my queries, unknown beautiful locations, technical tips.

Sourov, Kolkata, India

I spent a delightful (albeit freezing!) afternoon with Bryan while he patiently tried teaching me how to use my Nikon. Considering I started out not even knowing was aperture was, I ended up taking some pretty cool (said tongue-in-cheek) pictures of the Cascade River Falls and the ice surrounding it. If you have taken a class with Bryan, then you know how fun it is to learn from him. If not, add it to your list of things to do – it was a great experience!

Cheryl, Twin Cities, MN

Loved the workshop! I have no suggestions to make it better.

Carla, Edina, MN

This was my first photography workshop. I was particularly impressed with how Bryan was able to explain the processes we practiced in a manner such that us rookies can understand. I will definitely sign up for future workshops.

Steve, Shoreview, MN

I hope that you received our Holiday card. Your name is there for a good reason. Every year we are looking back and decide who is the most influential person (positively affecting our life) during the past year.

After careful evaluation we determined that you are the person of the year for 2016 :)

Pavel, Hudson, WI

Bryan has done it again! What looked to be a bum forecast for gales turned overnight into great wave action. Bryan knew just where to take us to get an incredible view of the waves. We are lucky to have the best photography instructor right here in Northern Minnesota! I am already looking forward to the next workshop! Thanks Bryan!

Lindsey, Duluth.

A great workshop, Bryan, and a perfect mix of field work, tutorial, and critique. And for this native Californian, a terrific discovery of a gorgeous area. There’s a lot more beauty in the Upper Midwest than what we residents of the Right and Left Coasts tend to refer derisively as “flyover country.”

Craig, Walnut Creek, California

The workshop absolutely met my expectations. Setting the photography aside, just being able to experience the winter atmosphere up on the North Shore made it worthwhile for me. But being able learn and practice a few new techniques, and simply being around other people who share a passion for photography made it that much better. I came home on a “high” and am still feeling it now 3-4 days later. Thanks again for creating such a unique and enjoyable workshop experience. You are not only a great photographer, but you genuinely have a passion for sharing your knowledge with others and creating a high caliber experience for your participants. Given the time and expense that workshop participants are expected to invest, you more than deliver a great ROI. I came away from the experience with some good pictures, new skills and great memories. Well done! Best wishes — I hope to see you again!

Dan, Lake Elmo, MN

The pictures I took with your help were incredible … especially the sunrise shots over the lake. I love landscapes with vast expanses of water or sky but I’ve never been able to capture that love in a picture until you showed me how to bring it all together. I’ve been so fascinated with the sunrise photos (playing with them in LightRoom) that I haven’t really looked at the pictures we took in the state park. I learned more in that one morning on the shore of Lake Superior than I’ve learned in half a dozen photography workshops at various venues in the Twin Cities.

Paul, Minneapolis, MN

Bryan’s Badlands workshop is a “must do.” The Badlands is an other-worldly place. Combine it with a talented and caring teacher who gets you to the best spots at the best times, and you will come away with great images. Because Bryan attracts high-quality people to his workshops, the camaraderie is not to be missed. Put this high on your bucket list!

Jim, Rogers, MN

Thank you Bryan for teaching me how to create the many pictures I have of Grand Marais and surrounding area. I have now been shooting with more confidence and so enjoy being able to share those experiences with others.We hope to once again join you on another workshop, maybe in the spring .. our club is talking!

Jackie, International Falls, MN

photography workshop class participant in the Great Smoky Mountains