From Personal Project
to Professional Gig
With David H Wells

From Personal Project
to Professional Gig
With David H Wells

From Personal Project
to Professional Gig
With David H Wells

From Personal Project
to Professional Gig
With David H Wells

From Personal Project
to Professional Gig
With David H Wells

From Personal Project
to Professional Gig
With David H Wells

From Personal Project to Professional Gig

  • David H. Wells, Photographer, Videographer, Educator
  • Lecture, review, editing, 24 hours total over 6 weeks
  • At Providence Center for Photographic Arts (PCPA) Gallery, 118 North Main Street, 2nd Floor, Providence RI 02903
  • Dates to be announced
  • Class limited to 12 participants
  • Registration fee $550 per person
  • PCPA members please email: for your additional discount before registering. More information about PCPA member discounts below.

How do you develop the idea for your personal photography project, shoot it, and find a way to show it to the world? In From Personal Project to Professional Gig, you will learn from master photographer David H. Wells and explore the magic and skills that transform loosely defined ideas into a powerful artistic and marketable product.

David’s course shatters the myth that personal projects are limited to photo essays by photojournalists. You’ll learn how to tell stories of any subject, in any style, how to present your unique point of view, and how to communicate a coherent aesthetic. You’ll build workflow strategies for tackling the complex task of assembling, editing and presenting a large photo project. From Personal Project to Professional Gig will give you techniques essential to keep you inspired and organized to get to a final, marketable project.

By the end of this course, you’ll have the skills it takes to stand out in a crowded marketplace and create a compelling project that showcases your skills, communicates your style, and helps others understand your personality, passion, and talents. Some personal projects are for documentary or commercial uses, and many are more artistic in nature. Though most projects are for publication, increasingly they are produced for exhibition in galleries or by special interest groups.

From Personal Project to Professional Gig workshop spans 6 weeks allowing time for participants to fully develop their photo project. The workshops are lectures, presentations, critiques, and discussions. In between workshop meetings, attendees work on their own to shoot, edit, and produce their project.

The workshop is designed to help you achieve concrete, tangible results. You will learn how to write a proposal, the first step towards funding, publishing, and exhibiting a project. We will explore how to establish a market for your project, including pitching to editors, curators, publication houses and agencies. David will share examples of proposals that have earned him exhibits, publications and grants.

From Personal Project to Professional Gig is for photographers looking to develop cohesive bodies of work, narrative essays, and advancing their personal vision. Don’t miss the added convenience and affordable cost of this workshop in Providence! David usually conducts this premium event internationally, at the International Center for Photography in New York, the Maine Media Workshops, and in Singapore.

Workshop Agenda & Topics

  • In between sessions, students will be out photographing their various topics, building more clarity based on successive image critiques and project proposal reviews

Session 1: Overview of the Personal Project
Dates to be announced

  • Review of David’s works and project proposals that have earned him exhibits, publications, and grants
  • Review of participants’ previous works
  • After we have shared our work, we will brainstorm about your ideas for your project
  • How to develop your concept
  • Review thematic options as in mirrors vs windows, public vs private, personal vs political
  • Review presentation options as in format, color vs black & white, portraits vs landscapes, etc.

Session 2: Basics of Critiquing Images
Dates to be announced

  • Group critique of selected student images
  • How to write your proposal, the first step towards funding, exhibiting, and publishing
  • Options for alternative presentations such as pairing images, sequencing images and other non-traditional presentation formats
  • Writing the idea for the project, also called a story proposal or an artist’s statement

Session 3: Marketing Options for Your Personal Project
Dates to be announced

  • How to research what types of publications, museums and organizations might use your work
  • How to work with editors, curators and funders through the entire shooting, editing and publication/exhibition process
  • Presentation by David: A photo-essay’s evolution as seen through the “Foreclosed Dreams” project
  • Group critique of selected student images
  • Revising the written proposal

Session 4: Refining Your Personal Project
Dates to be announced

  • Workflow, model releases, grants and other important concerns
  • Group critique of selected student images
  • Prepping images for final review
  • Basics of the “elevator pitch”
  • Revising the written proposal

Session 5: The Final Edit and Marketing of Your Personal Project
Dates to be announced

  • Exercises to improve editing skills
  • Revising the written proposal
  • David edits each participant’s body of work to a final top 15-20 images that tells the story of their project
  • Future direction and marketing of your project, and how to turn it into a professional gig

What to Bring

  • A portfolio of your work, edited to about 20 pieces
  • Examples of images that inspire you

PCPA Member Discounts

PCPA members can apply their discounts to this workshop

  • Individual members $50 discount (once per annual dues)
  • Exhibiting and Supporting members $150 discount (once per annual dues)
  • Or, Exhibiting and Supporting members 20% off per workshop (not restricted but cannot combine with $150 discount)

David H. Wells, Photographer, Instructor, Video-maker & Blogger

David is an award-winning freelance photographer, video maker, and photo-educator who specializes in producing photo-essays on location, across the globe. His finished “Light Studies” have been published in general interest magazines as well as photography magazines, and have been displayed in numerous exhibitions. See his work.

He is based in Providence, Rhode Island, affiliated with Aurora Photos. One editor described him as a “specialist in inter-cultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.”

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for magazines Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, and more. He also worked for corporations including Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont and non-profits Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

David has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A., a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

His work has been in over fifty exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.” To read comments from David’s past students, visit his website and click on “Student reviews of David as a teacher”.

You can see many examples of David’s educational videos on photography on his site, thewellspoint. It’s free! See more at his website.


Who is the workshop designed for?

  • For photographers who have a working knowledge of flash photography but would like to elevate their photography to the next level
  • For photographers who just purchased a flash unit for their camera and want to learn how to use it

Where do I park?

  • There are metered 2-hour spaces on the street around the PCPA gallery
  • Parking is enforced during the week and on Saturdays
  • To avoid parking tickets, we suggest you park in the lot on the corner of North Main and Elizabeth Streets, 2 blocks from the gallery
  • DO NOT leave valuables in your car!

Is lunch provided?

  • No, lunch is at your expense. We think it’s good to have a break outside the workshop. There are many excellent cafes and restaurants across the street or within two blocks with a wide range of cuisine and cost.

Cancellation Policy

Cancelled Workshops

  • If we are forced to cancel a workshop for any reason, your entire tuition will be transferred to another workshop or you can have it refunded to you.
  • For anyone traveling to workshops, we highly recommend purchasing trip insurance to cover your expenses in case of cancellation.

What does it take to cancel a workshop?

  • A lot. An act of God, really. If there’s rain in the forecast, snow in the forecast, thunderstorms in the forecast, we will typically still hold the workshop. This type of weather can make for some incredibly dramatic images and it’s not something we shy away from. In addition to that, we are cognizant of the fact that our students have purchase plane tickets, made hotel reservations, rented cars and even gear and canceling these things can be a big hassle (with or without travel insurance).
  • The only time we will ever cancel a workshop is if conditions are absolutely guaranteed to bring un-shootable and/or miserable conditions or some sort of (God forbid) family emergency that can’t be ignored. Again, if something like this happens we will work with you to move your registration to a later date or get you a full refund.

Personal Emergencies

  • If you have a personal emergency such as a death in the family, please contact us as soon as possible, we are willing to work with you to reschedule or refund your fee on a case-by-case basis.


  • Partnered workshops require a minimum number of participants. In the event we don’t sell out or reach our minimum we reserve the right to cancel the workshop. In this case your registration will be transferred to another workshop or a refund will be given.

About Providence Center for Photographic Arts

Do you love photography? Are you looking for a way to connect with other photographers? Do you want to advance your skills? Exhibit your work? Get more involved in photo-based media? Become a member of PCPA!

PCPA was founded to inspire creative development and provide opportunities to engage with the community through exhibitions, publications, education, and mutual support. We strive to advance our members’ careers, strengthen the appreciation of photo-based media, and foster dialogue around innovation in the arts.

Our talented member artists come from both the local Providence area and far beyond. PCPA is non-profit organization led by dedicated volunteers. We will run a full calendar of professional workshops, juried, group, and individual artist exhibits, member salons, and other activities throughout 2017. All exhibits are free and open to the public.

PCPA is located in the Russell House (built in 1772) in downtown Providence, around the corner from the Providence Art Club and across the street from Mill’s Tavern Restaurant at 118 North Main Street, 2nd floor. The gallery is open Fridays from 3:00 – 8:00pm and Saturdays from 1:00 – 4:00 pm and by appointment.

Please contact or by phone at (401) 400-2542 with any questions.