An e-course for photographers who want to
create images with true heart and soul.

Candela: Finding Inspiration Through Photography

  • Has your intuition been whispering (or shouting?) that photography is about more than the nuts and bolts?

  • Does the idea of making more personal work sound great - but you’re not entirely sure how to do that?

  • Do you ever feel like your gear or skills are holding you back from really being an artist?

  • What would shift if you knew these things have very little to do with making powerful art?

If you’re ready to go deeper with your photography, you’re in the right place. Led by photographer, curator, and arts educator Laura Valenti, Candela is the rare kind of photography class that teaches you how to go from being “a person who takes pictures” to being a true artist.


CANDELA = a unit of luminous intensity (aka: light)



This e-course is called Candela because it's about connecting to your own inner light - and making photographs that reflect what you find there.

This is the "secret" real artists know: who you are matters more than any tip, trick, or piece of gear.

You have brave, powerful stories to tell. You have ideas worth sharing. You have a unique personal vision that’s ready to shine.

Candela gives you the tools to access this deeper place, so you can make wholehearted, meaningful photographs that truly feel like YOU.

You don’t need a fancier camera. You don’t need to take another Lightroom class. You have everything you need inside you - right now.


Create gorgeous, heartfelt images that
bring deeper meaning to your life.

Connect your photography to something deeper.
Fall in love with your art again.

You know how certain images make you feel something? They’re not just technically-perfect eye candy - they’re filled with personality and resonance. You look at them and your breath catches in your throat, or you get a little teary-eyed.

You’d love to make images like that - but when you look at your work, it feels flat.

You've followed all the rules, bought all the gear, listened to all the experts, and you still can't make images that feel quite right.

This is where Candela comes in.

This e-course will show you how to set aside the “rules” and photo club expectations and put your heart at the center of your creative practice (most traditional photography education skips this point, but this is what distinguishes a photograph from a work of art).

In Candela, you’ll learn to connect your photography to your lived experience - to move towards a beautiful, nourishing creative practice that expresses your inner truth.

A powerful form of self-expression and meaning-making.
A source of catharsis and healing.
A process of discovery and rich, life-changing insight.
A communion with everything beautiful and sacred to you.

What’s included in Candela?

Each week, you’ll receive four lessons (including one photography assignment) that prompts you to integrate and apply what you’re learning. The 24 lessons are delivered via:

  • In-depth readings

  • Audio essays

  • Beautiful audio slideshows

Candela is designed to fit easily into your busy schedule. It’s self study and self paced. Unlike a traditional classroom experience, you can do the lessons at anytime - 3am in your pajamas, if you like!

When class begins, you’ll be invited into a lovely, user-friendly online classroom. You’re also welcome to join a private (optional) Facebook group where you can expect to find lively student discussions, honest (always kind) feedback, and lots of encouragement and support.

Lessons focus on themes like:

  • Simplifying your process so you can stop second guessing and start seeing more deeply

  • Letting go of "rules" that stifle your creativity and make you doubt your choices

  • How to turn your innate wisdom, passions, and experiences into stunning photographs

  • Finding beauty in the homey, comfortable, everyday spaces you love most

  • Navigating the creative fears and insecurities that hold you back

  • Intuitive and heartfelt image design (what composition looks like when you move beyond “the rules”)

  • Telling your story through your images

  • Fine-tuning your awareness of color and light

  • Living a nourishing, fulfilling creative life - now and into the future

  • And so much more!

This course is absolutely incredible! 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
I’d lost my way and my vision in photography. Thanks to Laura’s gentle nurturing and guidance, I found it again. Thank you, Laura, from the bottom of my heart for your zen approach to art. It has truly inspired me and helped me to slow down. I finally understand that slowing down doesn’t mean I’ll be left behind as an artist, it simply means I’ll be taking the time to better understand myself and my art. This is, without a doubt, the safest place for me to learn. I will definitely be taking more courses with you.
— Louise Dandeneau

There are two ways to experience Candela...

The first option is detailed above. The second option includes everything mentioned above and adds a mentoring component. Here’s what that looks like:

Step 1: I will review your past photographic work, your website (if you have one), social media channels that feature your images, and any portfolios that you want to share. (Yes, I will look at ALL of it.)

Step 2: We'll schedule a 60-minute mentoring call. Ask me anything - it’s your time to use however you like. I’ll offer feedback on your images and we’ll chat about your photography goals and any creative challenges you’re experiencing.

The mentoring option is an excellent fit for people looking for detailed feedback and personalized advice. We’ll map out your next steps so you’re inspired, focused, and eager to get going.


Hey, Creativity??? Guess what? I’m back! Thank you Laura!!
— Elizabeth Taylor

Why did I create Candela?

I spent many years directing the programming at a photography school. 95% of our classes were technical. Those classes are important, and they were always in demand, but the creative process goes so much deeper than that.

I often saw our students become disheartened, because they felt like they were missing something. They’d invested so much, learned the skills, bought all the gear, and their images still weren’t as good as they’d hoped.

As a working artist, I knew that prioritizing the technical was the problem. Artists don’t spend 95% of their time focused on mechanics. When my artist friends and I get together, we talk about entirely different things.


The way photography is traditionally taught
versus the way it’s actually practiced by working artists?

Night and day.

I created Candela to open the doors to this deeper relationship with art - to help my students access the heart and soul of the medium and become true artists.

Is Candela right for you? 

  • If you know there's more to photography than big lenses and hyperfocal distance calculations...

  • If you want to add real emotion and personality to your work...

  • If you feel called to use photography to express your hopes, passions, and joys...

  • If you carry around a lot of rules and "shoulds" and you're ready to take a deep breath and let them go...

  • If you want to use your photography as a tool to understand yourself and the world more deeply...

  • If you feel called to make open, honest, deeply authentic images

  • If you're ready to create your life's work...

Then yes, Candela is here for you.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time do I need to put in?

If you do the lessons as they’re given (four lessons per week), my broad estimate is that you’ll spend about two hours each week learning and creating images. You’re also welcome to slow down and savor the lessons. There is no rush to complete the course.

Do I have to log in at specific times?

There are no "live" lessons or meetings in Candela, so you don't need to worry about scheduling. You can do the course entirely on your own schedule, at your own pace. You'll get access to four new lessons a week, but you can do them at any time. 

How long do I have access to Candela?

You'll have access to Candela for five full years, so you’ll have plenty of time to revisit lessons if you need to.

What kind of camera do I need?

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 made from oatmeal boxes – I have a strict equipment nondiscrimination policy. If it makes you happy to shoot with it, you've got the right gear for this class.

Tell me a little bit more about the student group.

The private Facebook group is optional. If you’d like to connect with a lovely community of supportive photographers, you’re welcome to join. If you’d rather do Candela as a personal, self-study practice, you can do that, too. If you choose to do Candela as a self-study class, there’s no pressure to share your images.

Will I get feedback on my images?

Candela is a self-study class. If you'd like individualized feedback and dedicated support, you can add 1-on-1 mentoring to your registration. With mentoring, we'll schedule a 60-minute phone (or Skype) call. We’ll look at images together, chat about goals and challenges, and map out a personalized action plan for your next steps.

What is your refund policy?

Because you'll get access to the class and all the class resources immediately after purchase, and because you’ll get to keep your access for five full years, the class is not refundable. Candela is a highly-rated e-course that many photographers take more than once, because they found it so transformative.


Tell me honestly, how good do I need to be for this?

Since Candela is a conceptual photography course (not a technical class), photographers at every level are welcome. It's never too early to start thinking about creativity in a deeper way.  


The most thought-provoking photography course I’ve ever taken!
— Deb Merchant
Candela has been so refreshing and different from anything else I have taken. It’s 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
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, 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
Candela is a safe place to get very conscious about your photographic practice. It’s 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. 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 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. I’m also working with her as a mentor, and 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
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
The Candela workshop was inspiring, thought provoking, and reaches to the core of your creativity. I experienced tremendous growth. I have a renewed strength & confidence in my vision as an artist.
— Debbie Danielson
Laura is superb. Smart, knowledgeable, insightful, stimulating.
— Robert Hogan