Light Atlas was so transformative and insightful that I do not have the words to adequately portray its significance. Laura exposed us to a variety of artists and challenged us to try new things and to really put our souls into it. I will enjoy thinking these lessons through and revisiting them in the months ahead. There is so much to absorb! I highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to dig deeper and make more meaningful and personally fulfilling photos. The lessons are so positive, uplifting, and full of juicy info and they tap into ideas deep within; they really are creative catalysts. Laura is amazing at inspiring students to do new things and see in new ways.
— Tiffany Couch


Next Session: TBA


This six-week e-course is designed to inspire photographers to develop a stronger, more nuanced vision. Over the course of the class, we'll shake up our seeing, toss patterns out the window, and invite a fresh new vision to emerge. We'll explore what it takes to create poetic, magical, transcendent images filled with heart and soul.

It's easy to make ordinary, lackluster images that fall short of expectations. What is it that sets apart photographers with a strong, compelling vision? How are they seeing the world differently? How can artists up the ante on their work in a meaningful way? We'll dig into this juicy territory for six transformative weeks as we expand conceptual horizons and find styles that inspire new creative expression. The course is an ideal next step for photographers craving more originality and visual mastery in their work. It's time to pick up your camera and throw caution to the wind! Wonderful images await!



Light Atlas includes inspirational readings, audio slideshows, lectures, intimate interviews with visionary photographers, weekly photography projects designed to expand creative boundaries, a lovely community of fellow students, and encouraging daily feedback. Light Atlas includes lessons on: 

  • Cultivating a more evolved, nuanced vision
  • Poetic seeing
  • Increasing your creative receptivity
  • Making images infused with a sense of magic
  • Adding a sense of mystery to your images
  • Taking brave creative risks
  • Using emotions as creative "lenses"
  • Letting go of the fear of doing "different" work
  • Creative apps & out-of-the-box post processing 
  • Wholehearted seeing
  • Making open, honest, deeply authentic images
  • And: soulful interviews with photographers Heather Evans Smith, Susan Burnstine,
    Douglas Beasley, Maro Vandorou, Russel Joslin, and Ervin A. Johnson.



If you choose the mentoring option when you register, the course will also include a phone/Skype call with me and a 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. Mentoring sessions are jam packed with ideas, detailed feedback, and actionable, personalized advice. 



Your images feel lackluster. You feel like you're treading the same territory as other photographers and you're ready to up the ante on what you're capable of creating. You want to interpret what you see instead of simply recording it. You're craving more mood, emotion, heart and soul in your imagery. You're tired of the expected modes of doing things, the tried-and-true visual tropes, and you're ready to take your creative expression into your own hands. You want to make images that really matter. You want to fall in love with photography again. You're ready to experiment, to toss old working methods that aren't serving you and reinvent your vision in a fresh, fabulous new way. You're working in a vacuum and you know creative community and conversation would help you thrive.



I am always intellectually challenged and spiritually taken by Laura’s classes. Her photography lessons take me out of the house and into the world with new ideas and new eyes….Laura, you poured your heart and soul into creating the materials for this class; as a fellow online teacher, I am sooo impressed with your work. My overall experience in Light Atlas was illuminating.
— Sandy Brown Jensen


I'm Laura Valenti, founder of Light Atlas Creative. I help photographers transform their vision and lead vibrant, skillful, wholehearted creative lives. 

I draw from a 20+ year career as a photographer, curator, juror, arts director, and educator to help you improve your photography in meaningful new ways. 

My teaching centers on clearing creative blocks and cultivating the insight and confidence necessary to make deeply authentic personal work.

Photography is so much more than a technical and mechanical exercise. I'm passionate about helping photographers become visionary artists.

It is my highest calling and greatest joy. Learn more.




Light Atlas is designed to fit easily into your busy schedule. Four days a week, you'll get access to a healthy dose of photo inspiration in the online classroom, and you'll have one creative photography project to complete each week at your own pace. Unlike a traditional classroom experience, Light Atlas 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. 



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



Because Light Atlas is about the creative process, you can photograph in any style or genre. Fine-art, documentary, journalism, street, still life, multimedia, alternative process, digital manipulation - it's all heartily welcomed. 



Since Light Atlas is a creative, conceptual course (as opposed to a technical course), 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.



That depends on you. Some students spend a lot of time making new images and writing thoughtful responses to the prompts in the course, others share brief thoughts and older images that relate to the class themes. You can do whatever feels right. 



If you need to leave the class for any reason, your registration or purchase is transferrable to another session of the same class, but is not refundable. Because you'll get access to the class and all the class resources (and because you'll get to keep your access for a full year), your registration isn't transferrable to a different class. 



I love your classes so much. You have an amazing positive energy that can transcend cyberspace. Thank you for being a gifted teacher and creating a safe environment to thrive. I have taken so much from this course...I’ve loved experimenting again and thinking outside the box. I feel more like an artist every day. This course has opened me up to my creative self more than I thought possible. It’s like an internal light has been ignited and it’s amazing. Photography has always been something I loved ‘doing’ but now I feel much more invested in the images that I take. I encourage everyone, wholeheartedly, to take time to learn from you!
— Jill Velinos
Every day of this class has been important and enjoyable. I love Laura’s unique ability to guide and reinforce us as artists. It’s been a highlight of the year to tune in each day to the lessons. I learned from all the other students, too - their images, courage, and insight. The result of all this has been two new bodies of work started and a different approach to seeing and making images.
— Sally Bowker
Light Atlas pushed me and expanded my horizons. This particular course was more than I could ever have hoped for. With each push, came growth and a new spark of creativity. With wonderful lessons and interviews came even more inspiration and the will to “make it happen.” Laura, I am and will forever be grateful to you. I absolutely can’t get enough of these classes. I have seen days of tremendous growth, days of doubt, days of determination, days of fragility, days of experimentation, days of laughter, and days of tears! Wowzers!! It’s the gentle nudge, the encouraging push, the worthwhile comments from you that help on those difficult days to stay steadfast and keep my eyes focused. I feel I came out of the class with new “eyes” when photographing. To others I would say, this class will improve your seeing and creativity 110%. I truly believe Laura has a gift for teaching, along with her gift of being an incredible photographer. Laura takes the time with each of her students to bring forth their creative side. There is no doubt I have grown immensely with each of Laura’s classes.
— Anne Smith
Thank you for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your encouragement. This class has been a gift. Thank you for helping me see where my real inspiration comes from.
— Lorraine Castillo
Of the (MANY!) classes of Laura’s I have taken, Light Atlas is definitely my fav. I knew some of the people from previous classes; some I did not. It seemed to me that every person made some sort of gigantic leap of growth during this class -transformative growth. Highly recommend.
— Diana Nicholette Jeon
Laura has a way of getting us to see on a different wavelength…This was an extraordinary class. It was a six-week meditative exercise that fundamentally struck a deep chord. It nudged me into new territory that I am excited to continue to explore. Laura gave students a safe place to air our souls and nudged us into upping our confidence to use our medium to express our true selves.
— Alex Hernandez
Laura, thank you for this class! I loved it, it was helpful beyond words.
— Deborah Saul
My experience was outstanding in many ways! I came away with several project ideas. This is a class that makes you really think about your photography practice, to look past the surface and dig deeper into your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. It is a transformational experience! I will definitely go back and re-read the lessons and re-do the assignments just for my own benefit. There’s so much good stuff to absorb!
— Lisa Marie Waddell
This has been such an inspiring and supportive class. The weekly themes have been so relevant and eye-opening for me. Learning to see through magical, poetic, and mysterious lenses has been a wonderful way for me to slow down and make photographs in new ways. I am grateful Laura for your thoughtful and honest sharing, your wisdom, and for introducing us to so many talented and creative photographers. As I continue to work on validating myself it has been useful to see so many photographers who have such unique approaches in making images and whose work I might not have appreciated or understood before. I am also grateful for being part of such a talented group of fellow students - it’s always reassuring to not feel alone.
— Connie Gardener Rosenthal
Laura always has a way of helping me discover new layers and meaning in my work.
— Gail Haile
Fabulous. Light Atlas encourages new ways of thinking and seeing and as a result your photography is likely to expand in unexpected ways. I really enjoy the structure the class gave to my days. It was such a beautiful, positive, and sometimes challenging way to begin the morning.
— Lea Murphy
Outstanding! I’m one of your biggest fans. You have made such a difference in my life!
— Patricia Hogan
Laura, you have really outdone yourself with this course! There is so much wisdom, inspiration, and room for exploration in it that I could easily spend a year learning and digesting this material.
— Judith Bender
Laura’s classes have been so important in my growth as a photographer because they make me think about how I approach photography and they help me look at the world with a fresh and different perspective.
— Cathy Hoff
I gained so much from the conversations in the class, from Laura’s wise and supportive words, and from the wonderful community of artists.
— Andi Alexander

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