Mexico with Ian Lizaranzu


Located in the south of Mexico, Oaxaca is a great cultural and ethnic mosaic. Its multiple languages, dances, music, garments and customs are truly a sight to behold. Its identity comes to life in its festivities, which are full of mysticism, joy and vibrant colors, affording anyone great photographic opportunities. Out of all the festivals that take place throughout the year the Guelaguetza is one of, if not the most important. Dating back to the colonial age, the festival is dedicated to Centeotl, the goddess of corn. Folkloric groups from seven of the most important regions in Oaxaca partake in the Guelaguetza, and with its beautiful handicrafts, colorful dances featuring amazing garments, it is considered among the most important festivities nationwide, and shows why Oaxaca is probably the most representative state of indigenous Mexican traditions. All this lends itself to fantastic photographic opportunities with plenty of movement, color, amazing architecture, and cultural and ethnic diversity creating an impressive array of situations just begging to be captured on camera. It’s a rewarding experience for all types of photographers, with ample subject matter for all tastes and styles.

Day 1

Arrive and check into hotel in the evening for orientation as well as dinner.

Day 2

Early breakfast provided at the hotel before heading to Monte Alban to take in the beautiful morning light. Monte Alban is situated on a mountain top about 7 miles from the city´s center and is one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico, founded by the Zapotecs around 500 BCE. Break for lunch and then walk to Santo Domingo, a beautiful museum situated in an former convent in the center of the city of Oaxaca, where we will visit and photograph its ethnobotanical gardens. Afterwards we’ll venture into the museum to photograph its impressive 16th century architecture and admire its vast ethnical collection.

Day 3

After an early breakfast at the hotel we’ll venture into the streets of Oaxaca to capture the festivities of the Guelaguetza, which afford ample opportunities to capture color and movement and the vast ethnic diversity, represented in its processions and dances. This is a daylong event, with a break for lunch. Later on in the afternoon we’ll head back to the hotel to review and discuss the work produced so far.

Day 4

Early breakfast at the hotel before heading into the town of Teotitlan del Valle where we will photograph its Mercado del Trueque (barter market), with its vast array of handicrafts and people. Afterwards we’ll head for Mitla (place of the dead), another important archaeological site situated south east of Oaxaca city. Later we´ll walk the area, where there are street markets, weavers and mezcal distilleries offering ample photo opportunities.

Day 5

This is the most important day of the Guelaguetza so we will have breakfast and stay all day in the city photographing the festivities on the streets in all their strength and splendor.

Day 6

We’ll head to several villages located just to the south of the city and dedicate the last full day to photographing some of Oaxaca’s most important handicrafts their production. We’ll take in things like traditional alebrijes (colorful sculptures of imaginary creatures), barro negro (black clay pottery), and the traditional mezcal (a  Oaxacan liquor with a rich, smoky flavor).

Day 7

Depending on the flight departure times, you may want to spend the day on your own exploring and shooting, or probably buying souvenirs and mezcal to take back home.


Terms & Conditions

To hold your space, we require a non-refundable deposit of $1,000.00 USD

Fees Included:

  • Workshop fees
  • All Lodging is included.  A single room is subject to availability for an additional fee.
  • All breakfast and two group dinners with one alcoholic drink per participants
  • All transportation in the host country related to the itinerary.
  • Local guide/translator or assistant photographer.

Fees Not Included:

  • Flights to the workshops host country.
  • All paperwork/doc/visa compliance with the nation we are traveling to (Cuba trips all docs are included)
  • Any airport taxes due
  • Extra luggage weight
  • Meals outside of breakfast or the two group meals.
  • Travel/cancellation insurance
  • Any medical insurance.
  • Any tips for an assistant photographer, translators drivers, bellboy, mini bar or any food items or drinks consumed from your hotel/house room.
  • Any optional event that requires entry fees such as: night club, musical event, sports venue, night clubs or any additional cost not included in the itinerary.

What to bring

At least two sets of DSLR camera bodies with five or more large memory cards. Also one wide-angle lens, a 50mm or 85mm lens, a telephoto, a light tripod to shoot during low light or at night and any other photographic tools that you may need during the workshop, including extra batteries, a charger and your laptop to download your images for review & critique. All participants must be able to download and backup you work since each day will be very intense and the instructors won’t have the time for that. I also encourage you to bring a backup system to save your work. External hard drives or flash drives work great. I can give you tips as to the best external hard drive to get. There won’t be any spare computers to be used, so please bring your own with you and PLEASE be very familiar with all your personal equipment.

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