Oaxaca: Colors of Mexico Trip Report - Tom Bol PhotoWorkshops

Oaxaca de Juarez

We based out of the capital city of Oaxaca for our workshop in a beautiful hotel in the Historic Center of town. The town is colorful, safe and very easy to navigate on foot.

For our Dia de los Muertos photoshoot, we hired professional makeup artist Brenda Aragon. The shoot was staged in an elegant villa with archways, staircases and intricate ironwork. For some of the images we used studio lighting. For others we used available and window lighting (Edgar in image to the right). This photoshoot was a highlight for everyone on the workshop.

It takes two hours to complete Dia de los Muertos makeup
Studio lights with an orange background light on the staircase
Edgar in Clamshell Studio Lighting

Street Art

Walls and alleyways all over town are covered in colorful street murals. We had two models with us for a day to pose in front of street art and make it come alive.

John and Keith channel their inner Lucho Libre
Naraoth was all smiles on her first photo workshop
Spectacular street art

Color Everywhere

In addition to street art, the city boasts colorful walls, flags and even giant stars in the streets. We had plenty to photography in the City Center and stopped to eat delicious Ozaxacan specialties throughout the day.

Maureen and our guide Tino discuss art
Traditional clothing for the church scene
Janifer and Kathy pause to take in local cuisine

Mezcal Capital

Oaxaca is the mezcal capital of the world. We spent a day on a small artisanal agave farm where the entire mezcal process is done by hand. We drove into the turquoise fields to photograph workers trimming the hearts of agave for mezcal production.

Leaves are removed to expose the agave heart
John and Gary using forground agave leaves in their portrait
Monica enjoying the view from the fields

Artists Everywhere

Each small town surrounding Oaxaca de Juarez is know for different types of artwork. We visited the beautiful home of painter and weaver Pantelon Ruiz Martinez. During the visit we used studio lights to photograph the artist and natural light to capture his mother hand spinning wool. We also learned about the local, natural ingredients used to create colors for dying wool and painting.

The artist with his mezcal del casa
The artist showing how to create colors with pomegranate

Ancient Mexico

We explored the ancient archeological sites of Mitla and Dainzu to learn about Ancient Zapotec culture. While we were exploring the ruins, a young boy walked by with his herd of cows. We grabbed our cameras and photographed a scene from daily life that seems timeless.

Cheryl coming out of Dainzu's subterranean passageway
Mitla - the City of the Dead

Enticing Food

Oaxaca is known for its outstanding food. We worked on food photography throughout the workshop. We used natural light and different angles to capture Oaxacan delicacies like the Chocolate Creme Brulee pictured here.

We visited one of the top chefs in Oaxaca, Alejandro Ruiz and learned about the very complex process of making mole sauce. All of our dinners included visits to the most upscale restaurants in town.

Traditional mole sauce with over 20 ingredients including chocolate
Our group donned aprons and helped with the cooking
Some of the ingredients in mole

Oaxacan Marketplace

We joined Chef Ruiz in the local marketplace to chose fresh produce for our food photography day.

Fresh fruit in January
The Fab Four enjoying the market
Fresh baked cinnamon rolls

Many Thanks

Thanks to all of our awesome photographers who joined us for Oaxaca the Colors of Mexico!

And to Marcelo and Elsa - our dynamic coordinators!
And to our very colorful guide Tino.....

Join us in 2025

We are going back in January 2025. This time with an extra day with Day of the Dead models and more food photography. Learn more about Oaxaca: People and Cuisine