Frequently Asked Questions
How do I submit my photos, videos and resumé for my application?
You can either put the URL of your work online on the application form, (which opens for enrollment in late spring), email images or videos (under 8 megs) to or mail a hard copy to:

Workshops Logistics Coordinator
Western Kentucky University
The Mountain Workshops
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11070
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1070
Can I attend any or all of the workshops?
Yes, you can, but only one at a time. Workshops all run at the same time, so you can only take one workshop per year. However, each workshop has its own educational component, and coming back each year for a new workshop will result in an entirely new experience. There is no suggested order for taking the workshops; just choose whichever order that makes the most sense to you in your educational training.
Can I attend any of these workshops even though I am not a student?
Yes, the workshop is open to anyone who wants to improve his or her storytelling abilities. We have had participants from major newspapers and magazines as well as freelance visual storytellers who run their own business and see the workshops as a way to give them an edge over the competition.
If I am a student but not at Western Kentucky University can I attend any of the workshops?
Yes. In fact, almost half of our college-age enrollment comes from universities other than Western Kentucky. We welcome graduate students as well.
What do tuition fees for each workshop cover?
Tuition covers educational costs only. You will need to pay for your hotel, travel and food costs during your stay.
Do I need to bring a laptop?
The Mountain Workshops has a network of Macintosh computers for participant use. If you are in the video storytelling or picture editing workshop, you will have a computer set up for you with all the necessary software. If you are in the photography workshop you will view your work on your coach’s workstation. All the images from the photography workshop are archived on our servers, but if you wish to archive your own images and take them with you, you should bring a laptop and card reader and download your images throughout the week. If you are in the digital storytelling workshop you are required to bring your own laptop for individual use but "team" computers will also be available.
Do I need to write as a part of this workshop?
Visual stories also need words. In the photojournalism workshop, each image selected for use (website, social media, book, gallery, etc.) must have an accurate, well-written caption. Each photo story is accompanied by a written story of about 300-400 words. (See examples on the website from previous years’ workshops). To help you with this, each team will have a writing coach as well as a photo coach. The writing coaches are experienced professional journalists who are there to help advise you on reporting and writing your story and captions. Participants are responsible for their own story and captions, and all writing must be completed before the end of the workshop. Digital storytelling, photo editing and video participants also will have full access to writing coaches, as needed.
Do I need to bring an external hard drive?
Whichever workshop you enroll in, if you wish to take your content home with you, you will need to bring a hard drive. We recommend at least 400 GB of free space for video storytelling workshop, and 250 GB for the other workshops.
Do participants need to provide their own equipment?
We expect all photography, video and digital storytelling participants to have their own camera bodies, lenses, tripods and lighting system. For many years, camera company representatives have been at the Workshops with a wide range of loaner gear, but nothing is guaranteed. Our audio equipment sponsors provide a limited amount of audio gear, and various vendors may supply a limited number of tripods for participant use. Every year the Mountain Workshops depends on sponsor support, for which we are deeply grateful. However, we encourage all participants to bring as much of their own equipment as possible.
Do I need a car?
Yes. Covering your story and shooting features will require that you’re able to travel to different locations in the county throughout the week. The picture editor and digital storytelling participants spend most of their day at the headquarters. However, you are responsible to get yourself to and from the hotel and also to get out for dining purposes. It is possible to share rides, and in some instances, it is possible to walk. But verify the headquarter location to your selected hotel before you choose the walking options. These communities are small and many do not have taxi or Uber/Lyft service. Please communicate with us if you do not intend to not have a car on location before paying your tuition.
Who will the coaches be?
Each year we select coaches based on their professional experience and their ability to mentor participants and support their learning and growth. We usually announce the final roster of coaches about a month before the Workshops begin, often sooner. You’ll find the announcement on our web site and also on our social media outlets.
Do I get to pick my coach?
No. We pair coaches and participants based on a variety of factors. You will be assigned to one coach, but you are also encouraged to meet with other coaches during the week and take advantage of their insights and suggestions.
Do I have to find my own story?
No. We have story researchers scouring the county well in advance of the workshop.
How are stories assigned?
Names, descriptions, and contact information for story subjects are put into a hat, and each participant randomly draws an assignment at the opening of the workshops. After drawing your assignment from the hat, you will discuss the story with your coach and then go out and try to secure the cooperation of your subject. Every person has a story, and the coaches and staff at the Mountain Workshops will come together to help you find a compelling way to tell that story.
Can I shoot as much as I want and in any format that I want?
In the Photojournalism workshop we limit the number of images you can take. Your coaches will work with you about how each photograph is made. Our educational philosophy is to slow down and concentrate on moments. Turn off your motor drive and connect with your subject. Our workflow is in JPEG format but you will shoot in RAW + JPEG large and we will we will ingest the JPEGs into our workflow and archive the RAW files for later use.
Ready to Apply?

The application process starts on July 1 and will continue until all seats for each workshop sells out or by September 28, whichever comes first. Acceptance into the each workshop will be based on various factors, including your portfolio, résumé and additional information you may supply.

Interested applicants must fill out the online application to start the process to be considered for the Mountain Workshops. Once accepted, you will be notified by your registration email and instructed on how to pay to reserve your spot. This workshop can sell out. Your seat is not confirmed until you make your payment. Registration and acceptance alone does not guarantee a seat.