Coaching for Photographers



Ever feel like you have “hit the wall” as a photographer?

Are you getting more and more dissatisfied with your images?

Are you feeling uninspired of shooting the same thing over and over again?

Many photographers feel like they live on a desert island when it comes to getting critical feedback on their craft. Sometimes, all you need is a little helping hand.


This program is focused on coaching you to become a better photographer by:

1) taking a critical look at your work and helping you understand the problems,

2) expanding your vision to see things differently,

3) and inspiring you to execute with confidence.

Our experience combined with our mentoring skill will create dramatic and positive changes for you as a photographer.

What Our Clients Are Saying


Ryan Jones, Brooklyn, NY

"Thoughtful, intuitive and sharp, Erwin is an immensely talented photographer that has the gift of being an incredible educator as well. In just two short hours I got the educational and philosophical inspiration that I was looking for through an honest yet constructive critique of my recent work. Erwin's brilliance is in his clarity of thought. He understands the world through his camera, but he also has the talent to effectively convey those thoughts in a truly meaningful way. And it goes beyond the simplicity of what makes a pretty picture; he's able to talk about how and why photography is an important tool in understanding who we are as visual communicators, and more importantly, as people."

Brandon Wong, Irvine, CA

“Hands down the best investment you can make for your photography business is education. I have been documenting weddings for six years now, and it wasn’t until I had the privilege of studying under Ray and Erwin of Apertura when I saw the light, literally. My untrained eye had no idea what the difference between a good and great photo was, and ultimately I was delivering an underwhelming product to our couples.

When you hear “Apertura” most people tend to think top ten wedding photographers, inspirational, countless award winners, etc. but to be honest, they are just two extremely humble and down to earth guys. They truly want you to succeed in every aspect and won’t hold anything back. I can recall countless “one-liners” from them that just radiate through me when I’m shooting throughout the day. Even if I took away one thing from a two hour critique it was worth it. I couldn’t wait to start shooting after chatting with them. Immediately I started feeling more stimulated and challenged throughout a wedding. That feeling of “burning out” never happened again.

You can spend $6,000 on a new camera but you are still going to be the same old photographer. Why not spend a tiny fraction of that price and actually get to be a BETTER photographer! I guarantee you that after your talks with Erwin, you will be happier, your clients will be happier, and you’ll be able to charge more which will make your wallet happier. “

Mary McHenry, Oakland, CA

"“I was lucky enough to have Erwin coach me for three days in 2013. His patience, focus, and instincts come together to create a true teacher. I have been a professional photographer for ten years but a few days with Erwin changed how I approach a subject/situation/location. I can’t thank him enough for bringing my work to a new level -I have more confidence and a much clearer focus of what I want to shoot and how to create the shots I see in my head. His editing skills are also great! (I watched over his shoulder while he flew through Lightroom.) He is just the best combination of smart, talented and kind. Five stars."

Naomi Chokr, Sarasota, FL

"Erwin is an amazing teacher. I absolutely love his style of teaching. He does it so flawlessly and effortlessly. He didn’t just give me all the answers. He made sure that I would realize the answer and figure it out on my own. That style challenged me and worked very well for me. I also love his honesty and he says it like it is attitude when they were critiquing my images. He told me exactly what I needed to hear but I still felt empowered and challenged. I must admit… this was my favorite part of the workshop. He held nothing back and were still able to be respectful at the same time. Immediately after the workshop I saw a difference in my work. I could see it in my composition…it’s definitely cleaner and done with intention, with the way I use light… I embrace harsh light and love it now. I can say now with confidence that I can use any light to my advantage and make amazing images with it. With these alone I have been able to take my images to the next level. I learned so much more from him and I’m so proud to say that investing in my education to learn from Apertura was so worth it.”

Chris Werner, Truckee, CA

“I believe that to be a great teacher, you need more than a repertoire of technical and artistic knowledge. You also need the ability to communicate with students in a way that challenges them as much as it supports and inspires them. With Erwin as one of my workshop mentors, I received both.

During my coaching sessions with Erwin, his ability to teach the technical aspects of shooting were just the beginning. From compositions to seeing light in a new way, he was able to zero in on where I was coming from, how I was seeing, and explaining to me what I needed to change in order to progress in a new direction. As he patiently worked with me through some of my own personal obstacles, I thought the scope of the lessons would end there. I was wrong.

In addition to shooting from a technical, intellectual standpoint, Erwin surprised me with a deep sensitivity about what it means to shoot from the heart. His coaching was as much about nailing compositions as it was about anticipating moments, connecting with the deeper meaning of what I was trying to photograph, and inspiring me to go after all of it with determination, conviction, and a love for my subjects. As a wedding photographer who was feeling stuck doing the same things week after week, this encouragement was a real turning point for me.

There are plenty of great photographers out there. But that doesn’t make them good teachers. Erwin is an exception. His instruction continues to guide my work to this day, and I cannot recommend his coaching highly enough.”

Cory Ryan, Austin, TX

“Letting someone inside your creative psyche is often difficult, unless it’s someone like Erwin who instantly sets you at ease. His photography talents are indisputably amazing, but it’s his caring demeanor that really hits home with doling out the tough advice. I feel like I learned so much in my short time with Erwin, and I still hear him in my head at weddings, or when blogging. Anyone who is interested in coaching or learning from an extraordinarily talented photographer should look no further than coaching by Apertura.”

Buffy Goodman, Edmonton, Alberta

As photographers, working for ourselves, we often find ourselves in a bubble, or trapped in patterns we can’t even identify ourselves. Having photographers as skilled and insightful as Erwin take an in-depth look at your photography and having him as a weekly sounding board for a month’s worth of ideas and thoughts helped me immensely. I know that I will grow this wedding season, and have their voices in my heads talking me out of my bad habits and into better ones!

Ryan Jensen, New York, NY

Major thanks to Erwin for his excellent coaching today. It was a phenomenal way to meditate on a wedding I've not yet corrected. Really patient, thoughtful and humor-filled advice. Bringing a little piece of him with me on every wedding to come. Thanks, Erwin!

Anita Martin, Northern California

"I signed up for a one-month coaching program with Erwin after realizing I was starting to shoot the same things the same way every wedding. It is hard for me to stop the over-thinking and over-analyzing when shooting, and I took all my concerns and frustrations and dumped them on Erwin in our initial consult. Not only was he able to help me sort through some of my shooting pitfalls, he gave me real, honest, and extremely helpful critique. I now have this amazing tool kit to use at future weddings. He is very thoughtful, patient, and knowledgeable when it comes to his coaching. I cannot thank Erwin enough for the information he shared with me. I feel like I have made a step towards being a better photographer and I cannot wait to put in the work to start seeing improvements after being inspired and encouraged. It is hard to see the forest through the trees, but after the coaching with Erwin I feel like I can find my way again. Thank you Erwin for all of your help."

Margaret Buttweiler

I cannot say enough good things about Erwin Darmali! It's an unforgettable privilege to have the chance to pick his brain and gain his insight. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for the unique opportunity of being mentored by the best of the best in wedding photojournalism. If you want to be able to deliver breathtaking, emotionally charged images of the events as they genuinely unfold, look no further. You've found the right man to help you create the work your clients deserve.

Siva Haran, Toronto, Canada

"It’s no small feat, to unlearn a habit, and in its place learning a new one. It’s just as important as a man finally quitting smoking, and replacing that with the gym. Teaching someone to break their bad habits and self-pity cannot be done overnight, which is why no single workshop would have worked as effective as this coaching and mentoring program. I am sorry for not believing right away, Erwin – but I truly appreciate you sticking through with me and helping me this much. I owe you. Right now, I feel like I just figured out the matrix."


Erwin Darmali - Photograph by Ben Chrisman

I love learning about anything that has any relationship with photography, teaching, and a bit of psychology. I truly believe that we all are talented in our own ways but it is our personal fears and problems are the two things that prevents us from being the photographer that we want to be.

I am here to help you understand things that are very important about photography (the feel, the visual, and the composition) and get you to shoot with purpose and dedication through your vision.

My focus is to get your photography skills and vision to ramp up as quickly as possible while maintaining a solid baseline for your continued learning, but also to give you necessary tools for you to troubleshoot your future photography challenges.

If you are feeling that you need a genuine push and help in your photography, then don’t wait and contact me. My true goal is ultimately your development. I look forward to hearing from you.

Erwin Darmali, Apertura Coach.

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Online Critique

  • Two-hour online critique session of wedding/engagement images via Google Hangout

$300 for (1) 2-hr session
$1600 for 6 sessions ($200 discount)*
*redeemable for 1 year from the first session


Coaching Program

  • 12 hours of credit for online critique session of wedding/engagement images via Skype
    (can be redeemed in 1 or 2 hour increments within that period of 1 year)
  • Automatic enrollment in a secret forum for current and past students
  • 12 emails Q&A

$3000 for 1 year



    Online Critique is perfect for those who want to get an insight of their body of work, or a wedding or portrait shoot that they have shot through critique. We can also use this avenue to discuss anything related to photography - your portfolio, for example.
    Coaching Program is the mother of all coaching, offering the most for photography related questions via email, blog post / portfolio review, in addition to online critique. If you really want to learn and want to put in the work, this is the one for you.