Mary Virginia Swanson


Mary Virginia Swanson has spent her career helping artists find the strengths in their work, identify appreciative audiences, and present their work in an informed, professional manner.  


Unique among authorities in our field, Swanson’s in-depth knowledge, professional reputation and relationships throughout our industry offer a broad range of perspectives on both the making and marketing of photo-based work. 

Her private mentoring, online group learning lectures, in-depth workshops, and Master Class Retreats have proven to aid photographers in moving their careers to the next level. 

Portrait © Alanna Airitam

Private Mentoring

Book a private consultation with MVS

Group Learning

Join a small workshop or larger learning experience


Purchase Publish Your Photography Book


MVS lectures, workshops, and industry events


I recently faced a career opportunity new to me. Mary Virginia was my first phone call. With laser-like precision, a passion for the possible and a warm heart, she gave me an action plan to follow. Prior to every consultation with me, she had researched my situation, and prepared key information, guidance and insight. Leading up to an important meeting, she coached me on what I might be asked, what I need to know, and the right questions I need to ask. Thanks to her mentoring, I walked in fully prepared and confident. I left with the commitment of a major institution to create an archive for my life’s work. I have immense gratitude for Mary Virginia Swanson and her unique role in supporting me in this process.

Upcoming Events

  • 2021 - The Center for Photography at Woodstock - Professional Practices Artist Network (PPAN)
    Online Event
    Apr 21, 8:00 AM EDT – Dec 01, 5:00 PM EST
    Online Event
    I am proud to be included in the Guest Presenters in CPW's Professional Practices Artist Network, a monthly lecture series from April - December, with a range of special guests who will share their insights and expertise. My talk on "Best Business Practices" will take place on October 27th.
  • 2021 - Palm Springs Photo Festival - Social Media Strategies for Photographers
    Online Event
    Apr 27, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM PDT
    Online Event
    In this updated seminar Mary Virginia Swanson introduces strategies for using social media platforms including Instagram to engage followers in your creative practice and move your career forward.
  • 2021 - The Long Term Personal Project: From Concept to Audience
    Wild Rice Retreat
    Aug 08, 4:00 PM CDT – Aug 12, 1:00 PM CDT
    Wild Rice Retreat, 84860 Old San Rd, Bayfield, WI 54814, USA
    This retreat will lead participants through the essential steps of thorough research and wise decision-making to create photographic work that is authentic in both its creation and presentation with the strongest possibility of sponsorship, exhibition and publication.
  • 2021 NEW YORK CITY - Your Work and Its Audience, Making the Match
    La Luz Workshops
    Nov 01, 10:00 AM – Nov 06, 6:00 PM
    La Luz Workshops, New York, NY, USA
    As artists, we derive great joy from bringing a personal project to completion. Sharing the work completes the creative cycle. Participants will gain insights from MVS + industry experts on advancing their project. Nov. 1-6, 2021. (Image © Daniela G. Maldonado)

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For upcoming deadlines and other industry announcements follow @maryvirginiaswanson.