Archive for the ‘PhotoKamp™ Workshops’ Category

VIDEO: A Look Back at PhotoKamp Germany

Last august, we took our photography and lighting workshop to Germany. Here’s a look back at the amazing locations, the beautiful models, and the talented next generation of photographers. (See the PhotoKamp Germany photo gallery here.)

PhotoKamp 2014 is coming up April 4-6 in Los Angeles. Be sure to grab one of the last spots at!

Special Thanks to Carsten Simon at Luminanz Studio for providing the time lapse footage, and also to Stefan Rasch, Vanessa Sofie, Joelle Lahr, and the wonderful photographers who allowed us to follow them around for this video. Enjoy!

PhotoKamp Goes Global in Germany


In late August, we packed up our bags and headed to Germany for our fourth PhotoKamp workshop. Being our first PhotoKamp outside the US, this weekend workshop drew participants and crew from 9 countries—some traveling from as far as Nigeria.

On day one, we met at Luminanz studio in Saarbrücken, near the French/German border for a meet and greet with the photographers, followed by an informal Q&A. As a sign of the changing times in our industry, a majority of the questions this year focused on brand building, marketing one’s art, and making a living as a photographer at a time of unprecedented competition. We then all headed for a real German meal in downtown Saarbrücken.

On Saturday morning, we met at Luminanz studio for a full day of studio lighting. I divided the room into two setups. The first was a commercial fashion lighting setup, similar to what I’ve done for Kardashian Kollection and Neiman Marcus. The second, by popular request, was my “pinup glamour” setup, which I all but retired in 2010 when I stepped down from my last long-term magazine contract. I also covered several “one light” setups that produce striking (and super affordable) results.

On Sunday, in classic PhotoKamp tradition, we ventured out for a day of location lighting. Our German coordinators arranged for us to shoot at a vacant coal mining facility, complete with all kinds of industrial madness. We again split into two setups. The first involved lighting a massive space with minimal lighting, using a combination of natural light, strobes and fog. The second focused on mixing strobes with outdoor elements, positioning your model relative to the sun, and—an unplanned lesson—shooting in the rain.

I continue to marvel at the good fortune we’ve had to attract such amazing talents and personalities to our PhotoKamp workshops. Being that even I was out of my Los Angeles-centric comfort zone, it was a wonderful opportunity to eat, talk and bond with both new friends and old. My sincerest thanks to our German coordinators Stefan Rasch, Carsten Simon of Luminanz studio, our four wonderful models and makeup artist Miriam Regitz. Also to my amazing international SlickforceStudio crew Scot Fortino (US), Hayden Phoenix (NZ) and Peter Major (Hungary).

We’ve just created an official PhotoKamp Facebook page to learn more about PhotoKamp and for past students to stay in touch. New dates for upcoming workshops will be announced in the next few weeks on our Facebook page and at!

CREDITS: Photos by Hayden Phoenix and Carsten Simon.

PhotoKamp 2013 Promo Trailer

Everyday, more and more up-and-coming photographers write me asking about PhotoKamp. So I figured, why not let past attendees tell you for themselves?

In this video, you’ll get a first-hand look at a PhotoKamp experience, seen from the eyes of our photographers. I am eternally grateful to these talented artists for sharing their experiences with others, and I am so proud of them for the innovative ways they’ve exploring their artistic visions, both at PhotoKamp and since graduation.

Our next PhotoKamp takes place in Germany on August 23-25. Early signup pricing is in effect until June 1. For more information, as well as a look back at past workshops, visit!

Edited by Daniel U. Magana
Videography by David Rivera and Jessica Whitehead for SlickforceStudio

Tip Tuesday: Shutter Down

Skies are much bluer when they are not overexposed. Close your shutter down as far as it will go (while still allowing strobe exposure), then increase your light power to a key level that keeps the subject and the environmental exposures balanced.

(Photo taken at PhotoKamp 3. For upcoming dates on PhotoKamp workshops, visit

Super lighting and more at PhotoKamp 3



For the third year, we held our annual PhotoKamp workshop in Los Angeles. Students flew in from 6 countries—from as far as Morocco and Malaysia—to learn photography and lighting. Our attendees also illustrate the changing face of the modern photographer: we not only had an eye-opening 60% female turnout but also our youngest student ever. It is exciting for me to watch how this new energy will change the photography industry over the next generation.

On the first day of our 3-day event, we enjoyed Texas barbecue (with veggie options), courtesy of longtime SlickforceStudio friend Craig McNelley, owner of grip & lighting company Berkeley Avenue Productions. (If you’re in LA and need affordable motion picture grip & lighting gear, there is no one better.) After dinner, I took the class up to a skyscraper helipad, high above the LA cityscape, for an evening of long-exposure night photography.

On day two, we met at SlickforceStudio, where I spent the morning teaching the class about lighting modifiers, power packs, and grip equipment. Then I demoed several lighting setups for the students—from fashion to glamour to portrait—before turning them loose on their own. Models Lela Hazary and Vilayna LaSalle gave excellent performances for their photographers—who each built sets and experimented with many types of creative lighting setups from the inexpensive to the ambitious.

On day three, I took the team out to an amazing location in Lancaster for a day of complex pro location lighting. My Slickforce team taught the class how to build large-scale rigs, safety the equipment for the models, and work with generator power. Then I lit two lighting setups—one indoor and one outdoor—before letting them take the reigns with stunning models Remi Nelson and Regina Prasad. As with previous workshops, we separated the class based on experience level, and then rotated them between positions of photographer and various assistant roles. Many of the students expressed to me that they learned more assisting the other photographers than when they were actually shooting.

I’m proud to call so many of these talented photographers my new friends. I first met photographer Karim Tibari while traveling around Morocco for WMB 3D, and it was wonderful to see him again. I was also very happy to see so many repeat attendees this year, including photographers Kyla Schultz, Raffael Dickreuter, and Tracey Lea. My sincerest thanks go out to everyone who participated in this year’s PhotoKamp—I learn as much from the students as they learn from me, and let me tell you, the talent pool is growing quickly. 15-year-old photographer Julia even taught me to use Instagram! I could not pull off this workshop without my amazing SlickforceStudio crew, hair stylist Tony Jones, make-up artist Angela January-Taylor, and PhotoKamp coordinator Kevin Savarese.

Take a look at these cool behind-the-scenes taken by our team over the weekend!

CREDITS: Photography by Jessica Whitehead, David Rivera, Daniel Magana and Nick Saglimbeni for SlickforceStudio. ©2012 Slickforce Inc.

On Top of the World at PhotoKamp 2


Last month we held our second PhotoKamp in Los Angeles. Students flew in from all over the US—including 2 graduates from PhotoKamp I—and from as far as the UK this year, which was both awesome and flattering. The three-day photography workshop is designed to teach up-and-coming photographers how to handle professional photography and lighting equipment, direct models to desired results, and light subjects in difficult situations.


On Friday evening, I took the photographers atop a downtown skyscraper, where they captured the LA skyline from sunset to night, and the results were incredible—especially in an era where even consumer-level cameras feature respectable sensor sizes, robust ISO latitude, and long-exposure capabilities. After the rooftop shoot, we headed indoors to a warmer meeting area where my amazing team arranged dinner during an informal Q&A session between me and the students.


On Saturday, we met at SlickforceStudio for an in-depth lesson in professional grip and lighting equipment. We also discussed budget-friendly options, which allow for amazing lighting setups at under $100. It’s always fun to see the wheels turning in the students heads as they learn about new equipment and contemplate exciting lighting setups based on their newfound knowledge. Each student then rotated between the positions of photographer, camera assistant/tech, lighting assistant, and fan operator (always the most fun.) Two models posed for the photographers, allowing for each student to have two full hours per day as photographer, in charge of the entire set. They chose the models’ wardrobe, directed their team and the hair & make-up crew, experimented with lighting, and built sets.


On Sunday, we awoke early and carpooled to Ultimate Graveyard in the Mojave desert. Two new models joined us, and while they were in hair and make-up, I showed the photographers solutions for dealing with harsh sunlight and extreme contrast, as well as safetying equipment in high-wind environments and using generators on location. Everyone always has so much fun out in the desert, and there is nothing better than seeing new photographers get excited about cool locations, as I have since the first day I picked up a camera.


For more info and upcoming dates, visit the PhotoKamp site!


Special thanks to Kevin Savarese for coordinating the weekend, the SlickforceStudio staff and amazing interns for their support, and to Joyce Park & Derek Eskridge for these fantastic images!

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