In November 2010, with the help of my elite SlickforceStudio team, I held my first photography and lighting workshop. For years, photographers have been asking my advice on which lights to buy, what lenses I prefer, and how to direct models. So I compiled the e-mails and years worth of feedback from our Slickforce forum into a wishlist of features that would form what I believed to be the mother-of-all-photography workshops, and Nick Saglimbeni’s PhotoKamp was born.
On Friday evening, I met the attendees high atop what we affectionately refer to as “Slickforce Tower”. We enjoyed a barbecue dinner with the studio team while everyone introduced themselves, and then we went into an open-forum Q&A on the business of photography. I relayed several stories from my own experience, as well as those of fellow photographers. The energy of our class was amazing, and it was clear from the first night that it was going to be an exciting weekend.
Saturday morning, we met at SlickforceStudio to learn studio lighting. Here, I covered the many different types of lighting and modifier options, and then everyone watched me demonstrate live on one of our lovely models. Finally, we split the class into two groups, where the students rotated between positions of photographer, camera assistant, lighting tech, and even the fabled fan operator (which incidentally was nearly everyone’s favorite job.) They shot both fashion and glamour looks, and each student got a minimum of one-hour of complete creative control as the photographer.
Finally, we met early Sunday morning and carpooled out to Ultimate Graveyard in the Mojave desert, where the team was introduced to our new models for the day. Here, we covered both simple and complex location lighting, ranging from working with natural light to large-scale magazine-style lighting setups using strobes and reflectors. It was so much fun to watch the photographers’ excitement shooting in the desert—it reminded me of why I love shooting there so much. Once again, the students took turns creating their own lighting setups, directing the models, and assisting each other. I looked over their shoulders while they remembered why they LOVE to create art—and I realized we had created the ultimate playground for photographers.
After sunset, a few photographers experimented with long-exposure photography in the desert, capturing everything from the Milky Way to writing “PhotoKamp” with a flashlight. On the ride home, though exhausted from three days of power-teaching, I couldn’t get over what a pleasant and thrilling experience PhotoKamp was. The new dates for Spring 2011 have just been posted! But don’t take my word for it, here are a few quotes from our PhotoKamp attendees:
“PhotoKamp was one of the best weekends of my life. I was surprised how enthusiastic the crew was, and how they went out of their way to help each one of us.”
Visual Effects Artist, Iron Man
“Of all the workshops I’ve been to, this one featured the smallest class size, the best models, and longer shooting time than expected.”
“Shooting at SlickforceStudio was like being in a photographer’s candy store—they had a beautiful assortment of lighting, modifiers, and even lenses for me to experiment with. But the biggest surprise was the models! They were not only professional and beautiful but had NEVERENDING patience!”
“I enjoyed watching how Nick’s team works together to achieve a work of art. I wish PhotoKamp was a month long—it is an experience I will never forget.”
“PhotoKamp was a life-changing experience for me—it was AMAZING. It would have cost me far more time and money to rent all of that equipment on my own and figure out how to use it through trial and error.”