Q: What qualifies you to be an educator?
A: I’m a professor at the New York Film Academy School of Photography. I teach 2-year MFA students and 1-year students. I was previously an instructor for Calumet photography workshops. At my corporate position I trained clients on how to use our proprietary royalties accounting software. Along with my MBA I have a Masters in Psychology that focuses on organizational behavior and learning.
Outside of my formal education, I simply love to teach. It’s something I’ve always found great joy in. It was no coincidence that I would reprise my role as an educator in fashion photography given all my previous teaching experience. Some photographers run workshops to capitalize on the market and when you go to their websites there’s no mention of their educational offerings. I take my educational role very seriously because at its core is the philosophy behind why and how I do things; “The Way of LUCIMA”.
On a monthly basis I teach 4-6 private fashion photography workshops. Last year I taught 9 fashion photography group workshops from LUCIMA STUDIO and 3 from Calumet Photographic. This is in addition to my class(es) at NYFA. I expect to continue teaching for years to come.
Q: What do you get out of teaching other than supplemented income?
A: Pure joy when photographers “see the light” (pun intended). I love helping photographers achieve breakthroughs in either their conceptual understanding of photography or practical application of shooting techniques. My biggest accomplishment bar none is simply having an effect on people’s lives; whether this is a result of my work or my interaction with them on a personal level. I’m very proud to be a part of my photographers’ journeys, especially when I can help them achieve a breakthrough in their work.
Q: They say, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach”. Do you teach because you can’t “do”?
A: I say, “Look at the work of your teachers and decide for yourself”. Seriously though, looking back at my professors in college or graduate school, I can honestly say that each of them were highly qualified to do and teach. Most of them wrote textbooks and journal articles that advanced their field of expertise. As such, each of them were considered experts in their field.
With photography educators, it’s simple. Just look at their work because it speaks for itself. Beyond that, look at where they’ve been published. In my short journey as a fashion-editorial photographer I’ve been published in several magazines such as Teen Vogue and Seventeen Magazine. You can see my latest work featured on my tumblr blog. You can see where I’ve been on my flickr photostream.
Make no mistake about it, I am a fashion photographer first and an fashion photography educator second. As a fashion photographer I am constantly evolving and growing.
Q: Are there any photographer testimonials/referrals you can provide?
A: Rather than create canned photographer testimonials. I recommend you join the L U C I M A Fashion Photography Workshop Group on Facebook. You can ask any of the photographers in there via private message about their experiences at a previous L U C I M A Workshop.
Q: What makes you different from other instructors?
A: I often ask about other workshops that my photographers have previously experienced. Some photographers tell me that other instructors don’t share their retouching secrets. Some photographers tell me that other workshops only hire 1 model for the entire group. Some photographers tell me that the instructors shoot more than the students shoot.
I put a lot of time and effort into each and every fashion photography workshop. Each workshop regardless of topic is a unique experience. I leverage the knowledge and experience from every photographer to create an education environment that drives home key learning points. My strategy is packaging the most “value” in the shortest amount of time possible. On any given workshop day, you’re looking at a minimum of 3 hours of strategizing, learning workflow, going over specific how-to’s (like getting into Modeling Agencies), reviewing lighting setups, examining photographer-model interactions, PLUS 3 hours of implementing the learned shooting techniques, PLUS 1 hour of retouching.
Not to mention the amazing agency models that I hand-pick from personal experience. Each of the models are selected after I work with them to ensure that they possess the modeling experience, ability to move/flow, and have the positive attitude and proper work ethic to be a part of the L U C I M A fashion photography workshop experience. In private workshops you’re working with literally one of my favorite models. In group workshops you’re shooting with 4-6 of my favorite models each day.
Q: Which models are we getting for the workshop?
A: That’s the $100,000 question. The short answer is that every workshop is different and I can not predict with certainty who will be at your workshop. These girls work enough where I have to check with their schedules to ensure that they’re available for the workshop date(s). That’s the nature of good models; they’re highly sought after. But you can rest assured that I will only pull the best models. Feel free to check the L U C I M A Fashion Photography Workshop Group on Facebook to see which models I’ve used in the past. This is usually a good indicator for which models will be present for your next workshop.
Q: Am I ready to do a fashion photography workshop?
A: This would be the $1,000,000 question. Only you know the answer to this question. But I can tell you that I’ve instructed all types of photographers, from “weekend warriors” to full-time professional fashion photographers. I’ve instructed photographers from Los Angeles to Brussels. I’ve also instructed photographers that have never used a flash trigger to photographers that try and cheat the maximum sync speeds on their cameras.
And while I can teach any photographer, I think it’s important for each photographer to examine himself/herself and ask “What do I need help with? What do I need to improve on? How can L U C I M A help me?” Because if you have a specific focus, I can tailor the private workshop curriculum to more accurately help you achieve your goals. Even if you’re considering a group workshop, I can present the fashion-editorial curriculum in a way that answers your specific questions and helps you accomplish your personal goals. In fact, the first thing I ask of every photographer at every workshop, is to write down their personal goal for the weekend; a specific goal that they hope to accomplish via the workshop.
Q: Do I have to be a professional fashion photographer to attend one of your workshops?
A: Nope. As I mentioned above, I have taught amateurs to professionals. Statistically 90-95% of my workshop photographers are amateur photographers, hobbyists, and/or weekend warriors. All you have to be is curious, willing to learn, and ready to engage in a fast-paced learning environment!
Q: What kind of gear do I need?
A: I always joke that I can make do with a Canon Rebel Ti and a 50mm lens. Speaking of lenses, I use a $100 50mm f/1.8 lens for 90% of my personal work. All the gear in the world can’t help you if you can’t “see the light”, direct the model, and get the shot.
All joking aside all you really need is a digital camera body, a 50mm lens, and some fast memory cards. If we’re shooting beauty, I recommend longer focal lengths in the 85-200mm range. If you’re shooting on a crop-sensor, I recommend a 35mm lens. If we’re shooting outdoors, I recommend a range between 35-105mm depending on the location.
If we’re doing retouching at the workshop I recommend that you bring your laptop so you can follow along during our retouching session. If this is a group workshop, we’ll all be working on the same image.
Q: Do you really shoot on a $100 lens?
A: Yes, in fact it’s a used $100 lens.
Q: What software do I need on my computer?
A: Great question! I recommend Lightroom 2 or higher and Photoshop CS3 or higher. You are welcome to use Capture One or Aperture but I’ll be teaching using Lightroom as a digital asset management tool and Photoshop as an image manipulation tool.
Q: What kind of model release is provided with the images we shoot?
A: You get a non-commercial release. You are allowed to use these images in your portfolio and for other self-promotional purposes such as your website, Facebook, blog, etc. You are not allowed to profit directly from the sale of these images (e.g. stock photography).
Q: When is your next fashion photography group workshop?
A: Here’s our next group workshop!
Q: When is your next next fashion photography group workshop?
A: I usually don’t have hard dates for workshops that far into the future. I schedule my workshops around my work and it’s hard to predict when I can dedicated an entire weekend for a group workshop. Please check back regularly or use the contact form below to submit your email for the workshop emailer!
Q: How often do you teach group workshops?
A: I teach group workshops on average once every other month. Last year I taught 9 from LUCIMA STUDIO.
Q: How often do you teach private workshops?
A: Private workshops are on a 1-on-1 basis and are scheduled according to availability. On average I teach 4-6 private workshops a month.
Q: I’ll be flying in from [fill in the blank]. Where should I stay that’s not too far from your studio?
A: There are several 2-3 miles away from the studio. I’m not affiliated with any of the following suggestions:
a) Doubletree Hotel
924 West Huntington Drive, Monrovia, CA
b) Oak Tree Inn
788 West Huntington Drive, Monrovia, CA
700 W. Huntington Drive, Monrovia, CA
Q: Do I need a light meter?
A: Here’s my official stance on light meters!
Q: What if I have a question that isn’t covered by the FAQ?
A: Please use the contact form below and submit your question!
Q: Is that really you in the profile picture?
A: Yes, it’s 100% grade-A L U C I M A beef.
CONTACT LUCIMA WITH ANY QUESTIONS