Quavondo’s New Website

Finally, it’s here. The release of my new website! I’m SO freaking excited about it. It’s been 5 months in the making. It only took this long because my attention was always needed else where, so my personal website got pushed to the back burners. Built from the ground up by one truly talented designer and programmer, Marcel Ganz of Flambe Agency. I had all these ideas in my head on what I wanted my site to do and I was blown away that Marcel was able to make every wish come true. Finally I’m able to rid myself of the Flash based website that can’t be seen on mobile devices and iPads! Amen. There are still minor kinks to work out for the mobile site, we’re working on that. Please let me know if you encounter any problems or if you have any suggestions to make my website better. Thanks so much!


Now that I’m pretty much done with this project, I want to let you guys know that I have two other pet projects in the works for you photographers out there. Both should be done by the end of the year if not sooner. One is with Marcel and the other one is with Pratik of Solstice Retouch. Stay tuned!


Quavondo’s Lighting Techniques Volume 2

I was driving a couple months ago and the thought of writing the second book on my lighting techniques came to mind. The thought stayed with me for about a couple of minutes until Avicii’s Wake Me UP came on, I started rocking out, the thought slipped away. That was the last time I’d thought about it until this morning when I received this email.


I just finished reading your book. It is WONDERFUL! The information is clear and well organized. The text compliments the images and diagrams extremly well. In particular I find that your “voice” is friend, fun and honest. Including the stories about mistakes you made (leaving your slave at home etc) creates you on level with others who have done the same. They will, I think, make it easier for a shooter to look for a work~around instead of freezing up in a panic. Also, having to change a plan and idea on the fly when circumstances change will have the same effect especially for the beginning or novice getting started. Another valuable piece of instruction and information is about the use of on camera flash as is the natural light and clip lamp information. It shows that great photography is possible on a very small budget and the book has no feel of “brand” selling. 

In closing, I can say that if I were to teach again, I would use your book as the book to teach lighting. It would be wonderful to find such books for photoshop etc.

I remain most sincere,”



Thank you Jacqueline for the wonderful email. In a World where you usually only hear from people when they aren’t happy with the product, it’s rewarding to get an email such as this. Perhaps it is time to start on volume 2. 

Quavondo’s Lighting Book is Best Seller on PhotoWhoa


I am truly flattered, PhotoWhoa recently did a review on my lighting book and had good things to say about it. They liked it so much that they are now carrying it. Good news for you if you’ve wanted to get a hold of my lighting book but haven’t gone around to it. It’s currently available in PDF format at PhotoWhoa for $5! I’m also proud to say that it’s one of their best sellers! It’s available until Oct. 25th. Don’t miss out!

Signed paperbacks are also available for purchase through me.



#1 Best Seller?! Thank you!

WOW! Thank you so much! I just saw on Amazon that my eBook is the #1 Best Seller in Photography Lighting category. Words can’t even begin to describe the emotions that I’m feeling.

Best Seller

Best Seller

When I decided to write this book, I was a bit hesitant. I knew that it was going to take a lot of time and effort but would it all be for nothing? I didn’t want to write a book just to say, “I wrote a book.” I honestly wanted to write the book that I’ve been searching for. It could be the BEST book ever written, if no one knows about it, it’s useless. My other fear is having a book that no one knows about. I have no marketing budget.

So today I want to thank you for all of you who’ve made this possible by blogging about it, sharing it on your Facebook wall, telling a friend, or even just buying it as a gift. It feels so rewarding to know that this book will not just die on the “shelf.”

Please continue to help spread the word. I truly truly truly appreciate it. If you could review/rate it for me on Amazon that would be wonderful too.

PS. The paperback looks much better than the eBook, but I’ll take the eBook being the #1 Best Seller. Is it wishful thinking to want the paperback to get on the Best Seller list too? =)

Quavondo’s Photography Lighting Techniques Book with Images and Light Set-ups

There are so many how to books out there on photography lighting, why is mine any different?

When I started photography, I reached out to many photographers in my community for help and guidance, most were standoffish and secretive about their techniques. One said that I could come on set and assist but that I would also have to pay him. To this day, I wish I would have kept that email so I could remember the photographer’s name. There were a few who welcomed me with open arms and let me come on their shoots, but our styles were very different, I ended up going on my own after a shoot or two. I would like to take this time to thank those photographers: Steve Bloch, Joni Kabana, Dan Tyrpak, Pete Springer, and Manny Minjarez who’s style was close to what I wanted. Even though I had just started and had no “style,” I knew in my mind what I wanted to create, I just didn’t know how to execute it. So I resorted to searching for books on fashion photography and lighting. It was a long road to find that golden goose. Most of the book that I came across, the author had a good grasp on the technical side but for some reason it didn’t translate over to their photography, what I found were books with awful sample images and I would think to myself, “Why would I spend $40 to try and replicate how to make these ugly photos?” Just like we all know how a free throw is made in basketball. You have to have the right motion of the arm, the right flick of the wrist, right amount of power and arch in the throw to get the ball into the basket, and we can sit there and explain it to someone over and over, but if you can’t do it yourself why would they listen to you? I never did find that golden goose. I ended up just learning through trial and error. I bought three strobes and locked myself into my spare bedroom and shot with models for 30 days straight. I made sure that the lighting was different for each shoot. In that month, I started to develop my own style.

Through that process, I developed a sense of protection on what I learned and maybe this was the case with the photographers who didn’t want to help me. They too, learned their craft through much blood and sweat. A year after starting photography I landed an interview for an internship in New York City with a high profile photography team. I flew out there, stayed in a hostel, went to the interview, they offered me the internship 15 minutes later. I had 3 pairs of underwear and no place to live, regardless I said YES! I thought this was going to be my big break, a chance of a life time to learn from one of the best. I called my wife of just a year to tell her the news, she cried. She was very happy for me but it meant that we would be on opposite coasts for at least 3 months. We talked and felt like it was the best thing for my photography.

Three months went by. I was nothing more than a personal assistant. We had only two photoshoots. I wasn’t taught a thing. Scratch that, I didn’t learn a thing related to photography, what I did learn during this period in NYC would later change my life for the better (and I also made two awesome friends for life!). After my internship I was offered a position to run their studio, I declined. I didn’t want the shackles, I would have been at their beck and call 24/7. I’m not joking. I had a hard decision to make, should I move back to Portland after three months of not getting anywhere? Or should I stay in New York and see what I could do on my own? After deliberating with the wife, I stayed. It was a long year but I grew as a person.

After moving back to Portland I had a shift in my mentality. I saw what my life could end up like as a high profile celebrity photographer, to be self absorb, selfish, and how depressing my life could be if I lived for myself. I started accepting interns and teaching other photographers what I knew, and making sure that I actually helped them and not use them as personal errand staff. I started creating BTS, how to videos and teaching workshops. This is where I started being selfish, in a good way. Teaching others was very rewarding, the joy and gratitude that they express makes fulfills my soul. This is when it occurred to me that I was in a good spot in my career to write a book on photography lighting. I have a big enough collection of images in different genres to be able to create a book that I’ve been searching for since I first started photography. The golden goose.

At its core, this is an easy-to-use technical handbook with lighting set-ups and simple tips you can implement right now to improve your lighting. Each chapter focuses on a type of lighting (e.g. one-strobe, four-strobes, camera flash, natural light, hot lights). At its heart, this book and its images are meant to inspire you, with a candid look into the background and thought behind each creative concept, and the amusing realities of bringing an idea to life.

There is a wide variety of imagery in this book, 50 to be exact shot both indoors and out, ranging from lifestyle, to beauty, to sports, to fashion, to portraits, to commercial work, so all photographers can benefit from the demonstrated techniques. Anyone looking to make the move from amateur to professional will find this an invaluable resource. Professionals looking to kick-start the creative juices will find inspiration and perhaps new lighting techniques to improve and simplify their process. Novice photographers may wish to familiarize themselves with the glossary terms first, but rest assured, this book minimizes jargon and maximizes utility.

I want to thank Zemotion (Jingna Zhang) and Solstice Retouch (Pratik Naik) for taking the time to review my book and writing a foreword in it. Both of your talents are amazing and to have your respect is truly humbling. Thank you for your support. Here’s what they both had to say about the book (click on the image to get a better resolution).

Zemotion's Foreword

Pratik's Foreword

I also want to thank Corey Michaud for putting together the elements for the lighting diagrams, without those I wouldn’t have any way to share my lighting set-ups. And most of all, thank you Lindsay Michelet for your endless editing of the book and content direction, you make me sound smarter than I really am, and less of a smart ass than I really am.

You can find Quavondo’s Photography Lighting Techniques on Amazon. Here’s a preview of the book:

  • 132 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1466463844
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.3
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces

Book CoverInner SpreadTable of ContentsIntroductionZemotion's ForewordPratik's ForewordInner Spread 1Inner Spread 2Inner Spread 3

Here are 25 of the 50 images that are dissected within this book:

Some of the Images From the Book

This book is also available as an eBook for the Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad, etc.

Here’s what it looks like on the iPad:

iPad Book CoveriPad Inner PagesiPad Inner Diagram

For the Kindle Fire:

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.38.26 PMScreen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.41.25 PMScreen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.41.01 PM

For the Kindle:

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.42.40 PMScreen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.43.15 PM

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.47.43 PM

Signed book with a personalized note is available for a limited time. Price is $50. Please send inquiries to q@quavondo.com. Only 25 signed books are available for the Christmas rush. First come first served. I need to know who to make the book out to and also a link to their photography if they are a photographer. I handle and ship all personalized book orders.

If you’re not a photographer, get it for the photographer in your life. Trust me, they will thank you. They will love it. Please remember to rate my book as well. Thank you for your love and support.

Also an oversight on my part, the photo of me in my book is one of my favorites to date and I forgot to give credit to Bryce Lewis for taking the shot. Great job buddy!

2 Day Photography Lighting and Retouching Workshop

Hey guys, as you know I’m moving to LA this fall, before I go I’m going to put on my last workshop here in Portland Oregon. It’s a two day workshop on lighting and retouching. I’m teaming up with one of the best retoucher in the business, Pratik of Solstice Retouch. He is also a dear friend of mine. He has some secrets from the industry that no one else knows besides the people whom he taught. I consider myself an expert in photoshop and I was still blown away from Pratik’s techniques. His way of teaching is very easy to follow and to understand.

I’m also trying to finish my photography lighting book by then too or at least before I go. If you’ve taken our workshop before, a testimony would be great. Please spread the word. Space is also limited. First come first served. We may decline your registration should the class is over capacity. Don’t wait.

Don’t forget to follow Solstice’s blog as well! Good stuff on there daily.

Focus On Youth

This Christmas, a friend gave me the sweetest gift. She did a little bit of research and found this organization, Focus on Youth, that helps kids by putting cameras in the hands of low-income high risk youth and they have seen them transformed by the experience. As a Christmas present she made a money donation under my name. I don’t think anyone has ever done that for me before. So I did a little more research about this organization and this is what they do:

Focus on Youth uses photography to empower culturally and ethnically diverse teens by providing them with creative outlets to make positive changes in their lives. Focus on Youth collaborates with professional photographers, schools and community organizations developing projects that engage students’ imagination and creativity while building their confidence and self-worth.

After looking through their website, I quickly printed off a volunteer application and mailed it in. I’m looking forward to mentoring these kids in the New Year. I hope to see you there as well.

Merry Christmas!