Announcing Photography Lighting Workshop for June and July

Putting on a photography workshop is a lot of work, especially when it’s out of the comfort of my own backyard. I’ve been going back and forth on the pricing and ultimately the desire to teach people won over the desire to make a huge profit. So I decided to have it at a price point where it’s affordable, allow me to cover my travel, hire local talent and studio space, and still make a little bit of money to pay some bills.

How does $225 sound? It sounds dang good to me!

What I need from you to help keep the cost down and to keep me wanting to put on workshops is to spread the word. The more people register, the longer I can do these workshops at this price. Obviously I won’t have a huge network or following in your town, please share it with fellow photographers. Also, I’ll need recommendation on MUA, Hair and models in your town. Also, space is limited, so book fast. Future workshops will depend on how these two go.

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here’s a link to register:

For Seattle, June 29th

For San Francisco, July 20th

I’m also available for one-on-one or smaller workshops up to 5 people. $750/person. Contact me for more info.

#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:

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For the Kindle:

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Signed book with a personalized note is available for a limited time. Price is $50. Please send inquiries to 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!

Pay It Forward

Okay, I have about 6 months left in Portland, maybe less. Who knows. But I decided that I’m going to pay it forward here in this city that I’ve called my home off and on for the past 10 years before I leave. I remember when I first started out how hard it was to get guidance or people to work with me. I even remember writing a photographer to see if I can come along and assist and learn from him, he wrote back and said that would be fine for me to come and assist, but I’d also have to pay him on top of it. Huh? I pay you to assist you? I forgot his name.

So starting next week, I am going to take 5 days out of my week to sit down over coffee, lunch, dinner, whatever you guys want to treat me to =) and we can talk shop, talk about life, I can review your work, perhaps even brainstorm on ideas for a collaboration, whatever you want. I know that a lot of you have contacted me in the past and it may have gotten lost in the shuffle with my hectic schedule, but let’s wipe the slate clean and start here and now. Open to photographers, stylists, makeup artist, hairstylists, models, or anyone.

Shoot me an email q(at) telling me a little about yourself and what you want out of our session and we can schedule a time to meet up. Please know that my time is very valuable to me, I can only meet one person per day so if we set a time please show up, because you’re taking up a slot that someone else could have used. This will be ongoing til I leave Portland, or til I’m exhausted. Thanks so much. I look forward to meeting you.

Quavondo’s Photography Lighting Book

Some of you may know, I’ve been working hard on my book the past month and it’s almost done! I’m very excited and can’t wait to share with you. I have no doubt that you’ll love this book. Here’s the cover and the inside title page. I should be done with it by the end of the year and you’ll be able to get a copy in January.

Behind the Scenes of Quavondo’s Mannequin Shoot

Going back old school again! Once again, this was before I started doing behind the scenes. Why the hell did it take me so long? Dang. Now looking back I wish I would have gotten all my shoots on video, okay maybe not all.

Here’s a fun shoot that I did with, of course, Jillian! Make-up and hair by Amy Gillespie. She rocks! This shoot was planned for close to a year because I was living in New York at the time and Jillian lives in Portland. Here are some shots from the shoot.

O’Pearl Design Behind the Scenes Photoshoot

We’re going back old school. This was done before I started doing behind the scenes. Whenever I shoot Jillian, she would always have a flip camera on her and she would film everything. Wherever she went, there was the camera in her hand pointed at people’s faces. =)

Here’s a shoot that we did for Kerry Yu’s O’Pearl Designs.

Darren (my assistant) had just started with me. Look at the little fro he’s got going on. Hell yeah! This night turned out to be pretty epic. We had the fire trunk and ambulance called to our hotel room. Someone on-set pretty much had alcohol poisoning and was puking/passing out in the bathroom. She’s also diabetic and she didn’t eat anything all day. She pretty much drank the whole bottle of tequila by herself and some champaign. She will remain nameless.😉