Category: Photographers     View all recent posts

Jan 28 2015 Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp

I'm extremely excited to share this clip with those who have considered coming to my Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp. I've never given anyone a real peak inside to see what it's about, and I think this short video will provide an accurate glimpse of just a few of the topics we'll cover. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing several brief cuts that focus on a few different elements of the workshop. A huge thank you goes out to my friends at Tangerine Media Group for their film making efforts. To learn more, click on the link for the next Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp and check out some of the reviews from past attendees.  

Cliff Mautner Lighting & Skillset Bootcamp- from cliff mautner on Vimeo.

Read a few reviews of the Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp 
Qing Zhao 
Thomas Beaman 
jeff Franks 
Jenna Walcott 
Tammy Labuda 
Heather O'Mara 
Natasha Esguerra 
Joe Payne 
The APRIL bootcamp has sold out. The next available Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp will be held on May 19th, 20th, and a half day on the 21st. We'll have an optional opening reception at 7pm on Monday May 18th. For those wondering if I'll be bringing the bootcamp to another city, I will NOT be doing that. I will NOT be doing another workshop outside my studio.  
For more information and to register please contact the studio at 856.428.4268; 609.560.0877 or via email. 
I'm amazed at the growth and the international response of the Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp. Attendees are traveling from all over the world. This past year we've had students from Canada, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Argentina, Panama, Dubai, a slew of European countries, and a U.S. contingency from coast to coast. The upcoming Summer bootcamp should have quite an international flavor as well. Please call us with any questions. Thanks to all those former students who've spread the word!! 
During the past few years since I've been doing workshops and seminars, the most common denominator for all of my students has been the need to develop their own style. After 32 years of shooting I've come to believe the only way to accomplish this is to become one with your camera. Seeing with your mind's eye is a lot different than just looking through your viewfinder. In order to accomplish the former, a photographer's skillset must be first and foremost before they can begin developing their own style. 
The goal of this workshop is for every photographer in attendance to drastically improve their skills and give them the confidence to go after their own style.  
The workshop will feature: 
- Various technical aspects and a deeper understanding of your gear. 
- Understanding the difference between the quantity and the quality of light 
- A multitude of creative flash techniques. 
- Lighting your subjects from noon to midnight. 
- Live bridal shoots on location in Philadelphia. 
- Live shooting of bridal prep situations 
- A model ratio unlike any other workshop 
- Individual hands-on instruction during shoots. 
- Techniques in capturing the essence of our clients. 
- The best damn breakfasts and lunches included! 
Other topics covered will be: 
- Client interaction and relationships. 
- Sales presentation skills including a mock presentation. 
- Building a referral base through vendor/partner relationships. 
- Client retention. 
- Difference between being a photographer in business and a business person in photography 
- Workflow from capture to proof. 
The next available two-and-a-half-day workshop will take place at my studio in Haddonfield, New Jersey in 2015 on May 19th, 20th and a half day on the 21st 2015, with an opening reception on May 18th for those who can attend. The workshop will begin at 8:45am and go until we drop on the 19th and 20th, and will end midday on May 21st. Breakfast and lunch will be provided all three days. A discount code for a hotel only 2 miles away will be provided after registration.  
Tuition is $1,800 and attendance will be limited for more individual attention. 
$900 is due upon registration and the balance will be due three weeks prior to the workshop. 
Here's a few comments on my work, seminars, and workshops. 
American PHOTO Magazine-"one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world" 
WPPI- Cliff Mautner is "one of the top photographers and educators in the world" 
Marcus Bell-"Cliff is a pure craftsman with the lens and exhibits an amazing eye to capture the perfect moment. Cliff has been able to turn these rare talents into an incredible business with a solid vision for the future. A workshop with Cliff would fast track you to the big time. 
Joe Buissink-"Cliff sees light like nobody I've ever met" 
Ray Prevost-"It amazes me when I hear new photographers complain about the bad locations and the lousy lighting they have to work with at weddings. What that tells me is that they need to learn the skills that are part of this profession. I can think of no better person to teach you to "deal with it" than Cliff Mautner. He does more than just deal with "bad light", he makes it into good light by using it to add drama and interest in his images. Even guys like me, who know where to find the good light, can learn how to do something other than run for the shade. I've learned much from Mr. Mautner. 
"I also attended last weeks workshop and it's hard to put into words what a life changing experience it was. The whole concept of "good" light is out the window, Cliff shows us how to make any light "good light". As he say's as a wedding photographer your job is to catch the moments and you can't always afford to wait until the light is just right. He made shooting in direct midday sun not only ok but artistic, and beautiful. My confidence is way up from this, and I had several "aha" moments. Cliff obviously truly cared about each and everyone of us getting it. We got the feeling that he would have stayed with us all night until we got it if need be. He was very concerned with all of us having a great experience and took care of every detail of the workshop. He was a complete open book, and a very humble guy considering the huge talent and sucess he is. We even got to sit in on a real wedding inquiry meeting to see exactly how he conducts those." 
"Cliff Mautner is beyond amazing. As a wedding photographer for the last 5 years, I learned more with cliff at this workshop in 3 days than I did in 5 years on my own. He will teach you how to see in ways you never even imagined. Turning the worst light into the most incredible advantage. I am so blown away that if Cliff ever offered another class, I would attend it even at double the price I paid. The quality of my work has taken a leap from where I was and my confidence is 10x what it was. I really believe I know what to do in any lighting challenge. I can't say enough other than to be at this class will give you an almost unfair advantage." 
"Also, I don't think I've ever gone to a workshop or seminar where the host put so much effort into making sure EVERYONE'S needs were met. He left no stone unturned and logistically, the studio, the material, the food, drinks and everything else was fantastic. As far as the content goes, he hit everything you could imagine. The class audience consisted of all levels of experience. From 25+ year professionals to people who are looking to take their hobby to the next level. From my conversations with my workshopmates, everyone felt they got their monies worth and a whole lot more." 
"This month I attended the Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp presented by Cliff Maunter. I cannot begin to describe how just the time spent was one of the best I have ever invested. No question went unanswered and he focused on each of us. I felt like I not only got to know his as a professional photographer, but understood him better as a person. I was also fortunate to form friendships with those that I met in that class. The variety of topics we covered were amazing and in depth. I also felt that nothing was a hard sell of anything, but rather a hard share. Also, what was demonstrated was not the right way, but just, his way. He did not preach, he spoke, he shared, he educated. I could not ask for more than that. 
"I waited a long time to be a part of the Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp, and I am so excited to talk about the experience I had. I knew years ago that I had to wait until I was ready for the kind of learning I would experience at Cliff's workshop. I had to have the proper gear and the mindset to take it all in without missing a beat. If you are someone who wants to improve your way of seeing and working, you should put this workshop on your bucket list. The word I have coined for my experience at the workshop is EUREKA! I had always said that light was elusive, oh I was wrong and now I know it's not. It's how you see and Cliff will show you how to see. People always ask me, "don't you learn all that when you are at a wedding with Cliff?" And the answer is no, not like I learned at the workshop. You will spend time with people who are on the very same quest as you. It was a journey filled with laughs, new friends, good food, road trips and lots of learning. Cliff will answer completely and honestly any question you pose. There is nothing like having beautiful models to work with and a list of skills covered with no stone left unturned. Everything from natural light, window light, off camera flash, to workflow, pricing, taxes and insurance, you will be filled with information that will help your business grow as well as your soul. This bootcamp is about YOU as much as it is about learning. I might be the luckiest girl in the world. All I can do is be grateful and keep on stopping time." 
For more information and to register please contact the studio at 856.428.4268; 609.560.0877 or via email.

Jan 28 2015 Images that stand the test of time-Philadelphia Wedding Photography

Throughout our photographic careers, there are images we capture that remind us of why we’re photographers to begin with. I’m often asked what motivates me to continue shooting 50 weddings per year, and how I stay enthusiastic about making pictures. My answer is honest, and direct: I wake up in the morning, and I hope that sometime during the day, I’ll make a picture. I hope to make a picture that sends chills down my spine, and make a picture that means something to me. I hope it’s an image that impacts my client, of course, but I want it to impact me- as an artist and storyteller as well. Selfish? Perhaps, but it makes us work harder for our clients, as well.  
This image sent such chills down my spine, and still stays with me today. He was the father of the groom, patriarch of the family, officiant of the wedding, and a holocaust survivor. This image was captured during a groom’s Tisch- a pre ceremony where the groom’s male friends and family chant and sing in honor of the groom. It’s a very moving ceremony, and there are emotional moments to capture everywhere. Thirty minutes earlier, I was chatting with this man, and he was telling me a bit about his life. I was blown away with my brief encounter with him, and I’m always dumbfounded when I think about the perseverance and the indelible spirits of holocaust survivors in general.  
We were crammed into a dark conference room. There was an overhead can light hitting this man in a way that accentuated the lines on his face. It was as if the light accentuated all he’s been through in his life. The placement of that light seemed almost too perfect. The huge circles under his eyes symbolized cavernous pools of grief he overcame during his life as a survivor. It’s a very important image to me, personally. I recall the process vividly. I worked that moment furiously, shooting many, many frames until I felt as though I’d nailed the decisive moment- when his hand reached out for a loving member of his family who wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his strength and resolve. 
Sometimes we make images that make people feel a certain way. Sometimes we make images that make US feel a certain way. This is one of those images, but I’m thrilled the byproduct was that it meant something for the client as well. I wanted to share this image, which was captured a few years ago, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Never forget.


Dec 4 2014 Nikon Behind the Scenes Video- More Light is NOT better light-Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

As a Nikon Ambassador, it was a great honor to take part in the second season of the Nikon Behind the Scenes series. The production days were long and rigorous, but I really believe we were able to come away with a series that contained terrific information to share with photographers- both professional and those who are aspiring to get better. For me, everything begins with light. It's the very definition of our craft. When I begin a wedding day, my goal is to capture the essence of my client, but I want to do so in the most organic process possible. By simply setting the stage for those moments to take place- then allowing those moments to unfold without staging the moments, I'm able to allow my brides and those around her to just be themselves and interact naturally.  
it's this approach that allows the moments to look real- because they ARE real. By creating an environment that has beautiful light, all of the moments that unfold before me have a "texture" to the light that adds drama and impact to the image. I'm incredibly grateful for the efforts of so many with this video. Corey Rich and his team, Mike Corrado from Nikon USA, our models Sara Viteri and Veronica Lane, and our make up artist Beke Beau all enabled me to fulfill my vision for this brief, but informative educational video. It's my favorite BTS series video I've done so far. I hope you enjoy it.  

Dec 3 2014 Nikon D750-Philadelphia Wedding Photographer-My First Impressions

I'd like to be VERY clear about this post. This is NOT a review of the Nikon D750. As a Nikon Ambassador, I don't really think it would be fair, nor would it really be ethical for me to "review" the camera. I do believe, however, that it's my job to give my honest impressions from my first real world experiences using the newest body in the Nikon DSLR lineup, and how I plan on incorporating it into my workflow. If you want to read an excellent review of the camera, my much more beautiful and talented wife, Susan Stripling, has reviewed the D750 on her blog- The Dynamic Range. It's an excellent, honest, informative review. It's good reading.  
I've been a Nikon Shooter since 1978. Stop doing the math. Yes, I've been shooting that long. I began with the Nikon FE, then the FE2- then the F3, which was a killer camera in it's day. It was built like a tank. You could literally hammer nails with that thing and it kept on going.  
Below, you'll see an image with nearly every pro body Nikon has made over the last 26 years. I dug up a few from my storage area, and I had to blow a bit of dust off of them. From L-R front row is the F4, F5, F6, D3, then L-R top are the D3S, D4, D800, D4S and the D810. I sold my old D2X and D2XS years ago. Why show all of these bodies, other than for the sake of nostalgia? Um, no reason. Just nostalgia, and the fact that each and every one of these bodies represented incremental improvements in photographic technology.

The question to ask, when looking at this photo, is "what camera did you shoot that with?" The answer- The Nikon D750. I used an AF-S Nikkor 28mm F1.8G @ ISO 10,000(not a typo).  
Now, my impressions. To be honest, my very first impression was during the filming of my Nikon Behind the Scenes videos in September. I held it in my hands for a moment and thought it was a nice little camera, but I instantly wrote it off as something I wouldn't have use for. It didn't seem robust enough for me. I'm a flagship kinda guy- See the photo above! I figured I was all set. I use my 2- D4S bodies for the bulk of the wedding day, I'll mix in some portraits with the D810 when I'm seeking a file with a little more meat to it, and I'll have a D4, and a D3S as emergency back up cameras. 5 bodies to a wedding, 10 lenses or so, an assortment of speedlights, a few other lighting essentials, and I'm good to go. My VERY first impression was simply wrong. I realize It didn't have the "pro" dials. It didn't have the "pro" ergonomics that were consistent for the past 30 years or so. But, I only HELD it for about 10 minutes, and I never fired a frame or downloaded one file.  
Jump to a few weeks ago. I'd NEVER just dive in and begin using a new camera on a wedding before testing it. I played with it in my studio, put a few different lenses on it, and downloaded a few files. I must admit that it took a little getting used to the mode dial on the left. It also took me a minute to learn a different method of changing my ISO and white balance. However, these are such minute issues, it was pretty simple, and it wasn't as if I needed to hit up the manual. I mean, who the hell reads manuals, anyway? 
After viewing the files, which looked killer sharp, I was ready to SLOWLY try it at a wedding. My few frames were during the very late stages of a wedding, and I put an SB910 on the hot shoe, a Nikkor 16-35mm on the camera, and I shot some dancing late in the evening. The most impressive thing to me was it's ability to nail focus. The responsive nature of the camera was exactly what I was looking for. I only shot 20-30 frames and put it away.  
The following week, I had a little more confidence in the camera. I gave it a little taste by putting a AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G on it, and I just kept it on my shoulder. All I can say now is "holy crap". I honestly never dreamed that this camera would earn any significant "playing time" during the course of something so important as a wedding day. I have my D4S's and why would I shoot with anything else???? The answers? Read below.  
The Nikon D750 weight is incredibly refreshing. At 29.5 ounces WITH the battery, it's incredibly easy to wear for hours on end 
The autofocus capability is absolutely astounding 
The low light autofocus capability is also astounding.  
The files are killer sharp, dynamic range is excellent, and at 24.3 mp, they're large enough for nearly anything 
The high ISO performance is stellar. ISO 10,000 is a walk in the park 
Did I mention the weight?  
The ergonomics took a little getting used to..... now I'm used to it. No worries there.  
It's got group area AF, just like the D4S. I really like the group area AF at times.  
Built in WIFI- haven't use it much, but it's pretty darn cool 
Did I mention that it's light as hell? 
I find the battery life to be quite good, and it's the same as the battery for my D800 and my D810 
Sorry pixel peepers, I'm not going to put the pixels under a microscope and talk about all of the technical stuff that makes for great internet fodder. It focus great, it focuses great in low light, it produces beautiful, sharp files, renders excellent color, AND it has a back up slot. There's not much more I need in a camera body. Oh, did I mention how light it is?  
There are a few things I'd like to stress. This camera is NOT replacing my D4S's. However, it's absolutely going to supplement them, and it's going to be my go to body with a short, fast prime- usually my AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G. I'll use the D4S/D750 combination for nearly all elements of the day. For the bridal prep, I'll use the larger AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G on one D4S, and I'll use the D750 with the 35mm on it. I'll generally keep a short lens on the 750, and I'll use the longer glass on the D4S for the purposes of balance. The D750 does seem a bit out of balance with a long, heavy lens on it. The biggest difference for me is that I'll be using the D750 for ALL of the compulsory dance floor photos with either a 24-70 or a 16-35 on it. This camera, for me, is a game changer. My arthritis in my neck and shoulders are already less painful after just a few weeks of shooting the D750. Wearing 2- D4S camera bodies for 8-12 hours at a time has never been good for anyone with a healthy body- let alone arthritis.  
To sum it up, this camera was a complete surprise. I NEVER expected to like it as much as I do. Anyone who knows me, anyone who has taken my workshops, or has heard me speak at a seminar, knows I'm all about being open and honest. This camera is the real deal. There is nothing "prosumer" about it. What it lacks in frames per second, it makes up in so many other areas. I'm still getting used to this camera. I'm not sure how I'll use it in the weeks and months to come. However, I can only see myself using it more, not less. Again, it's not replacing my D4S, but it's already carved out a nice place in my bag, and my Sandisk SD cards will be getting plenty of use. Just like my D4S's, I'll fire raws into the primary slot, and backup fine JPGS into the secondary slot.  
For those of you considering purchasing a Nikon D750, I will make a bold statement. This camera, pound for pound, for the money, might be the very best value of any DSLR to date. Did I mention the weight? 
NIkon D750 AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G shot at 1/200th @F2.2 ISO 1600 

NIkon D750 AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G shot at 1/125th @F2.0 ISO 10,000

NIkon D750 AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G shot at 1/125th @F1.8 ISO 10,000