Lighting to the Next Level

In the never-ending pursuit of self-improvement, I attended Cliff Mautner's Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp just outside of Cherry Hill, NJ across the river from Philadelphia. When I first saw Cliff's images, I was stunned by the intense drama created by the use shadow and light. What is so powerful about Cliff's style is the use of shadow as the primary canvas, with light gently painted upon his subjects faces.

 by top New York Photographer Michael Jurick
 by top New York Photographer Michael Jurick

After watching Cliff on Kelby Training, I loved his teaching style and really wanted to learn from him. I was able to secure the last spot in his April Bootcamp after I caught his Tweet announcement. As many have said before, Cliff is such a great down-to-earth, genuine, and FUNNY guy. Throughout our 3 days of instruction, he would lighten up the serious tone of our questions with hilarious one-liners that referenced his actual real-world examples at weddings.

The endearing part of the bootcamp experience was getting to know everyone's story. The classes opened at his Studio with an introduction of why we were there and what we hoped to get out of the class. The second morning began with an introspective examination of what we hoped to accomplish with photography as it relates to our life, hopes and dreams. Deep stuff was discussed that morning. It created a bond for the class - something meaningful that we could take back into our life. Cliff wanted us to learn and made sure each and everyone us (20 students from around the world) really got it.

We reviewed an information-rich presentation laced with real examples to reinforce the lessons. Later that day we went to shoot and learned how to see light in ways that are so obvious now - but so profound in their simplicity.

 by top New York Photographer Michael Jurick

Later that evening, we had dinner and drinks with the team, then came back to Cliff's studio to review photographs that continued to inspire and support his lessons. After a few glasses of wine, open discussions were flowing. What was so exciting about the bootcamp was the "genie in a lamp" style experience. We were able to ask Cliff any question at all - from the technical to business and Cliff would provide his experienced response, usually with a funny quip thrown in. Each and every image Cliff showed was stunning and to me, awe-inspiring. I tried to capture a tiny ounce of his drama in a few of these images that were captured on the first day.

 by top New York Photographer Michael Jurick
 by top New York Photographer Michael Jurick

If you want to truly learn off-camera lighting or create enhanced drama with available light (but harness it in amazing ways), look for Cliff's next available bootcamp. It was a rewarding experience - and I can guarantee you will learn so much from Cliff, and also styles and business practices from all the other talented photographers in your bootcamp.

Cliff Mautner was voted one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world by American Photo magazine, is a Nikon spokesperson and multi-award-winning artist. Get to his Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp to kick your game to the next level.

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