Set Building Workshop



Join APA-DC for a two-part exploration of set construction and the ways in which focused pre-visualization can expand your creative possibilities, increase your value to clients, and enhance the quality of your photography. Each part covers different subjects, and together they offer a comprehensive introduction to the approach. Join us for one or both!

Part 1 is a presentation showcasing an actual photographic production that is strongly dependent upon pre-visualization and set-construction. In addition to the details of the production itself from beginning to end, an evaluation of the purpose and approach, a case-study comparing alternatives, and a discussion of business implications, return on investment, and pitching such an approach to clients will all be covered. Open Q&A/discussion will follow the formal presentation.

Part 2 is a full-day, hands-on workshop during which participants will construct the actual set featured in Part 1 and build a warm and exotic beach-themed shoot location… from scratch, indoors, during the winter. It is not a turnkey tutorial, but rather a guided exploration of applied pre-visualization, practical problem solving, and set construction tools and techniques with an emphasis on photography-specific considerations. Participants will experience the implementation of a specific vision, but more importantly, they will also learn about the importance of mindset, and how the underlying approach can be applied in non-conventional ways and places to realize their own unique creative visions. Intended for photographers and assistants who want to cultivate a value-added skillset in order to extend/enhance their creative capabilities in-studio or on location, but don’t quite know where to begin.


Part 1 (Presentation)

  • Tuesday, December 8th, at 6:00
  • HOIST Studio, 2807-E Merrilee Dr., Fairfax, VA 22031
  • $15 for APA members, as well as members of our sister organizations (ASMP, ASPP, NPPA, WPOW, and students) ; $25 for non-members.



Part 2 (Hands-On Set Construction Workshop)




November Coffee Break: 11/18, with Colin Winterbottom




With cold weather inevitably comes cabin fever.  Fight back those cold dreary days with another installment in our Coffee Break series at The National Building Museum on Wednesday, November 18th.  Our guest will be architectural fine art photographer Colin Winterbottom, who currently has a show, Scaling Washington,  up at the Museum.

We will meet in the café area at 11:30AM for an informal conversation with Colin Winterbottom.

This Event is Free, however if you choose to view the exhibit there is an entrance fee of $10. We have a limited number of guest passes at our disposal, so email Matthew Rakola if you’re interested. There’s only four, so it’s first come, first served.


Here are a few of Colin Winterbottom’s featured photographs-


WEBSITES: Under the Hood


Often, our website is the first point of contact between a potential client and ourselves, and that first impression can be the difference between a dream assignment and eating ramen noodles… again. The problem is, it can be really difficult to tell if a website template is right for you without getting “under the hood” first. Is it easy to use? Do you need to know code to customize it? How does the client section work? Does it crash? Is the customer service any good? How does it look on mobile? And, most importantly, what do your clients think?
This event, aimed primarily at commercial and editorial photographers, puts us in the driver’s seat of each website to experience it from image upload to final viewing.  We’ll be driven by an experienced tour operator who knows it best– the photographer whose businesses relies on it. We’ll explore the good, the bad, the joys and the frustrations of each offering. No sales pitch, just real life experience.
The website templates we’ll cover:


The Details


Monday, November 23rd from 6pm to 8:30pm.


Washington, DC
(first floor conference room)
Nearest METRO – Judiciary Square on the red line

How Much

$10     APA/ASMP/ASPP/NPPA/WPOW members and students with ID
$15      general public
Ticket Prices increase $5 at the door.





Join us October 4th – Collodion Wet Plate Demo


Join us as we welcome Daniel Afzal to HOIST Studio for a wet plate demo.  Daniel has been working with this process for years and has studied under the legendary John Coffer.  See images come to life as Daniel demonstrates the process from beginning to end.  Daniel will discuss the history, process, chemicals, and safety.  He will have a variety of cameras on site.

Space is limited!

APA Members $10.00 On sale now!

General $20.00 Ticket sales start September 1, 2015

Purchase your ticket HERE

Show-Off, May 27th at Hoist




The modern freelance photographer spends most of her or his work week alone in the glow of a monitor, editing images or trying to pick just the right ones to show clients in order to get more work. It can be a very frustrating experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share that burden? To display your images to a room full of people who know what it’s like and can even help by lending an additional set of eyes, a pair of ears, and cumulative years of experience?

Our Show-Off series is just that: a space to share your images, get constructive feedback, or just practice talking about your work. We take the number of participants present and divide that into amount of time available to determine the length or each time slot. What you do with that time, usually 10-15 minutes, is up to you. The audience is your sounding board, your therapist, your photo editor.

So, pack as many images as you’d like to share in 10-15 minutes onto a thumb drive, sized at around 2400 pixels wide, and join us! Or, if you’re feeling a bit shy, stop in to see what others are doing and offer some (constructive) criticism and advice.

Doors open at 6 pm and we’ll have plenty of time to socialize, tour HOIST, and get our thumb drives downloaded before we start the program at 7 pm. We’ll have pizza, beer, and other munchies to enjoy during the presentations.

This event is free for APA members and $10 for non-members (this offsets the cost of the food and drink.)

In a nutshell:

Wednesday, May 27th, 6-9 pm. (presentations start at 7 pm)

HOIST Studio
2807 Merrilee Drive, Fairfax, VA
Just 4 blocks to the Vienna station on the orange and silver lines!
There is plenty of free parking in the immediate area.
Free for APA members/ $10 for the general public. 
HUGE thanks to HOIST  for hosting this event. Hoist is a fully equipped rental studio available for all levels of commercial, advertising, editorial, personal and retail photography.

Coffee Break: May 5th


Our first coffee break was such a success that we’ve gotten requests for more. So, please stop by the Cascade Cafe on May 5th for an informal conversation about print promotions. We’re gathering as many examples as we can of successful examples so we can talk about the pros and cons of each style. Please bring your own and share your experiences about the process.

Afterwards, we’ll check out the Memory of Time  at the National Gallery.


May 5 at 11:30 am


The Cascade Cafe at the National Gallery of Art
Constitution Ave, between 3rd and 9th Streets NW
Washington, DC


Because we all need a little coffee break.

Play Date – May 11 – Dew Drop Inn



You’ve read all of the camera manuals, studied the lighting diagrams, and dissected the BTS Youtube videos. But, sometimes, what you really need to hone your craft is to take a few hours to break out your gear and use it in real world environments.

In the new Play Date series, we’ve taken care of the logistics for you so you can do just that. Each pop-in, pop-out play date will be hosted in the kind of location in which we, as photographers, are often asked to photograph. We provide the physical space and time, and perhaps a few pieces of gear, and leave the rest up to you. Arrive whenever you can, leave when you need to. Like a pick-up game of basketball, this is the time to keep your skills sharp and have fun with other photographers.

We’re opening the series at the soon-to-be-opened Dew Drop Inn in northeast DC, near Catholic University. Bars/restaurants can often be some of the most difficult locations to shoot in because of their use of so many indirect AND point light sources. Now is the time to figure out how to manage all of the variables, without the client in the room. We’ll have the run of the space, which includes a bar floor and a patio, from 11 am to 4 pm, and perhaps on into the evening. We’ll have some LED lighting and a few gels on hand to play with, so bring a tripod and a fast lens and let’s play!

Playing nicely with others. At APA, we try to make all of our events a win/win/win for the photographer, our chapter, and the location hosts who, in some cases, are donating the space to us. All we ask in return for this Play Date is that you show some love and tag the Dew Drop Inn and @APADC on social media in any of your shots, so we can help a small business get off the ground. We are not promising the use of any of our members’ photos to the host establishment, but you are more than welcome to work out a deal with them independently.

UPDATE : Jerry and f8 Rentals has come through again! He’s supplying a pair of LED bicolor panels, the Tokina 11-16 2.8 AT-X Pro (Canon full frame) AND the Canon 17mm Tilt/shift! The latter by itself is worth the trip! Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t note that f8 Rentals offers a 20% discount on all rentals to APA members with proof of membership. Email Erika (director at apadc .com) or Matthew (matt at apadc .com) for the code.

Monday, May 11th from 11 am to 4 pm (come whenever you’d like, stay as long as you want)
The Dew Drop Inn
2801 8th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017

There is free street parking in front of the building.

How Much
FREE for APA members, $15 for the general public. Cash at the door.