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.

APA|DC Photo Assistant Workshop, Part 1: Introduction


* * * * *

One of the most useful ways to start a career in photography is by beginning as an assistant. But, the common problem persists, how do you begin your career as an assistant with no experience as an assistant? APA|DC is offering a 3-Part series on assisting to help interested students and new photographers make the transition. While no amount of workshop instruction can replace on-the-job experience, each session builds on the previous one and covers a comprehensive list of topics, ensuring that participants are introduced to standardized material, appropriate for each level.


* * * * *


Part 1 of the series is a basic introduction to assisting, comprised of a gear demo, presentation on roles and responsibilities, and a panel discussion with veteran photographers and seasoned assistants. It is designed for people who are new to the photography world and have no or little experience on a photography set. We’ll cover the basics– the sorts of things that you need to know whether the project is studio-based, architectural, or location portrait.


Attendees will immediately break into two groups  for two 45-minute sessions of cursory- yet very fast-paced- information about the real world of assisting. There will be a lot of ideas, tricks, and know-how packed into these two sessions– attendees will want to take notes.

•  The 1st section will give students a look at (and feel for) some of the basic photography gear that they would be likely to encounter on a small photography set, from cameras to lighting gear to grip equipment, courtesy of f8 Rentals. We’ll cover the proper way to wrap a cable, set a light, and secure a set as well as many other fundamental skills.

•  The 2nd section consists of a presentation covering the rights, responsibilities, and general etiquette for assistants. We’ll go over an assistant’s tool bag, location etiquette, roles and responsibilities, and some strategies for billing and invoicing.

After the two sections conclude, we’ll all come together for a panel discussion with photographers Renée Comet, Jon Feingersh, and Max Hirshfeld, and several experienced assistants to hear stories, opinions, and thoughts on how it all comes together. Hear firsthand what photographers look for in assistants, what some going rates are, and a few anecdotes from the field.

Thursday, November 20th, 1200 U Street NW, Washington DC. (1/2 block from U Street Metro on the Green & Yellow lines)


5:00 pm             Registration Begins

5:30 – 6:15          1st Section

6:15 – 6:30         15 minute break and switch sections

6:45 – 7:30         2nd Section

7:30 – 7:45         15 minute break, gather in auditorium for panel discussion

7:45 – 8:30         Panel Discussion with photographers and assistants

9:00                    Must be out of facility.

This will be a very busy evening so all students must plan on arriving on time.



Students/APA contributor and supporter levels $25; General Public $35;

APA Leader, Professional, and Associate levels – FREE

Space is limited, REGISTER HERE to guarantee your spot.



Show-Off-October 23rd














Some call it a slide show, some call it a salon, we call it a show-off.

10 APA members x 10 minute blocks to use however they’d like- a behind-the-scenes look of a recent shoot, some personal work, editing help, a new video–  It’s totally up to the photographer.

Here’s how it works:

    • APA members only get advanced dibs to show work. Please email to rsvp. Any unused spots will be made available at the event to anyone interested.
    • The first 10 replies are in. After that, we’ll squeeze in as many as we can until the library kicks us out.
    • Email matt your images in advance (aim for 1800 pixels wide for horizontal images and at least 1200 pixels tall for verticals)  so we can get them queued up. Dropbox or .zip file is fine.
    • Think about what you want to get out of the presentation. If you want feedback, ask for it in advance. If you want to practice presenting in front of people, let us know.

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

    • The more the merrier. Please invite anyone to come who you think might be interested. This is a FREE event. However, it’s likely that only APA members will be able to present.
    • Be respectful. This isn’t an opportunity to shred someone’s work. We are here to help each other.
    • Plan to stay the entire time. The last presenter shouldn’t be presenting to an empty room.
    • Video is fine, we’ll have speakers available, just make sure that it’s in an easily readable format.
    • If you sign up to present, please stick to it. Otherwise it just screws everything up.



Thursday, October 23rd at 6:30 pm.


Northeast Library
330 7th Street NE (basement conference space)
Washington, DC 20002
There is usually free parking to be had and the Union Station Metro is a few pleasant blocks away.