Gerd Ludwig Photography


Documentary Photography Workshop in LA, April 18-22

Documenting with Personal Vision

5-day Photography Workshop with Gerd Ludwig
Los Angeles, April 18-22

This 5-day workshop/masterclass by National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig is for photographers and serious amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity. It is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye, and to leave feeling inspired.

The workshop takes place during The Month of Photography Los Angeles, a program of The Lucie Foundation.

How it Works:

Each participant should come prepared with a subject idea with the goal of producing a set of images by the end of the workshop. After individual portfolio reviews, Gerd will provide guidance to help streamline each idea, provide research tips, and create a coverage plan.

Throughout the workshop critiques will take place, both in groups and individually. In meetings with the students Gerd will be available for advice on career aspirations. The course will culminate with each photographer presenting his or her photographs to the class for feedback.

Dining RoomThe workshop will be held in Gerd Ludwig’s spacious and unique home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles (The workshop fee includes a light lunch salad). Also, expect one of Gerd’s fellow photographers to stop by for a brief guest presentation

A few weeks before the workshop starts, a blog will be set up to allow students to communicate with each other, and with Gerd, to prepare for the workshop, get acquainted, and help each other with logistics and story research.

Students must provide their own photographic equipment, laptops, and transportation. Be prepared for long hours of shooting, editing, critiquing and interacting with one another and with the instructor. (don’t worry, we will have fun too).

What is Covered:

Gerd will stress finding and researching subjects, photographing people in an intimate fashion, making photographs that communicate emotionally as well as editorially, and using aesthetics in a sophisticated manner. Workshop participants will be encouraged to take professional risks to produce top quality work worthy of publications, books or galleries. Gerd will outline the structural elements and differences between a reportage, series, and essay and openly share the personal approaches he uses to create his own stories for National Geographic Magazine.

Technical discussions will focus on how to use photographic tools in real-world scenarios to capture atmosphere and mood, while maintaining a sense of place; approach subjects and establish trust in order to photograph people in an intimate fashion; use form, lighting, and color in a sophisticated manner to communicate emotionally as well as editorially; balance a personal point of view while respecting a subject’s situation; and use focused editing to reveal a story’s essential truth. Gerd will share his own photographic techniques, such as his choice of cameras, lenses, lighting, strobes, and filters. He will explain how capturing quality images at extremely high ISO’s has enabled him to tackle stories for National Geographic Magazine that previously were impossible to explore (Moscow Never Sleeps, Chernobyl, Russian Orthodox Church, etc).

Gerd will address the changing market for photographers, and how to expand short assignments into long-term personal projects using the latest fund-raising, distribution, and marketing methods. As a pioneer in crowd-funding, Gerd successfully financed his latest trip to the Chernobyl zone via Kickstarter, resulting in exhibitions, publications, and most recently, an interactive multimedia photo book in the form of the iPad app “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl”.


To sign up, please send an email to: along with your first payment of $100, through PayPal. Please contact us if you have any questions about using PayPal.

A second payment of $400 is due by March 21th and the final balance of $465 is due by April 15th.

Workshop is limited to 12 students. All payments are non-refundable.

From Past Students:

"It was an incredible opportunity for me to learn from National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig. With his personal instruction he taught me to see the emotional side of a photo, taking my passion for photography to a new level. His vision opened my eyes to a different perspective of the world." - Steffi Graf, tennis champion

"Of all the workshops I’ve taken, the one that made the biggest impact on me was a two day workshop with Gerd at the Salton Sea. I’ll never forget being dropped off by myself in Niland with only 45 minutes to take an environmental portrait of a total stranger in their home. I had never done anything like that before; but, Gerd had taken the time to share his own stories and offer advice about approaching sensitive situations as a photographer. I ended up meeting and photographing a wonderful family. He pushed each student beyond their comfort zones as photographers. It was an invaluable lesson." - Robert Larson, photographer

"During Gerd's workshop at the Salton Sea, he pushed us to try new techniques, such as using remote flashes and gels, in order to help us get a feel for what the equipment was capable of, and how to use it to get interesting shots that would have been impossible any other way. He helped us see things we had missed, or better ways to approach the scene – encouraging us to get closer and see in different ways. At one point, I found myself standing ankle-deep in dead fish and algae, fighting to keep up with him as we tried to find the best shot - flash in one hand, camera in the other, and toes crossed that I’d be able to avoid tumbling headlong into a pile of rotting muck - while he helped me figure out how to set up shots in ways I had never considered, and how to wield the equipment in ways that proffered uncharted results. I have never learned as much, or had quite so much fun, as I did those days out in the desert with Gerd and his team." - Kristen Spillane, photographer

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