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Event Profile: After Dark Education

The next session from After Dark Education is scheduled for Miami on March 28-31, but what is After Dark anyway? One of the mentors of Austin's hugely successful 3-day education session describes the experience.

By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

[SPECIAL NOTE: Become a Facebook Fan of After Dark Education. If the number of fans reaches 2,500 by Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, After Dark will contribute $1,000 to Operation Smile through PPA Charities!]

After Dark is not just another photography seminar, it’s an educational experience encompassing the art, craft and business of professional photography. As stated on the After Dark Education website “it’s an evolution in photographic education.” Dave Junion, the driving force behind After Dark, has combined his talents with Kevin Jordan and others to bring together several days of high-energy education. All attendees will have one-on-one access to some of the biggest names in the industry in order to get answers to their most pressing questions. The upcoming session is planned for March 28-31 in Miami.

I was fortunate to participate as a mentor at the first After Dark, held last October in Austin, Texas. The event provided hands-on experience and opportunities for attendees. Multiple lighting bays were set up with an extensive array of lighting equipment from Photogenic as well as soft boxes and other light modifiers from Larson Enterprises. Denny Manufacturing provided an assortment of backgrounds and props from which Mentors and students alike could choose to use in each studio lighting setup.

Each bay also had an LCD panel for those watching to view the images captured by the mentor. Students were encouraged to ask questions as well as photograph the setting and models. With multiple studio lighting bays, students could rove the room to find the one bay that best fit their specific lighting needs.


After Dark also set up multiple learning pods with comfortable couches arranged in a circle and a large LCD panel where the mentor could plug in a laptop. These sessions were intimate discussions where each student, in a low student/teacher-ratio group, could watch the presentation on a large monitor and ask questions throughout.

Numerous outdoor presentations and demonstrations were organized as well. I personally spent an entire afternoon watching classical portrait artists Fuzzy and Shirley Duenkel of West Bend, Wis., work their magic with environmental portraiture. Also leading the group with a more avant-garde style was Dan Davis of Burnsville, Minn. Both styles blended wonderfully to demonstrate to participants the range of possibilities at the same location.

One consistent comment I heard throughout the event regarded the high level of energy exerted by everyone involved. Attendees and mentors alike were encouraged to step outside their comfort zone and experiment with lighting, posing, composition, anything that would stretch their usual boundaries and cause them to grow.

Junion has already assembled a group of 35 mentors for the Miami After Dark in March. The mentor photographic talent is again extensive, ranging from classic and traditional to contemporary and everywhere in between! Not limited to the art of photography, mentors will again offer their marketing and sales experience to anyone and everyone at the event.

To successfully attend an After Dark event, each student is encouraged to create a list of specific questions that they would like to have answered at After Dark as well as which mentor(s) they will seek out in order to find the answer. There is such a spirit of giving and sharing knowledge that no one should go home empty handed.

For more information on the After Dark Miami event check out the website at or the After Dark fan page on Facebook.