Though I deeply enjoy sharing and teaching workshops, I have decided to take a break from them in the coming year.

Photography is something that I have passionately and tirelessly worked on over the past couple years, and it has reached the point where I need to refocus on “Why” I do photography. Recent soul-searching has led me to discover a new-found passion for the themes of conservation and advocacy and because of that, I feel that it is best if I take a little break from teaching until I understand this new direction fully.

Although nothing will truly replace a full workshop experience, I partnered up with Colin Smith from PhotoshopCAFE to produce a 4 hour tutorial that will take you through not just the retouching process but also the shooting process. Similar to my workshops, I go through the entire thought process on how and why I set up lighting, what goes on in my head during the various parts of a photoshop as well as the different tools that I retouch with.

Just to be clear, this isn’t goodbye. 

DSC 9723 as Smart Object 1 copy2
Model: Anne-Tyler Harshbarger Makeup/Hair: Dinah Raphaelle Dress: Michelle Hébert

I plan to continue putting out free BTS videos and blog posts (my next one will actually be on shark diving in Fiji!) just like I always have. Giving back to the community and inspiring others to live their lives to the fullest is something that I have continuously done for my entire career, and something I have no intention of stopping.

Workshops take a lot of work to put together. Though they may last just a couple days at a time, I have always gone above and beyond to create a unique experience – putting exotic locations and models at the disposal of creatives.

As a result, I end up spending weeks and occasionally months planning workshops that don’t reach the majority of my internet audience.

With this tutorial, I hope to give everyone access to the workshop experience while also making sure that my photography and the adventures that I share continue evolving in an exciting direction.

I definitely plan to be back in the future, speaking at trade shows, touring around the world and talking about the new discoveries and techniques I develop… but for 2016, it’s just going to be this tutorial.

Thank you all for your support. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Ben

Oh, and one more thing for those of you who have made it this far:

Every day of this week, I’ll be giving out one copy of either PhotoshopCAFE’s tutorial or my own retouching tutorial.

Here are the rules for entry:

  1. You must gift the tutorial to anyone but yourself.
  2. Tell me why that person is special and why they deserve it in the comments below.
  3. The end 🙂

If you feel like supporting me you can pick up a copy of your own at PhotoshopCAFE  by simply clicking over yonder –>

MORE AWESOMENESS:

  • Eric Reardon

    I would gift this tutorial to my sister as she is learning photography and she has supported me in my life.

  • Lucas Gangx

    Well I don’t know if this is the good place to add the person who I’d vote for, but here it is : I would vote for a great friend of mine, named Tiago Le Meur (https://500px.com/tiagolemeur), he is in a photography school in Paris, and is really talented. He gave me many tips, many ways to improve my photography skills (and to other beginner photographers as well), being like a little teacher to me, selling me a great camera for a really cheap price, lending me lenses, flashes and camera bodies everytime I needed it, and he’s the one who made me discover your art. I think he really deserves it, as his one dream is to become a photographer, and I really trust in him, thinking that with good resources like this one, he would be able to be a recognised photographer who would teach other young photographers as well, as you did for us all watching your videos, as he already done with me, so please vote for him 😀

    Have a wonderful day wherever you are, and enjoy your gap year !
    You’re the best !

    Cheers,
    Lucas 🙂

  • Kid Bazzle

    I would have to gift this to Darien Robertson
    ( https://www.twitter.com/darienrobertson )
    Why? because he is a great photographer and an even greater friend. He helped me out a lot when I was starting out as a photographer; teaching me what he knew and even loaning me some of his lenses from time to time. Without a doubt, he is one of the reasons why have such a deep appreciations for photography and greatly impacted the photography that I do now.

  • I would gift it to my friend Martin Wong – to thank him for all the great photographs he’s taken of me 🙂

  • Doug Chapin

    I would like to nominate Daniel Luna. He has created an amazing free retouching community online where he gives countless hours of his own time to help others. I have never seen anything as impressive as what he has done. And he does it for free, I don’t think he sleeps. It’s just us fathomable how much he gives and shares. I think this would be an amazingly fitting gift for him

  • Karen Joy Salvador

    I would gift this to my big brother James Russel Salvador (dunno why I can’t tag him :-/ )! he’s passionate about photography as much as I am! I always share with him what I have/know. I gave him his first camera (first a point and shoot then a Nikon D90) a few years back and it’s nice to see him make more wonderful photos through this!

  • Dragos Dumitrescu

    I would offer this to my friend Jason Suwandi or as i call him the GrandMaster. The main reason would be that i know he will fully appreciate this level of important knowledge, he is deep hearted fan of Ben and it will be a small way of thanking for his teachings in photography and diving, his humble way of being and respecting people. I truly hope this tutorial will reach him as it would be the present of the year! Thank you Ben.

  • Jonathan Carriere

    I would offer this to my friend and Wife because she want to lear moore about photographie and i thinks your one of the best teacher for her!

  • Ricardo Levenhagen

    I would gift it to my friend Ricardo Melo – to thank him for all the great photographs and video doing for me

  • JP Stones

    My girlfriend and I quit work 6 months ago and set off to find a new calling. We have done many photoshoots and my girlfriend has involved herself heavily into the planning phases of a shoot. She feels that as the photographer and retoucher, i get all the credit. She really wants to learn the post-process side and this would be an opportunity for her to learn this side of the business and give me a run for my money!

  • Emms

    I know a friend in fujifilm photography group who is a very good photographer, love portraiture and very passionate on editing similar to yours. I’m pretty sure this would benefits him a lot, so I would like this gift to be hand over to Mr Nasrun. 🙂

  • Anik Sales

    I would like to gift this tutorial to the non-profit Calvert Photography Club in Maryland, they are a small group of amateur and professional photographers who would greatly benefit from this tutorial.

    • You’re selected! Please send me an email with their contact info !

      Ben@vonwong.com (i need their email address!)

      • Anik Sales

        This is wonderful news, thank you so much. I will email you the information now.

      • Anik Sales

        I wanted to thank you so very much for your gift. Your kind words to the President of our club is very much appreciated. I am not only a fan of your work but also of your character and personality. Thank you again.

  • Damon Favor

    First, congratulations on your big decision! Making changes like that are tough but are so worth it in the end.

    I would gift it to my best friend Jeff. Not only is he my best friend, he is also an all around amazing person. He is an amazing photographer that has selflessly mentored me and he is always seeking to expand his creative talents in order to keep from becoming stagnant in his art. He gives back a lot to his community and is a devoted family man.

    I hope you enjoy your sabbatical time, you’ve earned it.

    • Thank you Damon for your kind words! Congrats, you’re the winner for day 2 ! Can you please have him send me an email at ben@vonwong.com 🙂

      • Damon Favor

        Wow, thank you, that’s so awesome. I just sent him your email. This is so wonderful! Thank you!

  • Imchen

    I’d give it to my best friend, who recently started with photography. He found this wonderful passion and found strength after hard times. He is always there for everyone else and really deserves it.

  • Sabrina R.

    I would gift the tutorial to a good friend. Mainly he is a cosplay photographer called vonnao. He’s so nice and such a gentleman. Also he is a big fan of your work. This would be the perfekt christmas present for him. 🙂

  • Becky VK

    I would gift this to my boyfriend and biggest supporter, Gabriel Bento at Inceptive Photography. He has such natural talent and nothing makes him happier than being behind the camera and exploring new possibilities. He is just beginning to set up shoots again now that work has slowed down for him allowing him time to return to his passion. A tutorial from you, to help him hone is talents and explore further, would be something he would use to its fullest potential. He has followed you on your journeys via Facebook and he was the one who introduced me to your page. Your work is beautiful! I hope you find all you are looking for and continue creating magic for this world! I wish you all the best in 2016.

  • Buchan van Veen

    First, it is a good and wise choice. Never forget yourself. Second I would give the tutorial to a very special girl. She started about a month ago with photography and she is talented. I made her so enthousiastic about photography that she bought herself a camera-equipment and is now travelling around to learn about photography. I want her to learn as much as possible from the best of the best photographers (which I am not).

  • Craig Taylor

    The best person to give the gift of time to is yourself. We’ll miss you but we know you’ll come back even more inspired and with even greater knowledge. Kinda like Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi… 🙂

    Who should get the tute? My buddy Khurram Malik. He has taken the little bit of knowledge I’ve passed on to him and ran with it. He is working hard trying to learn new things to improve his craft and a tutorial like this would be right his wheelhouse.

  • Thanks for sharing this with us, I truly believe that from time to time we all need a break. I would give this tutorial to a very special friend of mine, she inspired me to do photography and is very talented but in the last years I think she just went in a different direction. I would love to give her this as a birthday present.

  • Fumihiro Nishibata

    I’d like to gift my best friend Alex with this tutorial. I’ve known him for a long time now and photography is his latest passion. It’s always fun hearing him talk about the techniques he has learned to make pictures even more awesome. I’d like to support him more, however, my own knowledge is very limited. I am sure this tutorial would help him grow even more.

  • Laura Amber

    I want to gift this tutorial to three people (Somnolemt Images, Liancary or Althreya) or and no matter how hard I tried to “choose” one, I want to give it to all of these three ladies because they inspire me and we are almost all of the same young age, working in the industry of fine art/fashion photography and trying to find it. If I would win it, I would just let someone else blindly pick a little piece of paper with one name on and give it to one of these amazing ladies to be happy with. They’re all such wonderful people and we all inspire each other back and fourth. It’s simply amazing and its a way of thanking them for what they have given me.

  • Wayne Myers

    I would like to gift this tutorial to my boss, friend and mentor Michael Sewell, he has worked tirelessly as a photographer for 3 decades, he has an old school attitude and to be honest he doesn’t get that much chance to be inspired by others. I want to ignite the passion for his personal work once again. Who better to do this than VonWong.

  • Natalia Zahora

    I’d like to give this Tutorial to my friend Kasia J. (makargina) because she supports me everyday, giving me inspiration, helps me with learning new photoshop techniques and allows me to use her photostudio over and over again. She is geogrgeus friend and at the same time my biggest rival!
    She is a huge fan of Von Wong art. and I hope she will continue her magnificent work with a help of your tutorial 🙂

  • Marko Mohrdekaiser

    Kudos to You, sir, for being a positive role model for all the artists out there who need some encouraging to find their way in the world. And in light of that which you are trying to accomplish, I would appreciate if a special person of mine, named Valeria, would be one of the lucky ones to receive some tutelage in the form you are offering now 🙂
    Let’s just say that she knows how hard it is being a sort of an artist in the world, or trying to become one, and she needs some encouraging.
    Thank You either way!

  • Le rédacteur en chef

    My friend is in the medical care system. She spend most of her time giving to her patient. Photography gives her Energy. Just as if the magical scheme of picture gives her the light in her eyes. And it is transmetted to her patient.
    Help me to give her more magic to distribute.

  • Bud Clews

    I just want to say that I purchased the PhotoshopCAFE tutorial. I’m only part way through it and it is definitely worth the money. If you have ever wanted to tag along with Ben on a shoot then you should get this. I highly recommend it! It should also help with your Von Wong withdrawal symptoms…

  • Devian

    I’d like to give this tutorial to my friend Gustavo he is an incredible photographer and I’ve learnt so much from him

  • Christian Bom

    My friend Tobias Teichmann needs to win this! He is great at photography, always challenging himself and when i started he was the one teaching me everything he knew! Without him i would not be at the level i’m on right now. I started going into sports, but he kept going on in portraits and is always trying to build great concepts and be creative, proofs ingenuity and wants to make unique photos! This would be great for him!

  • Maya Garcia

    My friend Deena Roth should win this, because she will use this knowledge to its utmost purpose. She is an exceptionally-talented photographer, with the passion, drive, determination and vision to take direction from a master of the art of photography and use it to create extraordinary things. I’ve learned much from her, not only about photography, but about what a tireless work ethic looks like. And she has learned much from you, Ben, and will continue to do so, with your assistance.

  • Gale Frongillo

    I would like to gift this tutorial to my friend, Faith. She is a talented young photographer that has amazing vision. With your teachings, I know she could take her photography even further. Her photos tell great stories and with the guidance of a master photographer, it will give them even more depth. She is passionate about her photography and this tutorial would encourage her to go beyond what she already knows. And did I mention . . she would absolutely LOVE this gift!

  • Marco Ter Beek

    Hi Ben, every decision will make you stronger, have a nice sabbatical, and find out what direction you want to go. My quote in life is that, everything you give attention to, grows. So it cant go wrong with von Wong 🙂
    For the gift part, i would like to give it to Sander Sterk, a dear friend and fellow photographer, to get the copy of the tutorial, he works hard, and is making the switch to become a professional photographer as we speak! He just decided to work lesser day at the office where he works now and makes the jump.

  • Tan Jia Huei

    For me, I would like to gift this tutorial to my friend Jacky Yap Chun Kee. He is a friend who loves photography and will often go around town to shoot street photos. He also enjoys studio shooting with his friends as models, and most of the time I will join him for the shoots as well! His FB link is https://www.facebook.com/yapchunkee

    Good luck and all the best in your quest of reorienting yourself !!!

  • Aude Lerin

    I would offer it to my friend Ben, he helped me to know
    better my camera, to understand how to use it to get the images the way i
    wanted with a lot of patience.

    He made me discover a lot of different type of photography
    and helped me to grow my own style.

    And well, he made of me two portrait that i love very much
    and like i know he is fan of your work and a video/tutorial whore, i think that
    it could be a nice present to him for Christmas

  • Xeniya Balsara

    I’ll give it to Helsinki city library (Finland) – place what did a lot for me starting from possibility to borrow photo magazines, books, tutorials to use for free full Adobe suite. Additionally it organizes exhibitions for different kind of artists.

  • Deacon Blues

    I’d gift it to my friend Helge, who does awesome band photos and also has a knack for urbex photography. Who knows what he could put together with your help? 🙂

    Enjoy your sabbatical – you’ve earned it 🙂

  • Wayne Yale Kwan

    I would give it to my girlfriend Ling as she was the one who lent me her camera when I was learning photography. She has been very tolerant and supportive of my newfound passion and I may have neglected her sometimes. She has somewhat lost interest in photography over time and I hope the tutorial would reignite her interest in photography again (and thus, allow me to redeem myself 😛 )

    Thank you and happy holidays!

  • Kendra Campbell

    I would gift this wonderful opportunity to my dear friend, Deena Roth. She works fiercely and passionately. She absorbs and applies everything she’s taught and learns to assist her in her passions. The results, spectacular. She could learn wonders from your tutelage, and take another leap forward in her already wonderful talents.

    What a great gift and opportunity you are giving someone. Enjoy your sabbatical!

  • Carolinak

    I would like to gift this a as a present to y best friend Andres Järv ow has lately been struggling with depression and his photography i think this will ignite the fire in side him again like he ignited and helped me 5 years ago no it’s my turn to return to favor and get my best friend back so we can go on photography adventures and exploring the abandoned and unknown 🙂

  • Veronica Finney

    Happy Holidays Ben & cheers to this new chapter! I would love to gift your 4-hr workshop to my boyfriend Ryan McNamee. He is a a huge fan and has named you his “fave photographer” on multiple occasions. I know you both had a similar start and journey into photography. He looks to you as a mentor he has never met and I think your retouching tutorial would be the best thing he has ever received. He is passionately driven to use his photography to better the world whether in small or large gestures, and he is a strong, confident photographer. The area he has always said he needs more help or growth in is his retouching skills. A collection of his most recent work is located here http://www.ryanmcnamee.us/ and it would just absolutely mean so much to both of us if this nomination gets him the best present/ reward/ mentoring gift ever. Thank you so much for your generosity in thinking of all of your fans, followers and supporters during this transitional time in your life. All the best and Happy Holidays, Veronica

  • Kim Yanick

    So glad you listened to the whisper of your soul. I would like to gift the workshop to my son (well my step-son but that is just splitting hairs). I met him in his teen years and we bonded over photography. I gave him a 2nd hand digital camera for his birthday one year, and we used to shoot and play. He has since grown into an adult (10 years later) and is out and about touring the world, trying to make a difference, and still passionate about photography. (He loves your work by the way.. comments how he would love to be as talented as you) Anyhow his current wish is to work with animals, and I am sure he will be capturing some amazing shots of them as well. The one thing he mentions when we speak is he feels he lacks the post processing knowledge (he travels alot and most of the locations have sketchy network connections so streaming courses is challenging as you can imagine – I do a few edits when I can to help out – LOL team work right?) So why do I feel he deserves this.. well he is my son, I can see the potential of his work and his passion (and yes I am biased) but any help or guideance I can offer as a mum to help him grow and learn is my wish for him. His work can be seen here http://www.awakenthetraveler.ca/ I think the next destination is Nepal. Well that is our story.. have a blessed solstice and holiday season.. Peace, love and joy. ~Kim

  • My buddy Jeff deserves this. He has been a amazing support, kick in the ass and really good friend.

  • William Chan

    I would love to gift this to my friend Yuhang, he has inspired me to take photos, and has taught me how to use some PS techniques, with your tutorial not only will his PS skills improve, mine will too :D.

  • rsramkis

    I would like to gift this to my friend Kham Chang. He is this awesome guy who I worked with for 5 years who shared my passion for photography. He was always patient about my conservative approach to photography and who got me to start using off camera flash (by sharing his umbrellas and going on photo walks and photography shows). Even today we exchange e-mails on ideas as well as reviewing images for ideas.

  • Nicholas Ng Chun Ming

    I want to gift this tutorial to my friend Philippe as he is my best photography mate.. we always discuss together how to improve ourselves and hope we can improve together in the future…

  • Hey Benjamin! Wish you a nice christmas and I am sure it is the right choice. I’ve got one short question: Does the PhotoshopCAFE Videos go as deep into the photoshop retouching as the retouching tutorial? What are the major differences and which tutorial would you recommend for whom?

    • The retouching one is very specific about covering foundation to conclusion… whereas the photoshopCAFE one is a lot more organic and spontaneous (exactly how a real shoot is). I guess they’re just different – it’s hard to say which one is better !

      • The PhotoshopCAFE content looks like I would get some videos about stuff that’s going on beside the retouching, so the planing, the shooting… is that right? I guess I’ve been buying the wrong one ^^

        • Its a little bit less formal and spontaneous, I think its a little bit different. If you want to try it out and see if it works for you buy it from my link (Not the photoshop cafe one). I offer 100% refund guarantee if it isn’t up to spec!

  • Tobias Teichmann

    Hi Ben! 🙂

    I’m sure you’ll do the right thing. Everyone needs to relax and gather some new energy.
    As far as your tutorial goes I would like my mate Christian to get an extra christmas present. He started shooting portraits some time ago but we all have to get better doing our favorite thing. He furthermore could combine the new knowledge with shooting sports.
    Just let me know if I can tell him the pleasant surprise of winning your tutorial.

    Merry Christmas, Ben! 🙂

  • Marc Beguin

    Hey. I’d love to gift this tutorial to my friend and former student Zoé, who turned 20 a few weeks ago. You might remember her, she was one of the girls who asked for an autograph when we met in Amsterdam, because she could not afford the trip at that time. You wrote her a kind word and gave her the mighty Vonwong bracelet 🙂 Now she is at the university, and is still involved in photography. She had for her birthday off-camera flash and accessories … I’m sure she’d be thrilled to receive such a present. Merry Christmas !

  • Corey P

    I will be excited to see what is in store for you in 2016.This would be great for my daughter, she’s young but shows a great interest in photography is always looking to create something interesting. The Intro to Cinematic Portraiture would be an amazing tool to share with her and I believe this could help push her creativity even further.

  • Paranan Keep Cool Rattanathasa

    Hi Ben I would like to gift this to my freind Joe who’s admire and get lots of inspiration from you work, he’s big fan of yours.

  • Pichit Sueblue

    I would like to gift this to my friend Toom who’s really admire and passionate on your wokr

  • Freda

    Have a great sabbatical ahead, Von Wong. Can’t wait to see what happens in your next chapter! I would like to gift this to my good pal Yating, a fine art photographer, who quite recently decided to embark onto her next journey by quitting her job to focus on photography again. We were having a talk about the art and she felt that she had lost a bit of her artist self along the way these years while trying to earn a living. I think this will definitely help to rejuvenate her inspiration because it will further her when she explores more into the world of creative photo editing.

  • Gregor

    I would gift the tutorial to my beautiful girlfriend jessica, because she loves to edit photos. She would love it and her photos would be just brilliant I think.

  • Tim Frodo Rijfers

    Well, i’d give it to my girlfriend too, since she helped me getting started with photography (pushing me towards paying costumers. I guess i’d be a awesome late christmass present for her.

  • Antony Jones

    I would give it to great friend because he always bring a smile to everyones face with his photos and his own smile,a bit like you.

  • louise wilson

    I would give it to my twin sister, she loves photography and she is so inspired by wimisicle works, she does not have a lot of money and would love to know what to do. She deserves this because she is very passionate and dedicated about photography and hardly gets an recognition.

  • Tasneem Alziq

    I would give this to my brother from another mother, Fares Almsaeed, he’s a true photographer (originally from Jordan). He lost his mother a year ago, and continued his struggle in finding his way in life after having his father abandon him few days post the death of his mother. His passion towards photography and how hard he tries to get what he calls “The Perfect Photograph” keeps me inspired. He gives me strength, hope and belief that tomorrow will always be a better day no matter how bad today is only if you believe it.

    Having Fares as one of your dedicated fans, I truly believe he deserves one of your tutorials as a gift.

  • I would give this tutorial to Estefanía Surroca ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/silentmarionette/ ), a friend of mine who is self taught photographer. She has been doing some good work lately with her first prime lens, and started to play with dodge & burn in PS.
    Her composition and good eye, is what will lead her to any place she wants, she still doesn’t know (i guess haha).
    I know that few people is going to absorb so many from your experience, as she will.

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  • Marthi

    voy a ser totalmente egoísta, quiero el curso para mi….seguramente estará en ingles y no es mi idioma, pero incluso así muero por verlo.

  • Good for you dude! It will only bring good things to your life in ways you probably can’t even imagine yet:) Enjoy

  • Nice photos you have there.
    Hope you share more.

  • Kat Smith

    We all at one time or another realise that we need to take a step back and chose the right path to head down… I am at that crossroads now, I took a gamble and at the age of 50 applied for Uni!!!! who knows I may get in – I may not, but if I do it means I can get back to where I was at 17 when I wanted but couldn’t afford to follow my artistic heart. I think doing something for the community, world is an admirable goal… and look forward to seeing where it takes you

    • Kat Smith

      PS I would gift it to my Hubby because he always has my back and has an artistic streak he never admits too

  • coricow

    if only i have friends who like photography as i do TT