marian majik - documentary photographer | Photography workshops


Photography workshops

… it’s way smarter invest to skills and knowledge than to buy another piece of jewelry…

   I remember my personal ‘stone age’ or a period when I’ve started with photography well. I’ve had a nice camera - way smarter than myself (EOS 350D at that time). To my big surprise it showed some numbers – I guess Spanish ones so I’ve lived in a professional ‘P’ mode for a while.

   I had to as there was nobody able to explain simple photography basics to myself. At one moment I’ve started be frustrated because I wasn’t able to create my ideas due of lack of knowledge. What means 2.8 with that small ‘f’, which shutter speed I should to use? Why I need to care about ISO? Depth of field, sync speed, focal length, focusing distance what means hyperfocal one? Composition, light, post processing, reproductions in human brain… that’s a lot of terms. Believe me, I wished to have a guide with answers in pocket many many times.

   When I’ve started to teach workshops I wasn’t sure if I’m the right person to do it. I knew a lot for sure but to teach…? To answer all questions, describe or better - to show working solutions and explain why it brings results... For myself is WHY it works the most important. Fortunately the progress and feedback from the first attendants confirmed that it was right decition. It has given my photography  a lot too. I’ve had to slow down and think more. Thank you guys...

Available dates:

18th of April 2015 - Light
2nd of May 2015 - Postprocessing
19th of September 2015 - Photography basics
21st of November 2015 - open


Level: ...from photographers who want to take control over automatic modes (or to know which one to choose) up to ones thinking about a jump into professional pool a need to figure out some details.

Really deep understanding of following subjects means full day workshop so please let me know your level and what you’d like to discuss the most. I’ll fit the subjects for you and I’ll try to prepare balanced classes. Theory is mixed with practice so everyone will not just see but also try with own camera.

Main subjects:
Equipment – Bodies, Lenses, Accessories + how to choose the right ones;
Exposure – Manual and Automatic Modes, Exposure guides, DOF;
Composition – guides, esthetic value of photographs and why it works
Post processing – efficient RAW workflow, Lightroom, ACR, Aperture, Photoshop
Portraits – natural posing, lighting

The price: 150€ /person
Contact: or contact form

In case you're a group of more than 6 persons I can organize a workshop only for your group. Max. number of participants is 12. If you have any other needs please contact me directly. For booking a place at workshop I require prior payment.


My gear

The following is list of gear I currently use or I’ve been using in the past. I’ve included the items which I love most now, you can find it in my ‘review’ so this list will variate over the time… I’m prime lenses shooter = I zoom with my legs as it forces me to think about the frame before I press the shutter. As I’m older I prefer to slow down a bit, think more and use the time more effectively. But this is my way of work… if you have some questions, please contact form is here for you. There are no technical secrets around…

Btw. I’m not payed for any advertisement or reviews from ANYONE. All following information are based on my personal experience and using these tools/toys. Each of following lenses I use for certain type of pictures.I simply like it that way. I have no preferences for a brands, it just happened that at the moment when I started my favorite photographers used Canon. That took me into Canon pool. I've tested PhaseOne with IQ250 seriously in 2014 but I'm waiting for better focusing options. From small format there're Fujifilm, Olympus and Sony in my eye. Especially Fujifilm but it doesn't mean anything.



Simply great, great, great body. It became my no.1 over 5D mk.II quickly. Focusing problems which I referred for 5D mk.II disappeared, ISO performances are pushed to stratosphere and ergonomics is even better. I’ve found just two minor problems in actual firmware. Nowadays it’s one of the best cameras on the market.Description (from Canon): Canon is proud to present the highly anticipated EOS 5D Mark III. With supercharged EOS performance and stunning full frame, high-resolution image capture, the EOS 5D Mark III is designed to perform. Special optical technologies like the 61-Point High Density Reticular AF and an extended ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 50 (L), 51200 (H1) and 102400 (H2) make the EOS 5D Mark III ideal for shooting weddings in the studio or out in the field, and great for still photography. Advanced professional-level high definition video capabilities (that includes a host of industry-standard recording protocols and enhanced performance) make it possible to capture beautiful cinematic movies in EOS HD quality. A newly designed 22.3 Megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, Canon DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, and shooting performance up to 6.0 fps provide exceptional clarity and sharpness, even when capturing rapidly-unfolding scenes. Additional technological advancements include an Intelligent Viewfinder, Canon’s advanced iFCL metering system, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Multiple Exposure mode all of which that help make the EOS 5D Mark III the perfect multimedia tool.

  • 22.3 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 61-point AF
  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • ISO 100–25,600 sensitivity, expandable to ISO 102,400
  • Full-HD video with manual control
  • 14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor
  • Weather sealing
  • 8.11cm (3.2-inch) 1,040,000-dot screen
  • HDR mode


What to tell – excellent camera with amazing dynamic range of sensor. It’s full-frame so my 50mm lens is 50mm and I don’t need to care about any ‘crop’ factor. With 3fps it is fast enough for me and to be honest I’ve never filled its buffer. Only problem is a weak focusing system. Yes, if you use standard lenses you’ll probably never see it but with my f1.2 L line I can see it. That’s the only reason for serious considering a possible change in the future. I shoot only in RAW format (which makes sense with its incredible sensor) and I use AF-button on back side of camera for focusing plus some minor adjustments in body custom functions. Mine copy is ‘tuned’ with Eg-S focusing screen but anyway it’s impossible to focus manually for myself. For manual focusing you can use just LiveView but it’s too slow for real photojournalism. Btw. never forget to buy protection glass for LCD screens. Description (from Canon): Canon’s update to the wildly popular full frame EOS 5D is here, and it’s better than ever. The EOS 5D Mark II has a stunning 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with DIGIC 4 Image Processor, a vast ISO Range of 100-6400 (expandable to ISO L: 50, H1: 12800 and H2: 25600), plus EOS technologies like Auto Lighting Optimizer and Peripheral Illumination Correction. It supports Live View shooting, Live View HD videos, and more. It can shoot up to 3.9 fps, has 9 AF points plus 6 AF assist points, a new 98% coverage viewfinder, a 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) and a rugged build.

  • 21.1 Megapixel Full-Frame Sensor
  • 3.0″ High Resolution LCD Display
  • Live View Mode
  • 1080p Movie Mode
  • Dust & Weather-Resistant
  • Self Cleaning Sensor
  • Broad ISO Range (50-25600)
  • 3.9 fps Burst Mode
CANON EF 24mm f1.4 L USM II


This is one of my favorites these days (right behind 50mm f1.2) even it has very high vinetation wide open. It’s hard to find as sharp lens as this one. For me it is an excellent photojournalistic lens with great DOF (Depth Of Field) and pleasant bokeh. Description (from Canon): Professional wide-angle lens with an ultra-large maximum aperture of f/1.4. This is the first EF lens to employ both a replicated Aspherical lens element to suppress distortion and spherical aberration, and a UD lens element to correct lateral chromatic aberration. Thanks to the floating construction, excellent corner-to-corner delineation is attained from 10 in. (25 cm) to infinity.

CANON EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM


My travel lens. It you can afford to buy just one lens this is your choice. Sharp on both sides (wide and short-tele), well-built, f2.8 – simply, a lens forever. You can tell that it’s heavy for travelling but if you are looking for image quality as myself and you need a zoom there is only one better option for Canon EOS. Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM II – new version of this workhorse for many professionals. Just check the price tags ;) and you will see why I prefer the older one from these two MUST HAVE lenses. My primes are better but this one covers all my travel needs.Description (from Canon): This new lens does what many pros thought couldn’t be done – replace the previous L-series 28-70 f/2.8 lens with something even better. Extended coverage to an ultra-wide-angle 24mm makes it ideal for digital as well as film shooters, and the optics are even better than before with two Aspherical elements and a totally new UD glass element. It’s now sealed and gasketed against dust and moisture, and a new processing unit makes the AF faster than ever.

CANON EF 35mm f1.4 L USM


The 35mm is THE CLASSIC photojournalism lens and you can spend your whole life with this lens set at f 2.0. If you nail the focus and position, pictures start to speak. This is a fantastic lens in low light – giving you two f-stops more than the zooms. As I look back at my pictures with 35mm it’s true. Henri Cartier Bresson defined it well. Now I prefer wider 24mm but it’s 100:98Description (from Canon): L-series professional f/1.4 wide-angle lens with an Aspherical lens element to correct aberrations. The floating system enables high picture quality to be obtained over the entire focusing range. Autofocusing is quick and quiet with rear focusing and ring USM. Full-time manual focusing is also possible.

CANON EF 50mm f1.2 L USM


My FAVORITE! If I can take only one lens with me it’s 50mm. There are no discussions about it. This Canon is razor sharp and well-built (I use B+W UF filters for a front element and dust protection) so if I need I can work whole day without any change. My copy back-focuses by +6 (I fix it easy with micro-adjustment in a camera body) and I miss floating elements from 35mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.2 so there is a space for upgrade here. But anyway this 50mm wins. I’ve had Carl-Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZE version for Canon bodies so I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Zeiss glass. Colors and picture quality are stunning and better for my eye than Canon BUT it’s without autofocus. With today’s 35mm DSLR I can’t focus manually.Description (from Canon): The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a peerless new standard lens featuring an ultra-large aperture for a narrow depth of field and soft background blur so loved by photographers everywhere. The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is suitable for any shooting situation; its lens coating and construction are optimized to minimize the ghosting and flare that frequently occurs when lenses are used with digital cameras. This high-performance, weather-resistant lens delivers all the superb image resolution and contrast you expect in a Canon L Series Lens.

CANON EF 85mm f1.2 L USM II


This is not a lens, this is a jewel. If you shoot wide open or at f2.0 it produces stunning portraits. It’s TOP class so I carry it as my 3rd best lens everywhere. Why just as 3rd best? Because for ‘my style’ it is quite long. But if I need a breathtaking portrait of a bride this will do it. It has slow autofocus even it’s with USM so it isn’t the best for children portraits or sport. Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM for 1/10th of the price has faster focusing but bokeh of 85mm f1.2 is unbeatable. You will love it from the first touch.Description (from Canon): Retaining the impressive optical performance and large aperture of the original EF 85mm f/1.2L USM, this new medium telephoto lens uses a Ring-type USM, high-speed CPU and optimized algorithms to achieve an autofocus speed approximately 1.8x faster than the original. The high-speed AF and circular aperture create a shallow depth-of-field that brings attention to the subject and blurs the background, which is ideal for portraits and weddings. The floating optical system, which includes an aspherical lens element, suppresses aberrations and ensures excellent imaging performance.

CANON EF 135mm f2.0 L USM


Another jewel. But contrary to EF 85mm f1.2 this one has amazing AF performances. It’s one of the sharpest if not the sharpest lens from Canon EF series. It’s excellent so I keep it as ‘a secret tool’ ;)Description (from Canon): The fastest 135mm telephoto lens in its class. Ideal for indoor sports and portraits with background blur. Two UD-glass elements correct secondary spectrum for outstanding sharpness and color. Compatible with Extender EF 1.4x II and 2x II.

CANON EF 200mm f2.8 L USM II


This was my first L lens. I am saying ‘was’ because I’ve sold it a few years ago. Very sharp, nice bokeh and pretty fast focusing but… too long for me and because of its minimal aperture of f2.8 I prefer zoom Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM II. I don’t have even this one – I don’t need it and as all zooms, primes beat them in terms of picture quality. On the other side its pros are versatility and great IS (image stabilization) system. Combination 85mm f1.2 + 135mm f2 seems ideal for me now…Description (from Canon): Telephoto lens boasting high image quality and carrying ease. With two UD-glass elements and rear focusing to correct aberrations, image delineation is extremely sharp. Background blur is also natural-looking, as was simulated by Canon. The lens comes with a dedicated, detachable hood.

CANON EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L USM


Heavy, sharp, stabilized and LOOOOOONG ‘pump’ telephoto zoom lens. My second ‘travel’ lens because it covers all my ‘long’ needs. When I was buying it there were several options on the market. Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 – NO soft pictures, Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS – too expensive, heavy and not sharp enough, Canon EF 70-200 f4 IS – razor sharp, light, plus IS – a perfect choice for someone with crop sensor. I own full-frame bodies so I prefer to cover extra range up to 400mm even if it’s heavy. These were my main reasons why I’ve chosen EF 100-400mm. I’m happy with it :)Description (from Canon): L-series super telephoto zoom lens equipped with an Image Stabilizer. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely eliminate secondary spectrum. The floating system also ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths. The Image Stabilizer has two modes and it is compatible with Extenders 1.4x II and 2x II.



This flash has very fast recycle time and saves batteries. I prefer natural light then I use it just as focusing light. But the flash MUST be prepared for each low-light event at least as a back-up scenario. I use it as creative light too. I think a good photographer has to know how to use the flash in both – manual and TTL mode because each of them has its advantages…Description (from Canon): Further development of Canon’s flagship Speedlite has led to the production of the 580 EX II. This is the premier Speedlite for all photographers, including professionals. Newly designed to match with the EOS-1D Mark III in terms of improved dust- and water-resistance, body strength, and the ability to control flash functions and settings from the camera menu (EOS-1D Mark III only). Other features include improved communication reliability through its direct contacts, and recycling time is both 20% shorter than the 580EX and is completely inaudible.
Yongnuo YN-560 Mark III - Not expensive but well working - no need of extra receivers

I use these flashes for some time now. They're cheap, manual and powerful - in reverse order. I've used them in combination with RF603 wireless transmitter on my Canon 5DmkIII and I've found this system better working than Canon 580EX II with infrared controller controlled via camera menu. This is definitely cheaper solution so you can upgrade power for the same money (with buying 4-5 flashes instead one) and distance or obstacles between camera and flash don't matter anymore. With IR transmitter you have to also wait a bit until IR transmitter is charged for a next shoot - with this system you don't. If you need TTL system - check this solution: Yongnuo YN-622C

What I really like is that I don't need additional receivers and annoying batteries in them (they are usually AAA size). With standard set (2pcs) of RF603 you can fire flashes from two cameras at the 'same' time - great for workshops or work with shooting assistant. As a wedding photographer I've used it this way. Now I have YN-560TX - read bellow.

I've heard a bit negative words about buid quality but it's easy=inexpensive to replace them, they are lightweight and power control is EXCELLENT... plus mine copies are two years old without the smallest problem.
Yongnuo YN560-TX Wireless Flash Controller - 5star remote to your YN-560 III

I've missed option to control output power remotely - but solution is here - and in the way I love. Plus it is as simple as using YN-560III flashes. Very intuitive and fast. You don't need to click many times to adjust power or turn dial wheel like on 580EXII - it was too slow for me.

It's a toy to set it, change any parameter and it never failed under any of my working conditions.
I had wireless trigger RF603 before - worked fine all it's life. Now they're updated by YN560TX.

Note: I didn't test firing flashes from two controllers with different settings but combination YN-560TX + RF603 works.

RoundFlash Dish Beauty Dish-Softbox 45 cm - Very very portable soft light but I like Firefly more.

Very very portable soft light but Firefly is better. Why? Check my review for Firefly II - 65cm version but in short 45cm diameter compare to 65cm is a big change.

Anyway it deserve 5 stars for portability and quality of produced light in a such small package. Design is too smart to be overlooked and price very reasonable.
Normally it pops up from it's yellow pocket, you zip the flash and it's done. Only improvement which I see is yellow pocket itself. If I can put my flash inside and hang it on my belt it'll be always with me. Maybe I have to search for another case because I can't fit it inside flash dedicated pouches and in my Thinktank lenschanger I have no more space left. I'm prime lenses shooter.

If you are for on the budget and looking for a small portable softlight source this is definitely one of the best options on the market nowadays.

Firefly II Beauty Box, silver, Ø 65 cm (FBO2 65) - Excellent small, portable soft light
In the title is everything about how I use this softbox. I'm wedding, editorial and lifestyle photographer and I need good soft light which is very portable. Size of light source is important for good quality of light, right? There are some compromises here as I can't walk on my assignments with 120cm octabox or something even bigger. I need very portable setup.

Fortunately Firefly II gives me similar 'octabox' results with it's smart design. Front diffuser has added a silver reflector from inside - against creating strong hot spot in the middle of softbox and this looks ideal to me as I don't need instal another diffusion layer. Generally it's very easy and fast to build it up.

I wish to add just a small pocket on its bag - for extra batteries. But it's big enough to I put inside complete firefly + 2x flashes YN-560 III + wireless controller YN-560TX + monopod as light holder/stand.

To anybody looking for well designed, well made, extremely portable soft light source - buy this one.
Jinbei M-1 Profi Aluminium light stand 132cm to 395cm - Superb 'C-stand'

I don't have a studio but I need some strong light-stand on a set from time to time. My criteria were solid build, usage as normal stativ, the best if it's compact - avoid problems with transport and bags. This isn't the lightweight solution but it's very very solid. I've found a bag long enough to fit it in, plus it came with some bags for additional weight.

So this is my winner and I'm very happy with this choice. I have also some manfrotto's but I love this one more.

Delamax 5in1 Faltreflektoren Set - 107cm Ø - gold, silber, schwarz, weiß und Diffusor - Briliant reflector.

I love this pieces of fabric. There are million ways of use a reflector for a photographer so if you are looking for one solid which can last you forever buy this one. Is well made, size is 'medium' = which I use the most for indoor and outdoor portraits. I have also a bigger 1x2m one but it's too big and heavier but smaller ones don't produce enough of light or the light quality is not as good as from this size. Simply they are too small.







Superb, stable tripod with rotable center column.Description (from Manfrotto): The 055XPROB makes the famous Manfrotto-patented horizontal center column feature even easier to use. By extending the column to its highest vertical position, it can be swung around to horizontal without removing the head or disassembling the column itself, so switching between framing and positioning setups is more convenient than ever. The ergonomics of the leg angle release mechanism and the quick action leg locks themselves have also been greatly improved.



Ball head even for panoramas, you can adjust friction and it has quick plate. Genial model.Description (from Manfrotto): This ball head has been total redesigned for better ease of use. A new design friction control knob allows the photographer to achieve superior control when handling the camera and making micro movements without having to totally lock and unlock the ball head. The knobs have been redesigned to be more ergonomic, easier to handle and more user-friendly. The ergonomic shape allows the user to better lock the ball securely. A repositionable Locking lever allows the user to place it in a comfortable position in order to use it in the most convenient way. Just pull it outwards, put it in the best working position and then release it. This model features a RC2 quick release plate including an additional safety system that prevents the accidental detaching of the camera from the head. The locking lever securely locks the head both in the +90° -90° ball positioning and in the 360° pan movements. With solid aluminum construction, this head is the ideal support for all traditional or digital small or medium format cameras weighing up to 17 pounds. This replaces the Manfrotto 488RC2.



Description (from BlackRapid): The BlackRapid RS DR-2 Slim Double Strap (Black) is worn around the shoulders and is adjustable to fit most photographers. It will carry 2 cameras or lenses vertically at the side. Two locking FastenR3 connect the straps to the tripod socket located on either the camera body or the lens. Once connected, the cameras hang upside down, resting securely at the side of the body. Detach half and use it as a single R-Strap. The RS-DR2 double strap fits men and women.

THINKTANK Retrospective Lens Changer 3 Black


If you need to protect your (not just expensive) lenses, carry a heavy bag a whole day without pain and it has to last next 100 years then there is only one option for you. I RECOMMEND it for everybody! You will be satisfied for sure and ThinkThank has pretty wide range of products. No wonder that professionals love them. When I saw them first time I knew I was looking exactly for this. Simply no.1I own LensChanger 3 for work and I’m going to buy Retrospective 30 for traveling. On the LensCharger I miss extra pockets for camera bodies now. Otherwise there is nothing to complain about.Description (from ThinkTank): Three Lens Bag features simple exterior, allowing photographers to inconspicuously blend into their shooting environment. The Retrospective Lens Changer 3 has three separated lens compartments for rapid access and easier storage. Each compartment can accommodate a 70-200 f2.8 with its lens hood reversed. Opening the zippered pocket on the back of the Retrospective Lens Changer 3 reveals a built-in organizer for pens, spare batteries, memory cards and other sundries.A small accessory pocket with a hook-and-loop enclosure is located on the front of one of the lens compartments. This a convenient place for lens caps, a cleaning cloth, or a Pixel Pocket Rocket memory card wallet. The seam-sealed rain cover for the Retrospective Lens Changer 3 is specially designed to keep the integrated shoulder strap exposed while protecting your valuable photo gear from the elements. A fully adjustable, canvas strap is integrated into each Retrospective bag. For extra comfort, a breathable cushioned pad slides along the strap for optimum positioning. Sections of non-slip material on the pad helps keep the entire strap on your shoulder. The “sound silencers” underneath the main flap are used to suppress the loud tearing sound hook-and-loop makes while opening and closing the bag. Simply release the sound silencer panels and cover the hook-and-loop strips to prevent the hook-and-loop from contacting. A clear business card pocket, for id



  • Kingston Elite Pro CF cards
  • Pantone ColorMunki
  • Filters, gels, etc…



HEROES & INSPIRATION- from my endless list


Joe McNally - living legend - master of Speedlights and Nikon

Zack Arias - not just a OneLight guru

Jeremy Cowart - the most influence photographer of 2014 - guess why

Brian Smith - celebrity portrait photographer

Joe Buissink - top ten wedding photographer

Jason Bell - terribly good portrait photographer