Paul Van Allen

Paul Van Allen

Having received my first camera for my 16th birthday, I have been trying to make pictures for more than 30 years. My first paying job as a photographer was right out of high school when I was a “staffer” for a sports magazine.  There I honed my skills in the photo journalist and studio aspects of the business.

I spent several years printing in a Professional B&W lab  before selling cameras in a retail store. Both jobs were a gold mine for learning the gear and techniques that make better images.  After 7 years as a camera store “geek”, I joined Nikon in 1994. My current job at Nikon involves helping people learn to use their cameras better. (I also help keep some of the major retailers around the country up to date with the latest Nikon cameras and tech.) Part of my job requirements is making pictures with all the current Nikon gear.  So, anytime I am awake, I probably have a camera in my hand and am trying to learn another new technique.

Photography has been a non-stop hobby for the past 30+ years… it has also been my job, in one form or another, for most of that time.”

~ Paul has held the position of Nikon’s National Training Specialist for the past nine years.

Joe & Mirta Barnet

Joe and Mirta Barnet have built and operated a successful wedding, corporate and portrait photography business in the competitive Los Angeles / Orange County area for the last 15 years.

Joe received his formal training in accounting, photography and photo communications from East Los Angeles College and California State University Fullerton. After college Joe co-owned a wedding, portrait and commercial studio in Orange County, CA and worked for the Orange County Register. He also worked as a contract photographer for the California Angels. For the next 10 years, Joe worked as senior corporate photographer for Rockwell International Aerospace Divisions, assigned to the B1-B and Space Shuttle programs. Following Rockwell, Joe worked as a freelance commercial photographer.

Joe and Mirta were married in 2001 and they have been shooting weddings as a husband and wife team ever since. They are known for powerful images that portray the chemistry, love and playfulness of every couple they photograph. Their style is “modern elegance”, combined with fashion, photojournalism and most importantly, fun. Mirta’s background is in Marketing, advertising and fine art. She manages all the post production, retouching, album design and customer service.

Joe and Mirta are committed to helping photographers achieve their creative and financial goals by sharing the business and artistic techniques that are key to a successful career in photography. Their goal is to help other photographers succeed while keeping the standards of our industry high and our profession respected.

Joe and Mirta teach wedding and portrait classes and workshops at their studio and at Samy’s Camera in Los Angeles. They also offer one-on-one training. Joe and Mirta are honored to have presented a Master Class at WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) in Las Vegas, for the last five years and serve as WPPI Print and Album Competition judges.

For more information about Barnet Workshops and helpful “Behind the image” posts, visit

Mohan Bhasker

My formal education made me a doctor, but the things I experienced while exploring with my camera made me the person I am today. I conduct photography expeditions all over the world for photographers of all levels, I have traveled and photographed all seven continents.

I am primarily a landscape photographer and prefer film as my main media.  I shoot primarily with medium and large format cameras.  While I shoot both color and black & white, I am very passionate about black & white photography and create silver gelatin & platinum prints in my darkroom.

Every image I shoot represents the true essence of the relentless and countless hours I have spent trying to capture and project through my camera lens.  The challenge that I often face is trying to find that perfect image that grabs not only my artistic vision but also provides me with an emotional connection with nature. When I encounter this vision, I know I have captured the perfect aspect of harmony. In every image, I offer a tribute to the uniqueness of the remote places I have visited, reflecting my appreciation of the beauty, history, and significance of each location.

I have published two books. Both books titled ‘Seven Continents’ one published 2012 and 2015. Visit my website at

Natasha Calzatti

Upon receiving her BFA in Photography from Otis Parsons School of Design, Natasha Calzatti, a photographer and digital retoucher, went on to shoot award-winning photography for THE NEW YORK TIMES, NEWSWEEK, PEOPLE and VIBE, and has been syndicated internationally. Her work is represented in many private collections and has been shown publicly in Los Angeles and more recently in Portland, Oregon’s Black Box Gallery, June 2012.

Simultaneous to her photography career, Natasha found herself at the cutting edge of imaging as it transitioned from the chemical darkroom to the digital darkroom where her abilities became increasingly in demand for magazine clients TV Guide, Marie Claire, Time Magazine, The Source, and Vibe as well as advertising clients Midas, MCI and Dreyfus.

In 2011, Ms. Calzatti was invited to The Getty Center to share her behind the camera experiences of Cuba as she presented an in-gallery exploration of A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now.

Today Ms. Calzatti divides her time between shooting assignments and lecturing on digital imaging issues both in U.S and abroad. You can see her current work at

Deborah Cloyed

Deborah Cloyed has 15-years experience as a commercial photographer, instructor, and author, in addition to many years in sales and teaching at Samy’s Camera. With Samy’s Camera Photo Camp, Deborah has combined her photography background with a love for teaching. She considers herself blessed to be able to help children find their creative voices, and never ceases to be inspired by her amazing students.

Gregg Cobarr

Gregg Cobarr is a world-renowned entertainment/celebrity and fashion photographer with over thirty years of professional experience. He has worked with such music industry clients as Columbia and Epic Records, RCA, Capitol, Universal and Warner Music. In the TV and movie industry, he has done work for 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures. His fashion photos have been featured with international fashion designers. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brooks Institute of Photography and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from California Institute of the Arts. Gregg’s work has been published both nationally and internationally in addition to numerous awards for his photography. He has had several exhibitions in Europe and the U.S. and has given Master Classes at International Photo Fairs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. His photography is in the permanent collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Gregg’s workshops extend throughout the world and he has a passion for teaching. His photography can be viewed at: and you are invited to email him with any questions to:

Hernan Godoy

Hernan has been photographing nature and the landscape in the California Sierra for the last twelve years and has been involved in the photographic industry for the past thirty years. Come join this award winning photographer
as he shares his creative spin on the modern landscape.

Laura Grier

Laura Grier is the Indiana Jones of adventure, travel, and destination wedding photography. A self-proclaimed jet-setter at heart, Laura has been a globe-trotter from an early age having grown up internationally with two parents that worked for the CIA. She graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Photojournalism and Art Photography and in 2003 founded Beautiful Day Photography, based in Los Angeles and specializing in destination weddings and events. Her ability to channel her storytelling into a chic, vibrant perspective, has made her a veteran International photographer, shooting weddings on 6 of the 7 continents. While on these trips, Laura felt an overwhelming need to tell the stories of the people and experiences she gathered along the way through her lens. This desire sparked the creation of her Travel and Fine Art website,, highlighting the behind-the-scenes of her photography and personal stories while jet-setting around the world.

Laura has been been published in over 25 publications worldwide and is presently a Tastemaker/blogger/lead photographer for Novica/National Geographic, shooting all of their catalog work, training their in house photographers around the world and shooting and filming their “happiness” philanthropic projects. Laura also teaches, mentors, and inspires other photographers through her travel workshops and through speaking engagements about her experiences over the past 16 years of being a Professional Photographer for brands like Canon, WPPI, Zenfolio, and CreativeLive. Follow her on Facebook at Laura Grier Facebook!

Mark Edward Harris

Mark Edward Harris’ assignments have taken him to 98 countries on six continents. His editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, LIFE, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Lonely Planet, Wallpaper, Casa Vogue, GQ Thailand, Money Magazine, Architectural Digest, Hong Kong Tatler, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine as well as all the major photography and in-flight magazines. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, Inside Iran, and The Travel Photo Essay: Describing A Journey Through Images. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the International Photography Awards. He is currently working on an orangutan portrait series “Eyes are the Window to the Soul” to help bring awareness of the issues between orangutans in the wild and the clear-cutting of forests for the production of palm oil.

For more info on Mark, visit his website:

Aaron Hoffman

Aaron Hoffman is a freelance real estate photographer. For Aaron, photography is a lifelong pursuit. Combined with an interest in architecture, design and construction, shooting real estate is a perfect fit and rewarding career. Teaching and mentoring fulfills Aaron’s drive to share and grow knowledge, experience and skills.

Aaron graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Finance.  After college, he moved to New York and worked in investment management and bond trading for twelve years.  In 2007 Aaron left New York for sunny and relaxed California, where he rediscovered his interest in photography and soon after launched his photography business.

For more info on Aaron, visit his website at

Bob Killen

Bob Killen is a nationally recognized Fine Art Photographer, Landscape Photography instructor, and artist. He is the Director of the National Park Photography Expeditions, President of the Mojave National Preserve Artists Foundation, a National Park Service Friends Group, a national speaker on landscape photography and an Adobe Certified Instructor. His thematic work explores Western Americana landscapes with a focus on man’s obsession to abandon structures, places, and things across a shared American landscape. His work is owned by collectors in 20 countries.

Brian Leary

Growing up in a house with a color darkroom and a father passionate about photography, Brian Leary was quite literally – exposed to photography from birth. With a love for hiking and all things nature he moved to the Seattle area in his early twenties and still calls it home today. Combining an exceptional memory with over a decade of experience in the retail side of cameras, he knows his way around almost every digital camera made. Brian spent nine months of the year selling cameras while on the side photographing weddings, products and real estate along with teaching photography to fund his insatiable wanderlust for the other three months of the year.

Brian has explored more than twenty countries and driven his way through more than two-thirds of the USA. During his travels the natural world around him and the cultures inhabiting it are the focus of his imagery with a strong passion for nighttime landscapes. As a full-fledged travel addict, Brian has had the opportunity to photograph everything from endangered rhinoceroses to the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet.

These days whether teaching one on one, in classrooms or through workshops in some of his favorite locations Brian loves sharing his technical and creative knowledge with anyone interested. He has a unique ability to take complex concepts and make them easy to understand. Still priding himself on in camera shooting techniques in this digital age, similar to the methods of slide film shooting, the majority of Brian’s images are created in camera on a single frame.

Scott Robert Lim

Scott Robert Lim is a certified master educator and has over 70 international awards to his name, including top Ten Most Influential, Kodak Award, World’s Top Wedding Photographers and has been a judge at many international photography competitions. His work has been published and viewed by millions all over the world and is a popular speaker on Creative Live- “Crazy Stupid Light”, “Think Like a 10K Wedding Photographer” and his latest “Portrait Fundamentals”. For the last decade he has dedicated his career to developing world class photographers on every continent and loves teaching photographers of all levels. He has an energetic and charismatic speaking style and is an industry leader in photography education.

Mike Monezis

Mike recently retired from a thirty year career at Canon, USA and brings his experience to Samy’s classroom in this three hour seminar.

Stan Moniz

Surf / adventure photographer Stan Moniz was a water baby at birth, raised in the quite surf town of  Waialua, Hawaii. He became a professional body boarder at the age of 18 and remains an avid surfer today. His passion for music brought him to Southern California in 2000 and after a very successful career in a professional touring band, he ultimately set his sights on his other great passion: photography.

In 2010, he reacquainted himself with his love for the ocean, adventure and capturing the beauty of the world we live in. Stan, now equipped with a camera, travels the Earth, capturing those timeless moments to share with the world.

Throughout his travels in and out of the water Stan has gained notoriety amongst his peers and clients as being a photographer that delivers and goes that extra mile. Stan has been a contributor and writer to an array of publications, websites, and to even cover of magazines. Stan is also an educator at heart giving back to the community of growing photographers. Stan currently teaches surf photography and astrophotography for Samy’s Photo School.

Art Ramirez

Art Ramirez has more than 32 years photographic experience in the fast-paced environments of newspaper publishing, wedding photography, pro labs, production labs, one-hour photo labs and retail photo stores. After majoring in photography in college, he began his career as a news photographer. Art worked his way up the ranks, starting as a part-time photographer, to chief photographer and photo editor for 27 Scripps- Howard community newspapers.

He photographed weddings before looking towards Hollywood and the movie industry, where he specialized in custom printing black & white and color images for the industry. Mr. Ramirez quickly moved from sales associate to manager of Wolf /Ritz Camera, where he realized he had particular skills for training both employees and new camera owners on the fundamentals of camera operation and photography.

In addition to his classes for Samy’s Camera Fairfax location, you can find Art in Samy’s Santa Ana classroom teaching Photoshop Elements and Digital Photography.

Art Ramirez resides with his wife Adrienne in Lake Forest, where they have been for over 20 years, and he is pleased to share his photographic knowledge with everyone.

Frank Schlegel

Frank Schlegel has been involved with photography for over 30 years. He has taught countless people the technical as well as the aesthetic principals of photography. His goal as a photographer and teacher is to keep photography fun! Frank’s workshops and photo walks challenge the “norm” and encourage students to explore the visuals around us. As Ruth Bernhard said ” If you are not willing to see more then what is there, then you won’t see anything”   Franks’ greatests influences are Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, and William Eggleston.

George Simian

I am a Los Angeles based commercial photographer with 25 years experience of providing services to Corporate and Editorial clients. Projects have included providing photography for annual reports, advertising and marketing materials, and magazine features, shot on locations around the US and the world.

I am also a photography educator who teaches at UCLA Extension (2007 Instructor of the Year), Samy’s Camera, and one-on-one. I lead travel photography workshops during summer, currently focusing on Bali, Indonesia, but looking to expand to other locations. In August 2011 I was recognized as one of the 13 Best Workshop Instructors, as selected by PDN Magazine, the Bible of the commercial photography industry.

George Simian was voted one of the top 13 photo instructors in the United States in 2011. Photo District News magazine recently announced the results of their readers poll for best workshop instructors and George Simian made the list.

Geraint Smith

Geraint Smith’s began life in the Rhondda Valley, a coal mining region in South Wales. He grew up there, and in Yorkshire, England. In 1978 he moved to Pasadena California and embarked on a life long career in photography. Today he resides in San Cristobal, New Mexico a village nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. His knowledge of the American Southwest, and in particular, northern New Mexico and southern Colorado is extensive. His awareness of nature, wildlife, back roads and haunts of the area is personal and informative. Twenty years ago he began guiding visitors and guests around the area and twelve years ago started the area’s first official photo tours offering personalized instruction in all aspects of photography. Geraint’s work has been published extensively in local, national and international publications. Join him in exploring places that are inspiration for his photography and experience all that this enchanting, mystical corner of the world has to offer, including fun!

Hartmut Walter

Professor Hartmut Walter started photographing birds and their habitats as a teenager in his native Germany. He continued his photo hobby while working in East Africa on wildlife conservation projects. He spent his professional career at UCLA where he inspired students to follow his interests in animal ecology and environmental conservation. He still harbors a real passion for birds. Since 2013 he has shared his photographic expertise organizing field trips on bird photography at Malibu, Bolsa Chica, Salton Sea, Santa Barbara and other sites near Los Angeles. He has an intimate knowledge of bird behavior and looks for photographic moments depicting action sequences and unique lighting.

Glenn Weinfeld

Glenn Weinfeld graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, with a BFA in advertising photography. He is also an expert in Sony’s range of DSLR’s and mirrorless compact system cameras. He will introduce you to full range of capabilities of the A7 system.