ILFORD Monthly Photo Competition Winner | Kai Joachim Kokott


Featured on the website this month is photographer Kai Joachim Kokott, the winner in our ILFORD Monthly Photo Competition. His captivating photo opened the door to getting to know this innovative photographer from Germany.


Self Portrait
© 2013 Kai Joachim Kokott

Kai was kind enough to answer some questions for us so that we can introduce you to him and his work properly. One look at the photo he sent of himself let’s you know this is no ordinary photographer! With his business partner, Mirko Majchrzak, they collaborate to create amazing photos using various techniques including “light painting” and various other innovative techniques at FotoDesign-Kiel. Check out their website at and find them on Facebook at

ILFORD Blog: What got you interested in photography?


©2013 Kai Joachim Kokott

Kai Joachim Kokott: My motivation was to try different things in photography and in Photoshop. When I got my first DSLR I realized that this is a tool I would need to learn to handle. I bought many books and video trainings to learn. There are many directions I like to go in photography. I like to learn more and more about Photoshop and about design. I enjoy hearing from people about my work. It motivates me to get better and better!

IB: How long have you been photographing?

KJK: I’ve been taking pictures since I was a kid, snapshots at first, then more serious photography. Four years ago I bought my first DSLR and my interest began to grow into a real passion. Now I have a little studio at home and I have my camera with me where ever I go.


©2013 Kai Joachim Kokott

IB: Where was the winning photo taken? What caught your eye about the scene?

KJK: The winning photo was shot on the German island Usedom. I was on a photo tour. The weather was grey and a little bit stormy. I saw this little fishing boat and thought it would make a nice photo. To separate the boat from the background I used a very wide aperture.

IB: How did you “finish” it?

KJK: This is a RAW capture brought into Photoshop. I used Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 and the filter setting “tonal contrast.”


©2013 Kai Joachim Kokott

IB: Do you travel a lot?

KJK: I’m fortunate to be a sailor so I get around a little bit. I don’t travel worldwide but in the Baltic and North Sea. I’ve been to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, and I travel with my girlfriend in my free time… mostly in Germany.

IB: What is your favorite subject matter?

KJK: I’m interested in landscape, portrait, macro, and compositing. I often work with my photo partner Mirko Majchzak doing weddings, studio shots, and light paintings under the name FotoDesign-Kiel.


©2013 Kai Joachim Kokott

IB: Do you often print your work?

KJK: Yes, I do! I thing my pictures have a different effect when they hang on a wall under glass with a nice frame. I print my own work on an Epson Stylus 3880. I love this printer and by doing it myself I have full control over the settings and the profiles I use.

IB: Do you use ILFORD GALERIE Prestige inkjet photo papers?

KJK: Oh yeah! My personal favorite is ILFORD GALERIE Prestige Smooth Gloss. For showing all the detail in a photograph, this is my paper of choice. The ICC profiles can be downloaded from the ILFORD website making my print workflow much easier.


©2013 Kai Joachim Kokott

Kai also wanted to say thank you to his girlfriend Franzi, his photo partner Mirko, and all the people who understand his passion for photography. What a cool guy!

Congratulations to Kai Joachim Kokott! We’re so glad we met you through the ILFORD Monthly Website Competition. See more of Kai’s work on his Flickr page Find him on Facebook at

Want to see your photo at next month? Why not enter your photo. CLICK HERE to read the rules. We’ll be looking forward to interviewing you next month!

We found this cool video Kai and Mirko produced showing how they created the light painting “orbs” in the second photo above. Enjoy!