SLR Lounge recently released their 8 hour workshop on Natural Light Couples Photography, which is otherwise known as engagement photography.
This is my review of the Workshop on DVD. While the following isn’t the order in which things are presented on the DVD, they are the things that stood out as I reviewed the course.
The Workshop introduces a new system of posing called “foundation posing.” They teach you that almost every pose can be achieved through modifying four basic poses. For example, one of their foundation poses is “The V-Up,” which has the couple create a letter V with their feet and bodies (see the left image below). From there, small adjustments to the head, arms, and expressions change the entire image. For example, the couple can glance towards each other, creating a different pose (see right image below).
Small tweaks to the pose, like having her look into the camera while he looks at her, continue to change the pose as shown in the images below.
These combinations of small adjustments are used to create hundreds of different looks based on just 4 basic poses. With this system of posing, you will not only have many poses to choose from, but also, you will be able to establish a flow during the session as you transition from pose to pose.
There are apps for phones and tutorials across the internet, detailing the many different poses that couple can use, but I’ve always found them hard to communicate to subjects. It’s easier to take these four different starting points and come up with variations from there.
Flash photography is something that a lot of people find hard, so I’m sure it comes as quite a relief to learn that you don’t need all of that expensive kit, to get professional looking results.
In addition to the posing, the workshop teaches some useful lighting techniques. While the workshop doesn’t teach flash, it does teach you every possible way to use a reflector (your new best friend). You’ll learn how to use the reflector as a fill light, main light, scrim, and gobo (go between object). These techniques will teach you how to fill in unflattering shadows, block out unwanted light, diffuse harsh light (ever tried taking photos in midday sun?), and more. Keeping the lighting setups simple allows the viewer to focus on the posing and the interaction between the photographer and the subjects in the workshop.
The screenshot below shows the lighting assistant using the reflector as fill light.
In the screenshot below, you see the reflector being used as a direct light.
In the image below, you see the reflector being used as a scrim to diffuse part of the light.
One of the biggest gems in this workshop is listening and watching the interaction between the photographer and his clients. After an in-studio portion on preparing for the session, the workshop goes through a live shoot, showing the images taken (and the settings) as they are taken. This live format gives the viewers insight into the interaction and overall communication used to create natural laughs and candid imagery.
If you’re shy or awkward, then this section will be invaluable to you.
Planning and Preparation
The planning portion of the DVD is the starting section of the workshop. It’s tempting to skip because, if you’re like me, you’re a bit impatient and want to get to the actual shoot. However, if you do watch it, you’ll gain valuable knowledge that will help you on your shoots. For example, one thing they emphasize is having your clients create a “moodboard.” This is basically a document or a Pinterest board with images that reflect the client’s style preferences. This is the backbone of the planning and provides guidance for wardrobe, makeup, locations, poses, and overall style.
Putting these boards together is fun and easy to do, and it really shows you go the extra mile, which ultimately produces better results. Clients notice these small details.
The image below shows a sample moodboard that they review in the workshop.
The bonus DVD shows you how to post produce the images taken from the session. You’ll learn the techniques you need to create professional, print-ready photos. You’ll also learn vintage processing techniques and a variety of black and white techniques.
I appreciated the inclusion of this section, as it made the education complete. A beautiful image can be ruined with improper post production, and teaching the right way to do it is important for any photographer.
A major and notable plus in all of this is the credibility of the instructor. Pye is a part of SLR Lounge, a website I’m sure you’re familiar with, and Lin and Jirsa, a successful wedding photography studio in Orange County, CA.
Their studio has thrived in a competitive environment and they shoot well over 150 weddings a year as a studio. In contrast, many other educational DVDs are taught by photographers who are no longer working photographers. Others are taught by photographers who are great instructors but simply aren’t that great with their photography. This DVD is backed by some solid credibility.
Honestly, it’s not often I include this as part of a review, but it’s really worth mentioning. I think the images further down this page speak for themselves.
I would like to have seen this workshop include instruction on Flash Lighting. Engagement photography is about more than just natural light and including this aspect would have been helpful for engagement photographers. However, I also realize that flash is probably an entirely different topic that deserves its own workshop so this is not a major gripe.
Here in not-so-sunny England, we’re much more used to overcast days, so I would have liked to have seen some more overcast photos in the workshop. Orange County has an average of 278 sunny days per year, so I guess you work with you’ve got at your disposal.
Also, it’s worth noting that this workshop plays from the computer (MACs or PCs) but not directly from a DVD player. But that’s nothing an HDMI cable to the TV won’t fix.
More Sample Images from the Workshop
Here are a few more images from the workshop. Each one of these is captured live in the workshop so you get to see how they are taken and what settings and lighting are used.
Overall, I really enjoyed this workshop and I recommend it as a photographer and an educator. If you’re a beginner or amateur, you’ll learn a wealth of information that will improve your overall photography. If you’re a professional, you’ll still learn a great deal from the methods, techniques, and tips in this workshop.
One of the biggest fears that amateur photographers have when they first start taking on clients, is not fear of the job itself, but fear of the unknown. How is it all going to come together? What are they going to expect from me? How can I over-deliver and make sure that my client is happy?
With this workshop, you see behind the scenes of an entire photoshoot – start to finish – and this will definitely help to relieve some of that tension and guide you through the process of taking on your first paying clients.
The course has only just been released, so the introductury price is $79, instead of $99. However, you can save an additional 10% off that price with my coupon code: expertphotog
Click here to purchase this workshop. At $71.90, I believe it’s actually under priced for what it teaches.
10%-Off Coupon: expertphotog
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