I wanted to take the time to thank you. I enjoy your style of photography greatly, so much so, that as I am learning to be a photographer, your works have always inspired me. I also wanted to step out of my comfort zone here, to offer an unsolicited critique. The reason? I've ordered many of your DVD's, and seems like I've been a fan of your work, the moment I saw Mystique Magazine, back in the day. I wanted to give you an insight into how I "see" your latest DVD, Lighting 401: Classic Three Point Lighting.
Some quick background on myself; 51 year old male, in the last 5 years have been really learning about photography slowly. I had an old Canon AE1 back in the day as my first camera, now shooting with a Nikon D300. I use Alienbee lights. Have lived all over the world because my Father was a Pilot in the Army. I work in Biotechnology myself; Married to a Filipina now, which its always a reminder when I see a shot of Luana Lani. I am a semi pro photographer too, meaning If someone wants some shots, I'll do it, but, I shoot more for pleasure of the process, than for the money. (Model Mayhem #241458.
I like to be in Control too, so I rather not be influenced by a client, aka weddings and such. I don't really enjoy shooting landscapes, or architecture, or food, hence why I shoot models or wantabee models, because of the beauty, the emotion and the hope of one day, being able to consistently get great shots, to share their beauty to others.
So, if your still with me. My problem has been learning lighting, and being able to replicate it, on a consistent basis. It seems as I learn, there are levels to meet, because there is just so much to learn. I have to work at it, because I go to the School of Hard Knocks, and nothing comes naturally. It's why I feel I'm moving up to the next level now, thanks to you.
There are many styles of ways to learn. Myself being a stubborn learner, meaning I like to be shown, then do, and do it again and again, until it becomes habit.
As in your Video, on your "Marks Rant", talk about getting a dose of sensory overload on the internet, then add into the mix, all the Model Mayhem "Experts" geez, its a wonder I haven't tossed the camera in the trash..lol SOOOOOO frustrating. Now, if I was smart (remember, University of HardKnocks) I would have saved all my penny's and attended your private or group lessons. I just don't have enough penny's at the time or moment. (It is on my bucket list) lol Being a redneck, I have been learning on my own, but it takes the switch a while to go off in my head. That comes to your latest video.
I am actually starting to see the light, (no pun intended) Why its taken me so long I feel is the overload of information, trying to process it all and remember it, store it in my mind, then try EVERYTHING at once..lol What your video did, it turned on the bulb, it's the "Process" of seeing it. The steps in the process, "Conceptualizing the Light, Deciding the Mood, the Depth of shadows, field, and Quality of Light. It's this Process which is hard to learn. Example is, If I wanted to recreate a shot of yours, without knowing how many lights, or camera settings, how can I do it. Now, I know how to, to an extent, its to "FOLLOW THE PROCESS" If I am recreating, I need to follow the steps. It's really that simple..DOH (in my best Homer Simpson voice) If I look at a shot I enjoy, how can I produce the same quality of lighting, the process.
It's like following a Standard Operating Procedure, it gives it a flow to follow. It gives me a "Foundation" to build off. The frustration, was I could never fit the pieces into an order; I wanted to furnish the house, without hammering the nails in, to holding up the walls! So I could never get any consistency, no repeatability, in style or content.
All the good photography styles is due to this repeatability of consistency. It's how you know one from another.
I know I'm on the right path, its just now to keep moving forward, and stop picking up the pretty pebbles along the way that distract me...lol As from your other DVD's, the light bulb goes off when I hear I'm doing something similar, that you do. Creating a Story for the model to follow, setting the mood of the shoot, * now I'll be able to also set my lighting to the emotion of the shoot!! One of my angles to get a model to get into the zone is for her to 'Seduce the viewer' forget about all the distractions, and know she's safe to feel vulnerable, to the emotions she's feeling. Seems to work on some I know I wish I could pay for more experienced models and those who's beauty matches the vision in my mind. I see the model, really helps set the tone of a shoot too. Yet I'm grateful to all the Model Mayhem models who've come to help me learn too!!
Now that I've rambled on, the Critique, part. The only fault I find for me, is I need more visual stimulation to go along with the 'technical aspects' in the video. I learn by "Read, Write, and Remember" in turn, watching a lesson, I like to See, Hear and See again. Meaning. I like to see an Example of what we will be talking about First and then go into the "Process" and then show me again the example of the subject.
The first diagram was 12:21 seconds into the video, and the first photo example was 25:09 minutes into the video. For me, to learn better, is to show the Photo first, so when you begin to talk about the Fill lighting being 2.0, because its placed here and the rim light is placed here, I can visualize, as you teach. Then show the shot again, helps me to cement the lesson into my mind, gives me a place to compartmentalize it, so I can pull it back up when I need that information again.
I look forward to more DVD's, and being a Lifetime Member of Mystique Magazine online, lets me see the lessons more in-depth now.
Thank for taking the time, to let those of us, who are always striving to learn, and get better. So many other photographers have such a lack of social skills, or a lack of confidence that, teaching others, they fear of losing work or clients, but as in anything, its how creative you are, and how you treat others, will be how your remembered.
For me the best shot of the 4. I really like the soft light and the color composition of this. You always have the most beautiful models. And even if there is not a great chance to find a woman sitting like this in a rooftop garden nothing on this photo looks artifical.