As you guys know, Yanik’s Photo School is all about photography education through various tutorials, tips and tricks. But once in a while I’ll take the time to review off campus educational materials so that you may make a conscious decision about acquiring certain products.
Today is such a day. I’ll be reviewing the latest DVD tutorial package by famous pro photographer Joey Lawrence. After the success of his 1st tutorial DVD back in 2007 called Joey L Behind the Scenes, he’s back with brand new didactics entitled “Sessions With Joey L“. I’ll start off by describing the content of the DVD then I’ll give you my thoughts and critique on each section. Before I get to it, I invite you to listen to his promo clip just to put you in the mood….
What You Get
The DVD is roughly 4 hours long and is divided into 5 major themes:
– Lighting Theory
– Photo Shoots
1- Lighting Theory explores the way Joey defines his lighting style as well as enumerating what equipment he uses and how and when he uses it.
2- Photo Shoots brings you behind the scenes of 5 photo shoots with an insight on lighting and shoot management.
3- Business glimpses into Joey’s vision of building a successful career as a high end photographer.
4- Travel whisks you away to Ethiopia with Joey and his assistant and shows you what it takes to successfully shoot remote tribes.
5- Photoshop walks you through 7 detailed tutorials based on the DVD’s content.
What I think
Having seen his 2007 DVD, I was really looking forward to “Sessions With Joey L”. And I must say that I wasn’t disappointed.
The DVD’s look and feel is just as professional as any other high end learning product out on the market. I have the downloaded version so I can’t comment on the hard copy’s packaging. The design is clean, simple and visually inspiring. Navigation is user-friendly and clear. All videos are Quicktime. One thing that wasn’t visible was the control bar to pause and play the movie. I found this annoying since I could pause the movie just by clicking on it but I couldn’t get it to play again by clicking on it. I eventually found the invisible play button on the left but it’s so small that it was hit and miss. Maybe it’s a PC thing but the control bar doesn’t show up in both Firefox or Explorer. The movies are shown in 720 x 420 which I find to be perfect for desktops and laptops.
Having over 10 years adult teaching experience, I was pleasantly surprised to see Joey’s teaching skills. He is very comfortable in front of the camera and his elocution is clear. His though process is organized and he stays on subject. I had to keep reminding myself that this kid is only 19! If he gave live workshops, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up!
1- Lighting Theory: A very informative section that will please beginners and advanced photographers alike. I learned a few tricks as well! It’s not just about what he uses or where he places lights. He also touches on the “why” he uses certain modifiers or lights.
2- Photo Shoots: A nice add-on to the DVD that gives you a behind the scenes looks at how Joey works. It’s a great practical learning walk-through. Knowing what Joey has shot, I would have liked to see more high profile shoots but he probably didn’t have permission to shoot video tuts or use them for commercial projects. 🙂 I know 5 shoots is a lot on a DVD but I enjoyed them so much, I wanted more!
3- Business: I can understand why Joey added this section to the DVD because I’m sure he often gets asked how he managed to build his successful photography business so quickly and at such a young age. He gives a strong message that is inspiring to any amateurs dreaming of making a living with photography. But I was left wanting more. It’s the shortest section on the DVD and seems out of place compared to the 4 other sections. Maybe I would’ve called it a “Bonus” section instead of putting it right in the middle of the DVD.
4- Travel: This was my favorite section of the whole DVD. Maybe because I’m a nomad at heart and I can relate to Joey’s adventures but I found this section awe inspiring! Not just for aspiring National Geographic-type photographers but for any photographer that wants to achieve his visual dreams. I would love it if Joey would give talks on his world adventures. I’d be buying the first ticket.
5- Photoshop: What I liked about this section it that he based his tutorials on shoots described in the DVD. It added a nice continuity. I would rate the Photoshop tutorials as intermediate with some advanced stuff exploring things like blending modes and color correction. It’s interesting to see Joey’s perspective on certain Photoshop techniques that I have done here on YPS like using the Refine Edge Tool and Using RGB Curves.
I have to say that this is a great learning tool on many levels. It’s more than just lighting and Photoshop. It’s about a photographer who’s sharing a part of his life with you.
This is a well-rounded product that you’ll want to go over again and again. His vision on life and photography is refreshing and will put a smile on your face. It has a documentary style to it with Joey answering many of the commercial photo industry’s questions through his personal experience.
Is it worth the current promo price of $250? In my opinion… without a doubt. Even when the price will be at $299 on November 1st, it’ll still be a fair price for the quality and quantity of content given.
What would’ve been a nice added touch, knowing that Joey likes to goof off, is a bloopers section. But that’s just me. 🙂
All in all a great product produced by a great photographer! I strongly recommend it to anyone wanting to perfect their photography skills in Photoshop, lighting and beyond.
For more info and purchase options, click HERE.
Disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated or receiving financial compensation for this product. This review is based on my professional opinion as a teacher and photographer.