I never intended to write reviews on my blog because, well, who the hell am I to tell you whether something is good or bad?
That said, along this journey into professional photography I’ve spent a lot of money and time trying to educate myself. Since I set out with this blog to be brutally honest about my journey I thought I would share some of my thoughts on resources, and maybe equipment, to save someone else a little of that precious time and money.
Anything I write as a review will be honest and fair.
I’m a big advocate for going to photography school and taking in-person workshops. You can read all the reasons why in a previous post.
But I’m also a believer in supplementing that learning with the wealth of information available online. Online tutorials are often (relatively) inexpensive and offer a chance to be on set with a professional photographer as they shoot a real job. This is an experience that is hard to come by in the real world; when’s the last time you saw Joe McNally advertising for an assistant?
I just finished Zack Arias’ DEDPXL Bundle which includes two video series and his Get to Work: DEDPXL Business Primer. The whole package is downloaded as zip files for $100 USD (around $137 CAD). I’ll speak to each one individually below.
Art of the Editorial: This video series is why I bought this package but I was actually a little disappointed with it. It comes as a three-part video series along with a file of sample images from the videos. Each video follows Arias on an editorial-style shoot; basically environmental/location portraits with a dash of food photography.
The videos are well done with lots of insight from Arias into his workflow. They offer a great behind-the-scenes glimpse into how he works.
My disappointment isn’t because the series was bad but rather because it didn’t show me anything I hadn’t seen before. As someone who is almost finished photography school and works full time as a photographer this series really just affirmed that I am on the right track, and there is something to be said for that.
I do think the series made me more mindful of a few of my weaknesses but I wish it had provided more insight into how Arias comes up with a concept for an image and why and how he chooses to shoot things the way he does.
One Light 2.0: This video series of almost seven hours of tutorials was a great surprise when I bought this package. Initially I thought I wouldn’t get much use out of this series but it was actually very entertaining and informative.
Over the seven hours and various photo shoots Arias does get a little long winded but it’s worth it, especially if you haven’t gone to photography school. Arias sums up a lot of the major theories and lessons that are at the heart of becoming a better photograph. Sometimes he does this better than my instructors.
At the core of the series Arias is teaching how to shoot with one light, hence the name, which is a philosophy I love and is great for beginners who can’t afford a lot of gear.
You can get a lot of the same information for free from a website like Strobist but I think his video series does a better job of showing the fundamentals of lighting in an engaging way.
Get to Work: DEDPXL Business Primer: This PDF download was another great surprise. It includes a 127-page guide to avoid all the mistakes we find ourselves in as burgeoning photographers. It also includes PDF samples of client estimates, terms and conditions, and monthly cost worksheets, to name a few.
Having taken specific photography business courses at school that were around $500 each, I can honestly say that this is well worth the money and then some.
You will still have to do a lot of research into your own market to understand pricing and legal business practices but this is a fantastic resource that includes nearly everything I learned in school.
Final Thoughts: If you’re an experienced photographer with all your business practices in place you probably won’t gain much from this tutorial series. But, while I’m a full-time photographer who is almost finished photography school, I still got a lot out of this series.
If you’re newer to photography and you don’t have the money or time to go to school then I would highly recommend you buy a copy of the DEDPXL Bundle. Make sure to buy the bundle rather than the individual tutorials!
You can find the bundle over at dedpxl.com.