Usually, when six inches of white pow hits the ground, I strap myself to a board and see if I can avoid the ER or I fire up the ATV to plow the neighborhood sidewalks in hopes of getting fresh baked cookies from the old lady that lives a few houses down. The one thing that trumps these two hobbies of mine, is the wind. Today is one of those days where mother nature wins and I resort to hours post-processing a wedding or working on the business. To help pass time, I usually find an educational course that I can either listen to or watch on the side. The blizzard before this one, I watched Cliff Mautner’s, Shooting Around the Clock. Today, I put in Joe McNally’s DVD, the Language of Light. Below is a quick synopsis of both.

Shooting Around the Clock

I’m being honest here. I can’t recall a DVD or learning course that has been more helpful than Cliff’s. While he primarily focuses on wedding photography, the knowledge here applies to most any arena of photography. Rather than experimenting & explaining complex equipment/lighting setups, Cliff focuses on how to use available light during all times of the day. Being quick on your feet and knowing exactly how to shoot around or with the harsh sun can make you 10 times more efficient when your bride is rushing to get to her reception intro. Now, when I’m given a 30 minute window to make wedding portraits, I don’t fret, in part because I’m not fumbling with lights, stands and modifiers, but using available light and making it work well. Huge props to Cliff on this.


The Language of Light

Joe is one of the most iconic photographers of my generation. He has an excellent personality and approach to the industry that is really warm and welcoming for all levels. His DVD was well done and actually very helpful. However, it was a bit heavy on the studio work. A lot of his teachings involved multiple off camera light sources and big expensive modifiers. If you have access to these resources, there is a good chance you’ve already got the knowledge to use them. The principals are great, but Joe really should have down scaled his equipment usage in order to compensate for the average penny-pinching photographer.

The Verdict

If you’ve got $50 of gift money lying around and need something that will help you become a better, more efficient photographer, grab Cliff’s DVD. It was well worth the time and money.

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