Here's my big announcement: My two and a half hour course on Studio Portrait Lighting launched on Craftsy.com this morning. Here's the information page about my course on their website: Kirk's Studio Lighting Course. If you go there you can scroll down the page and find a two minute video trailer that gives you detailed info and gives you an idea of the production values Craftsy.com brought to the project.
But let me back up and explain this all a little better...
Craftsy.com is a relatively new company located in Denver, Colorado. They create online education programs on a number of different subjects. They started out making classes about crafts (things like knitting, embroidery, even oil painting) and they are expanding to include food and cooking, more fine arts and now photography. Their aim is to be the biggest and the best arts, crafts and all around education site on the web.
Craftsy.com is bringing in accomplished people in their fields who have written books and practiced their specialties for years and, with an accomplished crew of video producers, editors, and veteran camera operators, work with tight content outlines to produce well edited programs. The programs are constructed as a series of 15 to 30 minutes segments that move logically through the information.
The editors at Craftsy called me after researching my books and my blogs and asked me if I'd be interested in spending the better part of a week in Denver, working ten hour days, to create a program that shows people how I approach studio portrait lighting. From gear selection to posing to various lighting designs. I loved the idea.
The reason I loved the idea is that I've taught a lot of live workshops and I always felt that there had to be a better way to teach for both the students and the photographer teaching the class. A video workshop is a much better value for everyone involved. The students get to see the information with all the gaps and stop-and-starts edited out. It's much easier to keep the program focused and on task. Once the students buy a Craftsy.com workshop they can go back to it again and again to review concepts and to see details. Craftsy adds more value by having the instructors participate in a private online forum that's open to all the students of the class to answer questions about the material presented and to share information.
One of my last live workshops was a daylong event at the One World Theater in Austin. We had about 50 participants. Since it was a new space for us we had a few delays getting up and running. Even though we were in a big theater space it was hard for everyone to see and hear, in detail, what we were demo-ing. It's just not possible for 50 people to walk up and look into the finder of the camera or at the screen on the back... And once I finished a marathon day we were spent. We had no workable way to answer individual questions. No way to continue adding value.
With a Craftsy workshop the students pay $59 and they can watch the program they've purchased again and again. Forever. There is also a very active community around the workshops. When I explored their website I found forums, specific to each class, for questions and answers as well as places to for students and instructors to share projects with everyone.
When the team at Craftsy filmed my class they did it the way a professional crew would film a television show. They used two or three cameras for most scenes and provided both wide and detailed shots that made it easy to see exactly what I was talking about. And while it felt strange to wear a lavalier microphone for 10 hours a day the resulting sound is great. Much better than seat 5, row D at the live workshop.
You can go to the site and see how the program is constructed. I'm covering basics like hard and soft light, types of modifiers, color control, some posing and a lot of my favorite style of portrait lighting. I worked with a model named, Victoria, so you can see demos of how the lighting turns out. If you want to take the course you can do so without trepidation because Craftsy.com has a Full Satisfaction, Money Back Guarantee. If you don't like the course, if it's not your cup of tea, just ask for a refund.
I think the value proposition is great. The cost of the course, in my Universal Latte scale, equals just 13 large lattes from Starbucks (10, if you are in an airport...). And if you ever wanted to see what I really sound like then this is your chance to find out. I watched the entire program last night---for the very first time---and I really liked it. If you want to learn my style of lighting and shooting you probably will like the course as well.
Finally, the best thing about doing a workshop online is that instead of traveling around the country for weeks at a time doing live workshops I'm all done. Which means I'll be here blogging for you nearly every day instead of trying to get all my lighting gear in the overhead compartment of some tired jet heading for Des Moines... If you are interested in giving the Studio Portrait Lighting Workshop a try please click through the advertisement below (or, this link) and I'll get credit for sending you there. Big brownie points for me! I think you'll like the course. If you don't you haven't risked a thing. Thanks for your support.