Finally. FINALLY!!! Four of my five books about photography are back in stock at Amazon.

While the end of 2013 was fun and calm and happy for the most part for me there was one little burr under my saddle. One scorpion in my cowboy boot. One little rattlesnake hiding on the floorboard of the pickup. Three of my best selling actual, printed on paper (soon to be collector's items?) books were out of stock at Amazon.com for the entire month of January. I thought it would get resolved quickly as in: more books printed. more books delivered by the distributor. more proactive retail braininess on everyone's part. But I watched America's most potent buying season fade, watched the Christmas trees get recycled and watched the Valentine's Day adds crop up in the stores and coffee shops and the website still showed:  "Brilliant. In high demand. But unavailable at this time."

So much for my careful financial planning and my resolve to be able to buy new track shoes for the boy this quarter....

But now, like a Super Bowl Miracle, four of my five books are back in stock (although in limited supplies).  If you didn't get one from the holidays and it's been driving you crazy then now is the time to rush to your keyboard and place your order. Maybe next quarter will be the time Ben will have more shoes....

Seriously though. I like to think that there's a lot more information and examples in each of the books than you'll ever get in one day long workshop and the price of the books is about what you'd budget for coffee en route to a workshop and happy hour afterwards. Each of them is under $25.

Please go and buy a book today. Even if it's nothing more than a souvenir of our time together here at the blog.  Thank You!

If there's a special camera you need to buy on Amazon you can use one of the links above to get to Amazon, navigate to your much needed camera purchase and VSL will earn a small commission directly from Amazon at no cost to your, your loved ones or your heirs. Thanks!

Checking in to see how my first course at Craftsy.com is doing.

Victoria. My model for our Studio Portrait Lighting Workshop at Craftsy.com

It was the middle of July, last year, when I headed up to Denver to do my first photography class with Craftsy.com at I was nervous, filled with trepidation and a little overwhelmed. I had been asked to teach a class on portrait lighting which I've done many times but this time I'd be doing it in front of two cameras with a microphone attached to my shirt and a radio transmitter stuck in my back pocket. 

I guess I assumed that classes like these, educational programming that would be streamed to the web, would make use of teleprompters. And, as most people here know I can write fast and fill pages. I'd have no problem producing reams of information I could have read back on a teleprompter. But Craftsy.com doesn't work that way. They like spontaneous. Maybe the producers there like to see the "talent" sweat a bit.....(just kidding) but they don't use teleprompters or traditional scripts. I worked from an outline that we collaborated on and put together weeks in advance. 

Most of the first workshop explores portrait lighting and I made the decision to use mostly continuous light sources as we could see the effects of the different lighting instruments as we worked along. 

The finished class runs about two and a half hours. I feel like I look nervous for the first few minutes but I later get into the teaching and everything smooths out. I've come to like teaching this way since it allows me and the producer to go back and try stuff again. It allows students to back up the video and go over parts again for more reflection. And the course is available to the student for the life forever. 

An interesting addition to the platform is the ability to ask questions about the lessons or about lighting in general, on the website, and get a response from the instructor. The best part of the overall value proposition is that, if you don't like the course you have a money back guarantee. Buy it, watch it, evaluate the value and decide. 

My profits from the course come solely from royalties for each class sold. Craftsy takes some risk, I take a risk. They put in lots of production and editing time, pay their crews and producers. I put in a days or preparation and three solid days of on camera production, followed by an hour a week of online "office hours" answering questions. 

You can think of this class in two ways. One is that you'll learn basic portrait lighting and posing techniques so it's educational.  The second way is as entertainment. You've been reading my stuff here on the blog for who knows how long so now you can put a face and a voice and body language onto this mostly anonymous writer and enjoy the contrast between how you thought I would be and how I really am.

Anyway, here's a link to the class for 25% off. I hope you'll give it a shot and see what it's all about. 

Studio Portrait Lighting

Thanks for reading through this brief marketing message.