Karl Taylor, a wonderful fashion and still life photographer from England who I'm proud to call my friend, has recently released a new DVD Masterclass called "Fashionscape" and he was nice enough to send me a copy to check out. I've finally gotten four hours to watch the 3 DVD set and wanted to tell you guys about it.
If you're interested in big-budget location fashion photography, this is for you. Karl walks us through the whole process from pre-production, to travel, to the shoot, and even some downloadable bonus material of his post-production and printing process. Soup-to-nuts as we say in America (actually that could be a British idiom too), and he's not afraid to show you when things don't go as planned. A forgotten adapter here, missing dresses there, cold winds and water mist everywhere, "Fashionscape" shows you how hard work like this actually is to pull off. This stuff is crazy complex and time-consuming.
Through-out the whole thing, Karl also gives a running commentary of what is going on in his head, whether it's doing exposure conversion math, discussing the amount of available light at a particular time of day, or explaining what he's trying to accomplish in a particular shot as they're setting up. He really goes a long way towards making you feel like you're on the shoot too, standing in the back like a fly on the wall.
For me, watching Karl's process is fascinating since in many ways he and I couldn't shoot more differently. While I carry a very small kit and typically spend an hour or more talking and shooting subjects who feel very uncomfortable about getting their picture taken, Karl gets to have all the the fun with the pretty girls and fancy Broncolor lights. Oh, I'm just kidding. What Karl does is just as difficult, if not more so. Watching his team work is like a window into a world very different from the one I normally live in. Every time they hit one of the inevitable snags that complex shoots bump into, I cringed and shared in the frustration the team must have felt. I've been there, trying to orchestrate a half-dozen or more models, wardrobe people, makeup artists, assistants, etc. It's equal parts photographer, film director, and dictator.
So, if you're interested in how the big boys do it and want to learn from the best, go check out Fashionscape. There are a loads of people out there with tutorial DVDs and online classes. Many of them are no more useful than what you can find on YouTube. When you see people like Karl doing great work like this, it really stands out. Bravo sir.
Full Disclosure: While Karl did send me a copy of the DVDs to check out, I just wanted to make clear that this is not a paid endorsement, just my personal impression.