From first looks this appears an extremely comprehensive online photography course that provides plenty of information to the aspiring wedding photographer. The course has really rave revies, so lets find out if the course lives up to all the hype.
Firstly, a little background about myself to put this review into context.
I am not a wedding photographer (yet).
I have been a backup wedding photographer at a handful of weddings and I have edited thousands of wedding photos.
I have never been the main wedding photographer, but I have just booked my first wedding photography gig that is coming up in the next few weeks.
So in the context of this online photography course, I believe I fit into Creative Live’s target demographic of a near beginner aspiring to learn more about wedding photography and kick start my own business. I will be reviewing the course from this perspective.
You can view the course I took here.
- 1 Lesson 1 – Introduction
- 2 Lesson 2 – How To Define Your Photographic Style
- 3 Lesson 3 – Shooting with Intent: Romantic + Editorial Photos
- 4 Lesson 4 – Shooting with Intent: Natural + Fun Photos
- 5 Lesson 5 – Can a Shy Photographer be Successful
- 6 Lesson 6 – The Best Wedding Photography Marketing
- 7 Lesson 7 – How To Conduct A First Client Meeting
- 8 Lesson 8 – Preparing For A Successful Engagement Session
Lesson 1 – Introduction
The course begins with an introduction into CreativeLive and its growth over the past few years before handing over to the wedding photographer Jamine Star. Jasmine then runs through her history and photography with CreativeLive before jumping into a sort theoretical and philosophical discussion of wedding photography and her business.
It feels like there’s a little bit of fluff in the first lesson, but I guess that is sort of to be expected for introductory lessons where the foundations and expectations are laid for the rest of the courses.
Some may enjoy listening through the first lesson but second time around I’d skip the first 20 minutes. To me there’s too much talk and too little insightful information, actionable steps or clear takeaways.
At about 26 minutes into the first lesson she starts speaking about the different schools of thought with regards to pricing your wedding photography.
This was interesting and I enjoyed following through with this.
Don’t skip past here!
She shares the email she uses to navigate the discussion that invariably rises when photographers increase their charges.
The lesson rounds out with a discussion on selecting clients, being in control of your work and having confidence. Then a Q&A follows.
Lesson 2 – How To Define Your Photographic Style
The lesson starts out with an important discussion on developing a cohesive photographic style and something I hadn’t thought about personally. She explains that clients want predictable photography styles and they get this information from your portfolio.
This gets back to managing expectations of your clients through a well honed and cohesive photographic style. She then outlines five broad photography styles that wedding photographers might fall into and discusses each of these different styles in further detail.
I found this section particularly useful to reflect on my own style which will allow me to further hone my skills. She lists professional photographers that fall under each of these categories – this was extremely useful so that I now can snoop their pictures.
At 19 minutes she shares a ‘make a shot list’ that you can hand to your clients so that they can check the types of shots that are absolute musts for their wedding day. I found this to be a really great idea and one that I will incorporate myself.
The lesson rounds out with Jasmine giving some homework to get the photographer thinking about their style and the types of shots they should be taking on the wedding day. Again, I think this is a great idea to keep the viewer engaged and taking action to put in use the theory and ideas covered in the lesson. A Q&A follows which covers plenty of content and helps to clarify some points made throughout the lesson.
One suggestion for improvement of this section might be to show unlabelled photographs of different photography styles and start a discussion with the audience or have them guess which photography style they should fall under and why, this would help to get some engagement from the audience beyond the Q&A session.
Lesson 3 – Shooting with Intent: Romantic + Editorial Photos
This lesson drills into editorial photography with the intention of getting your photos published in a magazine, online or some other media platform. Jasmine gives some very valuable tips to keep in mind taking photographs at a wedding with the intention of submitting the shots to be featured in a magazine. Some key takeaways she shares are:
- Think of the photograph in terms of full bleed (either a vertical single page, or a double page spread – if shooting for double page don’t have the bride and groom centered)
- Avoid any kind of distractions in the background. These might be guests with odd facial expressions, bright colors or patterns that draw the eyes away from the subject.
- Have some negative space to allow the editor to overlay text
This lesson offers plenty of takeaways and I found myself scribbling down plenty of notes. It was great to be able to watch how Jasmine photographs the bride and groom and the thoughts going through her head at the time.
Furthermore, different lighting conditions are navigated as Jasmine touches on natural light reflectors, soft lighting and back lighting to create that dreamy ethereal effect.
Lesson 4 – Shooting with Intent: Natural + Fun Photos
Basically the same as 3, but organised around natural and fun photos.
Lesson 5 – Can a Shy Photographer be Successful
The whole lesson is basically premised around the idea that shy people tend to be awkward and awkward people are able to recognise and empathize with the awkwardness in others. This allows them to change their photography strategy to adapt to the situation and calm the nerves, and help the clients relax and appear natural during shoots.
Lesson 6 – The Best Wedding Photography Marketing
I have to say this was one valuable lesson. Jasmine takes us through all the strategies she uses to leverage the power of social media marketing.
One of the greatest takeaways from this lesson is:
Find ways to connect with the creative team prior to the engagement shoot and prior to the wedding and empower them to share your work. Not every one of them is going to share it, but that’s not the point, most of the time the creative team will.
Jasmine gives an example where she gained over 200,000 impressions with one photo that she shared with the lighting team the night of the wedding.
I think this lesson is one of the most important aspects of the course because it shows you how to grow and expand your business with one of the most powerful marketing channels – social media.
When you are able to get your work shared by other creatives and rack up plenty of likes and shares it becomes a powerful form of social confirmation and online presence which in turn will translate to converting new clients.
Lesson 7 – How To Conduct A First Client Meeting
I was a bit disappointed to hear Jasmine say how important it is to talk about the traffic (the five) during the first client meeting, but during her filmed client meeting she didn’t speak about traffic at all.
Jokes, I don’t want to hear about traffic.
The filmed client meet is another valuable insight delivered by Creative Live. It’s gives so much insight into how a meeting would run and a general play-by-play for someone like myself who has never been in a wedding photography client meeting before.
The meeting runs smoothly and shows you what a successful meeting should look like. Jasmine is aware of some of her shortcomings as she digests afterwards, most notably a bit of awkwardness, but when there’s a bunch of cameras pointing at you and your clients throughout the meeting I can’t fault her.
The meeting was really great at showing how to bring out personal elements in a discussion and ask questions to get the clients to speak about themselves. This is useful information to be used in future blog posts and writeups to be used when sharing the photographs from the wedding.
Lesson 8 – Preparing For A Successful Engagement Session
I’ve been photographing for 13 years and have a penchant for 35mm and medium format film. Black and white street photography is my go-to. My work has been featured in online and print media through a few publications like Shutterstock, Brooklyn Resource Mag, Off The Rails and Collective Quarterly.