The holidays are upon us, which begs the nagging annual question: what do you get the photographer who has everything or who wants stuff thats just too damn expensive?! Give the gift that’s always a hit – photography education! Allow me to be your guide to some of the best educational videos out there! Below I’ll take you directly past the ho hum, been there done that, and lead you directly to the gems the photographers in your life will love. I’ve personally vetted the following 10 video titles and online educational portals, and I’m here to tell you these training resources are the real deal. They’re not only the perfect stocking stuffers but they’re gifts that keep on giving! So put down that ugly tie and lets get started.

 

Language of Light V2
Joe McNally

McNally

Famed magazine photographer, author and educator Joe McNally needs no introduction. Following up on the success of his “Language of Light” DVD Joe and company are back with “Language of Light V2” and its every bit as enlightening as its predecessor. Strobist aficionados will rejoice as Joe walks them step by step through his thought process and the creative use of hand held flashes. During a series of compelling shoots Joe takes viewers behind the scenes teaching them about light, problem solving, composition, and image making. Topics include: using high speed sync, mixing color temperatures, flash and blur, athletic portraiture, lighting in a tight spot, group portraits, engaging with your subject, and many others. Tons of useful techniques, and tidbits are all presented in Joe’s inimitable easy going, self effacing style making this video worthwhile and fun. $129-$159.

 

Breed Master Class: Advanced Fashion Photography Lighting
Melissa Rodwell

Rodwell
Drawing on over 30 years of experience, fashion photographer and www.jointhebreed.com founder Melissa Rodwell presents her ““Breed Master Class: Advanced Fashion Photography Lighting” HD video series. With clients such as Ralph Lauren, Nike, Harper’s Bazaar and countless others under her belt Melissa speaks from real world experience, sharing the job winning techniques she uses day in and day out. “Advanced Fashion Photography Lighting” contains 22 unique lighting setups, each presented in depth using 3D video of the actual setup, video footage from shoots, walk throughs of camera settings and equipment, and a thorough look at the finished images. All setups are accompanied by audio commentary, written explanations, lighting diagrams and high resolution photos of the results. Topics include: three-point lighting with a beauty dish, using a beauty dish as a key with a stripbox fill, perfectly lighting a cyclorama, and combining backlit sun with strobes, among many others. If you’ve been longing to take your fashion photography lighting skills to the next level, this is the video course for you! $99

 

One Light 2.0
Zack Arias

Arias
“It’s time to stop taking pictures that suck!” So says Atlanta based editorial/advertising photographer Zack Arias in his new “One Light 2.0” training video. In over 7 hours of beautifully produced, in-depth training Zack covers it all, from photography basics such as exposure, shutter speed, and ISO to understanding how to work with strobes in the studio and on location. Go behind the scenes with Zack as he tells it like it is about gear, being a working photographer, and not sucking. See how Zack lights, poses and works with subjects during 3 distinct location and studio shoots. Zack’s no nonsense, no BS style of presentation is as refreshing as his content is on point! If you’re looking a complete, soup-to-nuts workshop with one of the top practitioners in the field this is it. Plus at just $75 for the HD video download it’s a steal!

 

Illuminating the Face
Peter Hurley

Hurley
After the success of their first collaboration covering headshot photography Fstoppers and Peter Hurley have once again teamed up to produce a 4.5 hour deep dive into all things lighting. Produced using 4 cameras to cover every angle and proportional modeling lights to clearly show the effects as lights change position “Illuminating the Face” leaves no stone unturned. Photographing the same models over a 6 day studio shoot Peter compares the images side by side, demonstrating the effects of classic foundation lighting patterns and must have lighting modifiers. Hard light vs soft light, beauty, fashion, edgy lighting, its all here and delivered in and Peter’s classic off the wall style. Applying a teach a man to fish approach this tutorial is way more than a series of lighting recipes and instead focuses on teaching you to understand light, lighting and the range of tools used to achieve professional results. At $300 it isn’t for the faint of heart but in my humble opinion, based on the content and production value, its worth every penny.

 

Artist Series Start to Finish
Joel Grimes

Grimes
If Photoshop compositing is your thing than you need look no further than advertising photographer, educator and undisputed compositing king Joel Grimes. Joel’s new Start to Finish Artist Series videos take viewers behind the scenes, demonstrating step by step, in the studio and his Photoshop workspace, how he creates his world renowned images. No stone is left unturned as Joel thoroughly and thoughtfully explains the hows and whys behind his images. His Motorcycle Composite video is a must see but don’t stop there, they’re all winners! $35 each

 

Complete Workflow Training for Lightroom 5
Kevin Kubota

Kubota
When it comes training there’s no one better than Photographer and Photoshop/Lightroom guru Kevin Kubota. In his new soup-to-nuts video download “Complete Workflow Training for Lightroom 5” Kevin covers it all – from getting organized, importing to exporting, leveraging presets, creating Smart Albums, editing quickly, and everything in-between. Born out of his wildly successful Workflow workshop series, these are the techniques that have earned Kevin legion of thankful followers. So come along for a laid back and humorous ride as Kevin shares the must have, time saving Lightroom secrets you’ve been dying for. Added bonus: it comes with over 100 or Kevin’s awarded winning Lightroom 5 workflow presets. $99

 

Photoshop Freaks
Calvin Hollywood

Hollywood

If you like humor, an irreverent twist and killer Photoshop techniques you’re going to love everything Calvin Hollywood’s Photoshop Freak’s website has to offer. In video after video Calvin shares the cutting edge techniques which have garnered him a cult like international following. Video classes ranging from awesome sharpening methods, skin softening, nailing that killer edgy look, and tons more are all here and reasonably priced. My personal faves: Gianna, The Power of Light, and The Power of Raw. $30 each

 

The Iceland Project: FASHIONSCAPE
Karl Taylor

Taylor
UK based commercial photographer and award winning educator Karl Taylor is back with a new course titled “The Iceland Project: FASHIONSCAPE.” In this double dvd tour de force Karl digs deep covering everything from complex on-location fashion shoots in Iceland to natural light best practices. As an added bonus Karl also demonstrates his stunning landscape techniques, creating a range of bleak, beautiful and primitive vistas. Always the consummate professional Karl covers the following topics in depth: pre trip planning, lighting on location, medium format vs 35mm, the thought process behind the images, detailed location information, working with models, pure landscape photography, fighting the elements, post production work, and Karl’s top pro tips for success. As a long time fan of Karl’s work and teaching I can tell you this course doesn’t disappoint. With over 4 hrs of in depth training this double dvd set is definitely worth the investment for anyone looking to step up their fashion and landscape game. $195

 

Learn from Joey L
Joey L

JoeyL
Fans of outstanding commercial photography, great lighting, and killer photoshop techniques are going to love what uber talented photographer Joey L is serving up at learnfromjoeyl.com. Joey is currently offering 6 high quality video tutorials covering lighting, post-processing and inspiration. Videos are beautifully produced with concepts clearly explained and presented in Joey’s insightful, inventive style. Go behind the scenes with this top pro and learn the techniques that have won him international acclaim. If you’re into learning from the best these videos are definitely are for you. From $0 to $30

 

Illumination 2: Urban Portraits
Damien Lovegrove

Lovegrove
If you’re not familiar with Damian Lovegrove you should be! The noted UK photographer and trainer is back with a sequel to his wildly successful Urban Portraits video series. In Illumination 2: Urban Portraits, Damien shares his award winning image making techniques in 25 beautifully produced video chapters covering speedlights, light modifiers and natural light. All of Damien’s videos are packed with valuable information and insights and distinguished by their high quality production values. Illumination 2: Urban Portraits is no exception. Be sure and check it out, and pick up the first one too, its a winner as well! 50% Discount Code: “eclipse” Normal price $125. Holiday discount price $62.50 (expires 26th December).