This is my review of the week-long intensive wedding photography workshop conducted by Jerry and Melissa Ghionis.
My photography education has consisted entirely of mentoring and workshops with the people whose work I admire, and practicing those lessons learned. Since 2007 I have invested well over $20,000 in more than a dozen workshops, from some of the most well-known photographers in the world. While some have been “eh”, most have been quite good. I’ve listed many of the mentors I’ve studied with elsewhere on this blog.
Jerry Ghionis and his beautiful, talented, gracious wife Melissa Ghionis listen. They listen to each participant’s needs and challenges and tailor their workshop & advice to those individual needs.
They are a well-oiled machine and run a very efficient, dense workshop.
They work incredibly hard.
They give tremendous value for your money.
The marketing critique alone is worth $2,000. After seeing their existing marketing materials, Jerry makes specific, smart recommendations to everyone.
Jerry teaches to all levels at once. Our group of 20 had some very experienced full-time wedding & portrait photographers, and some folks just getting started. Jerry somehow taught technique to all of us at the same time, leaving no-one behind, nor boring the more advanced.
I will never again avoid shooting with my clients in direct sun – Jerry showed us how to get shockingly soft light in the hardest light imaginable.
Jerry gave us a formula, a series of steps, guaranteed to improve each photograph you make, if you follow the steps: LLPEE.
Known as the “MacGyver” of wedding photography, Jerry taught us how to create the most gorgeous photographs in the most unappealing locations, e.g., a trashy back-alley in broad daylight.
Jerry taught us to slow down, be deliberate, don’t over-shoot, get the shot right, in-camera, then stop, move on.
Jerry and Melissa are wonderfully human and approachable. While rock-stars in our industry, they are very real, vulnerable people.
Jerry – whose albums have won more Album of The Year awards than any other photographer in the world (by a mile) – showed us one of his earliest albums from many years ago, that was so bad, and that incorporated so many mistakes of design and photography, that it humanized this Michael Jordan of Wedding Photography and gave each of us hope that we, too, can learn to become great and to create great albums.
Jerry gave us excellent, specific advice on pricing and all manner of business best practices.
In the personal one-on-one mentor session, Jerry gave each of us personalized advice on how we can immediately and significantly improve our income as photographers.
While I pride myself on my ability to use off-camera lighting on-location, Jerry gave me a great new respect for the power and beauty and professionalism of using direct and reflected sunlight and other available light, if used the right way.
Jerry introduced us to the art of posing – a task that most photographers find daunting and intimidating. We practiced and troubleshooted posing challenges over and over.
Jerry gave us dozens of practical methods to elicit genuine beautiful emotions from our clients.
Jerry was always honest in his critiques of our work, and always a gentleman, no matter how awful our work.
Jerry taught each of us how to critique our own work after the fact, but more importantly, he taught us to critique our work in the viewfinder, so that we make the shot perfect the first time.
Jerry & Melissa are incredibly generous in all ways – with their time, their attention, their financial resources, their invaluable experience.
You may have noticed, if you’ve looked at our blog or wedding portfolio or Facebook fan page, that our branding is changing. We’re mid-way through the change now. One of the many excellent suggestions coming out of the Jerry Ghionis workshop I attended last week in Los Angeles was an updating of our brand – a suggestion that Jerry made for most of the 20 attendees. www.FOGARTYFOTO.com will always get you here, but in time the new URL will be www.STEVENJOSEPHPHOTOGRAPHY.com. In the meanwhile, we’re sorry for any confusion during the transition.
After attending the outstanding Jerry Ghionis workshop in Los Angeles in July, my family joined me for a micro vacation in Los Angeles. We stayed with my wife’s brother & sister-in-law in Camarillo, and took in southern California all casual-like. Many photos to post soon.
For now, here’s a fun animation of my brood crossing the street near Hollywood and Vine.
A day at the beach, tourist-time down on Hollywood & Vine, celebrating Chris’ 29th birthday (again), spending more quality time together in 3 days than in the previous 2 years. To everyone who is waiting on product & photo delivery from me, thank you for the opportunity to become a better photographer @ the Jerry Ghionis workshop, and thank you for letting me become a better person by spending unfettered time with my family.
Photo courtesy of Do It With Love Photography, Ohio
We just spoke with a woman this morning who politely told us that she didn’t need professional photography because her “daughter is taking a photography class”.
When we hear this, we kind of cringe, because we’re pretty sure we know what’s going to happen, as illustrated in this photo.
We could build an entire class around the differences between the amateur photo on top, and the professional photo on bottom, and why the latter is so much better than the former.
Suffice it to say, there are lots of things that a professional photographer knows and is in control of that your daughter who is taking a photography class is not, including:
Metering the exposure.
Off camera lighting.
Position of camera.
Technical know how in using gear.
We realize that many folks probably don’t even see a difference between the amateur photo on top and the professional photo on bottom. And many who do notice a difference think the one on top is good enough. This post is not directed to these folks.
But I’m genuinely concerned about those folks who expect professional quality (like in the bottom photo) from their daughter who is taking a photography class, or from their Uncle Bob. You’re going to be disappointed.
It takes years to acquire and master all of the things that a professional photographer is quietly managing when s/he makes a great looking portrait for you. Your daughter isn’t there yet. Neither is your Uncle Bob.
For those people who want and expect professional results, my humble advice is that you hire a professional.
Las Vegas Wedding Photographers STEVEN JOSEPH PHOTOGRAPHY (formerly FOGARTYFOTO) creates classic, timeless wedding photography filled with real emotion, dramatic portraits, and unforgettable photojournalism.