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.
But I just returned from a week-long intensive workshop with Jerry & Melissa Ghionis in Los Angeles. It was hands-down the very best workshop for wedding & portrait photography I have ever taken. I wanted to share some of the reasons why.
- 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.
This is the best workshop I have ever taken.