During my re-discovery of photography I came across a very charismatic photographer who produces a lot of YouTube videos about photography, a guy called Jared Polen. Jared isn’t infallible (his technical explanation of bokeh in one of his YouTube videos was quite confused) but he gives great advice in a wonderfully approachable and digestible format via his Fro Knows Photo site.
Jared has created a video guide aimed at people who want to move beyond taking photos in auto mode on their DSLR. I couldn’t find many reviews of it beyond posts in Jared’s own forum but decided as a post-Christmas treat to spend $67 (around £53 including VAT) on it and see what it is like.
The course is split over six videos. The first is the main tutorial. There are also four photo shoot videos where Jared talks you through what he is doing during actual shoots and finally there is a video about turning photography into something more than just a hobby.
The main tutorial video covers the following topics:
- Camera Modes
- Shutter Speed
- Aperture and Depth of Field
- Light Metering
- Focus Modes
- The Exposure Triangle
- An Actual Shoot
The great thing is that Jared is shooting photos and showing you examples all the way through. On-screen test is used to clearly display camera settings and other important information. It’s all very clear and understandable and well presented.
The final section where you are following Jared on a shoot is very informative and interesting and the focus of it is on dealing with changing light conditions and on the differences between shooting a static versus moving model. The exposure triangle is discussed in real-world terms and it is a great way of seeing how a photographer thinks and makes trade-offs between shutter speed, ISO and aperture settings.
The four photo shots are essentially expended versions of the shoot included in the main tutorial. They cover shoots where there is a static model outdoors, a child in a playground, a skateboarder in a street and a dancer in a dance studio. As with the section in the main tutorial they are very informative and packed full of useful tips and tricks and they really let you see how a photographer thinks. It would have been nice if a landscape shoot could have been included too but maybe he’ll do one in the future.
The final video in the tutorial pack contains information and ideas about turning photography from a pure hobby into something you can earn some money from. Jared also talks about evolving your kit and marketing your skills as a photographer. It’s all good, solid, interesting information and adds some context to what you are doing as a photographer and how you can help fund new lenses or camera bodies or even maybe turn your hobby into a career.
The video tutorials get a big thumbs up from me. They are fun, interesting, well presented and Jared’s passion for photography shines through. He’s a great presenter and his eccentricity adds colour and flavour to it all. If you’re looking to move on from taking auto snapshots on your camera to having much more control over what you are shooting and how you are doing it then I’d thoroughly recommend the videos.