Studio Lighting Essentials review

I recently won a copy of Marc Wallace Studio Lighting Essentials DVD set in a photo contest. I am really impressed by the DVD so I wanted to share my thoughts on it. Especially since I recently came across a discussion questioning the price of this DVD set.

I usually don’t read many instruction books or watch teaching videos. I’m more of a try-out-yourself guy. But that DVD and Marcs teaching has the potential to change that. I am really impressed by it. Since then I’ve watched a number of other videos by Marc and I must say he is an awesome teacher. Even the things I already knew get explained in a way that makes me think „wow you can explain it that simple?!“ Especially light setups are pretty new for me. So far I mainly used available light or a single flash and just started to explore the magic of modifying light to my needs. So the DVD came just at the right time.

The DVD covers pretty much everything to get started with portrait lighting. It starts off with a quick intro to all kinds of lighting equipment – flash heads, grids and all that stuff I wish I had at home. Marc continues to explain the basics of light and shadow. How to use light and how to modify it for our needs. Colour theory, white balance and colour management are covered as well. After that he goes into metering and how to adjust your lighting setup to achieve the effect you want. By that time we are already in the middle of the first lighting setup and Marc demonstrates a basic 3 light setup. To that point the DVD is so packed with information that I took a break to think about all the things I learned so far.

After Marc laid out the foundation for the rest of the course he shows over 20 sample setups. Trying to use them, practise them  will sure keep me busy for quite some time. Again all setups are very well explained. The results of each setup speak for themselves. After watching the DVD I had only one wish left (well two if you count the wish to buy some equipment ;-)) – some kind of cheat sheet / reference cards would have been nice. A sample picture together with a diagram showing the setup would make it easier/quicker to try things out. But I guess once I try the setups it gets pretty straightforward with a little practise.

To come back to the question if this DVD set is worth the money – hell yes! I dare say it is very helpful not only for portraiture. When you get started with studio lighting Marcs course will definitely help you get the result you want much faster. And considering the fact that most real life course are at least as expensive I can only recommend this course packed onto a DVD. The bonus of the DVD is of course that you can watch it as often as you like and rewind if need be (and I can watch it on my commute into office). So if you’re getting serious about studio work this DVD will help a lot get started. Sure you may find the info somewhere on the internet but most certainly not as complete, well organized and well presented.

Once the flash meter I ordered arrives I’ll start to turn the flat into a studio 😉 So check back for the results…

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