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I am not certain if the term training is a proper description of what we do, but it is a term many expect.


When someone unfamiliar with me watches me work, their first interest may be what camera, lens, f stop or ISO I am using. Sometimes they are surprised to learn that I am not shooting in RAW. This is a clear indication to me that we have a long way to go. Yes, these things are important, but they are secondary to working with the subjects. For most of our portrait work, the physics is either locked down or so automatic that we don't really think about it. Portrait photography is about people, much more challenging and fun than physics.


About forty years ago, in a trade journal, a photographer suggested that a new photographer should spend at least ten years working under the direction of an experienced pro before being turned loose on the public. At the time I thought that was excessive. Our training program at that time was about three weeks for some very basic portrait photography. Now I am not sure that ten years is enough.


Today our business has evolved and the types of work we do vary. Depending upon their previous experience, a photographer new to our organization may be able to handle some jobs on their own after as little as a week. But, our training is never done. That includes mine.


Our live training is all in the field or studio, working with real customers, not models. Although we have seminars where we get together and rip apart each other's work and even work with lighting set ups on each other, the real learning comes from working with the infinite and unpredictable variety that our customers bring.


Wedding and Portrait Photography is all about people not physics. Our job is to get people to relax, look their best and along the way we take a few pictures. The only way to progress in this skill is to practice and observe and to be observed and coached or critiqued. This must be done with real, unpredictable subjects, customers. Models, either paid or volunteer, are not the same. Learning in this way can be very expensive and much of the expense is born by the subject and the rest is charged to the photographer.


If I am shooting a large number of subjects with studio lights and background I am shooting at f8 to f14 and ISO 100 to 200. The ambient light in any setting may change over the course of the shoot and I don't want any effect from the ambient light to change the white balance. While we are at it I should mention that I am shooting large fine jpegs. I never use RAW when I can control the light. This does not apply to shooting with less controlled lighting. If this differs from what others teach in classes and seminars it may be because our goal is to serve the customers who pay for our products and services rather than impress those who attend our classes and seminars.


When you understand this you are ready to begin learning how to be a successful wedding/portrait photographer.




Training & Photographer Development


(800)631-6247 • richosness@earthlink.net
PO Box 1690 Sioux Falls SD 57101