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benjamindellphotography 9:34am, 15 October 2007
Is anyone else blown away by this kid? Unbelievable.

Anyway, not to undermine Joey's profit making, but I was wondering if anyone here knew of some techniques similar to the ones shown on his tutorial website.

The strobist ethic is to be cheap. I can't afford $250 to learn this stuff!!!

The site is at tutorial.joeyl.com/ .

Sorry Joey. Its just too much for me. I would buy chromasia for 20 bucks or whatever before I blow a load that big that can go toward a 580ex.
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(1 to 100 of 243 replies)
jeffegg2 12 years ago
There are many things to learn in photoshop. You can also join many yahoo groups that do photoshop to learn if you don't wish to pay for tutorial.
@MrCairney Posted 12 years ago. Edited by @MrCairney (member) 12 years ago
The techniques he uses are outlined in the contents of the DVD. He didn't invent them and there are hundreds of resources out there that cover them.

Just be warned though, the reasons why a lot of the photoshop works is down to his lighting...
This has some gems: dgrin.smugmug.com/How-To/143180
Kubus333 Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Kubus333 (member) 12 years ago
Ste C - are you sure it's his lighting?
There is the dodge/burn tool, there is a curve feature in PS, there is exposure, brightness/darkness feature...ahhh, you get the point. =)

Afterall, it's an "editing" tutorial, not a "lighting" one. ;)

Me personally, I'm not blown away by the stuff.
I'm more impressed with people who create incredible images with light and its manipulation.
madelien 12 years ago
jcub: whatever gets the job done. For me it's the result that count, and I don't mind if he did it in-camera or in PS.
alanofsac 12 years ago
Ever try the GIMP ? Much like PS but is FREE !!!

Here is a link or two, check them out The tutorial site links to a photoshop tutorial site


stk_ulm 12 years ago
Hum. I was stunned the first time I saw his images, and honestly, I am still impressed by them. Nonetheless, I find the original images rather dull, as far as lighting is concerned.

(No, I can't do better than him, my images are way worse than his)
aloof board [deleted] 12 years ago
The $250 price point is a bit high...seems like it'd be a better price for the Strobist Community. I'm not trying to be cheap...I just have to pay for my Student loan this month.
righteye 12 years ago
i would say that his work is very good of course, but why would you want to make your stuff look like his. I think we all have our own style and look even if we ourselves dont even know it.
He also has alot of photoshop stuff going on in his photos like lots of layer masking and some heavy vignettes, not to mention some high sharpening.
I think that his work is quite well done. Remember, his thing is recovering images that sucked and making something out of them. That is a useful and beneficial learning experience. His work would be what I call "Extreme Makeovers", but that certainly has its place. If you are interested in that level of Photoshop, it seems like a good product to me.

I think that the argument between in-camera/lighting and harvesting/photoshop is kind of moot. Achieving the image is the most important thing, and for some of us lighting is crucial and for others Photoshop ends up being the tool of choice.

Most of the winning images in the recent CA Photography Annual in Advertising were extremely photoshopped. I don't think that picking up a learning tool would force you to shoot or process like him, but learning the basics can help you see what you can do to create your own look.

One last thing. I continually see in posts the attitude of "Why buy it when you can get it for free.?" So when someone starts whining about how the prices of photography are being attacked by guys doing it for free, we'll just laugh... right? Or does it only apply when it gores our ox?
Tanya210 Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Tanya210 (member) 12 years ago
@ JCub : Why?

I have to chuckle at all the "sour grapes". I have no problem with people not liking a particular style or not, we all have our pesonal preferences....but when the disdain (for lack of a better term) is for how the image is created, rather than the final output, I find it very pretentious.

As for the price of the DVD....the perfect selling price of an item is the price people are willing to pay. And pay they will ;)
strobist 12 years ago

All due respect, he is in total control of the process, beginning to end. He is simply shooting the files he needs to create what he wants in post.

I have spent time talking with him and I have been through the DVD material several times. His success is not luck, and it is no fluke.

He shoots for the cutting-edge, too-cool-for-us publications and bands, but this stuff will diffuse into other genres pretty quickly, IMO.

Think Aaron Jones in the 80's. Only, this kid has the creative horsepower to be more than a one-trick pony.

Seventeen. Sheesh.

I do not want to make images just like him. I simply want to improve my photoshop skills. He seems like he has some good/advanced techniques to learn to get the ball rolling.
Celtic Shadows 12 years ago
A lot of these techniques and styles have been in the fora for a number of years, what he's done is re-define some of them.

I teach Photoshop, and a lot of the images seen here are very easy to do... Many just take a bit of lateral thinking and a bit of know how on how PS works. Selective colouring and grunge effects tutorials are readily available on the Gfx boards/websites as is free hi-res brushes. Also look up Andrzej Dragan, he started a lot of this technique.

As to $250 that is a bit steep when you can get Lynda.com/Total Training/Software Cinema DVDs for far less. Even Photoshop Top Secret is $80 less than this, and comes with 4 DVDs many of tutorials has similar ideas/techniques.

Good luck to him as he has a creative gift.

Remember photography is more about marketing yourself than taking the shot... Though it helps if you can produce the goods ;)
BoxCarPhoto 12 years ago
anyone else in his age group that's utterly depressed, because they lack the resources to achieve what he has....? sigh. it's articles like this that make me really wish i had the money to go digital, sooner.
aloof board [deleted] 12 years ago
@ CSD_Images.... I'd agree

If our goal here is to have fun and learn then that's all we can ask for.

I think that people like JL learn what David teaches us and then they go and develop their own styles...which is what were suppose to be doing. If we want to produce work just like JL then we should pay $250 for his latest and greatest so we can be just like him.

I remeber paying $130 ONCE for a pair of Air Jordans so I could play basketball like Michael Jordan. I could see myself in my own imagination being just like Mike, but for some reason it never worked out for me?

I suppose there is really is nothing new under the sun, but if everyone can learn to approach what they have passion for with different thinking then, I suppose they will have the next innovation that everyone wants to learn how to do.
LightsCameraAction 12 years ago
Tanya210 has it right. $250 is the right price if people are willing to pay - and plenty will. And if David's business model was different and getting Strobist was $250 lots of us would pay it. In fact, David charges close on that for a one day seminar and we all battle like crazy to get places on those, even having devoured Strobist already.

Some people just have that god-given talent to see things differently than the rest of us and David and Joey certainly fall into that category. An insight into the way they see things is defintely worth paying for. How much, of course, is what makes a market. Not sure if you have the same ad campaigns over in the US, but over here we call it the Stella Artois pricing model - Reassuringly expensive!

Seventeen, though. Amazing, simply amazing.
aloof board [deleted] 12 years ago
We can discuss this more in this group here:

Celtic Shadows 12 years ago
One question we should be asking ourselves, well two:

Why does he use that style? What I mean is what is he trying to convey in the post processing let alone the image. Remember PP work is to enhance the story telling of any shot... Though these days it's often more about how to do plastic surgery!

Secondly why are we aping him? Should we as artists be trying to find our own style? By copying we are not really creating art.
**Paul_Benjamin** 12 years ago

He has the creative vision to produce the type of digital paintings (and let's not beat around the bush, that's what they are) that are selling, good luck to him....

To say he is an awesome photographer is completely misleading however...
craig_glaspell_photo Posted 12 years ago. Edited by craig_glaspell_photo (member) 12 years ago
trying to checkout with this darn DVD, I want the directdownload, but it takes me to a checkout page for $249, I thought direct download was $299?
Someone send me an email stiksandstones[at]gmail.com if they got it figured out how to check out.....AND if you buy the direct download is it SAME dvd as the hardcopy he sells??

I get so flippin tired of hearing people bitch about what stuff costs....I own a designer clothing boutique and have to hear it all day, then come here and read same crap-get over it people, don't buy it if it costs too much for ya.
strobist 12 years ago
The DL is $249 until Oct 21st.
craig_glaspell_photo 12 years ago
his checkout page sure loads like crap in safari!
LightsCameraAction 12 years ago
he's only 17, by next year he will have mastered cross-browser development...
disastrous toes [deleted] 12 years ago

Don't worry about not having a $2500 camera and a bag of primes. Joey used to use a point and shoot, and still got some pretty good images - he could take better pictures with an intro-level DSLR than many people could with the 1Ds MkII, because he has the eye to do it.

Don't let money (or lack of) be your excuse for not accelerating your own talent.
Strobist et al:
I love this guy's work.
He is very much in control.
What I meant to say was that he shoots images specifically for the Photoshop process. I have nothing at all against that and feel it is as valid a way to shoot as any. Image harvesting and re-combining is an art that we will see a lot of in the future and I love it.

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.
1RoseHill 12 years ago
What's really impressive is that he has the gumption, maturity, discipline and raw talent to pursue his own vision. His style of photography is not necessarily my cup of tea but it obviously suits him and his clients.

Personally I think rushing to learn to be like someone else or execute in that person's style hinders your own creative development. I'm sure there are easier, maybe cheaper ways to learn photoshop - if that's your intent. But if your goal is to produce his style of imagery then by all means.
secretive power [deleted] 12 years ago
The kids work is what it is. You either like it or you don't.

As far as the photoshop stuff goes..there are literally tons of "free" resources on the net. The price being asked is no different however from many "so-called" pros that ask $1500 for a seminar and share very little info. I know there are a few that actually share in the strobist mentallity but there are also many out there that do not.

Go find the info and do-it-yourself : ) Rah Rah Rah
I think it is vital to learn how others did it. In photography school you learn about Adams, and Weston and Penn. In music school I had to learn all about Mozart and Bach... even though I would never write music like them.

I think that his price of $300 is a steal. He is a working, down in the middle of it, doing it daily shooter. His insight alone is probably worth the price... the techniques he uses could be extrapolated out to about any thing you want to do.

When someone like this offers a glimpse inside, it can be invaluable. And it is hard to find the working shooters who let anyone see what is behind the curtain.

He does have a unique style... and that is what makes the offer to watch even more impressive.
righteye 12 years ago
if you want to learn photoshop then his dvds probably are not your best route. They would be advanced. You would be better off with lynda.com or just getting a good book on the subject.
good luck
simonse15 12 years ago
there are some kick-ass images on his site - in the photojournalism section in particular. to suggest its all down to his photoshop skills is misleading. as they saying goes, you cant polish a turd.
try the flickr group. "The Photoshop Support Group"

lotsa stuff he does can be found there, ya just gotta do a search first but if ya cant find it, just ask. this guy isnt teaching anything new, im sure its all here if you just look for it.
Oh, i wanna go on record of saying i am a fan of Joey's so im not being sour when i say its nothing new that he does, its all here on the net and guys have been using these tools for years now.
craig_glaspell_photo 12 years ago
Does kinda suck that the 'videos' on the DVD are already on youtube....o well.
coltpics 12 years ago
Ditto what Wizwow says... It is a steal! The amount of time spent getting to a certain level of success is worth much more. Take a College level photography course and see what that sets you back versus this straight to the point approach. Steal. The Kid is very good. Can't take that away from him, his success speaks volumes. The Final image is what's important not how you get there or what tools you used.
I'm buyin' one. Definitely.
I liked his little demos and looks like I get to watch a kid who is younger than the kid dating my daughter doing something I love. Damn. gonna have to buy a whole passel of Corona's for that.
msknight 12 years ago
I've been reading all this with interest.

I bought Dean Collins' DVD, it taught me foundation stuff at a reasonable price, and I feel that he has given me the starting point. A firm understanding of the A from which I can travel to whichever B I want to go to.

I watch the demonstrations and tutorials that come off various magazines with photoshop techniques and stuff and I find I am then put at point B. There is little of A and even less of a journey ... in fact, it feels like it is someone elses journey. I just end up with a mimick of what they are producing.

I'm not knocking this young mans skill and tallent; I'm genuinely envious; but can someone who has seen the DVD tell me how much this has springboarded their own creativity please?
BoxCarPhoto 12 years ago
ExNihilo, i'm not using the lack of thousands of dollars of equipment as an excuse; rather, the fact that since i have yet to go digital, i am afraid to experiment, because the film i like isn't available locally, and is expensive (for a 'starving student' budget). i'm trying to save to get a pentax k110d, the cheapest DSLR i can find that seems to be what i like (similar ergonomics to the minoltas i use, no antishake, legacy lenses, etc etc). the minute i can fire off over 50 pictures, and be able to instantly see what i need to correct is the day i won't be so depressed. but, while i'm still trapped in film, i'll be depressed. lol
aloof board [deleted] 12 years ago

That's true the cost of a college course even contiuing education is pretty expenssive...this is good practical info....and knowledge is power
aloof board [deleted] 12 years ago
@ lightscameraaction

True that JL will have great success and make money selling his DVD....but if it weren't for the David's business model 'freely give and freely receive' information help lesser known businesses like MPEX grow and prosper with him.

To make a long point short with the following David has here on Strobist....David can post anything on this blog and it will turn to gold. If JL was hot before the post on Strobist ....then now he will be RED HOT.

David's business model will work out better in the long run because I think as his base of Strobist followers gets larger and larger it seems like he'll be able to influence a company like Nikon.

Well sorry to ramble.....
concerned nest [deleted] 12 years ago
I'm with Wiz and coltpics - His price is an absolute steal for what you get. It would be worth the money just for the actions and textures, without the insight in to a working pro's post routine...something you're lucky to find at any price.

Definitely a better deal than the time spent sifting through all the photoshop tutorials on the web (most of which are amateur crap).

I'm getting one too...and I rarely shoot the kind of stuff he does.
Chad Simcox 12 years ago
boxcarphoto Try searching Craigslist in your area if it is available. You should be able to find some good deals on used DSLRs.

That being said, I think learning on film is important. It helps you understand exposure and latitude of an image, how to get lighting ratios correct in camera and teaches you to not just shoot and see if it comes out. This makes you more careful in shooting your images.
Plus the darkroom experience gives you skills and helps develop your eye for making corrections, burning and dodging, color balance, etc. You can then take those skills into the digital world and properly use photoshop as your darkroom and then further develop the look of your image using techniques that are either impossible or impractical to do in the darkroom.
**Paul_Benjamin** 12 years ago
Simonse: I'm curious how many 'photojournalists' are allowed to use mulitply layers, dodging and burning and vingetting on their images??
disastrous toes [deleted] 12 years ago
I understand re: not having digital to experiment... although with my current digital setup (SLR/c) chimping takes so long that it is almost like shooting film anyway - I sometimes go 60-70 frames (i.e. an entire shoot, almost) without seeing the screen once. Film is a good thing and a bad.
gewitterkind 12 years ago
hmmhm. i'd have expected a bit more than 2 hours. then again, maybe i'm spoiled by the dean collins DVDs. and with the current euro/dollar exchange rate...
aloof board [deleted] 12 years ago
@arron2005.....I don't think that some of the posters viewd Chase Jarvis's awesome presentation....

'Turn that frown upside down' C. Jarvis

I'm so grateful for technology because less than seven years ago, I was wondering if one day I'd be able to put together a small 'analog' darkroom....enlargers...chemicals....etc.

With the advance of technology, I now have my own digital darkroom capable of doing more than I could of ever imagined.

Just think with a decent Mac, decent dslr (D70), older version of Photoshop (CS), you can create images that people only used to imagine creating.

Should we be hardcore and keep using pencils....just because that's what all the great authors used in the past and spite the marvels of modern day Word Processing.

Seems like change is inevitable and sometimes we have to embrace it.
Wow. Thanks everyone for their input. I just want to clarify...I don't want to be like this guy. I just need somewhere to learn advanced techniques...not simple stuff like "the burn too" etc.

I will check out the sites you guys listed. I appreciate it.
fwertz 12 years ago
DVD's sure can provide hands on learning, but so can--

Good tutorials

Good luck.
Crantastic 12 years ago
while studying the classics are beneficial to us mere mortals, real visionaries are radical. They forge new molds for us to scamper at their tracks.
Don't confuse this kid with a photographer. He is not.
He is a creative explosion and right now he is simply experimenting with the media he has at hand. He says he likes the challenge of smaller strobes. Wait until the day he realizes his imagination has no limits and gets the budget and the fortitude and assistants to go all out.

We might be calling him an artist one day, if he can emerge from the commercialism of his industry.
mortonphotographic Posted 12 years ago. Edited by mortonphotographic (member) 12 years ago

"To say he is an awesome photographer is completely misleading however..."

I don't think that's a fair statement. If you go into his site and see some of the before pics, I would think you and, anyone else for that matter, would agree they are awesome even without the post processing.

JL has an eye. He chooses incredible backgrounds and settings, setups great scenes that are interesting and puts some very nice light on everything.
prickly lace [deleted] 12 years ago
IMO the download is worth the price. There's a lot of information, laid out and explained really well, and the intro and outro are pretty damn funny to boot..

I do a bit of work with bands and they want what he's doing, so for me it was an easy justification to purchase it and it'll pay for itself some time this weekend when I shoot with a local metal band..
fumbling cat [deleted] 12 years ago
I personally think it is much overpriced. There are much better tutorials out there for less the money.

If you want THE Joey Lawrence look, buy it. I won't :)
Mozella 12 years ago
".............i would say that his work is very good of course, but why would you want to make your stuff look like his. I think we all have our own style and look even if we ourselves dont even know it. .............."

There are plenty of reasons to learn how other folks do stuff. Trying to copy a style is an age old teaching technique and has served me and countless millions of people well. When I was learning to cook Osso Bucco I first tried to exactly duplicate a recipe I read in a cookbook. When I was learning to be a fighter pilot, I tried to exactly duplicate the procedures used by my instructors. The first boat I built was built exactly like the plans. Likewise, the fist time I tried a Photoshop layer mask, curves adjustment layer, etc. etc. it was by following a tutorial to the letter.

Now, of course, I have my own style and way of cooking, flying, boat building, using Photoshop, etc.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy the DVD and see what it has to say; however, I expected to see a price of around 35 bucks. My "choke-but-I'll-buy-it-anyhow" limit is fifty bucks for something like this. So it looks like I won't be a purchaser anytime soon.

Was it Ben Franklin who said, "Experience is a dear school but a fool will learn in no other".

disastrous toes [deleted] 12 years ago
IMO, the best way to get good at photography is to try and copy the masters. It does NOT mean that you will end up with a cut and paste style - because you will learn HOW on the way, and use it to develop your own style.

This is somewhat how I learned location portraiture... I enveyed another guy a bit older than me who's work rocked, tried to aim for similar, and ended up accidentally teaching myself a whole lot of PS. I never did figure out how to copy his style, because I have my own now.
disastrous toes [deleted] 12 years ago
All these "JL is not a real photographer" comments kill me.

Apparently neither was Ansel Adams, cause he went into a shoot planning a lot of extra post processing.... Pushing development, burning, dodging, blah blah...

Whoever decided that an image had to be the final product in cam was a hard head.
gregbrophy 12 years ago
I personally like his work. All the people that ask about the Dave Hill style or Jill Greenberg style, well it is pretty much in this tutorial I am guessing. Similar to what Tim Tadder had posted. Lots of mask and selective highlighing. I also don't think it is too expensive.

Conisder what most of us pay a year in books and magazines to get tips and tchniques. I bought the lynda.com videos a while ago about retouching for photographers and I thought it was great. Now I need some more advance techniques and I expect it will cost more. This isn't just your basic dodge and burn with a softlight layer.

As for the photojournalist comments, I don't know if I would consider it photojournalism so much as documentary photography. Maybe even travel photography. Both of which can be photoshopped if they person wants.

As for his ability as a photographer, photography is not just about lighting, but also composition and creativity. I see both in his work. I can't imagine what he will be doing 5-10 years from now.
@MrCairney 12 years ago
I can't imagine what he will be doing 5-10 years from now


(the type you buy popcorn for)
@MrCairney 12 years ago
Oh, and if anyone does buy this, a review would be cool.
strobist 12 years ago
FWIW, I have a full review coming later this week -- most likely Thursday.

Funny you guys mention Ansel Adams. His process struck me as a latter day Camera-Negative-Print thing. Only way different.
American Peyote 12 years ago
I bought the tutorial and like it a lot so far. There's a review on my blog for those who are interested.

JoeyL Tutorial Review - Behind the Scenes
prickly lace [deleted] 12 years ago
Good review AP.. I'd agree with what you've stated as my own findings are pretty much the same..
eduardo_frances 12 years ago
I think there is certain criteria that has been rooted on the strobist way of life that is to choose wisely how to spend cash, the kid is a great photographer, but I don't feel compeled to learn how he does photoshop to his images cause that doesn't suits my style of shooting at all, for 250 bucks No thank you.

I find more attractive to invest in Luminous Landscape's video tutorials that are reasonable priced like "from camera to print" (six hours and 40 minutes) for 34 bucks and "lightroom tutorial" 5 hours of people explaining each bit of lightroom for 14.00 bucks now those are the kind of videos I want!.
IShootMusicians 12 years ago
My gut feeling is that Mr. Lawrence may ultimately regret charging such a high price for this tutorial. Soon the price will be $300, which is much higher than the typical charge for downloaded material.

Purely hypothetically, let's guess that he sells 1,000 of these for $300 each. That's $300,000 gross.

But could he sell 3,000 of them for $150 each, grossing $450K? In other words, could he (1) make more money and (2) not seem quite so greedy, all at once?

I'm interested in the material, but the most I would pay is $99. $299 (or even $249) is out of the question; I'm trying to set aside money to buy a Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye lens.

Best wishes to Joey! I just turned 60. When I was 17, my income was $10 a week as a church organist.
Ivan Makarov 12 years ago
American Peyote
Thank you for the detailed review. Interesting point of view.
quackator2000 12 years ago
This kid is doing exactly the right thing. He uses the appropriate tools for the job, and he always has a vision about the final product. Too many shooters pay no attention to what the product shall finally do. His images are meant to be stunning, transport emotion and that's what they do. Yes, I know the ethos of people trying to capture everything in camera. But that's often sour grapes, because they can't copy what he does. I also try to do everything in camera to the max possible extent, but that's simply because every minute not spent in postprocessing is time that I can use for selfmarketing or shooting the next job. And also I am more fond of lighting and shooting with people rather than sitting alone in front of PS.

The few words David lost about his technique were enough for me to find out how he does it, and I tried a quick shot while shooting a CD cover for a soul singer in a mixed Greenberg/Hill/Lawrence setting. Yeah, I can do it.

Will I do it very often? Not too likely, because people usually book me for a different style. But I'll put one or two samples into my book. Back in the 80ies everyone had to have crossprocessed images in the book. Few clients booked that, but if you didn't have that, you were not state of the art. Same here. Have a few Tadder/Greenberg/Hill/Lawrence samples in your book and you'll qualify for the bigger game. No need to ape them, but adapt their techniques to your work without making it a scheme. Greenberg is a scheme to me, and I'm curious to see what (if!) she will come up with once that fashion is over. Maybe the art sales circus, as blind as it is will keep on buying. But maybe not. Time will tell.

naturalblush1 12 years ago
people..people..clam down! let the man do what he's got to do. i would be happy to be half as good as he is...especially at 17.
FWIW, I applaud him for not overly discounting this. He has set what he thinks is a fair price, and sticking with it. I would suggest you compare something like this to a full-day workshop, or a two day workshop, and those run $500-$1k+, not books or magazines. (I know David's workshops are less expensive, and I'm in no-way taking a shot at him here, but we all know he could charge 10x what he does if he wanted to).

cunparis 12 years ago
I'm really impressed and I'm debating if I want to shell out $250 for the videos. Someone mentioned they are on YouTube but I only found 2 videos posted by JoeyL himself. If anyone else buys them i'd be interested to see how you like it and if you're able to apply the techniques to your own photos.

As for the price, some people are complaining. I think he priced it high so that everyone in the world won't be using this technique, which would make it next to worthless. I myself have been following tutorial after tutorial of dragon, david hill, etc. and all I get is frustration. Hours of practice with Photoshop and I just don't get it. If Joey's tutorial really teaches this stuff and explains it then I think $250 is a good deal.
Visual Reserve: David Bean Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Visual Reserve: David Bean (member) 12 years ago
i gotta be the lone voice on this.

i'm greatly dissapointed by his decision to do this. photographers spend years developing our own techniques only to have a 17 year old sell them on a dvd for a measly $250 (which is DIRT cheap to have someone do all your homework for you, even allowing you to skip years of self-discovery.)

I can just imagine that half of the people here's work will start to look like joey's now, instead of following your own path to your own style.

his decision to do this shows his young age.
Jeff Archibald 12 years ago
@ Visual Reserve:

I respectfully disagree. I think that, in today's age, we need to accept the sharing of information. Maybe it's free, maybe it's not. Maybe it's formalized, maybe it's not. Regardless, with fingertip knowledge abound and the quickly growing cyber network, to try and hide methods and practices is akin to resisting change. Resisting change will not bode well for anyone, nor foster a positive culture in the photography community.

Perhaps his decision DOES show his age; an age of forward thinking and open-mindedness.

My 2 cents.

if he cares about his legacy as an individual, original photographer he's about to throw it all away with a million copy cats using his techniques that he gave away. he will just be one of many.

if he just wants to get rich, then it was smart of him.
Visual Reserve: David Bean Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Visual Reserve: David Bean (member) 12 years ago
also, you say:

"to try and hide methods and practices is akin to resisting change."

SO does that mean that all the companies that have spent millions on R&D should now just give up all their secrets since we live in some "new cbyer-age?" Hardly.
@MrCairney Posted 12 years ago. Edited by @MrCairney (member) 12 years ago
This might sound odd, and I don't want to start an argument (unless I win) but from reading his site and the interview on Strobist, I get the feeling he's not too arsed about photography. He's a film-maker trapped inside a photographers body.

At the same time I don't mind that. I'm a woman trapped inside the body of a man. photographer trapped inside a graphic designer. With film-making underwear.
tsheets 12 years ago
I also think Joey is great at what he does. I remember him posting tutorials on specific images on dpchallenge a couple years ago. As others have said, I think he goes in with a vision and makes it happen. I am amazed at the skill this young man has.
Jeff Archibald 12 years ago
Joey has already made his name; if his DVD spawns 'copycats', I don't think it will impact his name or business at all. If his 'competitors' are just that - copycats - then they won't last long. The creativity of what he does is what sets his images apart; his post-processing etc is just a step in that. Joey will keep progressing and the people who just copy him will not.

Also, buying the DVD and learning a few things from it doesn't necessarily mean that's the only type of photograph you're going to produce from then on. You can learn and apply bits and pieces to where it fits into your own specific work and style, imo.

I can see where you're coming from with regards to R&D. I don't think the 'sharing of information' argument works across every platform. However, I am a proponent of it in photography. It helped me progress and I'm grateful for that. Thus, when someone asks me about how I do things, I will tell them - I'm not going to hide it in fear that they're going to steal my clients or make me obsolete.
Also, I think copycats will be seen for what they are.

Personally, it's fun to try and duplicate what people do really well, it helps me learn, and grow my own skill set. Joey's work, like any book I read or class I take, provides just another skill that I then put in my pocket and make my own for when I need it. Rarely do I straight out "copycat" someone's technique anyway, but I do often incorporate what I've learned as part of my creative process.

Darien Chin 12 years ago
Lots has been written, too much for me to read here at work. There seems to be a debate goinz onz about copycatting work. It is nice to be original, yes...but if you think Joey came up with all this on his own, you are sadly mistaken. Hardly anyone comes up with anything...all on their own. There are always other contributing factors

"Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing." -Salvador Dali

Joey became famous mostly because of his draganized pictures. Please note that while he has developed his own personal style, he is not the originator of the draganized photo. That would be the Polish photographer named Andrzej Dragan. Joey just added onto that. There have been FREE tutorials on the web for the last couple years...so I don't see any issue with him asking for some money now.

I invite you to check out Adrzej's work at: andrzejdragan.com/
quackator2000 12 years ago
@cunparis: Photoshop alone is not the thing. You need the light in the right place first thing. Unless highlights and dynamic range are where they need to be, there's no way of saving/correcting that with Photoshop unless you handpaint/create it pixel by pixel. So - this really *is* a complete process from lighting, shooting over to postprocessing.

@visual reserve: I never believed in keeping things secret. After all, nothing in photography is really complicated. And it strikes me that many of the best photographers have at the same time been teachers. Saint Ansel, Dean Collins, Monte Zucker - and now David Hobby, Chase Jarvis and not to forget Joey Lawrence. Kudos for his balls and his unique ideas.

If some of you worry that someone else will blow you out of the water once you reveal how you did $something, then there's probably not much original substance in your work. Remember Chase Jarvis saying "Who has seen pictures of ninjas? And who has shot golfing at night?" *That's* what counts. Not the steps they take in Photoshop to complete their work.

Have some original ideas and there will never again be fear left when you share how-to's.
pretty soon it will be free for download off the net... watch, youll see.. ya cant sell anything nowadays!!!

Seriously, im sure almost all of this stuff is already posted here on flickr.. check out and join some of the great PS groups here.. save yourself a buck or two for more lights!
Visual Reserve: David Bean Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Visual Reserve: David Bean (member) 12 years ago
@Quacktator200, those of us full-time pros are not worried about copy-cats blowing us out of the water.

we're concerend for the whole future of all things creative. i've seen countless times, over and over and over, people blatently copying people (myself and good friends included) and it just wears on you after awhile.

do we realy want to breed a the new generation of photographers to not think for themselves? i've literly seen people recreating the EXACT same photos as others and passing them off as theirs.

people may not do that with joey's but why is that when people don't want to share their secrets that they've worked years to perfect, people act like they are unfeeling and paranoid. you seem to be making this assumption.

I started a group on Flickr to help people with photography questions, I contribute to many photo forums, mainly giving not taking, I've trained all my assitants from the ground up and allow college students and practically anyone who wants to come on my sets and observe anything they want.

BUT i draw the line at my post work becasue I want to have some part of my work be exclusively mine and not be copied so easily. Post work is a style and an art all to itself. It gives the photo a unique personality all it's own. It's like the signature of an artist on his work making recognisible and personal.

I'd like to hear the name of one pro shooter who gives or sells their post-process techniques away to anyone. besides joey that is. we're not paranoid, we're just value the craft too much to do that.

Everyone needs to stop wanting to be the next Dave Hill (great guy BTW) or Joey and be themselves.
benjaminian 12 years ago
i agree with visual reserve (really good guy) on many points. who wants to see the same post-work on a million images? --- i love seeing original images.

of course the product will be devalued if there are a million copycats. that's just normal "supply and demand" ideology.

99.5% of the copies will be pretty poor (as seen on the dave hill threads), but, the flood of copies still devalues it somewhat.

i'd rather see a bunch of new post-processing ideas. and better than that -- take the time to figure out my own style.

i do think, tho, that cream always rises to the top. i've not seen one Hill wannabe match the quality of his imagery -- on a consistent basis or even on a few images. it's not just lighting. it's not just PS-work. it really is an art. it's the creativity / ideation / setup / preparation / hard-work / instinct behind the process that sets him apart. in addition to the meticulousness and quality of his post-work.

on topic of joey l... great to see a young guy so talented. i wonder how many official copies will actually be purchased. with today's web attitude of "everyone deserves to know --- for FREE", i'm sure there will be a million people offering / sharing / torrenting unofficial copies, or making their own plagiaristic tutorials.
Visual Reserve: David Bean Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Visual Reserve: David Bean (member) 12 years ago
One more thing BR-Digiphoto said that Joey was being "greedy" for charging $250 for this.

PLEASE for the love of all that's holy, how is joey being greedy by selling his secrets? First off, if the dvd is any good, this information is worth way more than that.

Secondly, Joey doesn't owe any of you his secrets. He's under NO obligation to tell you anything. So the fact that he's doing it for any price is generous. If you feel you're "entitled" to this information you are not alone. This thread on Jeremy Cowarts (anoher great person) flickr page made me crazy.


Gearhart states:
"Apparently he can't tell anyone how it was done. Hope that answers your question.
Lens? Postwork? Film? Digital? No Exif? Seems like it’s a mystery.
It is a cruel joke that those with the most talent are willing to share their insight least."

First off Jeremy is a super nice guy who I repsect. Secondly, this person Gearhart seems to feel like Jeremy "owes" his exif data and postwork to anyone who wants it.

American ingenuity was built on creative innovations and hard work, not on thinking people owe you their ideas.

Napster ruined this whole generation by making people think intellectual property is free for the taking. Ideas are the only thing we as humans can truly own.
To those who think that 'giving' his technique away is wrong cause it will lead to a spate of copycats: Two words: Ansel Adams, "The Camera", "The Negative" and "The Print"... oh and the countless workshops that are being held all over the place, and the myriad of books on techniques and styles... come on. (Ok, that was more than two words, but still)

It doesn't happen. I think that anyone who expects to buy a $300 DVD and be a threat to JL or anyone else is simply deluded. If you think that it is a lighting scheme, or a Photoshop action that gives this young man the ability to shoot like that, you are so far off the mark. It is talent and practice and vision and practice and trial/error and practice and feedback and practice. Oh yeah, takes a lot of practice too.

David gives away tons of information on this site and his blog, I do it all the time as well at my site... I do not see any DH or Wizwow clones popping up. Instead I see photographers who take what works for them, extrapolate out and begin to work on their own stuff.

Teaching is the greatest thrill I have ever had... (oh, and shooting Briana... that's up there as well...). My excitement comes when a student lights up and says..."Wow... I got it. I see what you mean." And then they go and do something cool with the technique or lighting.

Bottom line though is that little pound of gray matter that lives between your ears. I don't worry about anyone copying my style, hell, come to a workshop and I give it away. I know they cannot copy me... all the little things I see and decide in a split instant because of my experience, my personal style and my vision of the world.

I think JL is a genuine photographer who has become a sort of phenom (some of which is due to his age), and those are the people I want to learn from and associate with. I cannot agree with anyone who denigrates a successful photographer by saying they aren't really a photographer. One reason is that it is an incredible insult to the people who are actually hiring them... and insulting future clients is, well, stupid. If the AD's at Adidas think he is a photographer, well... there you go. It really doesn't matter what I or you or anyone else thinks... he is.

Every successful photographer I know was an assistant once to a photographer they admired. That didn't result in clones, it resulted in a richer pallet of photographers who are out there to astound us and make us smile or cry...
triebs2 Posted 12 years ago. Edited by triebs2 (member) 12 years ago
@Visual Reserve

Artists should just be themselves, and not copy others?

Whether that statement is a moral truth or not is impossible to prove, but history plays out much differently. All of the historic schools of art are based on artists "copying" and working with each other. Whomever "created" pointillism or cubism had a great idea, but it was only made into great art when different artists kept refining each others' ideas and techniques. Also, these schools developed because the marketplace supported them.

Right now we appear to be in an era when photography and graphic artistry are meeting, through technology, to form these images and the marketplace is eating it up. JL takes much from DH who takes much from others, etc., etc.

I hate to break it to you, but you can either share your techniques or have people backwards engineer them. And some of them will probably improve on your techniques, leading the genre to a new level. (Until the marketplace gets sick of it and goes to something else). Why not take advantage of the current market and sell your techniques for $250 a pop? Eventually the information will be freely available and easy to find (even now it can be had with some hard work), so you might as well take advantage of a brief opportunity to make some cash now.

The real "idea" people with intellectual property to protect created photoshop (and its copycats). Everyone else is just using the tools provided. Sure, you can get really good at using those tools, but that won't make you the next popular photographer/designer.

I can learn what techniques Picasso used in his paintings, but I sure as heck cannot paint like Picasso, no matter how much his DVD cost.
@Triebs2, you said: (Until the marketplace gets sick of it and goes to something else.

Exactly, and how long will it take people to get sick of joey's style once everyone who buys, borrows or steals his techniques it?

As much as I like Dave Hill, his work has gotten so copied that every hard rock music mag is littered with imitators. That style will die out faster than others due to the oversaturation of it.

like i said, postwork is different than going to a lighting workshop. it's your personal stamp.
quackator2000 12 years ago
Hmmmm..... I rather stamp my images with original vision and by being able to show something nobody else could do before I did. Years ago I asked a girl about a photo shoot. She had a beautiful face that had never in her life seen any make-up. She agreed rather hesitatingly, but she agreed. I sat her in front of the mirror and applied some make-up. Smoky eyes.....

She was in and out of heart attacks.

Seeing the first Polaroids (I told you, it was years ago) she almost fainted. The day after, she raided the local make-up-artist-supply-megastore, invested hundreds in MUA gear and today she is a very successful professional make-up artist.

Another one was a bartender in a local discotheque that I often shot pictures in. Actually I was sort of their crew photographer. I took photos of her and then lost contact. Years later I met her at a very high class fashion show that I was hired to shoot. I asked what she was doing there and she told me she was hired to do the make-up of the models. Wow. She added that it wasn't until my photo shooting with her that she realised that one could charge money for make-up.


So - the thing is: Make a difference. Influence people.
And give away what you know. Nobody can copy you completely anyhow.
benjaminian Posted 12 years ago. Edited by benjaminian (member) 12 years ago
good discussion here.

if you were a vintner (winemaker) would you buy the 20 acres of prime wine-growing soil? or would you tell others where to set up their own vineyard...

i agree with visual reserves earlier comment about corporate R&D... they spend so much time and money on a technique / invention to patent something unique. They don't give it away freely. The gov't sets limits on holding / owning patents, so, eventually it's up for grabs.

however, i know that it is helpful to the creative community to share / teach / engage. that may spark advances in art or whatever creative field you are in. it also appreciates the fact that I myself have been handed LOADS of information over the years that have influenced my technique and process -- and in turn I do the same.

i much prefer tho to teach an apprentice or a few people that put in as much hard work and are committed to working with me, than just giving everything away to anyone--sometimes ingrates that get ticked off that I won't take my post-process, "action" it up and hand it to them.

then again, there are things i don't mind handing off, just as general know-how. in nashville there is a design / creative community that vis. reserve and i have been in for years --- amazing the amount of counsel, guidance, constructive criticism that he has provided in that forum.

yes -- make a difference. influence people. give away what will help spurn others to grow and become better artists. that doesn't have to mean everything.
Celtic Shadows 12 years ago
It's amazing the contrast between Joe releasing his tutorial DVD and the release of Mark Monciardini's Photoshop Top Secret.

PTS got critical acclaim from the community and has generally been well received. Difference? Price and value for money.

Both are artists, both give us keys and insights. Choose your poison as they say.

It's been even more interesting to see how the Strobist community has reacted to this. I am however dismayed at how negative some people have been towards Joe.
michael_kleymann 12 years ago
if you were a vintner (winemaker) would you buy the 20 acres of prime wine-growing soil? or would you tell others where to set up their own vineyard...

There's a considerable difference. As a vintner, I'd buy the 20 acres, of course. But that doesn't stop me from sharing the techniques. And, as with photography, the end product will be different using the exact same techniques, because of the quality of the starting product. Better land, better grapes, better wine. Better photo going in, better photo coming out, if the technique in the middle is performed with the same skill.

Sure, we'll have 700 posts on the Joey L look, like we're going to have with Dave Hill. Sure, there are a number of people who will take that as the be-all/end-all of where they want to go. It's the small percentage who take it as what it is, a tool to be used under certain circumstances but not for others, and continue to grow and learn and create and develop their own style who will move the industry forward. The Joey L look today will not be the Joey L look in 10 years, if he's constantly moving himself forward and challenging his own paradigm.
Ahhhhhh in the end we are all just wanting to learn about off camera lighting.... arent we?

If you like this guys style, great learn it, if you like Hills style, cool...so do i. it doesnt matter who does it, did it or might do it in the future, the thing is, these styles come and go like jean jackes, Blue Puma sneaks and the "DA" hairdo. it will fade then come back... dont worry about it.
strobist 12 years ago
Great discussion here. I love that we can come at things from many different areas and still be respectful of others' opinions.

Good, good stuff.
benjaminian 12 years ago
"I am however dismayed at how negative some people have been towards Joe. "

you'll find negative people in every field... call it what they want -- not as talented, not as fortunate, not as "lucky" -- hate that term! jealousy, envy, bitterness... could all be the root of it.

just haters, that's all. the world needs more appreciaters.
@MrCairney 12 years ago
Something I noticed that should be taken into account by the photographer is-he-isn't-he crew:

From Joey's website description

"A collection of young artist Joey Lawrence's best works, including photography and video."

There you go right there, he considers himself an artist using whatever to achieve wherever.
Crantastic 12 years ago
I had said not to confuse him with a photographer because he has said that he wants to be in film. So I believe this photography stuff is just a stepping stone for him.
Take the movie 2046, director Wong Kar Wai, cinematographer Chris Doyle. There are some scenes of exquisite majesty that just a screenshot comes off as a beautiful photograph. How they incorporate it into a moving dynamic piece with camera movement, music and sound just puts me in awe. One scene in particular is the one where the woman is speaking into a horn. Gorgeous lighting, sensual, rich in colour and its all Sci-Fi.
When I looked at JL's stuff thats the first thing I thought of. The realm of sci-fi has no bounds as does the realm of fantasy (aka Lord of the Rings).
I read the Fellowship of the Ring after watching the movie. My visual imagination is nothing compared to what happens in the film. My favourite scene is the one with the Balrog. My imagination or scenery or movement doesn't compare to what they put on film. To do it you need a strong visual memory, inspiration, imagination, vision, technical superiority and guts. This kid looks like he has right stuff.

If he's got the goods then I'm a-waitin' for his movies to start rolling out.
Marsh Rabbit 12 years ago
Photoshop is it's own media. If I had the time I would explore more
with it but I already spend too much time and money doing the limited stuff I do with photos. I have another profession that I'm very good at so starting a new career competing with thousands of people who are so much better at it than I am would be stupid. I try hard and come up with some good pics. Some nice pics, but this kid and other people take great pics consistently so I'm in awe and wonder if I'll ever be able to take pics like that.
I do this just for fun. I'm having fun and exploring the art. Maybe someday someone will be in awe of my pics. If they are it will be in part because of the Strobist Blog. My stuff has improved 100% with the added dimension of the techniques I've learned here and for that I'm very grateful.
Is 300 bucks expensive? Well, yea but how much would you have to pay for a piece of Joey's art? I bet it's a bit more than that. Consider the time he spent exploring technique and documenting it. I'm sure if he makes a million bucks he'll do something tasteful with the money.
IShootMusicians 12 years ago
@Visual Reserve - David Bean

Sorry, but (to use an Archie Bunkerism) you have misconscrewed my meaning.

I did not say that I think Joey Lawrence is being greedy.

I suspect that many people will see the price and come to that conclusion. I was pointing out that Joey could perhaps optimize his top line by selling more units at a lower price, and at the same time have a better relationship with his customers and potential customers.

In a free-market economy, the seller is free to charge whatever people will pay. Mr. Lawrence could have set the price at $3,000 each, but he would not sell many.

I don't think he's being greedy, but I do think he is taking a short view, which may be a mistake at the young age of 17. He's in this for the long haul.
**Paul_Benjamin** 12 years ago
""A collection of young artist Joey Lawrence's best works, including photography and video."

There you go right there, he considers himself an artist using whatever to achieve wherever."

And the field of (digital, commericial) art is one where he can be definitely considered (on his way to being) great, or at least iconic of a period in time...
Farrell Kramer Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Farrell Kramer (member) 12 years ago
I read the Strobist post on his stuff, looked at his galleries and was immediately fascinated. I started Googling around, found some grunge textures and decided to give it a try.

I came up with this:


Do you think it worked?

Personally, I want to learn more about this technique. BTW, this is a Strobist photo, with an SB-800 held held off-camera and triggered with a sync cord, camera left.
eduardo_frances 12 years ago
"Great discussion here. I love that we can come at things from many different areas and still be respectful of others' opinions"

We aren't in dpreview or fm forums ;), we are nice and civilized :D!!! that is why I like this forum :)
craig_glaspell_photo 12 years ago
I am no pro, no industry insider, no expert, but to the pros in this discussion that are a bit bummed out by the release of 'Joeys' secrets dvd and fear the backlash of 'copycats'.....isn't the real mark of success in the photographer business is the way you work with clients, the way you deal with photo editors, YOUR ideas on photography, etc....(visualreserve) you make it sound like the only thing that is needed to be a 'pro' is how to process an image in photoshop?

visualreserve, tim tadder, joey lawrence, dave hill, etc.....all the photoshop techniques they all use to process images is not a huge secret to someone that uses photoshop. I have just gotten into PS and everytime I show my brother (professional retoucher and designer) some of these 'cool new photos' that I am blown away with, he takes 2 minutes on a sh1tty pic and produces the same effects.
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