When the DVDs arrived in our office from Lovegrove Consulting, each housed in a deluxe metal tin, my initial thought was these look expensive. And they are. While most tutorial DVDs cost in the region of £20 to £40, these are a princely £70 each (or £120 for the pair)! Accused, quite rightly, of being a tight Northerner, this initially sent a shudder down my spine. You don't even get an insert sheet! But ten minutes into the first DVD "Using Natural light on Location" and the shudder had been replaced with goose-pimples, yes goose-pimples! I get them when listening to outstanding music, but no other photography product has ever affected me in such a way.
It soon became very clear why we are paying £70 per disk. The quality of production is outstanding. Rather than the usual one cameraman/one presenter/one model/one location, Damien has put bags of effort and resource into this shoot, or should I say shoots. I see so many DVDs where everything is shot in a day, so there's often excuses made for situations not being ideal. Here Damien treats us to five days worth of shooting, in 20 locations, with not one, but seven models! But it doesn't just end there, we have three cameramen providing different angles to the shoot, with some in black & white to add variety. The models look gorgeous thanks to the make up artist and the slick direction and editing of the video is help by the fact he had four more people looking after direction, production and sound. It's almost like a crew for a major TV production!
So I think you can tell I'm enthused by the production of this quality product, but that's not what gave me the goosebumps.
We've had Damien presenting on our stand at Focus on Imaging for the last two years and anyone who saw these will recall he's a natural at presenting clear information, and these DVDs are no exception. The speed and delivery is first rate. My only criticisms would be that he uses the word drama and dramatic far too many times and the music is a touch too loud (and repetitive) in parts, but I can forgive him for that in what he delivers.
While most pros keep their techniques tightly guarded, Damien is not afraid to share his methods, special lighting tricks and secrets. He opens the door to share ever snippet of info used to get his outstanding shots. You see the gear he's using, the way he reacts with the models and the way he uses the daylight or flash and model position to great effect. And what's extremely encouraging is for the Daylight DVD he doesn't use lots of extras - just a camera, lens and some natural light. I've been reading photography material for over 30 years, and there were still several ideas I'd never seen before. Those are priceless. He even shares his exposure details for each shot. Many pros are to blase about this saying we don't need to know! The Flash DVD does tend to show shots taken with more expensive kit, but not out of the reach of most of us.
And what makes the DVDs extra special is the locations. When DVD disk 1 started in a large rustic house I was beginning to think here goes another posh photographer in a posh location, but as the DVD progresses we ended up on railway lines, in a shopping centre and in an industrial style location. No fancy studio or expensive sets needed here. He makes the most of our surroundings, and shows us how to do the same. This is the most inspirational portraiture products I've ever seen.
So back to the £70? Would a tight Northerner release the moths from the wallet? You bet! If you consider that a day's shoot with this man is over £300 and you probably only remember about 30%. With the DVDs you can go back time and time again until it all sinks in and you are as perfect as Damien. To add icing to the cake, use your DVD remote to click around the menu and you also get a few of Damien's image editing tricks as he shows us how to take five of the images from RAW to print using Lightroom and Photoshop. There's even a small section where he gets out the content of the kit bag - repeated on both DVDs which is a bit of a waste if you do buy both!
I think it's clear I'm impressed!!! If portraiture is a subject you shoot, these DVDs should be the next item on your shopping list. A fantastic pair of DVDs produced to first class standard and packed with the knowledge of a truly classic photographer who's not afraid to share, and that clearly shows! If money's tight and you can only afford one I'd suggest buying Disk One - Using Natural Light on Location.
Fanastically slick production with numerous camera angles
Great and plentiful advice
Superb images created with ease
Detailed repeat mentions of same kit in several shoot
Overuse of the words drama and dramatic
Music annoying after a while
QUALITY OF ADVICE
Damien Lovegrove's two portraiture DVDs - Using Flash on Location and Using Natural light on Location are £70 each or both for £120. Click here to buy them. Or if you're going to Focus on Imaging 2008 come and see Damien on the ePHOTOzine stand LK3 each day at 2:00pm where he's presenting a seminar, and buy the DVD pair for £100.