Howdy Folks!

I recently had the opportunity to watch a few videos from the shoot smarter collection.  In case you haven’t heard of them, Shootsmarter.com is an online photography education site with alot (and I mean alot) of free content -called smarticles (all text and graphics – no video that I’ve seen).  It has pretty good advice as long as you can find the topic you are looking for.  You do have to register to access the info, but membership is free.

Back to the subject at hand.  The videos that I’ve seen range from brilliant to decent.  Most of the advice is sound – especially when concerning the importance of metering and “face mask histograms” (a concept created by Mr. Crockett).  He does give a few bad tips like “it’s okay to mix digital and film – your lab won’t mind”  or  ” Exposure control is hands down the number one problem with digital files” (these aren’t exact quotes but cover the idea of what he said.  To clarify, mixing media type is a surefire way to have problems in color and consistency between your images.  Also, although he is correct that exposure is probably the number one problem, white balance comes in at a very, very close second,  followed by file size and file type issues and unclear or impossible customer instructions (that’s neither here nor there – just thought I’d throw those last two out on the table). 

All in all, I would definitely recommend the Digital Exposure Control video (keeping my critiques in mind). I have seen the digital portrait lighting series (videos 1-3). The first is a great primer for novices. The second video covers various shooting scenarios and is a little boring.  The third issue felt like short attention span theatre with the content jumping back and forth so often, it felt like a commercial without any products to sell.  I think all four of these videos have pretty solid content as long as you disregard any advice about photolabs.  His advice may work well for the lab he uses, but I can’t help but cringe at the thought of one of my lab’s customers trying his suggestions.

I also thought I should mention that he appears to be heavily biased in many gear or software choices (probably due to sponsorship deals).

By the way, Mr. Crockett doesn’t host all of the videos on shootsmarter.com.  From what I’ve seen,his videos are the best in the series. (for some reason he kind of reminds me of Chris Farley -don’t know why, he just does).

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