Sessions with Joey L... Our review...

Let me ask a (silly rhetorical) question, if you could have Joey L come to your house and provide you with more than a half day of training, what would you say?

Is that a loud and resounding yes?

With "Sessions with Joey L" that's exactly what you'll get, over 4 hours of video tutorials that will walk you through setting up the lights, composing the shot, and processing the image and you can watch, pause, re-wind, and re-watch whenever you want.

Before I saw the first minute I noticed something I thought to be unusual, most training DVD's I have are pretty subject specific, but "Sessions with Joey L" covers it all, from soup to nuts as they say.

The five major topics are "Lighting Theory", "Photo Shoots", "Business", "Travel", and "Photoshop". With each of these having 3-6 sub-category videos.

"Lighting Theory" goes into how Joey sets ups his lights (and why) what equipment he uses (and why), and even provides you with DIY alternatives.

Sure he gets to use the best equipment now, but did you know for his first professional job he used a point and shoot camera, a couple of speedlights, and a softbox made from a torn bed sheet and a cardboard box. And if you think the images reflected that you'd be wrong, they are outstanding.

Throughout the entire DVD you'll see many of his images along with an explanation of the lighting setup and camera settings. Reverse engineering for photography (one of my favorite ways to learn).

Joey also goes in depth on the equipment he used on the Ethiopian shoot, the images were so stunning I had to watch this section twice. The subjects almost jump off the paper, they have a 3D quality, and he explains the lighting setup that gave it that look.

"Photo Shoots" takes us on 5 different location shoots where Joey shows us the setups, we see the difficulties of shooting on each location, and how those difficulties were overcome to "get the shot". This section has the best demonstration of "negative fill" I have seen.

In "Business" Joey talks how he conducts his business AND what he thinks to be important not so that you'll copy him, but so you can understand and draw wisdom from someone who has been successful in the photography business. He also shares ways that you can maximize your profit margin on commercial shoots (you'll have to buy the DVD to find out how).

He also covered a subject I have never seen talked about before, trust. The importance of gaining the trust of a client and what you can do to make it happen.

"Photoshop" demonstrates the processing and workflow that makes an image a "Joey L Image". There is a ton I could say about this section alone but will limit it to the following:

1. Joey shows us a technique for changing the skies (that is a mix of the original sky and a new one) that I have never seen before and is outstanding.

2. The black and white conversion he shows us is (I think) the closest thing to black and white film there is.

3. If you are going to shoot an image that will be removed from the background shoot it on an 18% grey background, not black, not white.

4. You will learn a great technique for fixing a blown highlight, which comforted me on two levels, it's nice to have a fix for that and it brings me comfort knowing that even Joey will occasionally blow a highlight.


I have barly scratched the surface of the information covered in this DVD, but know that it is a treasure, really.

It is also $299, but before you balk at the price think about the value of knowledge, true knowledge. I promise you this DVD will do more for improving your photography, to help you capture a better image than a new lens will.

To me $299 is a lot of money (it's a half tank of heating oil) and I could never in good conscience recommend it to my readers if I did not think the value was there. It's there, it's a "pirates booty" for photographers.


Unknown said...

Agreed!! I have this DVD as well and love give that kind of information in the way he does it keeps me coming back to the DVD even after I've watched it a number of times

Scott said...


Thanks for concurring... With the state of the economy it is difficult at times to recommend something that costs $299, but at the same time I feel like it would be a disservice to our readers NOT to tell them about something that is this good…

So I give my two cents and hope it’s helpful…

Thanks for coming to Weekly Photo Tips.


Steve Black said...

Thanks for the review. I watched his Indonesia video yesterday - and was blown away. Incredibly talented, adventuresome and not afraid of anything. $299 is a lot, but I'm sure it is well worth it and I'll be picking it up at some point soon. Keep the great tips coming!


Scott said...


You’re right, $299 is a lot of money, and my fear always is when I recommend something like this is that a person will spend their hard earned money and not see the same value I did.

I am confident folks will see the value in this.

If you do purchase it please come back and tell me what you think.
And thanks for coming to the blog.


Jodi Renshaw said...

Me wanty.

I think I will ask for this for Christmas :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review, it's really interesting. If i had the cash this would be a great buy i think.

Myles said...

One of these days I would like to have this DVD. I saw his promo about it several months ago(may have been last year). Anyway, his stuff is incredible. An amazingly talented young man.

Top Rated Cameras said...

This is a very interesting and wonderful post! I am new to photography and I'm on the process of learning some basic shots particularly with different light settings and a lot of other stuffs. :) I learned a lot from your post and I hope you post some more techniques on photography! :D

half blind said...

Just thought I'd give you an update on Joey's DVD. It is everything you said in your review and more, if that's possible! Very easy to understand tips that really elevate your images above and beyond. And Joey's subject matter and style really got me thinking about my own stuff-always a good thing. I cannot recommend Joey's DVD enough. Thanks again, Scott-

Miguel Palaviccini said...

I agree with Scott and half-blind ... I finally got a chance to finish watching the DVD. It's amazing that someone that young has poured so much of their life into photography, but it absolutely shows. Learning from him is a bit inspiring, that's for sure!