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Photographers Need to Practice

Lesson 32 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

Photographers Need to Practice

Lesson 32 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

32. Photographers Need to Practice

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is the importance of practice for photographers and the benefits of shooting for free or with friends to improve skills and gain experience.


  1. Why do photographers often refuse to practice unless they are getting paid?

    Photographers often prioritize paid work over practicing because they believe their time is better spent earning money.

  2. Is it better to go out and shoot for free or sit in front of a computer?

    It is better to go out and shoot for free because it allows photographers to meet people, practice techniques, network, and potentially create images that can be shared for marketing purposes.

  3. Why is it important for photographers to practice?

    Practice allows photographers to improve their skills, gain experience, and become more confident in their abilities.

  4. How do photographers learn from their mistakes and improve their work?

    By seeking feedback from peers and being open to constructive criticism, photographers can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments in their future work.

  5. What are some benefits of shooting with friends?

    Shooting with friends allows photographers to have fun, experiment with different techniques, learn from each other, and receive honest feedback.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Photographers Need to Practice

Truth tangent. Photographers are the only professionals that refuse to practice, unless they're getting paid. How many times have you heard, like, your peers say, oh man, I'm not going out and doing that shoot. They're not paying me enough to go do that. Or, I'm not getting paid for this, and I'm not doing that. I'm not going to do free. Granted, I'm not saying to go out and do free work. That's not what this means. If you're an established photographer, you know you can deliver this product, the client knows you can deliver this product, and they're just trying to get you to do it for free, that's not what I'm saying at all. Don't do that. But, what about when you're just getting started, and you feel like you're worth $3,000 to shoot whatever it is that you're shooting. But you're only being offered $1,000. But you don't really have the skills or chops to kind of be necessarily worth that in the client's mind. You're better off, I want to say, you're better always going out and shoot...

ing. Taking 500 bucks, taking 250 bucks, going for free even. You're better off going out and shooting for free than you are sitting in the front of your computer. Are you not? I mean, at least if you go out and shoot for free, you're meeting people, you're practicing techniques, you're networking, hopefully the images you create are awesome, and they're gonna get shared everywhere. So you're doing marketing. So, it's weird that of any other, like, sport or profession, like as an accountant, I used to be an accountant. We'll talk about that later. As an accountant, I was required to study outside, I love I, that's like my total Utah mountain, accountant, accountant. Okay as an accountant, you are totally expected when you get home to study. You have to study for the CPA, you have to study for all these different exams, you have to keep on your ongoing education in addition to doing your job. Why are we not doing the same thing as photographers. Or take it for example, Kobe Bryant, it's unfortunate that he's retiring, that's sad. But Kobe, is he like I'm only gonna shoot free throws when I'm being paid to shoot free throws no, but these guys are in the gym, you look at an athlete and they are non-stop training in between the moments that they're actually getting paid. So I wanted to say this is one of those times where we need to get out and practice. And this is the cool thing about it, get together with a bunch of friends, here's a few behind the scene shots. Get together with a bunch of friends break out your lights and just spit water at each other. Don't really do that. This is Tim Iriq, Matt Roberts, this is Trevor again, this is Tim again isn't it. So we talked about in the foundational course something here, again I'm gonna teach you this over these slides so I can keep this up as long as possible. But we showed something with water not being frozen when you add a flash to it right. If you went and just screwed around like this with your buddies and granted, this is actually for the purpose of doing test shoots and that kind of stuff, we just like to have fun behind the scenes, do you not see the blur right there where the water's falling and it's not being frozen. If you actually did that test shoot and you were like, I wonder why that's happening, I wonder why Trevor is, almost has like an edge right here, his lips are like nice and hmm, Boom. And why, right. This is the boom one, by the way, if you haven't seen the other part, we do booms, hallelujahs, amens, except they just don't do it at the right time, they do it at really weird off times, I'm gonna stop for that whole thing, just let them run with it. You can't stop it. I can't stop it. So if we identified that though, during this little goofing around session, would you not go why is that happening, let me figure this out and would you not learn actually what flash duration was in that moment? I think you might or you might just continue to spray water at each other. What if you want to get together and this is Tim King and you're like I want to see what a ring light looks like, let's go and test out ring lights. And then you go and you take a shot and you're like hey that's kinda cool, look at the ring light effect that it creates in the capture of the eyes and look at how it brings out all his whiskers and stuff, that's beautiful. And Keeth Powell who likes to pick his nose but this is such beautiful light when you're picking your nose. Look at this light, even by just looking at the picture, we can identify and start to learn what different lighting patterns create and how they create different catch lights. So here it looks like they have a three tube reflect or a three, like the fluorescent tubes or the, I forget what they call em. You could be ice lights, they could be whatever. But you have that and he's shooting through it, that's what it looks like to me. So, we identify things, again let me keep that image on, I hope it's possible. I think this is Neil Van Nickert. Neil's lighting this group and she's looking awesome and he's like, what am I looking at over here and she's like, yeah this is kinda cool, I got my elbow up. Whatever, this is a behind the scenes moment and Neil looks like a freaking badass as he's like, dual lighting it and we can't really let him look that way so I'm gonna show you the next slide which is him grabbing his crotch and smoking a cigarette. But wouldn't we be, I'm gonna teach again over this slide by the way because I like this one better than the last one. But when you went back and looked at this, wouldn't you be like, man, I know he's lighting from that side and there's probably great shots from that side but can't we shoot from the opposite side that we might be adding light to. Isn't this kinda cool where it creates a rembrandt catch light in his eye right there. Where she gets bounce coming from his shirt, we just have to learn how to control that shadow coming off of his face and where she's leaning on that side and all we have to do is put em into a pose that makes sense. I don't know why there is two girls and one guy, that's just. Oh this is Melissa looking awesome by the way. But let's take a moment to look at this one and then I'm gonna come to you for one second. This was shot by Lear, Lear Miller and this is Melissa Kilner. Analyze the shot for a second, you're out in the snow you're shooting, there is a light coming on this side which is not only creating a rem light on the edge of her but then also backlighting your snow so do you notice how it's kind of interesting, the snow on this side is brighter and we see more snow than the snow on this side. Now that's not this cloud that's like oh I'm gonna dump slightly more snow on this side than on this side, this is because the light is closer on that side so we illuminate the snow more so when you go out into the rain in Seattle, when it's raining, you wanna eliminate the light and you wanna get it to look right and you're like man, one part of the frame is darker than the other, maybe you just need to add another light to the other side of the frame or reposition the backlight so you can get more of that snow lit up. But this kind of getting together and goofing around and shooting and there is another light there on her face right there, is what does it, it's what's gonna get you to the next step and then what you do is you just get on a horse. This is Jared Gruin. Why the horse Jared? Why, because it's awesome. Is that not rad, Jared's smoking a pipe on the horse, beautiful light oh gorgeous. What kind of sound did the horse make? (neighs) Alright Kenna, let's leave this picture up while you ask that question. Oh the question was where are the behind the scenes funny photos of you. Okay so here's the thing is that, that's what's shown throughout the rest of the year in our studio and online and all that kind of stuff, this is my turn, it's my turn now, they can't talk, they can't go and say oh you can't show that, this is my turn. It's pie time. Okay, so I wanna go back to this, we mentioned this in the foundation side, your peers will be one of your greatest assets in your career as a photographer, not only getting together and having fun, having a good time, but learning lighting effects, learning and saying hey, Melissa, when you deal with clients that ask for this, what are you typically doing in that kind of a situation? Or asking each other these questions especially as you are growing and developing together, this is your place and as you go out and do your test shoots, I want you guys to go and upload them. We have a critique community online. We actually have a new critique feature on SLR Lounge where they can actually upload and you guys can critique directly on the images online and also in the community group. We always will post images of client shoots, of test shoots, of everything. And you ask each other, hey, what do you think about the lighting in this scene. And your peers are gonna be the best place to go when it comes to getting honest feedback. And ask for honest feedback, it hurts a little bit, it hurts when you go out and you create an image that you think is like your baby. I mean these pieces of art, they are our babies and it hurts when someone is like, oh man, did you not see this, or like did you not see the light over in this place and you're like, this is what always happens, I totally saw that, I just chose to do it anyway. Suck, I need to go back and do that again. Right, it's like crap, I meant to like leave his face with a hand like this, that was totally part of the shot. Crap I gotta go put the hands on next time. Okay.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work