Being the best at something is an ongoing education quest. If you think about school, it's alternated learning, studying, doing and testing. Learning how to do photography is no different. My favorite method is to pile up on education and then go do it. Or, I should say, try it. There are inevitably things that don't go exactly as planned and that too is part of the learning process. And then you do it again.. and again.. and again. Much of my education is from YouTube. There are some great resources to learn how to do just about anything. I've watched every video from people like Daniel Norton, who does great lighting videos. But, at some point, you have to get out and do it.. or you're just watching YouTube.
Last year, I found myself in a spot. I had reached a saturation point with YouTube and all the other online stuff. But I was looking to expand my skillset. Kick it to the next level. I bought a few video courses but was sadly disappointed. I didn't want to listen to another photographer talk about when he took his pictures. One fashion course ended up being more about Photoshop. The other was so basic it would be hard to be a photographer with any experience and not know that stuff. So I decided to do a Headshot Intensive class with renowned headshot king, Peter Hurley. Some people will scoff at Hurley's work for various reasons but I like it. And, from a skillset level, I was going to learn something. I was hoping that a live class would allow me to get what I needed out of it.
I had it in my head that live learning might be THE thing for 2021. And Peter's Headshot Intensive class was the bomb! I learned SO much. It changed how I shoot in every way. Working on my Peter Hurley Associate status, I've been shooting very much to his style as I continue to get better. But, in the long run, becoming a Peter Hurley copy isn't my goal. I want to take that skill and build on it.
My main goals are actor/casting headshots. But they have some specific requirements and their own flavors. So, before I went to the Hurley class, I was looking around at other photographers whose work really stood out to me. I spent my time (and still do) looking in major acting markets like LA, NYC and London. One would think that, where the competition is so high, the quality of headshots would have to rise above as well. I like Dylan Patrick's style a lot. And I ran across a photographer in LA whose work is just different. There may be others doing the same kind of work. But I haven't found them. She has an incredible sense of shooting to type and all the elements that make it work in a headshot. If I were an actor, I'd want headshots from Vanie Poyey. No question.
So.. with the Hurley class in mind, I reached out to her about whether she would consider doing something similar. Teaching people how she does her thing. She graciously talked to me for 30 minutes on Zoom and, by the end, it didn't really feel like it was going to happen. But I kept it in the back of my mind. I just had to wear her down. ;-)
I was crawling in bed last night and got an email from Vanie that, after our talk a few months ago, she's been thinking about doing it and wants to try it out. Looks like I get to be her guinea pig! TOTALLY okay with that.
Hollywood, I'll be seeing you soon! #unstoppable