After beginning his career by building elaborate photography sets and lighting setups in his living room, Clay Cook now shoots fashion and editorial spreads all around the world. Contrary to most photographers, Clay learned to shoot his first images using only artificial light and only later incorporated natural light into his work. This has given him a broad understanding of how to shape the lighting from any scene into a beautiful image.
Fstoppers.com has teamed up with Clay Cook to produce Fashion and Editorial Portrait Photography, an 11.5 hour long video tutorial on how to photograph high-end fashion and editorial pictures. In this video tutorial Clay explains everything about the workflow and techniques he uses to create his brilliant images. The tutorial is broken down into a progression of simple to complex lighting and shooting lessons. Whether you're just getting into editorial photography or are already a professional in this field, the scope of Clay's lessons provide plenty to learn from.
In addition to covering his shooting techniques, every lesson comes with image files which let you follow along with Clay and his high-end retoucher, Jordan Hartley, as they retouch every final image from each lesson. Not only does he cover his shooting and retouching techniques, Clay also covers the gear he uses, set creation, collaborating with teams, and the business side of booking editorial and commercial jobs.
What's Covered in This Tutorial
Clay's Favorite Photography Gear
Before stepping out on location, Clay walks through each piece of gear he owns and explains why it is a vital part of his work. He also explains his tethering setup and workflow station that he uses both on location and in the studio. Each item is also listed on Clay's gear page.
On Location Shooting
The shooting lessons are designed to start simple and build in complexity. First, Clay begins by shooting in one of the harshest possible light conditions, hard sunlight. Although most photographers shy away from this difficult to use lighting, Clay demonstrates how you can use mid-day lighting to your advantage. Next, Clay teaches how you can use back-lighting, dappled light, and shade to further control the light illuminating your model. After covering natural light, Clay proceeds to incorporate various lighting modifiers into his setup including large scrims and small reflectors. In the final "mastering the basics" lessons, Clay begins combining both natural light and artificial light by incorporating a simple speedlite on and off his camera.
Once the basics of natural light have been covered out on location, Clay invites you into his personal studio where he steps up the complexity. It is here where you will learn how to build unique sets and backgrounds using easily accessible materials found anywhere. The first studio lesson incorporates both studio strobes and natural light. As each photoshoot progresses, Clay shows you how to effectively use simple one light setups as well as how to build more complicated lighting schemes with a wide variety of light modifiers. Clay even throws in a lesson on how to create one of his signature color images using gels. By the end of these lessons, you will understand how Clay approaches his studio lighting as well as how he solves many of the common problems he is faced with on a daily basis.
Working with a creative team is a huge part of Clay's process. Throughout the studio sessions, Clay brainstorms with his stylist, Project Runway's own Gunnar Deatherage, and makeup artist Bethany Hood to create the most interesting images possible. This process offers invaluable insight into maximizing the talents of those you work with as well as seeing how Clay uses the strength of his own team to elevate the overall production.
The on location shooting lessons conclude with Clay applying everything he has taught prior and applying it into two separate editorial shoots. The first editorial session revolves around a single fashion image that involves three models.
The second "mock editorial spread" takes you to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and one of Louisville's most iconic landmarks, where Clay photographs a local singer/songwriter couple for assignment.
Post Processing with Jordan Hartley
At the end of the shooting portion of each lesson, Clay hands his images over to his high-end retoucher, Jordan Hartley, where each image is meticulously edited. Similar to the shooting techniques, Jordan works progressively through each raw file and explains various post production techniques he uses for his own photography clients. Both raw and jpeg image files are provided which allows you to follow along with Jordan as he demonstrates each step he takes to tweak color, exposure, texture, and skin issues.
Once Jordan finishes his retouch, he then sends each image back to Clay for a final color grade. It is in this final step where Clay explains the importance of giving your photography a specific "look" and walks you through the steps he takes to create his signature look.
Business and Marketing
Perhaps some of the most valuable information in this entire tutorial is shared within the business lessons. Clay not only shares how he got started and became successful in the industry, he also offers business advice on pricing and marketing. He distinguishes between editorial and commercial work and gives examples of how he might price and invoice specific jobs based on their unique markets. Additionally, Clay covers a variety of ways to market yourself effectively as well as his tips on how to optimize your social media presence. In the final lesson, Clay sits down with Lee Morris from Fstoppers and talks about success and what it takes to get to the top in your own local market.
This Download Includes
- 11.5 Hours of Total Video Content (17.3 GB, 1080p 23.98fps h.264 mp4 files)
- Clay's Entire Studio Gear Guide
- 18 On-Location Lessons with Studio Post-Processing
- Tethering and Building a Portable Workstation
- 6 Chapters on Business and Marketing
- 5 Sample Estimates and Invoices
19 RAW and JPEG Files from Each Shooting Lessons
Access to Clay's Private Facebook Group for Additional Private Mentoring
Damn.... Lee, Patrick and Clay knows I would buy this instantly!!!! Damn damn! I gotta hold it off for at least a month or two... tear... Will share it once it goes public for sure guys!
Subtitulos en español?
Unfortunately no. We spent a lot of resources translating Peter Hurley's first tutorial into Spanish and never made back the cost we paid the translator. Unfortunately very few of our readers do not speak English as at least a second language which makes it cost prohibited for us to translate these tutorials.
The problem is 1) we did not sell a single copy of the translated tutorial and 2) I felt like the amount of work the prior translator did for the pay he agreed to was unfair in the end. So if we underpaid and never sold a copy then I don't think it's worth going down that road again. Now if someone wanted to translate it for free and they believed they could market it and sell a bunch of copies, I would be willing to work out a large profit share for them. But again, it makes no sense for us to pay anything for a translation when we haven't made a dime on the last one we did.
Yeah wow LOL #oops lesson learned.
This looks amazing. Exactly what I've been looking for.
But unfortunately don't have the time/resources to commit to this right now, so I'll have to hold off for a bit.
I'm close to purchasing this as my first fstoppers tutorial. My only hesitation is I can't find any third-party reviews of this course. Probably because it's so new. Does anyone who's actually bought this course have any comments they wish to share?
Its great, I expected it to be good but its even better than expected and Ive only watched the first 12 videos
I purchased this today and have made it a little less than 1/3rd of the way through between trying to catch tourney games and scores. I would normally stay glued to the television watching tourney basketball but this had enough pull to keep me watching the tutorials. I can say, from my vantage, in just the 7 videos I have viewed, that I have learned enough to dramatically change my editing styles. I have traveled and taken shooting and editing classes (read small workshops) from some of the top togs in various genres and can compare this favorably. I have purchased 4 video series from FStoppers now, and without fail, they are in-depth and well done. They make following and re-creating the work you view and learn easy and intuitive. I cannot speak to the full gamut of teaching I will receive from this specific tutorial but I have seen enough to feel the purchase has already been worth it. To this point, there seems to be a good balance between shooting and post work to see what is put into the images which are presented as final. I hope this helps. The best part is the working files are available as part of the package and you can work along as they retouch or go back after it is all over and test your knowledge. FYI. I have no affiliation with FStoppers and not a fanboy. I have merely been pleased with each tutorial I have purchased.
Knowing Fstoppers and the quality of their videos this course will be great.
I've been following Clay on Instagram for at least the past couple of years or so. When I saw the email from FStoppers that this tutorial was out and available to purchase, I was pretty excited...unfortunately I wasn't home or anywhere I could check out the trailer until that night. After I made it home, I don't think I made it through the entire trailer before I pulled the trigger and bought it. I shoot mostly outdoors and wouldn't consider myself an amateur by any means but I still picked up a some tricks. What excited me most about this tutorial though is the studio/sets section and the business section. It's pretty incredible what he can do with such little space.
hi guys do you have any intention of offering a monthly/yearly subscription plan, i love what you are doing but want access to it all!
Nothing is currently in the works for this but we will keep it open as an idea to pursue.
thats a great idea
El tutorial, tiene subtítulos en español?
No. Lo siento.
Oh please is there any special discount for student😢, this is rather high for me and I really want to learn
There is no student discount currently but keep an eye out on the site. We have big sales a few times each year. If you have signed up for the site you should receive our emails which will notify you of sales.
This is very cool and all but... like... the *very first* sentence.. "I'm Clay Cook and I'm a.. editorial photographer".. a editorial?! Grammar 101? It's the first sentence.. anyone checking this stuff? :(
Dang, this sounds awesome, but the price... (to get the idea how it looks in Poland, just multiply it four times...) Anyway, Clay was a huge inspiration for me in terms of shooting in home studio - thanks, Clay! :)
Love to have this as the preview is awesome, but $299, wish we could buy it in sections.
This is the only course we've produced with Clay Cook but we have a variety of other tutorials with different instructors that form a broader collection of educational material. With each tutorial, there is a private Facebook group that you can be a part of to discuss your directly with the instructor and other students.
Just bought it. Downloading now... Can't wait to watch.
How many hours of coverage would you say there is of just shooting setups itself? Lighting etc. (not editing, business, and the other stuff). Thanks!!
That's hard to quantify. I'd say there is at least 1 hour just on using natural light, reflectors, scrims, and flash outside so I'm not sure if that qualifies as "shooting setups" but it is important information. I'd guess all in all about 3 hours is on location actually shooting with post processing making up a big part of the tutorial and business rounding out the remaining part. Hope that makes it a little more clear
Of course iam very interest in the retouch he do, but for me is focus getting client as company big and small ones. is this the course right for me then to get knowledge to get there??
It should definitely help you. Clay is in a relatively small market (Louisville, KY) and he has done an amazing job getting clients from Chicago to Nashville and other cities around his home base. He talks a lot about marketing, making bids, setting up contracts, and a lot of emphasis is on his favorite social media marketing tools. At the end of the day, there isn't some silver bullet piece of knowledge that is going to make you successful and Clay is a great example of someone who gives a lot of attention to every element that eventually comes together to form a successful business.
Keep in mind, we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so if you watch the whole thing and don't feel like it has helped you let us know.
I notice in the post processing section in the preview video Jordan has used capture one can you do the same in photoshop if you haven't got capture one?
He uses Capture One to do the basic raw conversions and then exports them to photoshop to do all the edits. 95% of the retouching is done in Photoshop.
Is there any promo code on this video available?
I'm not able to find the discount code for the Clay Cook tutorial. Am I missing something?
This tutorial does not have a discount code since it was just released a few months ago.
Is the video course include step by step photoshop/LR processing for the same final result as Clay and team did?Thx
Yes, we filmed them both as they worked their way to these final images
Where's the Summer discount code for Clay Cook training?
This tutorial was just released and will not have a discount for a while. This and WAMA 3 are the only ones with no discount at the moment
I have a suggestion, If you guys plan to do this type of layered info videos pls add a class in the last where all techniques are applied in one tutorials. I may have become old, I have problem consuming layers of info and then combine them in practical life. Also there should be equal focus on shoot and post processing. Loved your wedding tutorial.
I'm not sure I understand. Are you wanting different techniques from different instructors included into one tutorial? I'm not sure that would work
You start tutorials with a very basic technique to the most advanced at the end. My request is to add a video with basic to advanced techniques added in one video at the end of tutorial.
I have to wait for the next sale. This looks interesting.
Question though, After we download it, do we get to keep the files? I wonder if it's alright if I share it to some friends (by sharing the bill, of course)
You do get to keep the files, yes. We do ask that you respect the copyright of the work as we work very hard on these projects. Thanks for your support.
What I meant is it possible to share the bill with two of my friends? (So just it doesn't hurt the bank).
Hey Fritz, these "group buys" are not permitted by our terms of service and each tutorial purchase is meant for only one person. It seems harmless with one or two people but then it quickly escalates to 10 people and then eventually people just want it for free which is just not fair to the instructors and everyone who has poured a ton of time and resources into creating these tutorials.
I understand. It's good to know.
Thanks for the reply.
Does this tutorial include a section on Posing?
We didn't dedicate a specific section to posing but in the majority of the shoots throughout the tutorial Clay positions his model very intentionally and works with the model's pose.
Only thing I'm limited to is wallet and sanity. I can't justify paying $300 for a single course. If you had a subscription model like 90% of other learning sites have, then you probably have a lot more "sales" or income than you currently have because more users could afford it. In this economy people can't slam $300 on table for a course. You can say it's all worth it and stuff, but people simply can't afford it.. I'm not afraid of saying that I can't afford it.. Thats just reality.. Even if I save up $300 then I can't justify putting $300 on table for one single course as a one-time investment. Repeating myself but, I want to watch but I can't see myself spending $300 on a single course - ever. I could maybe pay like $100 pr year or so, wouldn't that be more logical? In 3 year I would pay more than I currently have paid (zero) and you reach A LOT more people that suddenly can afford to watch your courses. Until then, good luck selling it. I hope you go subscription before you go broke.
Hey Alex, I totally understand that. The reason we don't have a subscription service is, well, we don't have THAT many tutorial products to offer that would feel fair for a subscription. Maybe in the future we will have something like that though. The way I justify spending money on education is to compare it with live workshops. Most of the workshops from a well respected photographer is going to be $1000-$2000 for a 2-3 days class pre travel and accommodations. I have no doubt that you can learn a ton of info from these in person workshops (we used to run one in the Bahamas) but the value you get with a digital download that you can rewatch over and over at your own pace is, IMO, a bigger bang for the buck. The reality is if we charged $100 a tutorial, we probably wouldn't have the return on investment to make most of these tutorials even possible. As our tutorial series increases though we will try to figure out how a subscription model could work and how to divide that income stream to each of the instructors who we have worked with (another can of worms).