Review of “Sessions with Joey L”

December 2, 2009 | Category: Reviews

joeylposterI became aware of Joey L (his real name is Joey Lawrence, but for obvious reasons, he refrains from using his last name) a few years ago when he blasted onto the scene shooting high profile indie musicians for such mags as Alternative Press and Vibe magazines. This was when he was 17. If I haven’t gotten your attention now, then read on.

Joey L is an incredible artist not because of his age, but despite it. In addition to his commercial work, Joey has traveled the world on his own dime doing personal portrait work with the indigenous peoples of Ethiopia, India, Russia, Indonesia and is on his way to a Africa as I post this. Somehow he has managed to transcend the trappings of his youth and, in the process, has created a body of work that is the envy of more seasoned photographers.

In 2007, Joey released a successful tutorial DVD that broke down some of his post-processing techniques and contained behind the scenes videos of some of his shoots. The tutorials were irreverent and refreshingly candid, giving you an insight into not only Joey’s workflow, but his personality as well.

This year, Joey turned twenty and, in his newly released tutorial DVD “Sessions with Joey L”, you get more than just how-to’s on dodging and burning. You get a serious business man sharing a philosophy that’s made him very successful. It’s clear that his age has been both a blessing and a hindrance to him. On one hand people are stunned by the work he’s doing at such a young age, and on the other is a young man who has to work twice as hard to prove that he can handle the big budget situations. Clearly he’s overcome these hurdles.

So what do you get?

First off, you get a look into Joey’s lighting theory. The key to Joey’s look is his lighting style and no amount of post processing is going to make your photos look like his without lighting the way he does. Joey covers the use lights and modifieres and does his best to cram a lot in but, sadly, the subject of lighting could easily span several DVD’s (see David Hobby’s Strobist Lighting Seminar) and I feel like his audience will be expecting more.

The next section contains on location video from some of Joey’s photoshoots. I feel like budding photographers will get a lot out of watching Joey’s interaction with the clients and seeing how he prepares for the shoot.

Joey also covers the business of photography such as creating a good portfolio and getting your work seen by important clients. I found this section the most informative. Joey appears to be a very savvy business man and his insight into equipment rentals and pricing your work were both the highlights of his talk.

For those looking for post-processing, Joey delivers some killer sky replacement techniques as well as some compositing tutorials. It’s not as Photoshop heavy as the last DVD, but I walked away with a few good nuggets of information that I’ll be using from now on.

Joey also includes a stock library of high resolution sky photos so you can do your own sky replacements. I’m never sure why anyone would want to use these since some of them are actually included in Joey’s popular work, but they’re beautiful nonetheless and are free to use.

Lastly Joey takes you along on his trip to Ethiopia and goes into great detail explaining how he hired a guide, charged equipment, killed his own food… it’s all there. This section was the most fascinating for me. He’s wise beyond his years and to plan an adventure of this scale and come back with such amazing photos… I suddenly feel very inadequate. Thanks Joey!


So how much does it cost and where can you get it? Well, first of all, it’s not cheap. A digital download or DVD will run you roughly $300 or $250 if you bought the previous DVD. But bear in mind that you’d probably spend around that much going to a seminar that you wouldn’t get half as much out of. So now you’re saying, “I can’t justify spending $500 on both DVD’s (there’s a special if you buy both), which one should I buy?”. If you’re looking to get the Joey L look… you need to be super talented… and then you need to buy the first DVD. If you’re looking to find out how an 18 year old got the clout to shoot something as big as the “Twilight” movie poster images, then you’re going to want to shell out for the “Sessions” DVD.

In closing, I just want to point out that for me the best part of watching the DVD wasn’t about the post-processing or the lighting so much as it was how inspiring Joey as a person is. If we were all as motivated as he is, we’d all be rockstars by now.

Still interested? Watch the video preview below and then go to .

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  1. Brian Wagner
    on December 2nd, 2009

    Great read… if I had money to dump on a DVD these would be the ones. Joey does some great work and I’d love to see what it is he does!

    Great review.

  2. Tweets that mention Review of “Sessions with Joey L” : Stephen Poff's Blog --
    on December 2nd, 2009

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Sharman, Stephen Poff. Stephen Poff said: New blog post: Review of “Sessions with Joey L” ( [...]

  3. andy
    on December 3rd, 2009

    yeaahr joey is a great photgrapher.
    I am looking forward to the pics from africa.
    thanks for this review stephen.

  4. aries-films-net
    on March 13th, 2010

    In the File Section of you can download everything you need to create your videos and go even further. Only direct ftp links. Just google for Aries-Films, its like goldmine for video editors…

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