This 3-part series as a whole is one of the best instructional videos on the topic of glamour photography you’re going to find anywhere. Parts 1 and 2 cover studio environments and shooting, while part 3 concentrates on outdoor techniques, and covers diffusion, reflectors, and other techniques for manipulating sunlight.
Formerly a photographer for both Playboy and Penthouse, Ken Marcus’ philosophy towards glamour photography is more like what you’d expect from a landscape photographer. His approach is based around pre-visualization and attention to detail. Unlike other books or videos where they just grab a camera and start shooting, he takes time to explain his preparations and why he decided to do things one way or another.
Parts 1 and 2 are excellent in pretty much every way. Part 3 is also excellent, but in a different way. It’s interesting, but not quite as directly educational. While the studio setups in parts 1 and 2 can generally be achived by a single person with enough patience and the right collection of light stands, clamps, and other equipment, the outdoor techniques shown in part 3 are a bit more impractical for individual photographers.
Have you ever put a decent-sized reflector on a light stand outdoors? Even if you weigh it down, a fairly modest burst of wind can come along and blow it around. Even if it doesn’t get knocked over, it’s still likely to require frequent readjustment. Ken doesn’t have to deal with these problems because he’s got a small army of assistants that accompany him on each shoot. Unfortunately, he seems to take this for granted when the reality is that most photographers are lucky if they can manage to have a single assistant along on a shoot.
Another downside to part 3 is that there isn’t too much attention paid to fill flash techniques, and what little there is uses studio flash equipment running off a nearby AC power source. It would have been nice to see something using smaller battery-powered equipment. Or for that matter, if the omission is on-purpose because Marcus doesn’t like fill-flash, it would have been nice if he’d spent a few minutes explaining why.
The videos are now available only in DVD format, and as far as I can tell, only directly from Ken Marcus. However, if you go to his website’s main page you’ll be hard-pressed to find a link to any information. The page for the videos is still there, but you need a search engine or a direct link. Like this one.