Thursday, July 28, 2011

Class Review: Beautiful People Portraiture and Charity Auction

I recently took the on-line class, "Beautiful People Portraiture" with Cheryl Johnson (CJ) of Feel Good Photography.  The class ran for four weeks and cost $40 (25 pounds).  At the beginning of each week, participants received an email with a PDF and video link describing the week's assignment and giving information to help with the assignment. The assignments included introduction to posing (I have a few in this post) (and self-portraiture); photographing babies and children; photographing strangers (see mine here) (and profile shots); and wild and crazy portraits (photo booth style or action-packed and hands or feet)(see mine here). By the end of the week, participants posted their three best shots in the gallery for feedback from CJ and others.  Each week, CJ picked a few shots as the "best of the week" to feature on her blog. There were a few bonus videos: two on using reflectors and one answering lingering questions that people submitted during the last week of class.  There was a forum/gallery for people to post their photographs and chit-chat. I signed up for the class because I wanted to learn more about taking portraits and because the class was reasonably priced.  
Overall, I was very satisfied with the class.  I feel like I learned a lot about taking portraits and it forced me to practice in different situations.  I am particularly proud of the profile portrait I took of my son, Henry, which is featured up top and which CJ chose as one of the photos of the week.  I also really liked the baby portraits I took, one of which you can see in this post. The weekly materials were pretty good, although I wish they gave a little more direction. Truthfully, they sometimes seemed a little thin. Thankfully, they were supplemented by CJ answering questions and providing the additional videos. The videos on reflectors, for instance, were absolutely fabulous!  In addition, CJ commented individually on every single weekly assignment posted by participants.  Let me say that again, CJ commented on every single assignment posted by students. Her critiques were a little blunt, but invaluable. I learned a lot by reading her comments on my photographs and the photographs of other participants. This feature was definitely the best part of the class. It made it feel like you were actually taking a hands-on class with a professional. The forum was a good size - there were only about 35 people total, which meant you could see everyone's photographs and get feedback from most of the participants. The talent level of the participants varied widely, which created even more learning opportunities. CJ also sponsored a surprise party at the end of the class (although I wasn't able to participate because I was out of town, it seemed like a lot of fun).  One small problem I encountered with the class was that many of the other participants had taken many CJ classes and, as a first time participant, it felt a little difficult to break into the circle and understand the jargon. But, I kept asking questions and eventually nudged my way right in. So, overall, I would give the class and A-.  Depending upon the price, I would definitely take another class with Cheryl Johnson.  I welcome input from others who have take classes with her!
By the way, Cheryl Johnson has a charity auction going on at e-bay right now. The money will go to a charity called "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," which helps parents cope with the loss of a newborn. She's auctioning off a portrait session, and right now it's a real bargain. The auction closes soon. You can read more about it here.  
So, how are your summer classes going?
{In other news, my dog Gypsy is sick. She was low energy and anemic when we left for our trip and hasn't really recovered. I feel badly because I'm sure that our absence did not help. No real help from the vet; it's all a bit of a mystery. Sigh. Anyway, good thoughts definitely appreciated.}


Amy said...

Thank you so much for your detailed review of the class, I actually was not aware of it running prior to it starting - I really do like the idea of all that feedback.

My goodness that young man of yours is growing up, there is so much detail in this shot - detail of maturity and expression, it really is lovely.

Sian said...

I'm sorry to hear about Gypsy :(

It was Cheryl who spotted my layout in the UKS Gallery and got it published for me. I always enjoyed dealing with her at Scrapbook Inspirations so I'm delighted you enjoyed her class,

I'm going to go back and read the other comments on your last post now...

Terry said...

Being such a dog lover, I feel for you and your family. Sending good thoughts for Gypsy!

The photo of your son is so perfectly detailed. You have a natural talent!

Happy Friday!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Aw, your poor little Gypsy dog! :o(

On a happier note, I loved this photo of Henry when I saw it in the class forum! That was about the time when things got super hectic around here and I ended up not finishing the last couple weeks of Cheryl's class. I loved the photos you posted though, and was happy to see that she featured a few in her weekly favorites. Well done, Rinda!!! xo

scrappyjacky said...

Sounds like a great class,Rinda...and that is a stunning portrait of Henry.
Sending healing thoughts to poor Gypsy.

nancy y said...

what a great photo of Henry, I can see why it was chosen! Poor Gypsy, I hope she gets her energy back PDQ.

Alison said...

great portrait of your son, glad you enjoyed the class...hope Gypsy is on the mend-lots of good thoughts being sent her (and your) way!
Alison xx

Cheryl said...

I have completed 1 of CJ's classes in the past and met the wanderful talented lady herself she is amazing and your photograph is just fab and he is growing into such a handsome man x

Jimjams said...

Love that portrait - no wonder it was chosen for the week! A very honest review of CJ's class. I've done a couple of hers and was slightly disappointed with one - I did have very high expectations, but the number of participants (100+) meant that you got lost in the crowd and CJ was travelling while the course was on, so neglected us rather for part of it. Bad timing on her part! Her feedback IS helpful though, which made it annoying to have less of it than normal!
May give her another try when (if?) I ever get a decent Digital SLR to replace my trusty Point and Shoot!