Photography Tutorial Videos Released

Andrew Wermuth, the documentary filmmaker behind Balloon Hat, very kindly agreed to experiment in the making of a couple of photography tutorials for

Comments would be appreciated. Should we do more of these? Give up? Change the style?

14 thoughts on “Photography Tutorial Videos Released

  1. I love the videos. The Canon one is more useful than trying to figure out whether the camera in a shop. I now know this camera (with the Sigma 30 mm lens) would be perfect for me and would be willing to just buy it online.

  2. Definitely do more of these. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the style of you teaching your student versus the viewer, but it certainly grew on me and is refreshing from the majority of online video tutorials where there is zero interaction with the instructor. You may want to even expand upon that by having your student ask common questions that the viewer would likely have given the subject at hand. Be careful though to avoid it coming across as too scripted.

    Well done and looking forward to more.

  3. For me the videos are a fabulous trip down memory lane. My first camera (borrowed) was a Graflex Super Speed Graphic (4 x 5) and my second camera was a Minolta Hi-Matic 7S (35mm RF), both of which parallel the hardware used in the exposure video. Your style of presentation suits my learning style and I like your co-star, too.

    The real test was my 15-year old daughter, who is a good student (and future engineer) with a long attention span. She has been using a Digital Rebel XT for one year almost exclusively in the “green mode.” She found both videos “informative”, giggled at most of your jokes, and, afterwards, pulled out her camera to do her own version of the experiments shown in the video. I’d definitely rate her reaction a success.

    By the way, my daughter doesn’t agree with your assessment of the kit lens. And she asked me several questions about sensor sensitivity (ISO), a point not explained as thoroughly as I would prefer. Still, I think it’s great my daughter was asking questions.

    Great job. Do more. Flash exposure is one topic that immediately comes to mind.

  4. I suggest you do it like google-video — use flash for the people who want to watch it streaming, since I imagine you’re doing that to save bandwidth, but have a “download as” option. You could just do it with google video if that’s difficult.

    Otherwise, I liked the videos and think you should keep it up!

  5. I liked these and would like to see more of them.

    Specifically: I thought the approach seemed simple enough to hold the interest of raw beginners, but quirky enough to be worth watching even if you know a little bit about photography. (e.g. I’ve never seen a medium-format camera, so it’s nice to see one being used in the demonstration.)

    Unlike many of the video blogs one sees on the Web these days, your tutorials are well lit, have decent audio quality, make good use of editing, take actual advantage of the visual medium, and stick to the point.

    I liked the fact that you introduced Bonnie at the start of the second clip. She was a nameless woman of mystery during the first clip.

  6. I also liked the style of filmmaking where you teach a student on camera, instead of teaching the camera directly. I didn’t find it unnatural at all.

  7. The videos are well produced and easy on the eyes.

    I would second adding these to Google video. I would also recommend adding the option to download them in some kind of sane format via bittorrent. Both options should facilitate distribution while not punishing your servers. This is important so that people (read: me) can download a copy and watch it on whatever mobile rig they have on a bus, plane or subway.

  8. These videos are fabulous!

    Although I’ve had my Canon Digital Rebel for almost two years now, I learned more watching the XTi video than I have gleaned from any other single source. I did a blog post about it earlier tonight (

    Photography is fun to experiment with, but there is a huge learning curve to overcome. It’s getting over that initial hump that’s the problem. I think I was a portion of the way prior to watching these videos but this brought it together for me (especially the XTi walkthrough). I read the little book that came with my camera end-to-end and had even poked around on some, but I still hadn’t figured out how to use the light meter on my camera.

    Good job!

  9. The format is good, though there is room to work on content obviously and I think you’d want to do more close-ups on the hands with the subject doing what you are saying.

    While I don’t mind the joke about the kit lens as paperweight I actually find it quite good as a lens (and poor as a paperweight–too light to hold even paper down). Yes it is slow, but the photos are sharp (there are technical reviews online that support this claim) and did I mention is is really light?

  10. Thanks for the great videos!

    I did enjoy them once when you 1st posted them, but now I am really having a hard time getting them to load. I only manage to see 10% of the video and then it gets stuck.

    I guess this might be due to my poor connection to the “rest-of-the-world” (I live in China) and that the video from your side stops streaming after a some reasonable time…

    Could you please release the videos in another format so that I can download them and share them with my friends?


  11. Juan: The videos are already pretty compressed. I’m not sure how much smaller they could be. We are eventually going to move the server to a new cluster and some new hardware. That might help. The videos should really be served from their own machine or at least their own HTTP server.

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