Craftsy Class Review: Creative Photography with George Lange

Welcome to Creative Photography: Capture Life Differently, with George Lange.

This one was a quick finish for me--I allowed myself to simply watch all the lessons to absorb what tips and tricks I could before heading out to my summer work events this weekend--events at which I tend to end up being the de facto "official photographer."

I had to think through how I was going to review this class. For me, I didn't actually get a whole lot of new information out of it. Most of it turned out to be things I already knew--which I suppose makes me feel better about what I apparently already do pretty well. I've been working on my composition and ability to tell a story through photos for a long time, and taking this class really just confirmed for me that I've learned a lot over the years!

But for someone who is just getting into photography or who would like to step it up in terms of composition and telling stories with photos, this would be an excellent class.

One of my all-time fave pics I took of DD when she was about 8. This photo exemplifies things Lange talks about in the class.

One of my all-time fave pics I took of DD when she was about 8. This photo exemplifies things Lange talks about in the class.

First off: This is a composition class, not a settings class. In other words, the techniques you learn are related to how to set up a shot, how to use ambient (natural) lighting, how to create a scene, how to capture a moment/mood/feeling, and so forth. It's not about which f-stop or shutter speed to use. In fact, he really only loosely references settings in a backhand way once in awhile. (For that kind of information, check out my review of Basics of Digital Photography with Rick Allred.) The point of this class is all about capturing the subject matter most effectively, and conveying a mood.

The good news is, that means you can get a lot out of this class even if you're taking pictures on your cell phone. The principles are the same regardless of how you're capturing your shot. (He even starts right out in the first lesson saying that!)

The second thing I appreciated about this class is that he discusses in one lesson issues around sharing photos on social media. He makes some very good points that I think it would behoove all of us to pay attention to. I've not seen that covered in other photography classes yet, and I liked the fact that he addressed it.

He does also have good examples of lighting and action shots, and talks about "between moments" (in other words, take lots of pictures without worrying yet about which one is the "hero shot," as he calls it). I'll probably be using my "sports" setting a lot more at my events next week, which makes my camera take several quick photos in succession when I click the shutter. What you think might be the best shot when you're taking them may change when you see all your pictures later.

DS when he was 3.  Another photo that exemplifies things Lange discusses in the Craftsy class. (Can you see the Easter egg?)

DS when he was 3.  Another photo that exemplifies things Lange discusses in the Craftsy class. (Can you see the Easter egg?)

I think what I found lacking in terms of my needs and what I was hoping to get out of this class was that most of his examples seemed to be based on things he could control: He set up shots, he put people in positions where the lighting would be best, he asked them to get into certain poses or do certain kinds of actions, and so forth. For me, I'm shooting completely candid shots in the middle of events where lighting is often quite iffy (I hate hotel conference centers!), I have no control over where people are sitting or standing, and I'm trying to be as unobtrusive (invisible) as possible. I was hoping he might address how to work in those situations a little more. Still, I have some new ideas about angles I might use or situations I might take better advantage of, and certainly many of his set-up shots are meant to mimic candids so I had some take-aways from that as well.

Again, I clearly walked into this class with a pretty solid foundation on composition, so there were only moments of newness for me. But for someone who hasn't spent as much time working on her photography as I have, there may well be a lot of new and useful information here.

Lange clearly loves his work and finds creative ways to make his points--certain phrases will definitely stick in my head. And I did love seeing his photos--great stuff. If you would like to see your photos more creatively composed, I do recommend this class.

The Basics:

  • 7 lessons, ranging from six minutes (intro lesson) to 25 minutes. Most are in the 10-15 minute range.
  • Lessons include "Do the Unexpected," "Create a Stage," "Be in the Moment," "Beyond Good Enough," "Capture All of Life," and "Social Sensitivity."
  • You do not need any particularly kind of camera to take this class. Again, it's all about composition, not settings or lenses or anything technical.
  • He spends a fair amount of time on photos of children, so those of you with kids, take heed!

Again, that's Creative Photography: Capture Life Differently with George Lange. (As of this posting, it's still 50% off!)

(Usual transparency statement: clicking on Craftsy links in this post helps support this blog and podcast. Thanks!)