Welcome to my review of Evan Sharboneau’s Trick Photography and Special Effects course.
As a professional photographer, I am always on the look-out for new products and so-called gurus claiming to have written the latest book on photography tricks (unfortunately, many of them are just marketers who actually know nothing about photography).
Well, there’s a course that caught my eye recently. It’s by Evan Sharboneau, who has successfully managed to put together a very comprehensive course on trick photography. Sure, the advent of Photoshop has made manipulating photographs easier than it was ‘back in the day’ but the real skill is using your camera to get those eye boggling images in the first place.
Some of the photography tricks in the course are quite outstanding but are very easy to replicate.
Whilst I have articles on this website about trick photography and special effects you can achieve with a camera, I really haven’t gone anywhere near the detail that Evan has in this fantastic course. On this page I will provide you with a detailed account of what’s inside the course AND I’m going to start off by showing you one of Evan’s tutorials (see below).
I hope you enjoyed that……there’s plenty more of those……..
Trick Photography and Special Effects – What’s Inside The Course ?
Okay, in this initial part of the review, I’m going to walk you through the actual members area.
Firstly, when you get your link to the members area and log in you will see the following tabbed page format :
- Home Page Tab
- E-book Tab
- Videos Tab (excellent how-to video tutorials)
- News Tab
- Contact Us Tab
I’ll uncover what’s behind the main tabs below.
On this page, you will see a link to be able to download the book and the four bonus e-books. Each comes in straight forward PDF format (so simply right-click and “save as…”, OR you can download them in a zipped files).
I have gone into some detail regarding the e-book contents below.
In here are three modules, to coincide with the modules in the book. The 55 videos total nine hours in length. Many of the videos run up to 20 minutes in length, so you really do get to see a detailed view of every trick photography example covered. Some are obviously shorter (5 minutes long), depending on the complexity of the topic being covered.
The beauty of the videos are that they have been recorded in HD, so I’d fully recommend that you use the full screen feature on each of the videos and you won’t lose any of the quality in doing so.
Evan does provide his clients with his private email address and is more than happy to answer any issues you might be having.
Now, I’d like to delve a bit deeper into the actual course………….
The Ebook Contents
After a few of the usual legal, Forward From the Author, and Contents pages, we then move into the actual content :
There is a nice little section at the start which talks about the ideal type of camera bodies and lenses you should use (you don’t always need and expensive dslr either) and also a bit on tripods and photo-shop software. Once that is done, we really are into the training modules.
Module 1 : Long Exposure Effects & Light Painting
Evan starts off the course talking about one of my favourite subjects. Key to this is camera settings. Even budget cameras have a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to settings, but for many people it is not something they would even consider touching and they are content with leaving all of the settings on ‘Auto’, or ‘Factory settings’. However, with a little bit of experimentation you’ll be amazed what your $100 camera can really achieve.
Useful tips are included at this point concerning shutter speeds, setting the aperture and ISO, setting the white balance and generic common settings for light paintings.
Next are the fundamentals of lighting, including flashlights and LEDs and also guidance on using fiber optic adaptors and where you can buy all these cheaply. But fear not, you do not need a stack of costly accessories to get the most out of this course. There is plenty here even if you don’t buy all of these additional tools.
Having said that, Evan then discusses LED strips (even how to build them yourself), Bayco work lights and fairy lights (how to make orbs with these). Then there are laser pens, fibre optics, cathodes (and how to make one cheaply), glow sticks, glow in the dark paint.
We then move onto long exposure of city lights, star trail images, capturing fire, EL Wire (don’t worry if you don’t understand the terminology of some of this stuff – you would have seen photos with these effects on).
The module then goes into numerous techniques looking at motion blur (e.g. waterfalls, star trails) and long exposure techniques.
Module 2 : Trick Photography and Special Effects
This chapter contains more traditional trick photography that anyone can do with even the most basic of camera. Topics covered include, illusions and forced perspective. Upside down reflections and 3D photography are very well covered (using one or two SLR cameras), and also high-speed photography.
One thing I’ve really improved on is smoke trick photography. What I learnt here really helped sharpen up my images. Infra-red photography also gets a tutorial as does the increasingly popular 360 degree photography (See photo at the top of this page – I’ve seen a lot of people posting these on Facebook recently).
Module 3 : Photoshop Projects
This is where it is useful to have Photoshop or some other photo editor software. Having said that, this section is independent from the other chapters and there are free on-line versions of Photoshop readily available.
What I can tell you at this stage is that Adobe does have a free version of its more famous Photoshop product and you can obtain it from here : Photoshop Express.
There are plenty of effects covered in this module, including : Layer Masks, Levitation (people floating in mid-air), invisible man (see photo to the right), and many more.
Now I appreciate that many people are a little reluctant to get involved with Photoshop, as they think it will be too complex and frustrating. Let me tell you it’s not. He’s a time-lapse version just to show you how easy it really is :
There is a lot more besides, but please take a look at Evan’s website (link below) for more information.
Trick photography and special effects
video review and members walk through
As I said previously, I have not seen anything like some of this stuff before, so learning these techniques will arguably give you an advantage when entering photo contests (if that’s your thing), or for ‘selling’ your work to photographic websites (that’s the core of my business now and well worth looking into if you are not already doing this).
In addition to the 295 page Trick Photography and Special Effects e-book and videos, Evan also provides four additional e-books, at no extra charge:
Core Photography Fundamentals
This e-book goes over the basics concepts like aperture, depth of field and bokeh, shutter speed, ISO, focusing, white balance, how to get the sharpest photo possible, various accessories you can get for your camera, etc.
Introduction to External Flash Photography
Using an off-camera flash can be very useful when photographing people. This e-book tells you about the most popular techniques and suggests useful equipment needed to get started right away.
How To Make Money with Photography
Learn how to get your photos accepted into stock photography agencies and how to sell photos as fine art prints. As I mentioned above this is the ‘core’ of my business now and is very lucrative !!!
Filters for Lenses and Plug-ins for Photoshop
This e-book reviews the effects filters and Photoshop plug-ins so you’ll know how to create fun and trippy effects.
I have to admit, as a professional photographer of 27 years, even I’ve missed out on many of the photography tips detailed in these books during my career.
I highly recommend these books to amateurs and professionals alike. Please click on the link below to visit Evans official site and see some of the amazing photography tricks that you could be doing soon.
Click on the image below to visit the Trick Photography official website.
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