Fstoppers has teamed up with Miami-based swimwear photographer Joey Wright to produce an extensive tutorial on all things swimwear photography. Swimwear Photography: Lighting, Posing, and Retouching is an extensive educational course that walks you through every aspect of Joey’s swimwear business. Set in the exotic Caribbean country of Curacao, Joey and his creative team explore everything that goes into his commercial shoots including, how he uses natural light, scrims, reflectors, and strobe lights, as well as preproduction elements such as hair and makeup, wardrobe, scouting, model selection, and every piece of Joey’s photography kit. Joey also shares an extremely in-depth section on posing your model so you can achieve perfect body language and positioning with any model of any experience level.
Joey Wright’s Swimwear Photography tutorial has become the longest running tutorial Fstoppers has ever produced with a runtime of over 20 hours! With a total of 43 files, this series explores over eight hours of on-location shooting and demonstrations, as well as 12 hours of post-production in which Joey teaches you every step in his retouching and client-proofing workflow.
Learn Joey’s On-Location Lighting Techniques
This tutorial covers everything you need to know to capture beautiful images in any lighting situation. With the exotic Caribbean island of Curacao as a backdrop, Joey starts off simple by only using harsh, direct sunlight, as well as soft, natural shade. Once you have learned how to use and manipulate natural lighting, Joey then shares his favorite supplemental lighting techniques, including how to effectively use scrims, reflectors, and strobes with different light modifiers. Each series of lessons build in complexity and eventually lead to four unique “freestyle” lessons in which Joey uses any of the previously taught techniques to produce portfolio images in a variety of unique locations. By the end of this tutorial, you should feel comfortable producing well-lit images regardless of the outdoor lighting situation you find yourself in.
The Models and Location
In making this tutorial, it was really important for us to give Joey a wide range of talent and locations so that he could work through some of the most common issues he faces on a daily basis. Joey brought three unique models down to Curacao, two of whom he had worked with before (Shana McKay and Lisa Dillon) and one he had never photographed before (Mela Torres). All three of these girls had a wide range of modeling experience, and each one offered a nice diversity in height, hair color, and skin tone. Since swimwear doesn’t have to be shot exclusively on the beach, we also thought it would be nice to have a wide variety of shooting locations for each lesson. Several of the basic lessons take place near and around the beautiful vacation home we rented on the coast of the island. For many of the freestyle shoots, Joey moves away from the ocean and focuses on some alternative locations he might be asked to incorporate into his commercial shoots back home. All in all, the island of Curacao offered a wide range of shooting locations, including multiple beaches, coastal caves, a rustic marina, a vacation property, a dried river bed, and even an incredible natural geyser.
How to Pose and Direct Your Models
Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons Joey teaches on-location is his posing guide. It is inevitable that every photographer will have to photograph a model or client that does not know how to pose well in front of the camera. Even if you have a well-seasoned professional model, chances are they are still going to prefer some sort of guidance in order to get the most flattering angles out of their bodies. Joey has an incredible eye for what looks good and what looks awkward on camera, and in this section, he shows you exactly what to look for when photographing your models standing up, laying down, and leaning against props in the scene. Once you are aware of all the pitfalls photographers often miss with posing, you are going to be able to direct your subjects into flattering modeling positions with ease.
Learn Joey’s Entire Post-Processing Technique
Once you learn all of Joey’s lighting and posing techniques, we transition into the post-production studio, where the images really come to life. These lessons make up the second half of the tutorial and explore every part of Joey’s streamlined post-production workflow. Here, you will learn how Joey makes Lightroom catalogs, culls through a full shooting session, processes his raw files, preps each image for client proofing, and exports the final selects for polishing in Photoshop. Once in Photoshop, Joey outlines his systematic process for retouching skin, fixing hair, using the liquify tool, enhancing skies and backgrounds, dodging and burning, final color and tone adjustments, and image sharpening. Joey also shares some of his favorite third party plugins so you too can reproduce the film and color effects seen in hiss work. Once you have learned all the tricks and editing techniques Joey uses on a regular basis, the post-production section of this tutorial wraps up with him doing start-to-finish retouches on six of his favorite images from the entire tutorial. Finally, Joey has also been generous enough to include 30 HIGH RES RAW FILES so you can follow along and practice his techniques at your own pace. He has also included downloads of his custom-made Photoshop actions, brushes, and presets so you can utilize his most common techniques with the click of a button.
Joey’s Marketing and Business Practices
Perhaps nothing is more shrouded in mystery than how successful photographers market and price out their work. In this tutorial, Lee Morris of Fstoppers sits down with Joey in the studio to discuss his thoughts on how he has made photographing swimwear a full-time business. Topics include how to bid on a job, when to start charging for your work and how to price your services, when working for free makes sense, using social media to your advantage, how to work with local agencies, finding paying clients, and how to work your way up the model chain.