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Official Review of Fashion Photography Exposed DVD by Melissa Rodwell

By Pye Jirsa on February 6th 2012


Basic Information

DVD Name: Fashion Photography Exposed
Cost: $300
Subject: Fashion Photography

Intro Video

Pre-Conclusion Conclusion

As usual, we always start with the conclusion because let’s face it, if every online review started with one, we would all have at least 6 months of our lives back.

Fashion Photography Exposed is a great educational DVD. It contains a wealth of information. But, let’s be honest, general lighting, business and photography knowledge can be learned from a $20 book on Amazon. Fashion Photography Exposed’s value really lies in watching Melissa Rodwell at work. Seeing how she lights, shoots and interacts with her models on each set makes this DVD invaluable to anyone that is serious about a career in Fashion Photography. You not only get to watch Melissa on 4 different shoots, she also spends plenty of time walking you through some of the images in her body of work, talking about business and giving advice to new photographers. This is what makes Fashion Photography Exposed a wonderful way to kickstart your career as a fashion photographer.

You will learn more from this DVD than you would from any book on the subject, and in a much shorter time. Like most high quality educational DVDs, they carry a heavy price tag. Which means that we highly recommend this book to two groups of people. Those that are already professionals looking to break into or get more experience in fashion photography, and those that are serious about beginning careers in fashion photography. If you are looking for basic information just to feel out the subject, do that with a $20 book. This is a $300 DVD that you will want to use in your career, not just let sit on a shelf.

Full Video Review

Full Written Review

Fashion Photography Exposed is a wonderful DVD, and for those that are serious about careers in photography, it is worth every penny. However, that isn’t to say we don’t have any critique at all. But, I like to save the veggies for last, let’s first talk about what we loved in this fabulous DVD.

1)4 Shoots – Watching Melissa on 4 different shoots was amazingly insightful. This is by far the primary reason you will want to own this DVD. Seeing her select her wardrobe, light a scene, work with her models, and watching her shooting style is incredibly useful. There were 3 full shoots and 1 extra in the Bonus Footage on the DVD.

2)Lighting Education – The lighting education in this DVD was bar none the best I have seen on an educational DVD thus far. Every style of lighting was explained and shown to the audience w/ a 360 degree diagram showing light, model and camera position. After each scene was explained, it showed how these scenes looked in real life. This DVD has pretty much every major lighting technique you would need to have an extremely successful career as a fashion photographer.

3)Communication – I know this isn’t really something that the DVD boasts, but it is something I wanted to say was really useful. The photography industry has so many sub-industries, each with their own nuances when it comes to vocabulary and communication style. Watching Melissa talking in her interviews, as well as with her clients and models was something that was very educational from a communication standpoint. Not only in the specific industry terms being used, but also in the style of communication. Once again, these areas of communication are things that cannot be learned from books.

Now let’s bring out a few of the veggies:

1)Audio Sync Problems – Throughout the DVD the audio wasn’t correctly synced with the video. For the majority, it is only off by a couple frames and not too noticeable. However, during the equipment discussion, the audio syncing is off by 1-2 seconds and is rather distracting. For a $300 DVD, I would expect a basic production value like this to be addressed correctly.

2)GenLux Interview – The interview with the GenLux editor on the unhelpful and slightly depressing side. Essentially, that interview deals with how new photographers can break into the fashion scene. However, the answers and help provided from the GenLux editor was rather vague and in most cases just served to say something to the effect of it being “really difficult to get into the industry.” However, this was all made up for when Melissa provides the missing information on breaking into the industry during her interview. For me, I would have just rather had the GenLux interview cut from the DVD as it didn’t provide much insight.

3)Accessibility – This isn’t an issue with the DVD, but it is something that needs to be addressed. If you are new to photography and serious about your career as a fashion photography, don’t think that just because you watch this DVD you will have all the tools necessary to get Melissa’s results. You may gain a lot of the knowledge, but the tools you will have to grow into. Melissa is shooting with thousands of dollars of lighting gear, crazy expensive cameras/lenses, and working with top of the line pro models and makeup artists while shooting at awesome locations. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to have all of that to start a career as a fashion photographer. Melissa even teaches several techniques that are easier to pull off for those without access to all the goodies. I just want to remind you that you need to work up to the big shoots, just like Melissa and every other big time fashion photographer. Don’t expect a DVD will take you there overnight. Like Melissa says, the most important thing is to get out and shoot!

That being said, none of these areas of critique can really reduce the overall value of the DVD. Slightly annoying, perhaps, but overall the DVD is solid and is chalk full of wonderful information.

Is It For Me?

Once again, this DVD is not priced for hobbyists, unless you all have money to burn. This DVD is priced and designed for those that are truly serious about their careers as fashion photographers. For those that are serious, I can say wholeheartedly that this DVD will give your fashion photography education a kickstart that no book on the market could provide. Best of all, you can watch it over and over again.

So, congratulations Melissa on a fabulous DVD. Fashion Photography Exposed is chalk full of wonderful information. From the business side to the actual lighting and photography side of fashion photography, this DVD is a wonderful addition to your educational library and is fully SLR Lounge Approved! Check out more details at

Post Production Pye
SLR Lounge Senior Editor
Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Good review

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    The one thing I found on the dvd that I haven’t seen before was the model agency interview. It was real  good hearing a booker talk, especially if you are starting to test new faces. 
    The rest for me was pretty standard. It’s the same old if you have a team you can produce the shots and then watching a photographer take photos of it. Don’t misconstrue that as me saying if you have a team that you don’t have to be good at taking photos. Finding a team etc and putting things together is part of being a fashion photographer.
    The vids are similar to the ones off her blog really.
    Just looked at her blog what she says in show and tell section about the chapel shoot and on the video aren’t the same though. Blog she says she just uses the modeling lights off softboxes with high iso in the vid she says she uses two soft boxes and a beauty dish but it’s a bit more in depth on the blog.

    So for $249 for 8 videos.
    Four being under 10 mins. Three of those- Intro to Wardrobe,Magazine Interview (don’t have much content in them) and Equipment you already know if you’ve been on the blog.
    I have seen more in depth vids on lighting so don’t know how it’s the best you’ve seen thus far. She just has the lights placed and it then it shows her camera setting used for the shot. No talk about f-stops or lighting distance etc so for a new photographer they could find it confusing and annoying.
    I’m not sure if it is worth the price with a lot of info already available on her blog and through other photographers through youtube, blogs etc.
    After watching it I don’t feel that much the wiser except for the model agency info video.
    But I do know if you have a decision between this and the Lara Jade I would def choose this over it!
    The Lara Jade dvd in comparison just makes fashion photography look flaky half her shoots are unorganized and it doesn’t offer much value or information on lighting and the photoshop she shows you is pretty amateur. You would be better just purchasing the Joey L Sessions dvd which is just him and is a really really good dvd packed with info.
    On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best based on content.
    Fashion Photography exposed___ 3
    Joey L vs Lara Jade__ 2
    Though not fashion photography based but still with the content and info on lighting and the way he explains stuff for a photographer.
    Joey L Sessions__4


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  3. Nat

    I agree with most of what’s written in this review. I’m a big fan of Melissa’s work and love the fact she shares so much of her knowledge/experience with the world. However, the GenLux interview is rather on the negative side as though the editor was trying to say to us: you’ve no chance in hell to make it, I don’t really care much about your work unless your name means something. Not encouraging one bit but it might be true for most editors. Hopefully not though! As for the agency interview, I’m glad it was so clear and really to the point, the opposite of the GenLux section. The DVD is a really good introduction into the world of a fashion photographer for those who’re just starting out, need pointers and want to see how it all fits together. 

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  4. Joe Gunawan

    Awesome review Pye! That reminds me, I have Joey L and Lara Jade’s Photographer Shoot-Off DVD. I should finish it and maybe submit it as a review, too =)

    Here’s their trailer video:

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