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A Look Into The Mind & Work of John Keatley | Review of DEDPXL Presents: John Keatley

By Miguel Quiles on April 2nd 2015

Having followed the work of John Keatley for some time now, I was excited to see a new video featuring him, and his work presented by the folks at DEDPXL.

It’s rare to find videos that feature photographers that are working at the highest levels of our industry. Sure, you might find a BTS video on Youtube with 1 frame in the entire video showing their lighting setup, but often, you’re left wondering how they created the images for which they are best known. DEDPXL set out to do something that I have rarely seen, which is to take the viewer into the mind of a photographer and show us their process along with some special surprises.

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The download has eight videos, some of which feature interviews with John Keatley as well as some individual videos talking about gear, lighting, post-production, and both a location and studio shoot. There are also some additional folders that I found very surprising to be included, but I’ll cover those in detail shortly.

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I started off watching the interview videos and was very inspired to hear how John started his business, and how he tackles the adversities of the industry. Often, I’m looking for the technical content in these types of videos, but it was refreshing to hear some of the business wisdom and real life experiences that was shared in this video. John Keatley has such an openness and honesty about his experiences that I think a lot of photographers, especially those who do this as a business, will find extremely beneficial.

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Once the interview videos are out of the way, it was time to dig into the technical part of his process. John explains, in detail (over 30 minutes), all of the camera gear and lighting that he currently uses, along with explanations of each choice. Some of the gear he uses can be quite expensive for some, but he gives great insight into how he built up his collection which gave me a lot of action items that I could use in my own business.

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The next set of videos features both a location shoot and a studio shoot. You’ll have the opportunity to see and hear John’s thought process as he builds up his scenes & works with the talent. Both videos give you, as the viewer, the feel that you’re actually on set with him. Both segments are content rich, and I found them both to be extremely valuable in understanding his process and figuring out how to implement some of the things in my own work.

The final video in the download is one on post production. A majority of the video features his process of making selections from all of the images photographed during the on-location and studio shoots. He also gives some additional information on his lighting setups and how they added to his final images which really tied a bow on some of what he talked about in the other videos. While I found the content to be very useful, I was expecting to see how the images were retouched which didn’t come about in this part of the video. Regardless, there was definitely a lot of information that I found very useful that could be applied to my own post production.

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Lastly, there were two folders left to explore. The first folder had the final, retouched images from the two shoots with all of the EXIF information intact. The images had that John Keatley signature style and knowing how these images came into being was pretty awesome.

The last folder had something that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in a collection of this sort, especially with a photographer of his stature. DEDPixel actually included the proofs of all of the images shot from both sessions! I found this to be a pleasant surprise, as you typically only see a photographer’s final images from a session, and you rarely get to see all of the “throwaway” images. Each folder has hundreds of images, again with all of the EXIF details, so that you can see how each image progresses and leads to the final retouched shots. I felt like a kid in a candy store as I browsed through all of the images and deconstructed the shoot from a different perspective. I found the inclusion of these images to be extremely valuable in understanding his process and possibly worth the entire cost of this video all on its own!

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So who is this video for? I would say if you have a grasp of the basics of photography and lighting, you’ll find a lot of information that’ll be worth the cost of admission. If you’re a fan of John’s work, this is by far the most comprehensive look into how he creates his images from beginning to end. The video was well produced and of a high quality that added to the “rewatchable” (yes, I made that word up) nature of it all. Overall, I would definitely recommend it to any John Keatley fans as well as those wanting to understand how the photography business works at the highest levels.

John and DEDPXL have provided to our SLR Lounge readers with a special promotion for $25 off which brings the total price to $50. Use SLRKEATLEY2015!

Miguel Quiles is a commercial wedding & portrait photographer based out of New Jersey. He’s been involved in the photography industry for over 15 years, starting off first as a salesman at a local camera store. Since that time, Miguel has been refining his skills and pushing the limits of his creative abilities through the medium of photography.

As a self-taught photographer, Miguel hopes to share his experience and knowledge with new and upcoming photographers who wish to take their work to the next level.

3 Comments

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  1. desmond chislom

    THANK YOU

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  2. Ed Rhodes

    thanks for sharing, interesting!

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  3. Tosh Cuellar

    the open-ness and access is refreshing, thanks for sharing

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