The Tamara Lackey Combo Pak is a bundled package of products that contains the DVD Inside Contemporary Children’s Photography as well as the Tamara Lackey Style Book which contains 25 separate recipes to get just the look you want from you photos. The style book is part of the Kubota Artist Series of style books that feature various photographers and how they use Kubota actions to produce their images.
Tamara Lackey is an award winning children’s photographer based out of North Carolina who work has been described as “expressive…soulful, often unexpectedly funny, beautiful”. She is the author of a bestselling book The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography and has been featured in many magazines and television.
Inside Contemporary Children’s Photography
Inside Contemporary Children’s Photography is a video that provides some detailed hands-on instruction for photographing children and their families both in the studio as well as on location. In this video she will explain as well as show you what you will need to run a successful portrait photography business. The content includes everything from studios, lighting, interacting with a diverse range of people as well as how to manage and grow your business. The video is broken into seven chapters and runs a little under two hours.
“Introduction” starts with an introduction by the instructor and what she plans to cover in the training. She goes into her background and what got her out of the business world and into photography. She describes her philosophy about photography and what contemporary photography is.
“Overview of Portrait Photography” describes what the difference is between traditional and contemporary photography. She talks about how, if properly done, the setting up the shot can actually create fond memories of the image and make the shot more valuable to the client. Here she relives memory of a photo she took of her daughter. She also talks about the different emotions that can be brought out in a photo session.
“Let’s Get More Technical, Shall We?” starts off with what to do at the start of a session to get yourself into the proper mindset. Then she moves in to showing you about composition and what goes into a good one. Next she shows you her studio set up and the equipment that she uses and how she modifies it for different conditions. Then she takes you out so some locations to show you what equipment and how she uses it in the field.
Throughout she explains reasons why she would choose one location over another and the various situations that make dictate the decision. She talks about working with newborns and their parents and some of the creative things that can be done with them. She also discusses various other topics such as knowing your equipment and knowing your craft so well that you don’t need to think about it when you are shooting, having multiple camera bodies with different lenses so that you are always ready for any situation, and a host of other tips and tricks.
“Seeing the Beauty in Children” begins with a discussion that each child is different and you have to be able to see these differences in order to bring them out in the photograph. This leads into different ways that you need to be aware of for starting the shoot, and techniques for managing the shoot, so that it can be successful.
Then she goes into the things to look for in the children while in a session that can bring out their personalities. These are the things that allow you to bring out reactions in the children by making the sessions fun and more natural. Other things include keeping up with the interests of the age of the child you are shooting, loosing yourself in the shoot, sounds that you can use to control attention, and other things to bring out the uniqueness.
“Interacting with Children” describes the different personality types of children. Here she goes through the major child types and what kinds of pluses and minus each one brings. She also goes through the best ways of working with each type and how let them be themselves yet still get the shots you need.
“Digital Workflow” goes over what her total workflow is from an overview level. She begins with what happens when the shoot is over and she comes back into the studio. She talks about how she backs up, how quickly she gets to editing her shots, and how she handles the proofs versus the prints. She also describes how and why she chooses images to present to the client, how and why she brings the client into the studio, the expectations she gives, the ordering process, as well as the final delivery.
“Setting Up Shop” takes you through how the Tamara Lackey studio is run. The shoots and editing are performed by the photographer and the running of the studio is done by studio director Lisa Walter. Walter describes what makes their studio run so well. She talks about how they work with their clients, how their clients find them, and how to keep them as clients.
She also goes through the realities of how much work that you really can get accomplished to be able to meet the customers’ expectations. She talks about when it becomes time to bring on more people to help you with your business needs and how to determine what jobs you will want them to take on. She explains options when the scheduled day doesn’t turn out the way that you expected and the alternatives that you can offer. She finishes off with how to handle client problems and how to get your name known in the community.
Inside Contemporary Children’s Photography is an extremely well done and very high-quality video production that not only keeps your interest, but provides a lot of educational information both from in a studio setting as well as on location. It has a nice balance of the photographer explaining things in front of the camera as well as live client shoots where you see how she interacts with both the children and their families. Interspersed with musical interludes, really makes this a must have if you are interested in child and family photography.
Tamara Lackey Style Book
Tamara Lackey Style Book is a spiral bound book of 25 recipes from Tamara Lackey’s bag of tricks. Included with this book is a companion DVD that contains a video tutorial for each of the formulas that will walk you through the creation of the final image in Photoshop.
To use this book you will need several of the Kubota Imaging tools including Kubota Artistic Tools Volumes 1-4, Production tools Volume 2, Tamara Lackey Action Pak, Texture Tools Industrial, and Texture Tools Earth.
Each page contains a before and after image so you can see the results. There is a story behind the image. Many of these are interesting in how the shot was captured and the reason why. They generally give the reason for the particular lighting situation, or the location as well as interesting tidbits about the shot.
All of the metadata on the exposure, ISO, lens type, etc. is provided along with the steps and actions needed to create the image. Many of the images range from subdued soft lighting to eye-popping bright colors, to black and white images and they all have that Tamara Lackey playful look.
While the biggest problem with having all of these actions is learning when to use what combination of actions and tools, the Formula book is an enormous help. I like the way it is laid out and professionally done. With the DVD tutorials it makes learning these tools a cinch. In the video, she describes which actions she uses and the thought process that goes into each image. The tools and actions are very easy to use and make a lot of mundane chores automatic.
The Tamara Lackey Combo Pak goes for $299 and is available from Kubota Image Tools. You can also purchase the items separately – $125 for the Style Book and $199 for the DVD.
If you are a professional photographer, especially one who does family photography weddings, portraits, or graduations, you really owe it to yourself to check into the Tamara Lackey Style Book, or any of the Kubota products for the photographer. They will allow you to get the maximum productivity with the least amount of effort. Even if you only use a small portion of the effects, they will pay for themselves in time savings and customer satisfaction over and over again. I highly recommend this product.