Jerry Ghionis’ How to Wow Tour comes to Tampa

Mr. Ghionis taking a well-earned coke break.
Mr. Ghionis taking a well earned coke break.

Wow! That is what I have to say. Let me frame this experience. The first thirty-minutes were spent with Jerry getting to know the crowd, warming them up, getting everyone loose. . .which seemed to work for everyone but me. My usual awkwardness around new people and crowds makes me rather standoffish.   I did enjoy viewing the images displayed on the large screen showcasing some of Jerry’s work and listening to audience members tell their stories and ask their questions. There were many starry eyed fans and I was a bit aware that I had never heard of this guy or his work. I was there because my husband, Tom who is a Nikonian member, purchased the tickets and instructed me to appear. I rarely listen to Tom, but after going online and searching for Ghionis’ work I was impressed.

Let me say that this is a very nice man. He is genuine, passionate, and knows his craft! He is approachable, easy to talk to, even though I never got to talk to him,  and he comes across as being unpretentious. All qualities that, in my opinion, make a great teacher and mentor. One of the many lessons he shared and demonstrated is that putting people at ease, earning their trust, contributes to capturing beautiful photographs.  The two or three photography techniques I walked away with from this training are well worth the hefty  price of $400 . . . ouch!  Jerry is expensive.

It wasn’t until after lunch when Jerry got into shooting that I was really wowed! He had mentioned the jigsaw affect which involves bringing two faces together so that they interact in a way that they almost fit into each other like puzzle pieces.  This is my attempt. I didn’t quite get it, but it is a technique I will continue to practice.

Jigsaw attempt
Jigsaw attempt

Jerry’s images were amazing .  I am proud to say that all the images in this post were taken by me:) I applied a couple of crops, exposure adjustments and a bit of clarity here and there all in lightroom.  I actually chose to leave some imperfections in the close ups and in some cases emphasized them.

Jerry was shooting tethered to a large screen so as soon as he shot his image it was displayed on the screen.  We students could then compare our captures to his. The entire group of about 100 students scrambled to find a spot where they could shoot the scene Jerry setup for us. The ambient light in the room was low and we were several feet away from the subject. I was using my Nikon D600 with my 28-200 zoom. The images I am displaying here were a result of different combinations of iso settings, shutter speed, f-stops, and white balance adjustments. I usually shoot with my ISO and WB set on auto, but for this experience I used different combinations of all of the above.

Magic hands
Magic hands

I wasn’t pleased with my first shots of Lisa so I kept resetting my camera and continued shooting. The next models are Ken and Devon, okay his name isn’t Ken, I’m not sure what his name is but he is cute enough to be Ken.

Ahhhh, better . . .

Let me focus on just Devon . . .

Okay! I’m feeling wowed!  This next fellow is Matt. He was a student who was picked by Jerry because he reminded us elders of Errol Flynn. Matt had no clue who Errol Flynn was. LOL!

In the boudoir set there was a mock window with a light unit installed to mimic natural light. I think it was a fluorescent light unit but I am not sure.


This is Lisa, one of Jerry’s models, she was fully clothed wearing a black dress in this image.  I was able to cover her in shadow and just capture the light falling on her face and forearms. Just a hint of light on her cleavage gives the illusion that she is nude. Beautiful!


Throughout the demonstrations Jerry positioned the models near two different light sources, either the light coming from the window facing him or he had someone from the audience hold the ice lights. The only other light Jerry used was the on camera flash. He demonstrated how to use the on camera flash so that you could bounce flattering light on your subjects face that looked natural in low-light situations.

Engaged students
Engaged students

I was positioned in the crowd, first or second row back from the set and camera right of Jerry.  From my vantage point the ambient light was low, and the light coming from the window was not sufficient.  I was shooting my Nikon D600, in manual mode and adjusting my settings as I shot.

This is another fellow student, I didn’t get his name either:(

I was rather pleased with the results I got.

Here Jerry was demonstrating his ice lights and how he captures reflections. For this demonstration he is using a mirror, but he uses any reflective surface.  Awesome! I have to figure out how I am going to justify the cost of those lights but I gotta have them.

working with a model
working with a model

Lisa models a boudoir scene . . . I thought I captured these images very tastefully!  I have shot boudoir before, and I like the old Hollywood, classic noir look. That is what I was trying for here. I think I nailed it.

I love shooting people . . . with my camera . . . and I am especially fascinated with the human head and face. I particularly am drawn to a great profile and expressive eyes.

Finally, a few tips on special effects using props, angles, light and shadows.

Different looks created by manipulating light, shadow, and emotion

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