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Nicole S. Young’s “Landscape Photography”

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Nicole S. Young, the amazing food and stock photographer, has really been rebranding herself as a teacher. She has numerous print books for sale and as of today she has a hot new ebook & video tutorial set called, “Light & Process: Landscape Photography.” (Get them here!)

I read the book, watched the videos, and played around with the bonus materials… SPOILER ALERT: If you’re a photographer trying to expand your knowledge base, this is a must buy.

Before we get started, checkout the nice trailer that Nicole did for the ebook & video tutorial set:

I’ve watched nearly every Kelby Training video from the past two years. I have multiple books on Lightroom and Photoshop. I have even taught college courses about both programs, but there were still techniques that Nicole busted out that were new to me. That’s kind of how this business works. You never stop learning, which is why I have no problem recommending “Light & Process: Landscape Photography” to photographers from all skill levels. Even if you are an old dog there’s fresh new stuff here!

What really stands out most about the ebook & tutorial set is that they aren’t a How To Manual. They are a gateway into Nicole’s mind and her workflow and that’s where their true value is.

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I read the ebook on an iPad mini and it was gorgeous. Obviously, Nicole’s photos were pretty to look at, but it was more than that. The layout and and design of the book flowed nicely. I know from my comics background that laying out a visual book isn’t easy and before I got to Chapter One of “Light & Process: Landscape Photography” I noticed how pleasant the book looked and felt on the iPad. It was soft, warm, and the color pallet shifted in every chapter to reflect the photos that Nicole was shooting and processing.

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Structurally, the book is set-up so that each chapter is broken into two parts. The first part focuses on Nicole describing a location, sharing some test photos of it and explaining her mindset as she worked a scene to find the keeper shot. The second half of each chapter was then about her processing the keeper shot.

Most of the processing that Nicole does in is in Lightroom but there were  multiple times she jumped over to Photoshop, OnOne, or even a Nik program. It was interesting to see her use each program because she almost always had a specific reason for why she was doing so.

Clocking in at 223 pages, the book isn’t a light read, but it never feels heavy when you are making your way through all the descriptions. That’s a testament to Nicole’s writing skills. This clearly isn’t her first book and she knows what’s she’s doing ’cause it’s not easy to write descriptions of how to use a program. Applications are a moving visual thing and even with screenshots a book about using Lightroom or another program doesn’t always read smoothly, yet it does here. I never felt lost or confused about what she was doing or why she was doing it.

The videos were my favorite part of the “Light & Process: Landscape Photography” set. Although they covered the exact same content as the book there was something a little more personal about it. Instead of reading a text book it felt like I was sitting behind a teacher and listening to them explain how they processed a photo and why they were doing what they were doing.

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Even more than that the videos are extra special because Nicole spends more time explaining how she worked a location. She’ll show a wideshot of a place and opens up about her thought process, sharing a bunch of bad photos, explaining what’s wrong with them, and how she fixed them by either adjusting her settings or completely changing the composition. It’s absolute gold.

In all, there were ten videos and they seemed to average at about fifteen to twenty minutes each with the shortest being eight minutes and the longest being twenty-eight minutes. Because of the structure of the book and set they are done in such a way that you can watch them in any order you want and even step away from them and come back later to a different chapter while still understanding everything.

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“Light & Process” is a new series that Nicole is hoping to start and if “Landscape Photography” is any sign it’s going to be epic. If you have $30 to spare, I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with getting both the ebook & video tutorials. If you are hurting for cash, you can buy both as stand alone products and they hold up on their own, though they seem to work better together. Personally I’m hoping this sells through the roof so that she can follow this up with a new food photography ebook packaged with video tutorials!