Elevate Photographers Spotlight: Wesley Johnson

wesley johnson blog post

These days, the line between still and motion photography is thin— almost transparent. From a client perspective, motion work is becoming more and more in-demand. If you want to continue in the camera industry, BTS2a base-level understanding of making motion pictures is not optional—it’s essential. Despite what many clients and even photographers think, making motion pictures is an entirely different animal. Our inexperience quickly slaps us in the face: Wildly out of focus; shakier than an earthquake; poorly exposed.

There is nothing wrong with experimentation and making mistakes — this is how we learn & grow. But this should happen before—not after—someone has hired us with expectations we’re unable to meet. If we dive into motion content before we’re ready, relationships and reputations suffer.

So let’s get ready. Let’s tackle motion pictures. We’re still making images and we’re still telling stories—but now our images are exponential, and now our stories have an arc.

For this workshop, my goal is to help you begin to build an essential foundation in making motion pictures—for the internet, commercial/television and feature films—making consistently good photography at 24fps. Let me say that again: Consistently. These days, almost anyone can make a ‘cool’ or ‘beautiful’ shot, but most of them don’t know how they got there, and far less could repeat it. When it comes to motion pictures, repeatability and continuity are critical. We’ll look at examples of great storytelling and discuss.

BTS4Collaboration is the heart of cinema. When you step into motion, a lot more people enter the picture. So we’ll discuss working for and with the myriad people on a set: Producers, Directors Actors, Production Designers, Gaffers, Key Grips, Wardrobe and more.  We’ll do all of this ‘On Set,’ creating our own film scene, complete with talent, cameras and lighting. As we work, we’ll discuss different camera techniques, lighting principles, filming tools/terms and cinematic continuity. We’ll block, light, rehearse and shoot—then we’ll go over our work and discuss what we’ve learned.

Can’t wait to see you at ELEVATE.

– Wesley Johnson


Wesley will be directing this course at pictureline's Elevate Photographers Conference on September 23rd & 24th, 2016. Join us for the event of the year where we’ve combined seasoned professionals with the hottest trends to elevate your work like no one else can. This two day event is packed with something for everyone, from pro to hobbiest, from landscape to portrait photographer.

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Wesley Johnson is an internationally celebrated Cinematographer and Photographer. After receiving a Bachelor’s in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology, he spent years of shooting advertising and editorial photography for clients all over the world. He then moved to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for film, where he received his Master’s Degree in Cinematography from the prestigious American Film Institute.

From feature films to television and commercial work, Wesley has spent 15 years working with and learning from some of the best storytellers on the planet. His passion for education and spreading good practices among students and professionals is what brings him to ELEVATE.

Wesley’s work can be seen at www.strikingthelight.com

August 2016

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