A Weekend With Mary DuPrie

Carly shot with the Nikon D700 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens


As many of you know, besides gadgets I have a passion for digital photography. I’m always learning something new. This past weekend I spent two full days with well known photographer Mary DuPrie. Mary is the master when it comes to directing and posing models and she’s also great when it comes to lighting, photo retouching and photography in general.


About the workshop

Mary offers these workshops quarterly and they are limited to FOUR photographers. That’s right, ONLY FOUR. Talking about personalized attention. As a matter of fact she is so adamant about this rule and class size that we missed her last regularly scheduled one because it was already full. Luckily she was able to accommodate not only myself, but my buddy Scott Kelby who flew up for the weekend to attend with me. Mary spent most of the first day giving us lessons on how to direct and work with inexperienced models. We even had a volunteer. David Teng brought his girlfriend Genevieve (‘Gen’) along and she graciously allowed Mary to show her how to model. Gen was perfect because not only had she not modeled before, but she really doesn’t like having her picture taken at all. So we got to see first hand how to work with someone from scratch. I didn’t bring my laptop the first day, so I really got a chance to give my iPhone’s Notes app a workout. I picked up a ton of tips on the first day that I will definitely be using from here on out.

After we saw how Mary works with models, we got a chance to see how she does one of her favorite beauty light setups. While I would love to go into great detail about this setup, it wouldn’t be fair to Mary as this is how she makes her living.

Mary DuPrie teaching us one of her beauty lighting setups which was used to capture the shot of Carly above


That aha moment

Any photographer that works in a studio often will tell you that it get’s kind of old shooting against a white background. I gotta admit that I was starting to cringe at the idea of doing more shoots in the studio. It’s summer and I want to get out more. However, I learned that you can do some amazing shoots INSIDE if you have the room and the right props. Mary is the queen of props. Here studio looks like a Pier 1 and Ikea store combined. You name it, she’s got it! She told us that we would be doing a “beach shoot” on the second day and I was like “yeah whatever, I’ve done swimwear shoots before.” I had no idea that she really intended to create a set from scratch that actually looked like a beach! It was truly amazing watching this thing come together. For a moment I felt like I was on a Hollywood set. This taught me that with a little imagination, you truly can create any kind of setting you want without having to always travel to a location. You also don’t have to spend a fortune on this stuff either. As Mary would say, “you’d be surprised by what people throw away these days” 🙂 Another eye opener for me was how much and how well she uses her Westcott TD5 Spiderlites. I will definitely be using mine more after seeing how she uses them.

Tiffany Stone shot with the Nikon D700 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens


All-in-all it was two long days that were well spent and well worth my time and money. I got to hang with my buddy, meet some great photographers (Blake Discher and David Teng) and models (Tiffany Stone and Carly) and I got a chance to take my new Nikon D700 for spin. I also can’t leave out Tammy Pore, the makeup artist who did a fantastic job.

The workshop was also quite fun. By the second day we were probably doing more laughing than shooting at times, but that was so what I needed after a long work week. So, it was truly a great weekend. Now I realize that not everyone can get to one of Mary DuPrie’s workshops in person. No worries, she has three DVD’s available on her techniques. It was one of these DVDs that lead me to want to know more about how she does what she does. Also be sure to check out Scott Kelby’s write up on the workshop. He went into more detail and has some interesting perspectives on it too.

All of the shots above were processed through Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 and Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended.

As you can see David doesn’t like to have his picture taken either 🙂 (just kidding David, but I couldn’t resist.)

6 Replies to “A Weekend With Mary DuPrie”

  1. Hey Terry –

    Always great info here… and this is no exception.. I am re-engergized about shooting again..(maybe its the p/t Sys Admin gig I had to take to pay mortage, feed three kids, etc.. that that is another story..) Anyway…working on updating my studio space. My question is how large is Mary’s studio space. I have 15×23 … workable, just thinking on props, and the sort.. really want to expand my offerings, possibilities and have the vision to create some amazing pictures.

    Thanks again for all the information you share.


  2. Adam,
    Thanks! I don’t remember to be sure, but I think someone asked during the class and the answer was 2,400 square feet.

  3. Hi Terry

    thanks so much for attending and writing this wonderful blog!

    and to answer adam i believe i have around 3700 sq ft, my largest shooting area is 20’x60′

    all the other space is for props, grip and kitchen

    i have studio pics on the website listed above if you want to see the studio

  4. Great post! It was definitely a pleasure meeting you and working with you. It was such an inspiring workshop and even better having you and Scott there. Between the both of you, 1/2 of my shots were blurry because I was laughing so hard. =)

  5. “We even had a volunteer.” I knew enough to know that one doesn’t say no to Mary Duprie when she volunteers you. LOL Thank you for being so kind about it. hehe

    I have to agree with you and David about all the fun that we had, especially on the second day. You and Scott do the straight man/funny guy duo so well! =D

    This is an awesome post, but forget the great images of some very attractive women–that last picture is some sweeeet icing on the cake! We were laughing so hard when we saw it. hahaha You’ve given me some quality ammunition to use against David for a long, long time. =)

  6. I have worked with you and Scott and Mary before so I am sure that Scott had Mary rolling on the floor laughing by the end of the weekend. Glad to hear it was such a good experience for you. I enjoyed reading about it all here and I am anxious to hear more about it when I see you.

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