Private Teaching



Through the years I was asked by people to teach them or help them with the fundamentals of photographing the nude figure.  I was reluctant. I was acutely aware that a serious approach to the nude in photography can be more demanding than most people care to know.  I have never once viewed it as a trivial dalliance.  Given the knowledge I have accumulated over the years, I had doubts that I could impart much of that knowledge in a restricted time setting.  Much of what I  know and have learned has been a combination of the innate personality I had before I ever picked up a camera, experience from hundreds or probably thousands of hours in the presence of nude models, experience from thousands of hours in a darkroom, and teaching myself to see light and understand the basic laws or physics of film and chemistry.  There is also, and it should never be downplayed, the psychological-sociological dynamic of relating to another human being who is physically unclothed, and,  more significantly, perhaps unclothed and vulnerable in other ways.

In 1995 I had been photographing the nude professionally for twenty years when I met a woman who was studying photography at a local art college.  She had heard of me and approached me initially wanting to model for me.  After a few months of being one of my models, she timidly asked me if I would help her learn how to photograph the nude.  She was a beginning photographer and had never approached the nude outside of some self-portraits utilizing her camera's timer.  After a few weeks of consideration, I told her I would try to instruct her if she would find someone as a model that she knew and was a bit comfortable with so we could perhaps alleviate some of the initial awkwardness that I felt might be present if I merely used one of my other models as a subject for her.  More importantly, I believed that if she found someone to model that she already knew that they might have a collaborative bond already partially in place.  I can without hesitation say that back then I was slightly skeptical of my abilities to transfer any knowledge to others in this area of photography. 

The woman she found to be her model was a friend and it worked out rather well in that they were both studying art at college.  I offered instruction to her for almost two months before she left Savannah because she or her family could no longer afford the very expensive tuition of the art college.  She claimed several times that I was a wonderful teacher and that she was often learning better from me than from the teaching she was receiving in other topics at college.  Her praise helped to alleviate a lot of my reticence.  So a seed was planted.  I ran some advertisements and from those and word of mouth I acquired other students.  When I placed my website on the Internet in 1998 I found students from all across the country.  Some have flown in just for a day or two to study with me.  That is very complimentary.  I am pleased that I can offer some direction to others.  I remember too well that there was absolutely no one for me to turn to in the early 1970s when I started out. 

    Private Classes with the Nude                                                                                      

I offer private instruction with one model focusing on photography of the nude. I no longer teach workshops with multiple participants. I only teach one-on-one, though I will sometimes make an exception for a husband and wife duo. I have no fixed schedule for teaching. My teaching is dependent on my schedule and the availability of specific models. Not all of the women who pose for me are interested in posing for anyone other than myself which is what a private class would entail. 

As I get older, I prefer to teach in my studio as opposed to an outdoor location setting. Shooting on location can often present many variables, and combined with trying to impart knowledge to someone, I often have doubts as to whether I am really helping someone.  Having said that, I will occasionally teach on location, but I am stating that I prefer the studio as I think it offers a better environment for learning. You will need to tell me your preference and then let me decide about going on location if that is your priority.

My private instruction is one student and one model with me as the instructor.  In my studio I allow the student to watch me begin to photograph the nude model and then for him/her to try the same setup with his/her camera.  Before the end of the lesson the student can, if so inclined, direct the model and possibly arrange the lighting.  A private class generally lasts from one to four hours.  There are usually multiple setups with the model and different lighting techniques employed.  All is dependent to some degree on the length of the class and the experience of the particular student.  I try very much to tailor my instruction to the individual student's level of expertise or experience with photographing the nude.

In the early days of my teaching it was always mandatory, of course, that I have an initial face-to-face meeting with a prospective student. That was the major part of the process in determining whether or not I should accept that person for a private class. I still  prefer to meet someone in person where I can view his/her portfolio and sit and talk at leisure about what he/she wishes to learn. But with the advent of my website in 1998 I began attracting potential students from all over the United States. That rendered the prior in-person meeting mostly obsolete. So I now conduct e-mail and/or telephone exchanges when a person is interested in taking a private class. I prefer e-mail as I have a written record to refer to. 

With the e-mail exchanges I am expecting to see a URL on the Internet where I can go to view a person's past or current photography which does not necessarily have to contain nudity. In lieu of an actual website to visit, I will accept individual jpegs or hard copies of a person's photography but an online location with many examples is preferred. I am not looking to take anyone's money nor do I want to subject one of my models to someone who is not sincere and who is just playing around at photography.  I believe that I can impart a certain degree of knowledge to beginning up to intermediate photographers.  I do not accept everyone who approaches me for a class.  In reality, I probably turn down more people than I accept perhaps in part because I realized that many times the opportunity to be in the presence of a nude woman attracts the merely curious. I do not charge exorbitant fees for my instruction time.  I like for my models to earn some money.  I sincerely want to help the next generation of photographers carry on the valid art of nude photography. 

If accepted, the student is given a price quote for the particular private lesson/lessons sought.  A retainer is then required which is non-refundable should the student withdraw within 72 hours of the scheduled start time of the class.  The minimum price for a one hour private class with one nude model at a beginner's level is $120.00 and includes the model's fee and the use of my studio and lighting equipment. 

Many of my students have told me that an hour goes by rather quickly when photographing with a model.  I tend to agree and generally suggest that a student commit to at least a one and one-half hour class. But that is merely a suggestion and not mandatory.  One hour though is the minimum time of any private class I offer.   Additional hours or partial hours beyond the first one are less than the initial $120.00 rate.  

    Darkroom Instruction                                                                                  

The black-and-white darkroom is becoming obsolete as digital photography gains dominance. I am unapologetically a traditionalist who still uses film and processes by hand  film and prints in a darkroom. I occasionally teach black-and-white darkroom procedures with one student at a time. I have over thirty-five years experience working in a darkroom.  In my teaching with the nude as the subject I stress to any student the desirability of learning darkroom techniques if that is something that is unfamiliar.  It is not a prerequisite for taking a photography class with me.  But I am of the belief that darkroom knowledge will help anyone who is truly wanting to better learn how to photograph the nude while developing a signature style in that genre. I teach darkroom techniques without any requirement that you take any other photography instruction from me.

My darkroom instruction is not in any way confined to nude imagery.  If you are a photographer who has no interest in nude photography but wants to learn more about darkroom techniques I can probably help you.  I can teach you in my darkroom, or if you have one of your own established I can teach you there providing you are within a thirty mile radius of Savannah. 

If interested in taking a private darkroom class please contact me for availability and pricing. There can be several variables with this instruction due to the usage of various materials.  No one has to commit to studying with me on a continual basis.  I will give you a firm quote for the darkroom instruction after I determine your level of expertise and the materials required.  You are welcome to purchase just the one hour minimum time requirement to ascertain if I am offering you the type of instruction you want. Also, you can bring your own paper and chemicals which would help reduce my price quote to you for
darkroom instruction.




Jack Wegener
1115 Skidaway Road
Savannah, GA 31404-2321