View on Jean Michel Berts b&w tutorial

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Letters | 14 Comments

It is always easy to make review, to look at somebodies else work and make judgement. Much more difficult then create something our-self. I am aware of that but still I like to share my view on Jean Michel Berts b&w tutorial. I do experience with creating courses, tutorials and with delivering them most of my days.

Many of you who come here to read what I think about Jean Michel Berts b&w tutorial goes right away. I wonder why is that? Well I let you read further, but be informed that you can find interesting photographs and reading in my portfolio and blog as well as other articles I wrote.

You can also subscribe for updates of my blog.

When I have purchased the tutorial made by Jean Michel Berts I was not hesitating for a second. Especially because I like style of his black and white photographs. That style remiJean Michel Berts b&w tutorialnds me very much my early black and white work. His images gave me often that eternal, calm feeling one get from quality, full tonal and detailed, but dreamy black and white prints.

After I have payed and downloaded over 700MB big zip file, I was really curious, not only what his way of working is, but also how he did this tutorial. With quite some enthusiasm I have opened first movie. The way how he is working with Photoshop on post-processing his images is extremely simple, but very smart. You can really call it drawing with light and contrast on captured images. I enjoyed this very much, certainly after I have compared it with much more complex approaches or much more simple ones which doesn’t offer you any freedom. The creativity his way is offering and freedom combined with simplicity is really striking.

I have both books from Vincent Versace, focusing on the same topic. His approach is very sophisticated and his books are done the way that you have feel of rather complexity of his way. You even get feeling that once you master this complex way you will be able to do images like he does. Of course it is not true, simply because the technique, any technique, doesn’t make great image on its own. Same, could be said about approach by Jean Michel Berts. Especially because his road through post processing is, one could say, extremely simple. But without his view, his idea about finding image, without his vision and decision where to touch and how to modify image, any technique will not help you to create great photograph.

I haven’t thought much about the price I pay for tutorial created by Jean-Michel Berts, until I have seen how was it done. The way how movies are made is not bad, but sound, oh man sound is rather terrible. I was surprised, because it felt, rather amateurish. It looks like all was done very quickly in few hours. Some scene, when they talk in front of camera should, where probably taken only once and no retakes. The  Serge Ramelli who is having dialogues with Jean-Michel is very enthusiastic, but his, almost American way of saying wow, great, marvelous, every three minutes really disturbs. At least me, you certainly could have different view. He also making quite a few factual errors in commenting action Jean Michel is doing in Photoshop.interview

I fully understand this enthusiasm and joy of creating such a tutorial, but I am sure that little more conservative approach and more professional way of recording (especially the sound) would made this tutorial excellent. I do create video recordings for my classes often in time pressure to cover hot topic, but I do not ask $97 for it. Please do understand me correctly, I am not saying that this tutorial is bad, you will learn and see unique approach to Jean-Michel Barts creation of his black and white images, I only doubt if price shouldn’t be more like $25.



  1. RV » Black and White Creations
    Mon, 8. July , 2013

    […] 1 […]

  2. Jouni Leppanen
    Fri, 4. October , 2013

    Hi thanks for your review of Mr Bert’s b&w tutorial video. I have to agree with you $97 is quite a lot for training video particularly if it is not a professional job.
    What I have seen of his work I like his style and just wondering whether this can be achieved with i.e. Lightroom silver efex pro 2 or onone perfect suite 7.5 as these what I primary use for editing?
    Does one really need photoshop for similar results.?

    • richo
      Sat, 5. October , 2013

      What is really specific on his way of working is that he use those two layers and two different exposures. He is combining these two layers to get balance exposed result. This is not possible to do in Lightroom nor in SEP2.

      They may be some other programs where that would be possible, you need to be able to visually combine those two exposures of the same image after you perfectly align them.

      The rest is possible in many other programs, but I believe key to his approach is this combination of two different exposures of the same scene. I actually made one image using his technique and SEP2. Take a look:

      I am also old user of pwp (Picture Window Pro) for editing my images. Have not use it for a while, but it seems that sw is able to do similar thing:

      P.S.: Jouni, sorry not to notice your comment earlier.

  3. Andrew
    Mon, 18. November , 2013

    Having viewed only the first 2 videos, I feel I have already had my $97 worth. Jean-Michel is a photographer, not a tutorial creator.

    Those of us who were eager enough to buy the tutorial, found what we paid our money for, the techniques Jean-Michel uses to create his images. I must say I’m so pleased it is a simple process, and not too complicated.

    I’m personally not too worried about the professionalism of the video production, and I would encourage more photographers to let us benefit from their expertise, rather than criticise what they’d probably rather not do in the first place which is spend time creating videos.

    Thank you Jean-Michel Berts!!!

    • richo
      Thu, 17. April , 2014

      Andrew thank you for your view.

  4. Jean Michel Berts approach » Richard Vanek Photography
    Wed, 4. June , 2014

    […] the last weekend, I was looking again at the Jean Michel Berts b&w tutorial and wondered if I can do better. Better then I did in my last attempt in Black and White Creations. […]

  5. David Joyce
    Wed, 9. July , 2014

    Gents, can you inform me as to whether a full version of Photishop is required to follow the tutorial, or are all the tools required, available in Photoshop elements 12? Regards, Dave.

    • Richard Vanek
      Thu, 10. July , 2014

      David I have no idea, I do not know that program. As I wrote you can do similar things in Picture Windows Pro, which is excellent photo editing program and as Jean Michel note in his movies you can do it also with old version of Photoshop (I think he mentioned from version 6)

  6. Max
    Mon, 25. August , 2014

    Is jean Michel berts using only level and curves layers for the dodge and burn ? Because I bought the interior design course of serge ramelli and I felt I didnt learn anything new compare to his free tutorial so i don’t want to waste my money again if jean Michel technique is simple as that.

    Thanks for your reply guys.

    • Richard Vanek
      Fri, 5. September , 2014

      Max, you are right. He is using level and curve layers as mask to enhance the image or blend it with image of the same scene, but with different exposure.

  7. David
    Sat, 6. September , 2014

    After watching the first and second volumes, if anyone hasn’t yet purchased, just buy the second volume would be my recommendation. All bar the finishing Curve in his work-flow is essentially shared the same regarding JMB’s technique.

  8. Patrick
    Wed, 23. September , 2015

    That is why I am still in doubt weather to buy this package or not. When you pay for such a price, you expect better quality. What I interfer from your review and others, is that you buy this package to learn just a technique. It is really important when you consider the other trainings of famous photographers which are using lots of tehniques & discussions with much less price or even free.

    I have seen some of Serge’s videos and his way of admiring Jean every moment is also disturbing there.

    If one day I will be that skilled to produce such videos, I prefer them to be free or almost free.

    • Richard Vanek
      Wed, 23. September , 2015

      Patrick, in my comment from 5th of Sep. 2014 I summarized his technique in very little words. It is nice to see how that works, but, as you said price is a bit too much.
      If you search internet on “using level and curve layers as mask to enhance the image or blend it with image of the same scene, but with different exposure” you may find some free resources.

      It is however nice to see how he does it. It is simple and elegant. The question also is, how much that fit in the style of images you are creating.

      • Patrick
        Wed, 23. September , 2015

        Yes, and that was enough! I completely understood the method and see no reason to buy this. :-) Now I need more trial & error.

        Instead of giving fish teach how to fish!

        I appreciate this article of yours.


Leave a Reply