CreativeLIVE – The best photography classroom

For this post I thought I’d share with you one of the best online photography education sites out there,  creativeLIVE.  Based in Seattle, this company provides free online training for photographers, film makers, web designers and much more but the bulk of it’s content is for photographers.  Each week they have an industry leading professional come in to their studio and they stream the work shop live and for free.  The workshops can last from a few hours up to mammoth 5 day events.  Not everyone has hours free each day to watch these work shops and so creativeLIVE makes the files available to download.  These files cost money to download but if purchased prior to, or during the workshop, there is a good discount.  For a three-day workshop (the typical length) the cost is $79-$99 for pre-orders and then $149 after the event.  The video files are all released in HD and are broken down in to chapters – great for jumping straight to the section for complicated bit you wanted to look up.  Occasionally creativeLIVE will have special offers and give discounts on some of their older courses so following their twitter feed @creativeLIVE makes sense.

Some of the courses that I’ve seen and are worth a look are listed below.  Where possible I’ve provided a video link to either the course ‘advert’ or in some cases the first 10-20 minutes of the course.

Jasmine Star Wedding Photography

This is a five day workshop that covers almost everything about wedding photography.  Jasmine is one of those really annoying happy American photographers but she is enthusiastic about her work and her tutorials contain loads of great information.  Her style of wedding photography has the american slant and is more the reportage style that is slowly gaining popularity here in the UK over the line up and grin pictures that are traditional.  The course covers subjects that include branding, second shooters, shooting during the ceremony, lighting, posing, working with groups and what to do after the wedding.  The six students on the course are taken to a set-up wedding and talked through everything and then, for one of the sessions, all their images are worked through by Jasmine.  You can find details on the workshop HERE.

Sandy Puc Babies and Bellies

Sandy Puc
Sandy Puc

So once you’ve done the round of wedding photographs then some time later your friends will start having kids and will be looking for a photographer to help them out.  This next workshop is a three-day affair that covers how to shoot from pregnancy to one-year old babies.  As with many of the creativeLIVE workshops the first day is taken up with business information and tips for actually making some money from your work.  It then covers twelve different actual ‘live’ shoots with babies of different ages and talks through all the different posing, lighting and baby wrangling techniques to create some brilliant images.  With only a few bits of inexpensive lighting equipment she shows how you can build a mini-studio at home to recreate some of the effects.  Sandy’s workshop is HERE

Jared Platt The Ultimate Lightroom Workflow

If you still think you need Photoshop to sort out your images then you have obviously never some across Adobe Lightroom.  I was a real sceptic when I was introduced to this software as it just seemed to be a big database for my pictures.  The more I learn about Lightroom the more amazing I find it.  Yes it is a great way to catalogue and store my pictures but it does sooooooo much more!  It’s a powerful image editor, it can apply filters to my images, convert to black and white, store geo-caching information, fix badly exposed images, crop and rotate pictures, fix red-eye, get rid of dust and spots, sort out noise, create books that can be ordered from Blurb, or give me total control over my printing from home.  This workshop is a real must and it delves into almost every function of the software.  Aimed at everyone from the novice to pro user there is something here for everyone and I still refer back to it frequently.  You can find the workshop HERE.

Lesa Snider’s Photoshop CS5 Intensive Workshop

Whilst Lightroom is perfect for the majority of photo ‘fixing’ tasks you did still need software like Photoshop if you need to push pixels around a screen or create special effects.  I’ve been fumbling around Photoshop for several years now but could have saved hours of my life if I’d watched workshops like Lesa’s in my early days.  Some of the images and effects that are used in the videos seem ridiculously basic but it is all about building an understanding of the way that Photoshop works so you can apply the techniques to your own images.  You can find this workshop HERE.  Her workshop is one of the most popular in the creativeLIVE catalogue and she has recently returned for four one-day workshops that go into specific areas of Photoshop in real depth.

If you love Photoshop then you should also check out Ben Willmore’s brilliant creativeLIVE workshop HERE.

John Greengo DSLR Fast Start Courses

What if you’ve always wanted to make the leap from a point-and-shoot camera to a ‘real’ DSLR with interchangeable lenses?  You take your shiny camera out of its packaging and realise you are entering a world of confusing buttons and dials, abbreviations and incomprehensible manuals so you end up shooting in ‘full auto’ mode and never unlock your camera’s potential.  CreativeLIVE has this eventuality covered too!

They run regular workshops hosted by John Greengo.  Each of the workshops looks at one specific camera  and then goes through absolutely every function in a few hours.  With the video files you also get a pdf handout you can print for reference.  I thought I knew my way round my Canon 5D Mk2 but John really knows his stuff so I bought the workshop to keep in case I ever get a shooting situation I cant figure my way out.  The major Canon and Nikon semi-pro models are all covered and you can find the workshops HERE more cameras are added if a new model is released (and one for the Olympus OM-D EM-5 is available).

And so much more…

I’ve just touched the surface of the creativeLIVE back catalogue.  They have workshops on studio lighting, shooting fireworks and light trails, creating websites using WordPress, getting portraits of strangers in the street, running a professional fashion shoot, creating apps for the iPhone, using Illustrator and so much more. New videos are streamed live most weeks from Thursday-Sunday, as I type this John Greengo has been teaching me how to use the Canon 650D – should I ever buy one 🙂 and this weekend is a two day workshop on creating wedding and portfolio albums.

Check out creativeLIVE!

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