Learning from the best

The class takes a break, Scott doesn't.

The class takes a break, Scott doesn’t.

There’s a guy named Scott Kelby who lives in Tampa and lives the busiest life imaginable.  He runs a company that teaches people how to be better photographers and graphic designers.  Every Sunday he shoots NFL football.  He travels around the world teaching photo classes.  He’s written about 60 books, and is the best selling author of photo books ever.  He shoots weddings, and exotic cars, and fashion.  I don’t know if he ever sleeps.

Today, Scott was in South San Francisco to teach his Shoot Like a Pro class.  I’ve wanted to do this for a year, but circumstances kept getting in the way.  He was here last year, and we were gone. He came to Sacramento a few months ago, and we were gone.  I thought I’d miss again because today is the day we were scheduled to return from our cruise, but getting home two days early created an opportunity I could not pass up.

The class is held in a large meeting room just north of the airport, Scott on stage flanked by two large screens connected to his laptop.  There is essentially no light on him as he speaks, which must be intentional but I’ve never figured out why.  I can’t see him and it’s unpleasant.

The class is broken down into 5 separate lessons of roughly an hour.  During the breaks, Scott stays on stage and answers questions from all comers.  He’ll look at your photos and tell you what he thinks, but is open and clear that there is no sugarcoating–you get the whole truth.  I asked him about one of my photos and got valid feedback, not bland mealymouthing.  That was worth the entire cost of admission.

Even after the class ended everyone got a chance to talk to the teacher.

Even after the class ended everyone got a chance to talk to the teacher.

Scott talked about what to shoot, how to shoot it and how to process the shot in Lightroom and Photoshop.  The least effective section, to me, was about how to light a portrait–the stage was crowded, it took too much equipment, it didn’t work well and I couldn’t really see much anyway.

The best part was when Scott talked about shooting what matters to you, about how the photo is a tool to express an feeling or emotion, how a better camera is never the answer.  That you only see other people’s best shots, and you see all your own bad ones and you need to judge accordingly.

I came away educated, inspired and elevated.  This is the fifth or sixth class I’ve taken from this company, and they have all been both enjoyable and educational.  The price is a completely reasonable $99 and even includes a very thorough workbook so you don’t need to take any notes.

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