Kelbytraining.com : what you should read before signing up !

Hi guys!

Miss A

This post is about kelbytraining.com. One year ago I signed up to improve my knowledges. 365 days later, I think I write something about my experience so you can make your opinion. And you know what, it would be fun and constructive he would read or comment this post. Mister Kelby, feel free to write back !  🙂

Kelbytraining,… I am 43 and believe or not but i simply did not figure out how internet could help me to improve my CS5 skills. Almost by accident I have discovered a video from a B&H seminar with a funny and interesting guy named Frank Doorhof. A few things made me curious enough to watch his class :

first: he was funny,
second : he knew what he was talking about
third : I loved his shots.

At that point I have realized that youtube was going my best teacher and I watched hours of videos. But at the end of the day, it became clear to me that great photographers upload videos, but also guys-who-want-to-be-a-good-photographer-but-with-no-clue. And this is why I thought I need a reliable source. So I went back to Frank Doorhof’s blog and I noticed an add about Kelbytraining. I googled it, thought I could give it a try and I signed up for the trial period.

What’s Kelbytraing ?

It’s an online training about photography in all its aspects. Classes are videos from famous photographers I had almost never heard of and you can watch them as much as you want and at your pace. Great concept! Past this point you have joined the Kelby Family : you watch the grid, a weekly show and some how you start to develop a sort of link to those guys and you stay tuned.

Ok, what about the quality of the contents?
It is what it is : a training. I think it is good to have a minimum background if you want to have the best benefit. So make sure you know what is aperture, shutter speed, Iso and how they work together. Oh, by the way, all classes are in english. So you have to understand a little. Actually I have improved my english skills along the process of learning tips. A class is about 60 minutes. Some are longer, some are shorter.

Teachers were no-names to me. But I have to say that I only knew the photographers who had exibitions at the Vienna Kunsthaus Museum. So this is not something relevant. Well, I knew one of them because of an article in a magazine about telescope. It was Joe McNally. In fact they were two: Jay Maisel is also well known, even from a guy like me at that time.

I think if I am correct that my first class was a class called LIGHT IT, SHOOT IT, RETOUCH IT from S. Kelby. Scott, in my eyes is a great teacher. And a great retoucher, that’s his thing and his classes are, I think all of them but I did not check, about retouching and editing. He goes to the point, explains step by step what to do : wanna retouch the skin ? here is the way… And it’s really OK. He’s the guy you need for the Howtoes in Photoshop and / or Lightroom. Do not pay so much attention about the quality of his shots, they’re not arts and are quite boring. But use him as what he is : a great retoucher who’s gifted to teach.

As I wanted to focus on lightnings and studio technic, I have watched all Frank Doorhof’s videos. Again : nice funny guy talented and great teacher. I do not know how he does, but you really know more after his class. One of the things I have picked up from him is his way to create a vignette around the subject (lasso, inverse selection, feather at 250, new layer 50% grey…). I have created an action in CS5 I almost use in every shot I retouch : the VIGNETTE DOORHOF.

What I have noticed on the way is that most fashion photographers at KT have a common thing in my opinion. And this is a statement and not a critic : they have somehow the same look or the same feel. It’s too clean some how. And this leads me to the next point which is that they all helped me to take control of the cam, the lights. But somehow, they make absolutely awesome shots but almost all in a very commercial way. I was last evening flying from Austria to France and with my neighbor (a jewlery designer) we made fun about the bad commercials in the magazine. It is as matter of fact that all the women had a little opened mouth and a smoothy skin. ALL of THEM. Maybe it is a codex… But after 10 Pages you get bored and to not remember any of them. No creativity… But they all were technically perfect !

I haven’t seen all the videos (and this why I have signed up – today – for a second year) but I have found nothing about art and/or fine art. Nothing in the direction Newton, Bourdin, Comte, Sief, etc… They are (Comte is still alive) not only photographers but also artists. Nothing about classical nude, nudes like you see in Museum with free entrance for children because they are arts. I am not talking about erotic. And nothing about Light Meters.

(Head Scratching…)

Jay Maisel is the exception in my eyes. But he is the only one I have found in one year. That’s not enough in my opinion. A very good teacher – my fav – is Joe McNally. He his the one who lets you think and understand how light works. And he helped me a lot. He also seams to be a funny guy. You see him building the shots, and video after video you start to understand what you have to care about when YoU are behind the camera. Joe you’re great and I owe you a lot.

So now, yes, the answer is YES ! I have learned a lot and my wife and friends tell me that I have improved. Goal ! Am I a fan of the photographers at KB? It’s not why I signed up. When you go to school, you are not aiming to become a fan of your teacher. So this question is a wrong question. I think you will learn a lot about technic (btw, one great class is about how hollywood set upthe lights). The artistic aspect is missing here, one teacher is not enough. So please Scott and Co, get some artists and build some classes with them because you have a great an efficient concept.

I like the website too, it’s nicely designed.

Am I the average Kelbytraining student? I don’t know. I am a 43 years old european man, I shoot for leisure, photography has a very important place in my life and I spend one or two hours a day to shoot, retouch, blog, read about it. And this after my 9 hours of work behind my desk at my company. Every working day, and much more on weekend.

I hope this long post will help you to make your mind. Feel free to comment and share what you think.

more to come…

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