Learning Lightroom – A Skillshare Class Series

I’ve taught photo editing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for many years in person, and put small, specialized lessons online, but I recently had the drive and time to put together a comprehensive series of Lightroom lessons.  In this Skillshare series “Learning Lightroom” we tackle the modules one by one, breaking down all the features and explaining how they may be relevant to any photographer.

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This particular lesson focuses on the Library module, an amazing organizational tool with its own development features and special capabilities.  At the end I show you how an experienced Lightroom user would utilize all the components in a real world scenario.

Sign up for the first part of the series, “Learning Lightroom: The Library Module”, is here!

Surreal Video Effects in Adobe Premiere – A Skillshare Class

The Surrealists of the early 20th Century have always been huge influences on my work- I think when I first learned about Man Ray in my photography class, I thought “…friend!” in that pseudo-horror movie way.  As I graduated into making video work I wanted to express myself in a similar way as my photography, and learned a handful of techniques that are not too dissimilar from what those Surrealist innovators were doing when they dipped their hands on filmmaking.

“Get Surreal In Adobe Premiere” is a Skillshare class I created that shows how to emulate the Surrealists using Premiere’s tools.  The trailer is above, and the full class is over here!  I’m proud to be part of Skillshare’s phalanx of amazing teachers creating small, project-oriented online classes.

Skillshare – my favorite tutorial site

 

Last year I was determined to grow as an artist in new directions- I was able to upgrade my computer and imaging gear, pay for the Adobe Creative Cloud and use all their programs beyond the photographic ones, and I traveled outside of my normal LA/ Seattle/ Arizona loop.

New_Project 2With new directions come new learning curves, and the tutorial site that has helped me the most by far is Skillshare.  I used it to get my business in order, learn Adobe Illustrator and After Effects and InDesign, learned graphic design of posters, and more.

IMG_2564Beyond that, I’ve been able to bring the stuff I teach locally in the Phoenix Metro to a worldwide audience.  Currently my classes involve photography (Mixed Media Image Transfer + Capturing the Great Outdoors + Speed Up Your Workflow In Lightroom) , videography (Get Surreal With Adobe Premiere), sculpture (Create A Caricature in Clay Without A Studio), and graphic design (Build Your Creative Cloud Library With Adobe Capture).  I’m prepping classes on Creative Photographic Portraiture, Voice Editing for Adobe Premiere and Audition, and Making Motion Comics, all of which will be up before the summer ends.

get surreal in adobe premiereIn the meantime, anyone out there who wants to try out Skillshare, here’s a lovely referral code for a 3 month trial for .99!

Teach Yourself To Teach Others

I teach classes in photography for a couple of the local city rec programs and I think I’m pretty qualified to do it. Lots of experience, a BFA, been through a teaching program and taught high school photography for a couple years, and often I get paid to shoot. I also teach drawing and comic making at an arts center. This spring I added watercolor and pastel classes, and this summer there will be mask-making, bookmaking, and manga classes on top of the others. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in any of those areas but that challenge is part of what makes it exciting; learning new skills to pass on to others.

Masks, books, pastel work, watercolors, and drawing are all things I’ve done and been taught by others. All of my life up until the end of high school was about drawing, and I only turned to photography because I couldn’t draw as realistically as I wanted to at the time. Now that I’m older I understand you make the craft work for you, because art at its best is about self expression. Two other guys who couldn’t draw a real person to save their lives were Charles Shultz and Matt Groening; they drew what worked for them and their work touched millions.

The truth about tools, like cameras, pottery wheels, applications etc. is they are pretty easy to learn and if you introduce to someone else how it works, and give them a few samples showing the potential of the tool, creative people will take it and run with it in whatever direction they desire.

I was thinking about this because I’m starting to do more projects that are outside my normal creative output. For example, ceramics was something I had a single class in in 2006, but I enjoyed the zen nature of the wheel and sculpting faces. I owned a wheel for a few years and created faces on my own, until around 2009 I sold the wheel and stopped doing ceramics because I didn’t have a kiln. Once the bug hit me again last year I made sure each piece I created was an improvement on the past pieces- either by adding unique textures, or accessories, or smoothing out the edges- and the work got better.

The next project which is kind of a new field for me will be comics. I’ve made a few comics off and on over my life, mostly involving photography, and I’ve taught making comics for 2 years. Because the writing is a quicker process than the art, the goal is to write comics for other artists to bring to life, but to do that, I have to 100% create my first comic, work out the bugs in the writing, and understand pacing and how dialogue and images really work. It’ll be a challenge but a fun one.

I know I can’t draw a human being to look super realistic, but I do know enough about how to communicate an idea with the elements of art, principles of design and composition, how a lightbox works, how photoshop works, how to use prismacolor markers and charcoal and scissors and tape and masking fluid, and I know what kind of stories I like and what I don’t like, that I’ll probably be able to get by. I would wager most creative people who apply themselves to new media or genres or art forms would be able to do well if they have the drive in their heart.

The more stuff I make, the more experience I have to pass on in teaching, but perversely it’s the teaching that makes me learn more and more about each craft.

Interview Excerpt: Teaching

Interview Excerpt: Teaching
A portrait of a student shot and edited as a class demo.

I am spending most of June and July teaching at Mesa Arts Center and for the cities of Chandler and Tempe Rec programs. I’ll probably do two model shoots in that time, but it’s still productive time because when I teach I learn as well. Making handmade books, masks, watercolor, pastels, product photography are all topics I’m teaching. Below was a big of an interview I did with PhotoWhoa blog about teaching:

Q: You also teach several photography courses. After teaching, what core insights from your own work have you found yourself sharing the most?

A: The people I teach to vary from retirees to young adventurous photo couples to moms who got their very first camera, and the most important thing is that they take pleasure in taking photos and not see it as some struggle with gear or lack of creativity. I would say a large portion of them walk in the class believing that the technical aspect of photography is the most important thing to learn and that’s the only thing stopping them from taking good photos. The technology is important but that is the easiest thing to learn, and if you can’t learn it, there’s always the “program” mode, however people should first love photographing, be it their children or trips or the food they eat or whatever. It’s a means of expression for a lot of people who aren’t artistic in any other sense.