Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
No matter how old you are or how much you know, you never stop learning?that's the philosophy behind the martial arts teaching at Kaizen Karate, where the instructors focus on "continuous improvement." Even the youngest students learn to develop self-discipline and self-motivation during karate classes, which they can start at the tender age of four. And whether they've taken a previous karate class or simply broken a board with their minds, adults can also benefit from the studio's classes, which are led by black-belt instructors under the supervision of a coach who's been training for 25 years.
At Tough Temple MMA & Fitness, the only thing visitors worship is the human body. Owner and head trainer John Weeks makes sure his students' muses are in tiptop shape by offering a schedule of mostly Workouts of the Day (WODs). These ever-changing classes confuse muscles just enough to strengthen them, but not so much that they can't remember how reflexes work. But since he also has more than 25 years of MMA experience, plus a co-coach with a purple belt in brazilian jujitsu, John also holds martial-arts classes such as tai chi, jujitsu, and MMA.
The graceful ease with which a good bartender mixes drinks masks the difficulty of the job, one that requires knowledge and dexterity—not to mention charisma. The seasoned barkeeps at Bartender of America, a TIPS-certified school, know what it takes to be a good bartender and lead their students through deliberate exercises inside a fully simulated tavern environment. Amid ambient sounds and music, novice bartenders dole out maraschino cherries and shake martinis while refining their conversational skills and learning how to identify underage kids by their mustaches. Fully committed students can opt for the entire Bar 101 curriculum, attaining a bartending license and valuable tricks for managing their resume and acing job interviews, while abbreviated classes offer insight into the fundamentals of the trade.
Before hitting the salon floor, students at American Beauty Academy first complete a regimen of classroom coursework and hands-on training on models and Barbie dolls caught in the wild. It's only then, under the watchful eye of instructor supervisors, that they're set free to show off their newly acquired hair, skin, and nail care skills to clients. Available services include not only women's hairstyling, but also color, chemical treatments, and men's barbering.
Overhung with glittering chandeliers and surrounded by billowing red curtains, The Fillmore Silver Spring's main room easily holds elegant concerts and thrashing dance parties alike on its hardwood floor. Balconies equipped with tables and chairs allow VIP seclusion, elevated sightlines of onstage antics, and easy conversation with GA-ticket-holding giraffes.