If the main objective of the glamour photographer is to make the model look attractive, there are probably more challenging subjects than Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera—but that doesn't mean David Blecman is complaining. The Positive Negatives founder and longtime shutterbug—he was named the photo editor of his county newspaper before his 20th birthday more than 30 years ago—has a history of plucking these plum gigs, having snapped pictures of celebrities such as Jimmy Buffett and Gene Simmons and worked for commercial clients including Sears, JCPenney, and Bath & Body Works.
At his studio, Blecman applies his skills toward shooting everything from headshots for models and actors to portraits of kids and teens. He also shares his expertise during workshops that cover both photography and modeling, so students can know what it feels like to be on both sides of a lens without giving their neighbors a turn with the binoculars.
Okello Dunkley designs his workshops for students who have just bought or are thinking of buying a DLSR camera but are mystified by its myriad gadgets and gizmos. The accessible nature of these classes has helped Dunkley spread them into nearly a dozen locations across the Midwest and east coast, where students as young as 12 learn how to take a digital camera off automatic mode and manually manipulate ISO light sensors and aperture openings. More advanced classes delve into working with difficult light—such as cloudy weather or days when the sun is set on strobe light—and others explore how to navigate computer software for photo manipulation.
Lee Rose’s love of photography dates back to his youth, but he took a detour through corporate America as a senior executive before committing himself to a photography career. Now, having traded in suits for jeans, Lee works with his partner Cindy Penn to capture life’s moments of beauty with his camera. Skilled at composing and capturing unique shots, Lee snaps portraits and immortalizes important moments such as weddings, graduations, or the first time you saw a double-decker bus. He also captures smoldering glances with boudoir photo shoots, which are customized to match the model’s personality and comfort level.
AH Photo & Image commemorates clients' cherished moments through prints and digital images. The staff snaps shots that range from wedding shoots and family portraits to headshots. They also foster photography know-how through photo workshops for beginners.
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.
Paintings of bowls overflowing with fruit, majestic Southwestern mesas, and a white horse against an orange backdrop line the brick walls at Mitchell School of Fine Arts. Beneath those examples, students of all ages and levels learn to create their own magnum opuses under the tutelage of instructors, who channel degrees in fine art, publication in books and magazines, and a range of other credentials.
In classes, the teachers focus on topics such as landscape painting or classical drawing to help pupils master the nuances of a particular style and portray the beauty of a blossoming flower or a dirt bike that runs on flowers. An animal pastels class for youngsters inspires participants to grab soft drawing implements and sketch colorful fauna on paper. Private lessons are available, as are commissioned portraits from the faculty themselves, who will render the likeness of a loved one.