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.
It’s sometimes incredible to fathom just how many people are behind one movie: you need a group to write a script, draw up storyboards, direct, act, hold the camera, do makeup...the list goes on. Casting all these roles is a familiar task to Suezean Matarazzo and Nicholle Walton-Durban, both veterans of the film industry. At Austin Film and Arts Academy, they teach elementary- through high school-aged students how to collaborate on a short movie of their own.
In the academy's main digital filmmaking course, students go from developing their ideas to shooting and lighting each scene on location. While they focus on the bigger picture, other participants refine more specialized skills, such as choreographing stunts, creating horror makeup, or keeping the crew away from craft service before lunch.
Classes stay small, so the academy's roster of instructors and guest speakers—such as casting agents and stuntmen—can grant each student personalized attention. Every session culminates in a final project, such as auditioning on camera or, in the case of digital filmmaking, receiving a DVD of your movie along with a customized poster.
Not since the last '80s-night happy hour has there been such a good chance to express your inner self under conditions of mild intoxication. With this Groupon, $20 gets you in to a Friday- or Saturday-night BYOB painting class at the North Austin location of Painting with a Twist, where you can paint, tipple, and converse in an artfully social atmosphere.
Since 1983, Austin Mattress's staffers have utilized their in-depth knowledge of sleeping surfaces and the sleeping process to help curate a vast collection of top-quality mattresses. They assess patrons' unique sleep needs before making thoughtful recommendations from an immense inventory of mattresses from brands such as Restonic and Corsicana Bedding. Memory-foam, latex, and gel mattresses line the showroom alongside traditional innerspring varieties, and each one is forged from eco-friendly materials, such as natural latex, soy-based foam, and Rumpelstiltskin’s beard hair. To enhance the cushy slumbering surfaces, Austin Mattress' on-site sister store, Beds n Brass, proffers a fleet of elegant, wrought-iron and specialty bed frames from such brands as Wesley Allen and Old Biscayne Designs.
Photo shoots should be fun, breezy, and most of all, depict subjects as they truly are. With that goal in mind, the photographers of Atxpics take their cameras into the field to shoot families, couples, and solo models with an emphasis on personal comfort and ease. The team regularly brings focus to weddings and other important life moments, capturing them in vivid color and sharp black and white. That also extends to prints, which the team meticulously edits before producing each copy as an individual shot, as part of a calendar, or as a T-shirt that reminds your parents what you look like whenever they look down.