At the tender age of 6, Mark Cafiero received his first camera. Though it was broken and filled with cartoons his father had drawn of Mark and his sisters, that camera sparked an early interest in photography. Since then, that spark has erupted into a full-fledged passion, leading Mark to become a professional photographer who has snapped photos for hundreds of clients, including celebrities and professional athletes. To share his spark with others, Mark founded Chimpsy, an resource that helps photographers of all experience levels calibrate their skills with casual in-person and online classes.
Available in more than 30 cities across the nation, Chimpsy's two-hour crash course features a hands-on shooting session and campfire-style presentation on topics ranging from camera anatomy to photo composition. For home study, online classes help photographers—beginners and aspiring pros alike—get more from their pictures through two-hour video tutorials that cover photo-editing software, shooting tips and techniques, and steps on how to build a photography business. From the comfort of their bedrooms, students can watch these professional photographer-led tutorials live or replay previously recorded sessions. Along with instructional classes, Chimpsy offers shutterbugs a place to submit photos for contests with monthly prizes or for feedback from peers, pros, and sentient picture frames.
John Hand had a theory: for any problem a person might have, someone in their local community has a solution. To that end, he founded Colorado Free University, continuing a tradition that began with the Denver Free University of the 1970s and early '80s. Whereas the Denver Free University was created as a political move to make education more accessible, the Colorado incarnation sets its sights on simple personal betterment, becoming more of a learning network than a school. All of its teachers are independent contractors culled from the local community, and together they helm skill-based and enrichment classes for adults, spanning a range of artistic, humanitarian, and business disciplines.
Students can receive training in foreign languages or ASL, business or digital marketing, or acting, visual arts, or woodworking. The school's facilities also accommodate CompuSkills computer-training classes, which progress from basic sessions in computer operation to advanced sessions in photoshopping a ghost out of a family portrait. There are cooking classes, foreign language courses, and style classes, all of which turn out well-rounded pupils. The campus's 89-seat John Hand Theater, meanwhile, hosts intimate performances from local Firehouse Theater Company and Spotlight Theatre Company.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Manhattan Elite Prep's staff of teachers and consultants carries firsthand experience navigating the complicated labyrinth of school admissions. Some were students whose high test scores and poignant essays got them into top PhD and Ivy League MBA programs. Some consultants served on admissions committees of coveted schools and know what experience, qualities, and acrobatic feats make student applications stand out. Now, this team of insiders at a firm with more than 10 years of experience pools its knowledge to help students who are serious about acing tests and placing in their top schools. They emphasize efficiency, packing as much information as they can into the time allotted, and exceeding beyond minimum requirements. Courses covering entrance tests teach students to work smarter, ruling out wrong answers and budgeting their time wisely, and essay consultants pare down applications to deliver rich content in a limited word count. Customers may complete classes online or interact in-person with their instructors as well as fellow students.
ADAT's instructors specialize in concealed-carry courses. They also lead NRA-approved classes, fitness sessions, and women's self-defense courses, among other programs.
James Moncherry carries the certifications you'd expect from a typical firearms instructor, but this former law enforcement officer can also claim membership in an elite group. Mr. Moncherry is one of only a handful of certified Center Axis Relock instructors in the United States?and the CAR Defensive Handgun System drives his training. Designed for military and law enforcement officers, this system focuses on defensive shooting (such as firing while on the move) instead of stationary training at a shooting lane. Mr. Moncherry's fellow instructors at Active Defense Awareness Training also boast impressive qualifications. All have obtained at least NRA certification, and most have experience in the military, law enforcement, or both.
Former professional motorcycle racer and 20-year veteran street rider Jason Curdy dedicates his company, Full Throttle Riding Academy?a state-sponsored school and recognized training provider of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation?to teaching motorcyclists to ride safely and respect the road. Starting with the two-day Basic Rider Course, students learn to safely maneuver their vehicles on an off-street range and study riding regulations within the classroom. By the end of the course, they?ll have the knowledge and command of their bikes necessary to start riding. Riders can also brush up on their street skills in the half-day Experienced Rider Course, which incorporates more advanced riding techniques, showing them how to optimize lane position and how not to read a book at the wheel.