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.
Since 1995, the friendly and artistic team members at The Painting Workshop have spiked patrons’ creative juices with quality materials, inspirational subject matter, and a generous splash of encouragement. Enroll one or two pre-adolescent postmodernists (ages 5–10) in the Painting on Canvas workshop, then enjoy some wasabi peas and quiet as the youngsters make paint fly based on their imaginations or a studio-provided still life, an ideal tool for those looking to hone their color-matching and snack-resisting abilities. The workshop also welcomes groups of adults. The Art & Pizza workshop begins with projects spanning the realms of crafts, painting, and sculpting dough into fully functional grandfather clocks. Next, pizza presents itself to kids, who can stare cross-eyed at the sauce palettes in hopes of finding hidden pepperoni messages. The Painting Workshop provides all materials and requires no fine- or coarse-arts prerequisites for enrollment. Check the schedule for an idea of upcoming class times.
French for "pouting room," the boudoir of yore was a place where sulky young ladies were sent to pout in private. At Little Black Book Boudoir, however, resident shutterbug Angel captures images of women feeling far from blue. After a professional makeover replete with hair and makeup, clients strike flirty, yet elegant poses during on-location shoots inside hotel suites or at their homes. Angel's boudoir, pin-up, and glamour sessions yield color and black and white images that she preserves with prints, which make a more intimate gift for significant others than building a Jumbotron by their bedroom window. Along with snapping sultry pictures, Angel lends her photography services to patrons in need of headshots or family portraits.
The photographers at Clapp Studios categorize their snapshots into two themes: LoveStyle and LifeStyle. LoveStyle shoots capture couples at the height of their romance, flashing the camera as lovebirds get engaged, take their vows, or carve their initials into the side of a police cruiser. Documenting the next stages of couples’ relationships, LifeStyle photos tell the stories of growing families with elegant, tasteful shots of expectant mothers, sleepy-eyed newborns, and grinning children. Clapp Studios also helps keep romance alive with flirtatious boudoir photo shoots, which gussy up subjects beforehand with makeovers from a makeup artist.