Having shot more than 30,000 subjects throughout his career as a photographer, including many Silicon Valley business figures, Eric Gould understands how to create a good photo in any setting. His adeptness at communicating with subjects carries into his photography workshops, where he conveys difficult concepts clearly and methodically, saving students from such rookie mistakes as shooting with the lens cap on or turning the flash on while taking pictures of your imaginary friend's third grade graduation. In his own photo sessions, he frames professional clients in business portraits and headshots, high-school seniors in youthful poses, athletes in midaction, and a wide spectrum of people and places encountered on international travels.
The Community School of Music and Arts unleashes the creativity that indwells each student's liver by offering an array of art lessons and exhibitions. A selection of more than 40 available classes allows artists of all ages to clutch brushes, chisels, and ketchup blasters and recreate their world during basic animation ($160 for eight weeks), watercolor on the spot: outdoor painting ($150 for six weeks), or contemporary collage ($180 for eight weeks). Like bear hunting season, the classes run in two sessions, from January 24 to March 21 (Session A) and March 28 to May 21 (Session B). Click here to view CSMA's catalog; classes available with this Groupon are featured beginning on page 24.
Recently featured in the Los Altos Town Crier, Fun With Media's three intrepid instructors translate their passion for pixels into hands-on digital-art classes for kids 8 (third grade) and up, transforming them from passive perusers to dynamic designers in the digital media world. Using their own experiences and interests as a foundation, multimedia-curious moppets master photo, art, animation, and movie-making software, expressing themselves without thrusting the opinions of paint-covered hands onto a newly upholstered couch.
Before each student starts siphoning out his or her inner sonatas, he or she will fill out an application and learn about the course curriculum and academy policies during a private orientation (a $25 value) with the student’s parents and Director Thomas Skousen. Each student is then integrated into the creative-instruction procedure, which weaves four students at a time through stations of one-on-one instruction and computer exercises, building technique training, sight reading, and music-theory knowledge in addition to mastering songs (a $130 per month value). The result is a rigorous yet fun and rewarding class that fosters community, which each budding contrapuntist celebrates at the month's end with in-class performances and ceremonial wig powderings.
Seasoned photographer Elli doesn't just use her camera to document special occasions—she uses it as a tool for self-expression. Her signature blend of contemporary, vintage, and traditional influences breathes life into each of her photographs, whether she's taking pictures on the streets of Europe or capturing a baby's precious smile. She works with subjects of all types, including families, newborns, and fashion models looking to build their portfolios. When Elli isn't perfecting her craft as a photographer, she's delving into other forms of art, such as painting, makeup application, and graphic design.
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.