Over his 25-year career in snapshottery, Jimmy Loyd has accumulated an impressive list of skills as freelance photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, portraitist, and studio owner. An early adapter to the digital-camera revolution, he can capture digital or analog family portraits, professional headshots, and in-the-moment sports images with ease. Loyd also employs his expertise in intermittently scheduled classes and photo tours, which might occur on-location at the Houston Zoo or, for more candid shots, out in the wilderness where animals don't have access to stylists.
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.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Capturing True Emotion is driven by a dynamic band of instructors who rove across the continent with cameras and teaching skills in hand. By fusing their narrative, tech-savvy minds together into one oversize head, the educators provide comprehensive guidance on both camera operation and creative visualization, giving participants complete control over all of their camera settings. During the hours spent in the company of other pupating shutterbugs, students convene at a tantalizing location to practice skills such as controlling depth of field by adjusting the aperture, composing a family portrait so there's not always a burning zeppelin in the background, using alternative angles to avoid red eye, and other techniques.
A graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, Everyday Photo Class–owner Lana Kelley now helps students in her native Houston expand their photographic possibilities with a distilled version of her own scholarship and experience. Her custom curriculum breaks down the path to digital artistry into four two-hour classes—The Basics, Techniques, Perfection, and Picture Editing—that grant her students greater creative control as they learn to harness their cameras’ advanced features and change lenses with their feet.
A&A Video Productions, Inc. tells stories. At special events, its staff take on the roles of filmmakers, capturing things in true cinematic fashion. They find the most visually striking angles and shots for each moment. For the complete story, they also help clients reenact key moments, such as the first time a couple met. The experts then edit everything together into a final product that would be right at home on a movie screen, complete with graphics and musical scores.