Families can choose to paint ceramics ($15 and up), such as a piggy bank that will one day be priceless, or at the very least exceed the value of its contents. Mosaic projects ($18 and up) are a disciplined way to practice for future bathroom-tile touch-ups, while glitter-awaiting painting projects ($17 and up) use colorful acrylics to introduce children to the rainbow without the false hope of pots of gold. Parents who don't really understand how glass is made can bypass the awkward silence by introducing themselves to a glass-fusing project that utilizes pre-made materials ($19 and up).
A team of professors, photojournalists, and professional photographers are the driving force of Ambiance Digital Photography School, teaching the fundamentals of DSLR photography via step-by-step instructional videos. Besides the online database of videos, the pros put together downloadable and printable tutorials to accompany photo examples. Any member of the school gets lifetime access to the school’s library, which includes an in-depth course on Photoshop. Some of the continually updated video classes focus on topics such as black-and-white photography, taking group or self portraits, and mastering different sources of light rather than always carrying around the same lava lamp.
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.
At some point you will be confronted by a shaggy, axe-wielding lunatic who shouts, "Are you ready to ROOOOCK? Please answer me. I'm so sad." Today's Groupon will make sure you're not just ready, but willing. For $49, new students will get six group singing or instrument lessons at the Tysons Corner music-instruction school All Things Rock (a $180 value). Kids can get the musical education that will make them less likely to stick up a convenience store with a bassoon later in life, while adults can fulfill a long-deferred dream to finally impress Amanda Bilecki with their shredding skills.
Uncork'd Art's instructors invite artists of all skill levels to let their creativity flow while practicing no-pressure painting. During their adult classes, experienced local artists unlock latent talents with a complimentary glass of wine, a brought-from-home snack, and muses equipped with brass knuckles. Instructors lead students in painting experiments during Just For Fun sessions, and provided materials allow for the creation of acrylic-adorned masterpieces. Throughout the 6-week art- and wine-appreciation course, students learn theories and techniques, sample fragrant vinos, and produce three finished paintings. Uncork'd also offers private parties for groups of 10 or more, as well as happy-hour classes, which include helpful instruction with complimentary wine and supplies. Prospective pupils can schedule their next creative frenzy by perusing the online calendar.
The Intro to Photography class is produced by Monte Zucker Photographic Education (MZPE), which provides quality professional photographic instruction. More than 30,000 enthusiastic students of all levels have attended their photographic tours on three continents over the past seven years to learn how to combine the power of technical expertise and artistic vision to create beautiful photos and films. In addition to offering the tours, MZPE produces instructional books and DVDs, as well as teaching in-depth photo-master classes around the world. The 2002 United Nations Photographer of the Year, celebrated photographer and mentor Monte Zucker once stated, "I don’t photograph the world as it is. I photograph the world as I would like it to be." Continuing on in his memory, current instructor Bob Ray teaches with an entertaining, passionate presentation that focuses on learning immediately in class. The experience provides an aspiring photographer a comprehensive set of tools to reach his or her artistic potential.
Diana Lewkowicz doesn't view photography as a career as much a vocation. Diana's uninhibited passion for photography has led her on trips around the globe, where she’s captured her clients’ happy moments in all their unpredictable glory. Diana now brings that passion to her Natural Light Studio in Falls Church, Virginia, where she snaps shots of families, newborns, and more. Inside the studio, Diana has a number of different tools at her disposal to make each shoot unique, including natural and editorial lighting as well as props that can help make shy babies smile and break dance for the camera.