Last year I wrote a post about how I keep creativity alive. A lot of the practices I talked about still keep me going, but there’s something new I added to my creative routine.
Making time to learn.
Learning from others and figuring out how to incorporate these new tricks/techniques/perspectives into my own work inspires me to keep working through my creative endeavors.
Last month I started challenging myself to take a new Skillshare class each week and I can already see it making an impact on my creative life!
Skillshare is an online community for learning & teaching creative skills. Skillshare connects expert practitioners with students around the world who collaborate on everyday skills from culinary arts, photography to design.
So far, I’ve taken 6 classes. They’ve mostly been photography classes so I can refresh some of my skills and force myself to see things from someone else’s perspective. I’ve also taken a few drawing classes and I can’t wait to dive into some of their illustration and hand lettering classes.
Most of the classes are an hour or less, so the time commitment doesn’t impact my schedule that much. A lot of them have homework assignments if you want to challenge yourself even more
Skillshare is offering Shutterbean readers two free months of Skillshare Premium! You can check out the promotion here.
Why I love taking classes online:
- It’s an opportunity to learn from people I respect/admire
- I get a chance to see how other people work
- I get a chance to see how other people TEACH
- I can do it in the comfort of my own home
- It’s easy to pause and come back to a lesson
- I get an excuse to fill my sketchbook up with NOTES
Classes I’ve taken so far:
with Henry Hargreaves
I really enjoyed this class. I’ve actually linked to some of Henry Hargreaves work in my I love Lists! He is the photographer known for creating vignettes of bands/musicians riders and photographing what the last meal of death row inmate could have looked like based on their requests.
His work inspires the heck out of me!
During this class, you get to see how Henry conceptualizes Elvis’ DECADENT Fool’s Gold Sandwich. Henry sets up the shot, makes the food, styles it and walks you through his process. It made me wonder what it would be like setting up a shot in my kitchen to show you how I do what I do!
When I’m taking notes, I go back & forth between writing and watching. I always write in pencil and then follow it up with a pen. When I go over my notes in pen, I find that I absorb the information better. It’s like a re-cap of what I just learned. This is very important for me as a visual learner!
A few things I wrote down that stood out:
No one knows the creative process. You have the luxury of the journey to that product to explore.
(This is in regards to getting overwhelmed while being in the process of working out your concept. The journey leads you to the end result. Don’t get stressed out about the journey.)
“If I’m not comfortable doing something on my own, I collaborate.”
(Yes. I need to do more of that. I just need to find the right people is all.)
After taking this class, I am currently trying to figure out what recipes(s) from my childhood I’d like to put on my blog. I’d style them so it looks like it’s from our dinner table in the 80s. Wouldn’t that be fun?
I loved that his course made me think! There’s so much fun to be had with food, and he is right- Food is a great common denominator.
with Daniel Krieger
I’ve admired Daniel Krieger’s work for some time. He’s wildly popular online! I wanted to take this class because he always has such well-lit photos in his restaurant shots and I sometimes struggle with getting things just right.
His course forced me to look at the restaurant as a whole. Instead of focusing just on the food, sometimes you gotta get an ambient picture to paint the scene.
I took his advice when I was out to breakfast the other day and I really like how the action plays out in the background.
He also talked about how you can use the lines of the table to create positive & negative space.
Check the corners and edges of a table!
The biggest takeaway from that class (and it’s actually so simple!) was to ask your waitstaff what some of the prettiest/most appetizing dishes are at the restaurant you’re shooting at. It will help dictate what you shoot instead of hoping the pasta dish you want to shoot looks the way you want it to.
This was a quick class with a lot of good bite-sized information.
Leela does a really great job at explaining the 5 different food styles to food photography.
She breaks them down into:
Airy + Bright
Dramatic (High Contrast) —- my favorite
Bright & Clean
The cool thing about Skillshare, is that teachers can give assignments to students and you can interact with the teachers! So in this course, Leela challenges her students to create a few photos on two of the styles she demonstrated.
I’d like to work a little more on my lifestyle shooting. Human interaction can add character and movement to a scene.
Here’s Cooper’s reaction to having some cupcakes.
Dirty kid fingers and the angle add some life into the scene.
We’re eating hot dogs at Home Depot. Very glamorous, I know. But we’re doing it on a rolling cart and the sun was perfect. We’re just lifestyling! Hot dogs on the go!
With the help of her course, I’ve been more diligent about mapping some of my shots (visually) before I get started shooting. I know I should be doing it, but sometimes I just jump right in and then force myself into a manic position to get stuff done.
Here’s an example of getting my head in the game before I shoot:
What I learned while taking classes with Skillshare online:
Sometimes listening to someone else’s descriptions of what they do helps me realize how I have my own processes.
This creative practice I’ve built for myself reminded me how much I love learning. As someone who has taught a few workshops, I really appreciate watching different courses to see how each teacher delivers their particular information. Sometimes I really miss all the note-taking I did in college, so it’s been a good excuse to fill my sketchbooks with notes. Learning new things while practicing my handwriting has also been very rewarding!
I hope this inspires you to set some time out each week to learn a new skill. I can’t wait to see how far these courses take me!
This post was sponsored by Skillshare. As always, all opinions are my own.
Skillshare is offering Shutterbean readers two free months of Skillshare Premium, so you can enjoy these courses as well as 15,000 other Skillshare classes at no extra cost. Check out the promotion here!!