Kelby Training LogoHaving explored a great number of videos on Kelby Training for over three months now, I think it’s time that I post a brief review of the site and make suggestions to those that are considering joining. On the plus side, Kelby Training offers a month to month subscription which lowers your level of commitment and allows you to try it out at a relatively low cost of $25/month. The answer to the question of whether you should should join and whether it will be beneficial to you largely depends on the style of shooting that you do. Broadly, Kelby Training breaks down into courses on photo editing, portrait, commercial, fashion, wedding and sports photography. In addition to that, there are more niche topics such as composition and light basics, landscape, wildlife, street and automotive photography as well as business related topics such as legal, e-commerce, website creation and marketing. While the topics are broad, the bulk of it revolves around photographing people and using various Adobe imagining products. I don’t necessarily see this as a fault, but rather a targeting of the most profitable fields of photography.

So what does Kelby Training get right? First off, the pricing model is extremely attractive when you consider how expensive the average photography training DVD is ($100 and upwards). For $30 you could conceivably watch nearly 30 courses, as each one can be digested in a day or less. Although not official, Kelby Training has also started rolling out a la carte pricing for classes which are expected to cost $9.99 a piece. With hundreds of courses it will definitely keep you busy and teach you a lot in the process. The videos are fairly well organized and streaming performance is excellent on a computer, iPad, or iPhone.

Where does it fall short? My biggest gripe is the lack of insight for building a photography business within the various fields. While CreativeLive courses offer a mix of technical skills and business skills, Kelby Training focuses almost exclusively on the former. This to me is a problem as becoming a successful photographer is 30% talent/skill and 70% business acumen. A free complement that solves this problem to a degree is Kelby TV’s free weekly show called The Grid, although the topics are not as nicely packaged or easy to find. That being said, for brushing up on the latest editing, lighting and shooting techniques, Kelby Training is second to none.

Below is a list of some of my favourite courses by category but if you want to start exploring I suggest doing so by instructor. Joe McNally’s videos are without a doubt the most useful as they touch on a wide variety of portraiture topics, are narrated perfectly and are enjoyable to watch. Frank Doorhof’s videos are slightly more dry but also incredibly useful, especially if you want to learn all about light meters and color checkers. For general photography and street photography, Jay Maisel’s videos will give you a new perspective on things and teach you the thought process that goes on in the mind of one of the best photographers of our time. Finally, Lindsay Adler and Jeremy Cowart also have a couple of really interesting videos on the fashion and commercial side of things. While you’ll find a good deal of overlap between the various videos, each instructor has their own take on certain techniques as well as their own style, so the repetition actually helps to clarify the topics and improves retention.

For portraiture and lighting I suggest the following:

For automotive photography and lighting these are a must:

For Photoshop techniques:

For landscape photography:

For wedding and posing (a lot of great information for portrait shooters as well):

For general photgraphy:

For business matters:

Well, that list should certainly keep you busy for quite some time and also fill your head with knowledge. Despite some of Kelby Training’s shortcomings on the business side, the site is a wealth of well presented and fun to watch information for an incredibly reasonable price. Highly recommended.