Why I love CreativeLIVE: They really make a difference!

It is without question that my business, which started on December 25, 2009, would not be anywhere near as successful as it has been if it were not for one of the most amazing resources out there available to anyone with an internet connection…CreativeLIVE.  Back in 2010 I started to follow Jasmine Star‘s blog religiously.  Then she mentioned about this crazy online workshop that she taught at called CreativeLIVE.  Curious, I went to the site and took a look, and man I was hooked!  Oh wait, you don’t know what CreativeLIVE is???  Well, I’d describe it as an incredible resource of free live classes and an archive of courses available for download at affordable rates taught by world class instructors, run by an AMAZING, WONDERFUL, INCREDIBLE, CREATIVE, staff of kind-hearted people who want to democratize education.  Here’s a little video from them about CreativeLIVE.

The classes that have had the most impact on me to date have been:

  • Sue Bryce’s Glamour Photography,which taught me how to pose women well.
  • Jared Platt’s Ultimate Lightroom Workflow, which taught me how to better manage my wedding workflow, how to create useful presets in lightroom, and how to set up a RAID storage system.  I suggest every photographer I know buy this class!
  • Exploring the Light with Rick Sammon, which completely changed the way I use speedlites, which was really helpful because I hadn’t learned about these in college.
  • Justin Seeley’s WordPress for Photographers, which demystified WordPress for me and helped me to understand what was really capable for free users of wordpress.com to do.
  • Beauty + Fashion Photography with Matthew Jordan Smith, which gave me a bad case of the fashion bug, and taught me the techniques I used behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week.
  • Zach and Jody’s Wedding Photography Weekend, which made me realize the importance of getting everything right in camera, rather than relying on post processing, and gave me the tools to actually GET IT RIGHT IN CAMERA
  • Lindsay Adler’s Retouching and Creative Photoshop techniques, which taught the very best skin softening techniques that DON’T require an additional plug-in!
  • Getting Published.  Shooting an Editorial Wedding with Jasmine Star, which changed the way I shoot details entirely.  Now I always shoot a horizontal and a vertical image not just for the purpose of giving variety to editors, but also to make designing albums much easier!
  • Jason Groupp’s 4 lights and some Gaffer Tape at CreativeLIVE NYC, I got to be in the live audience and meet the hosts of the show who felt like friends already because they have been on my screen in my living room for hours on end, I got to meet some of the most amazing photographers in the world, and it made me start to apply the less is more approach to many aspects of my business, not just my lighting set ups.
  • Kevin Kubota’s presentation of Photographers Ignite, where I was a presenter.  It was so amazing to be able to share my ideas with the world wide CreativeLIVE audience that I’d actively been a part of for the past 2 years.  Also it was great to hear Kenna and Susan’s Story!
  • And lastly, Sue Bryce’s most recent workshop, promoting your studio with video show reels.

Sue’s most recent workshop made the cut for multiple reasons for me, that just can’t be explained in a single sentence.  On the last day of the class I wasn’t watching the live feed like I normally do, because I was writing up the course material for a workshop I’m teaching in New York City on how to photograph Fashion Week for PR Reps, Fashion Bloggers, and Beauty Bloggers.  All the sudden, my phone started blowing up with messages.  But I was all, OK, MUST FINISH THIS CONTENT!!! But then in popped a twitter message, which made a different sound.  What was there??? To my surprise, a tweet from co-host Kenna that read “Shout out to @VailFucci from @sue_bryce on @creativeLIVE – 68,958 views on her “chin out & down” video for brides!http://youtu.be/fE6Gbbn2LKQ”  Perplexed, I then looked at my multitudes of messages, which read, “Vail, Sue is talking about you on CreativeLIVE RIGHT NOW!!!!!”  I frantically went to CreativeLIVE’s website, only to find that I had just missed Sue’s Shout out to me.  Everyone in the chat room was super sweet and tried to give me a play by play of what she said, but I’d have to wait for the rewatch to see this clip that made me do the dance of joy:

To see how I’d gone full circle from being an audience member, feverishly taking notes whenever a CreativeLIVE class was on, to now being praised and featured by one of my favorite photographers in the world in less than 3 years, frankly blew my mind.  Then Kenna and Russ and Kate came into the chat room and pointed out to me that CreativeLIVE is looking for submissions for their CreativeLIVE Spotlight presentation during WPPI in Vegas in March, and that one of those selected would be given the chance to do a full CreativeLIVE workshop.  It was my dream come true.  I finally will have a proper platform to send them my idea for my workshop, inspired by my crazy journey from Dr. Vail Fucci — a lobbyist in Washington D.C. with a Ph.D. in Bioethics — to Vail Fucci, The Dancing Photographer, owner and lead photographer for Fucci’s Photos, that shoots amazing weddings and is a member of the international press corps at New York Fashion Week.  It’ll be called, “How to start a photography business from scratch on scratch.”  I’ll be submitting my proposal to them soon, but in the mean time, if you want to see this workshop on CreativeLIVE you can help me get there by submitting an instructor request on their facebook page here.  My hope is that by putting on this workshop I will be able to help other photographers far and wide have their dreams come true like mine have.

Lastly, and most importantly, the reason I loved Sue’s class so much is because they finally presented the documentary Hailey Bartholomew shot of Jill’s trip to Paris with Sue.  The first time I ever saw Jill was when I was skimming through Sue’s blog.  Now one of the things I LOVE about Sue, is that she shoots “real women”.  Meaning she doesn’t shoot celebrities or models.  She shoots women who are just like you and me, or like Jill, and brings out their inner Goddess at her studio.  At first glance at these images though, I thought to myself, so much for Sue shooting “Real Women”, now she’s shooting models in Paris.  Then I read the text that accompanied the stunning images and my breath was taken away…Jill has terminal cancer.

Sue Bryce Jill Cohen Vail Fucci CreativeLIVE

As you can see from this shot I took of her with Sue at CreativeLIVE NYC, it was an easy enough mistake I made thinking she was a model. But it turns out she is more of a soldier than a model.  Jill has fought an unbelievable uphill battle against breast cancer, starting when she was only 32 with a double mastectomy.   I personally believe that the attention that was brought to Sue through CreativeLIVE’s workshops is what brought Jill to Sue and her team, to help Jill tell her story to the world. Jill wants to inspire other women who have had cancer to feel beautiful and ok with their bodies.  And yesterday, Sue and CreativeLIVE did just that, debuting the mini-documentary, Jill in Paris: the light that shines, on air.  Within 24 hours of the broadcast, over 50,000 people have viewed this video, and now you can too.  I will warn you that it is quite graphic and hard to watch at times.  You’ll want some kleenex.

‘The Light That Shines’ a story for all from InBedWithSue.com on Vimeo.

Seeing this video did so many things to me.  It made me sad, it made me happy, it frustrated me,  and it inspired me all at the same time.  Seeing the struggles that Jill has gone through made me cry.  Seeing how wonderful her loving husband was made me happy that she had someone to take care of her as she should be treated, as did seeing her having such an amazing experience in Paris with Sue.  But then thinking of what a loss it will be to the world, and particularly to her husband Bart, when Jill leaves us far too soon, I got terribly frustrated that I couldn’t do more.

Should I have stayed in the sciences and done cancer research? I thought about it long and hard, then I realized, THIS is the place I am supposed to be. THIS is what I’m supposed to be doing.  We as photographers sometimes feel like our jobs are trivial.  But when you see work like this… you see what Sue has done for Jill, for her husband Bart, for all of us frankly. It is immense and priceless.  The amount of attention Sue and CreativeLIVE have brought to this worthy cause will surely make a difference in the world.  So take what Sue and Jill and Hailey have created and let it inspire you.  Our jobs as photographers do matter.  We can make a real difference in the world.  So today I want the photographers of the world to give themselves credit for what they do, and then I want them to find a way to go and do more.  Find something that needs a voice, and let your photography give it that voice.  Help share other worthy stories like Jill’s. Share them with me and share them with the wonderful people at CreativeLIVE.  That way we can give back to this amazing online community that has been there, and will continue to be there, to help give you the skills necessary to make this difference in the world.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Julie Saillant

    This inspired me so much! There is a cause that is close to my heart that does not have a “proper” voice yet and after watching this I am going to make it happen. If we all can help the world just a little it will make a huge difference Thanks for the tips, video and inspiration!

  2. Creative Expressions Photography

    A wonderful list of trainings on CreativeLIVE…

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