We’d all love the opportunity to learn new skills, fine tune old ones or get proper advice from working creatives directly. But when we take into consideration limitations like time, money and accessibility, these aspirations seem too lofty to achieve. But fear not, for this is where Skillshare comes into play as the online learning community open to everyone who wants to take or teach a class within the creative, business and technology industries.
Launched in 2011, Skillshare aims to “close the professional skills gap and provide universal access to high-quality learning”. The community has over 15,000 classes, which cover every subject and discipline imaginable including graphic design, animation, illustration, photography and many more.
What stands Skillshare apart is the teachers they have running the classes – it’s real working creatives giving an insight into their studios and processes, providing helpful advice along the way. The flexibility and accessibility of Skillshare has seen two million students taking classes online. So to get involved, we’re giving It’s Nice That readers an exclusive offer for two free months of Skillshare Premium so you can explore the platform yourself, just click here.
Here we speak to photographer Elizabeth Weinberg, artist Shantell Martin and photographer Justin Bridges to find out why they teach classes on Skillshare and what the benefits of learning online are.
Elizabeth Weinberg, photographer
Los Angeles-based photographer Elizabeth Weinberg specialises in portraiture and storytelling, for both personal and commercial projects. Elizabeth has worked with The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Buzzed, Nike, Google, Vice and many others and we’ve previously featured her celebrity portraits on It’s Nice That in the past.
Elizabeth’s Skillshare class is called Photo Processing in Adobe Camera Raw: Getting the Cinematic Look and teaches people how to make digital images look like film. “It’s been the number one question I have been asked throughout my career and I’m proud of my post-processing style,” says Elizabeth. “When Skillshare approached me about creating this class, I jumped at the chance to create something that could be very valuable to photographers of all levels.”
Sharing skills online is a new experience for the photographer and the challenge has been working out what could be useful for people to learn. “The main thing about my class is almost teaching people how to see their work differently,” says Elizabeth.
“Skillshare not only has a great interface but a fantastic community feature. Students can upload their own projects to the class page and others can view them,” explains the photographer. “I try to make sure I look at everyone’s uploads and reply with my thoughts. The back and forth engagement is definitely a benefit.” Elizabeth sees the main benefit of learning online as access. “You can keep something like this open in a window and go back to it if you’re stuck,” she says. “You can learn on your own time or on the go, and you have access to the ideas of other classmates whenever you need.”
Shantell Martin, artist
British-born, New York-based artist Shantell Martin is known for her stream of consciousness drawings and light projections in her characteristic black and white compositions. Shantell sees her work as a “vehicle to forge new connections between education, design, philosophy and technology” and her interdisciplinary practice often brings the audience into her work.
Right now, she has two classes on Skillshare; Drawing on Everything: Discovering Your Creative Voice where she takes students on a tour of her studio, and Digital Drawing Workout: The Art of Subtraction, a class which sees her use a digital drawing app to create artworks. Skillshare and Shantell also partnered on a unique 360° short film last year, Shantell Martin: A Life In Lines.
“As a strong believer in making art and creativity accessible, working with Skillshare to create these two classes was a great way to do that. Once you’re in, there is a whole world of things to learn, not only in the arts,” Shantell says. “Working with this class online was a pretty interesting experience and over time I’ve enjoyed seeing what people create as a result from it,” she adds. “If it’s another aid or tool, which allows you to grow and explore that’s pretty great. Of course being online give you a bit more flexibility with regards to location, time etc.”
Justin Bridges, photographer
Justin Bridges is a New York-based fashion and portrait photographer, raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Working full time since 2013 he has worked on commissions for publications, fashion brands and stores including GQ, Giorgio Armani, Public School NY, Barneys and Bloomingdales. His style is elegant and minimalist with a focus on colour, and he currently has three classes up on Skillshare. These include; Portrait Photography Essentials: One-Light Setups, Fundamentals of Portrait Photograpy: Using Natural Light to Create Drama and most recently Fundamentals of DSLR Photography, which is the perfect introduction for anyone looking to get started in photography.
“When Skillshare approached me with the opportunity to teach, I was a little hesitant. It turned out to be a great decision because teaching others really helps to cement your own knowledge,” explains Justin. “Teaching these classes allows me to have more touch points with so many new and curious people all the time.”
What Justin enjoys most is the democratising effect of sharing your skills via an online platform. “There are tons of great workshops you can attend by amazing photographers. The reality is, unless you’re fully vested in a professional career, those workshops will either be too expensive or too much of a commitment. I love that I can reach a wide audience with differing levels of engagement very quickly,” says the photographer.
He adds: “I think the benefits of learning online are somewhat parallel to the experience of working for yourself. You have the freedom to learn at your own pace; in-fact, you can pause to write notes, or jump backwards to refresh or catch anything you missed.”
To take advantage of two free months of Skillshare Premium exclusively from It’s Nice That, click here.
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