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Online Learning - The New Evolving Future Of Learning

Published: 10/07/2014
By: larry

OnlineLearningMany beginning real estate photographers that I've helped to get started over in the recent past express a desire to find someone in their local area that would mentor them or give one-on-one instruction in some aspect real estate photography. In some cases it's possible to set up this kind of personal instruction but for the most part it's impractical. Here's why:

  1. A top real estate photographer in your local area is not likely to want to train more competitors. They may train you to work for them if they need to expand their business. In most local markets, there is a lot of competition. No one is interested in giving their secrets with potential competitors.
  2. Direct one-on-one personal teaching is  expensive and ineffective compared to the online alternatives. As a result education is in the process of moving online. This is because learning technology like streaming video, video hangouts  etc, is so effective that even college education is moving online. Starbucks now supplies all their employees with a college education online at ASU. Salman Khan invented this invented this new approach in 2003 that is in the process of reinventing education. I love Salman Khan's story about when his cousin Nadia told him, "I like learning from your videos better than listening to you directly." When Salman asks her why, Nadia says, " I can replay videos or backspace them when I want... I can't do that with you!"

Scott Hargis's Lighting For Real Estate Photography video series is a great example. It demonstrated to me the huge potential of video tutorials in the area of learning real estate photography. Even though I attended one of Scott's first workshops in Seattle in 2008, where I met Scott, but I've learned his lighting technique from his ebook and his video tutorial series, not the workshop. Why? because with books and video tutorials like Nadia says, "you can replay them over and over."

I'm a big believer in this new form of education and I'm committed to make more if it happen. Despite the fact that there will occasionally be great workshops like Scott Hargis and Malia Campbell put on and you occasionally may be able to get someone to do some one-on-one personal training, online video tutorials and e-books are going to provide the majority of real estate photography training.


8 comments on “Online Learning - The New Evolving Future Of Learning”

  1. We'll said Larry. Like you, I attended one of Scott's workshops but have gotten more from the videos and books. The videos on particular. I think I've watched each video at least three times and each time I pick up some piece of information that was helpfull. That is also why YouTube is so big. I've learned a lot there. Only wish Malia would put more stuff on video.

  2. Larry,

    Yes I believe online learning like Scott and Malia's courses are invaluable etc. I have also been a huge fan of for online learning of software techniques etc. I am a huge fan of Chris Orwig's courses on Lightroom and shooting in general, great guy and tons of great stuff to learn. With that said I have also gotten tons from flying friends like Malia into Hawaii to learn one on one and shooting like that together in real world situations for me is the best. Thank you Malia and my friend Darren Edwards for coming out to teach me!!!!


  3. Other great online resources are sites like and Kelby Training. is a good resource for application training, Lightroom, After Effects, FCPX, Premiere etc., and Kelby is geared more towards Photography but has made significant strides in DSLR video production, Timelapse and Photography.

    I think they're both $20 per month and you can start and stop your subscription when ever you like.

    Its too bad that the concept of mentoring seems to have fallen by the wayside. Even after taking all the online courses and shooting a a lot of properties you can really get a lot out of working with someone else to see how they might accomplish the same shots etc..

  4. Don't forget CreativeLIVE. They're more expensive, but many of their courses are multi-day and dive deep into PS, LR and workflow. You can watch them live for free if you are available during the days when they are taping them.

    I'm not anxious to mentor other photographers or RE agents in my area. That would be training my competition. I could likely find somebody to learn from a couple of hundred miles away with no problem. Spending a few days working with another photographer in the next state over could be a great way to learn a few new tricks for just a couple of hundred bucks.

    Video training is a convenient way to learn the basics. Past a certain point, it's good to work with an instructor to hone those skills and learn how to handle specific problems that you run across. I don't see online education as totally replacing in-person/classroom instruction, but it can cover much. I remember lecture classes in college that would have been the same on video as in person with the exception that I wouldn't have had to be there at 8am.

  5. I'm just gaining a toe-hold in my market. And there is enough competition for me not to want to "share the wealth" too much. Being a neophyte myself, I am still learning, but the more I learn, the less likely I am to "share" a ton of information.

    However, its possible that we are being short-sighted... There would be plenty of work for independent photographers if it weren't for the the "big name" tour sites. So there is a side of me that can't help but think that working in small groups might relieve some of the issues in scheduling. One of the big advantages the big tour companies have is that they have a great deal of slave labor and they can send someone out in the blink of any eye. If I'm in Dutchess County one day - then I can't get to the Bronx on the same day (three counties away). But agents don't like to "wait" for me to be available.

    Working with others, we could perhaps capture back some of the market we've lost. We could also coordinate tasks for building the businesses as well as share in the expense with respect to equipment. With the right group of people, a small local group of photographers could give the big boys a run for their money.

    Just some random thoughts.

  6. It took me 20 years to develop the skill to do what I do, in the time frame I can do it, and with the accuracy I can do it. That was fun, and really enjoyable as a pursuit. I think everyone else should spend 20 years learning it was well. 🙂

  7. @ Kelvin

    So true.... Necessity is the Mother of Creativity.
    If you have the desire you will learn it.
    If you love it you practice it.
    If you practice it you will become proficient.
    And when if we are good enough people will try to copy our style.
    Quality Art has an innate foundation, training only enhances.

    Didn't mean to go philosophical on ya......but! LOL

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