Tuesday, October 29, 2013

KelbyTraining.com Review & Discount (Updated Jan-7-2014)


CLICK HERE to learn about KelbyOne.com and my discount information

The following information no longer applies. Please see the above link.

See the bottom of this article for a special offer for ronmartblog.com readers that gives you the best training on the web for up to $40 off!!!

Kelby Training is the hottest online training resource for photographers because they have countless hours of training from superstars of the photography industry like Joe McNally, Tim Wallace, John Paul Caponigro, Eddie Tapp, Jay Maisel,  Frank Doorhof, Scott Kelby, and so many more. Despite this fact, I frequently get asked if KelbyTraining.com is any good. In this article I’ll tell you what I think about KelbyTraining.com as well as offer you a deal that is best you can find on the web so you can join today.

Behind the Scenes

A behind-the-scenes preview of one of Tim Wallace’s courses

Normally when I do a behind the scenes review of a web site or service I include tons of screen shots so people can see what is behind closed doors so to speak. However, in the case of KelbyTraining.com you can browse the categories or photographers to see the courses available. For each photographer they will show the courses they offer and each course will show the lessons for that course. You can also read viewer comments without being a member.

When you become a registered member you can watch all of the content on your Windows or Mac computer or your iOS devices. The courses do require an Internet connection and do not support offline viewing, which is really the only thing that I wish could be improved.

To help you get started, you can visit the Kelby Training for Beginners page to help sort through the vast amount of videos. Here’s where you begin:

Start Here Dashboard

and after you have made your selection you have a custom page that applies to you:

Sample after you make your camera and accessories selections

As you might expect there is support for searching, marking your favorites, and viewing your history. All of these features are available from your account settings as well as the flash player where you watch the training.

You don’t have to use beginner dashboard either as you can just jump to any photographer or course you like (which is what I do).

Video Quality

I found the video and audio quality to be very good quality 720p videos for the ones that I watched. The video also handles buffering for internet connection drops very well, but most of the time I was at home I almost never saw the buffering happen. When I was using my laptop or iPhone/iPad in various places I sometimes had the wireless need to buffer from time to time, so I’d categorize the experience much like you’d see with YouTube – but with MUCH higher original source video.

Class Choices

I was pretty impressed with the choices of videos and the fact that new content was always becoming available. Honestly there’s so much that there’s no way my schedule would let me view it all!

If you are debating on joining or not, I would encourage you to check out the course offerings and view some of the intros to see if this is the right product for you.

What about…

There’s a good overview video here where you can get answers to most questions you are likely to have. Before signing up my biggest question was “is it worth it”? After being a member for several years, I can say without question – YES. If you were to ask any of the featured photographers how much it would be to go to their workshop and the answer is typically several hundred to thousands of dollars, but here you can get tons of content for less than a single workshop! What’s more you can watch them at your own pace, pause and play them again.

However, you don’t have to trust me – you can check it out yourself using my discount, and if you aren’t satisfied they offer a money back guarantee. I think you’ll find many classes will exceed your expectations, and even in the worst case simply meet your expectations.

What I Love About Kelby Training

Kelby Training is just full of great content that is up to date and relevant to what I do, but also to others in various other creative disciplines. There is great content available to the newbie just getting started as well as great stuff or advanced photographers looking to pick up a new tip or two from top photographers.

There are more classes than my lifestyle will ever allow me to watch, and new content is constantly coming. However, the best part is that there are many legendary photographers like Joe McNally and Jay Maisel featured in these courses to give you the opportunity to learn from industry legends for a tiny fraction of their typical workshop rates.

I can watch a high quality video from my desktop computer, my laptop, and iOS devices (typically while my wife is shopping). This is critically important to me as I may find 10 minutes here or 5 minutes there, but it’s really tough for me to find hours at a time that I can dedicate to doing anything for myself.

What I Didn’t Like About Kelby Training

I want people to trust my word when I say something is good, so I try hard to also point out what isn’t so good. In this case, here’s the areas of improvement for this service:

  • The bookmarking / progress tracking system seemed buggy to me but it has been improving over the years. I wanted to be able to stop and then pick up later from any machine, but sometimes I found my videos starting over again leaving it up to me to find my previous stopping point. This was really annoying too since the system would show my last stop point in minutes and seconds into the video so it knew exactly where it needed to put me – but it didn’t.
  • Nikon flash bias – If you are a Nikon shooter, you’ll feel very at home. If you are a Canon shooter, you’ll be annoyed when you discover a lot of the older small flash videos are targeted to Nikon shooters. Fortunately this is changing – especially if you watch newer videos or use the beginners dashboard.

I’m pleased to say that none of these things prevented me from enjoying the service.

Classes I Viewed During My Original 2011 Review

Click the name of the instructor below to view their class offerings where you can watch the intro of the classes I watched. Next to each instructor I list their classes where I watched at least two or more segments:

  • Joe McNally - Shooting with the Elinchrom Quadra System and Accelerated Corporate Portraiture
  • Scott Kelby -  10 Essential Studio Techniques Every Photographer Needs to Know
  • Frank Doorhof - Freeze Motion Photography, Photoshop Techniques for Fashion Photography & Why Fake It When You Can Create It
  • Jay Maisel - A Day with Jay Maisel
  • Matt Kloskowski -  Tack Sharp! Sharpening in Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Jack Reznicki – Photographing Children & One Light Lighting
  • Joe Glyda - Food Photography
  • Jim DiVitale – Commercial Photography
  • Cliff Mautner - Wedding Photography - Shooting Around the Clock
  • David Cuerdon - Beauty and Portrait Retouching Kit
  • Bill Fortney - Intimate Landscape Photography
  • Jeremy Cowart - On Location Photography with Jeremy Cowart

I found every one of these classes to have something useful in them for me. Due to my busy work schedule I wasn’t always able to watch all of the segments of a given course, but that’s the beauty of KelbyTraining.com – I don’t’ have to! I can watch what I want, when I want and repeat it as much as necessary. It’s a great way to learn a little bit and then apply what you’ve learned before moving on.

*NEW* Since my original review I’ve watched tons of videos and have always been satisfied with the results. My favorites have been by Tim Wallace, Tony Corbell, and Scott Kelby himself.


I’ve loved many of the videos I’ve watched. I’m a busy guy with very little free time, so I’ve enjoyed just getting quick and directed training in the things I’m interested in by some great pros I respect. I’ve been able to immediately take what I’ve learned from my lessons to my work in my studio and see the results. If you’ve compared the costs of workshops with photographers of this caliber, then you’d quickly discover that even the annual Kelby Training subscription at full price is peanuts compared to what you’d have to pay to get this type of training from instructors of this quality.

I love Kelby Training and can’t recommend it highly enough.

If you enjoy Kelby Training, you may also be interested in NAPP. The newer Photoshop videos tend to show up on NAPP whereas KelbyTraining.com is more focused on Photography and the digital capture process. See my NAPP review to learn more and save even more when you join both (highly recommended).

Special Offer – Save up to $40 CASH off the annual subscription price!!!

Get $20 off KelbyTraining.com when you use the coupon code RONMARTBLOG. KelbyTraining.com assures me that this will be the best cash offer on the web, so you can use this deal with confidence that you are getting the best deal available. It’s also a nice cash offer for those who already have the free gifts that are offered sometimes as incentives to sign up.

You can take advantage of this special offer by using the coupon code RONMARTBLOG when you check out at KelbyTraining.com. THIS CODE AND OFFER MAY CHANGE in the future, so be sure to check my Discount Coupon Code page for the latest code and offer details details.

Here’s a visual walkthrough of how to use the code:

You start by clicking here and choosing one of the ANNUAL options. NAPP members will be required to log on later, so the cart will initially look like the one below. Enter your code and choose Check Coupon >>>

Enter the code and choose Add Coupon Code

NAPP members will be required to enter their login id, and when authenticated will get the extra NAPP discount applied. Non-members will see the full price minus my discount.

Log in first using your NAPP account if you are already a NAPP member

Satisfaction is guaranteed, so if you don’t like it then you can contact KelbyTraining.com for refund details.

Save on NAPP Too

Click here to see my review and special offer on NAPP as well.

WARNING: You should sign up for NAPP FIRST and then sign up for KelbyTraining to maximize your discounts!!! Only one offer can be accepted per checkout.

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I was provided a free membership to KelbyTraining.com to evaluate the service for this article. I may also get a commission if you sign up using my special offers or use my links, so thanks for supporting this blog by using my special offers and links!

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If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Rob said...

Hi Ron,

I wanted to mention that from viewing many tutorial videos from various sources (Kelby, Lynda, Youtube, free/paid), Kelby is a much better experience. The videos they offer feel like a true professional production, not just a video capture of someone running through pre-set steps.

They really feel just like how Scott Kelby writes his books, very informal as someone is a friend teaching you the skills rather than you sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture. The pricing might be steep but honestly, most photography books are about $25~50 each, you get a much better value with hours of videos than a static book IMHO.

I just wish more video training sites would take after Kelby, especially IT certification videos.

Ron Martinsen said...

I agree which is why you see me recommending them instead of the others like you mention.

Thanks for the comment here (and on the 8-15mm article if you were the one who I accidentally deleted the comment for).

Value-wise, you just can't been KelbyTraining.com. My biggest "issue" is that I have a hard time finding time to watch all of the videos I want to watch, but when I do I'm glad I did.

I still like books for reference reasons, but the videos are great to give me the overview and get me oriented. After that books become more useful.


Chris Kirk said...

Potential customers should consider Lynda.com instead of the Kelby site. I subscribed to the Kelby site and have had a large number of logisitical problems. I have written customer service numerous times and not received any response on the specific issues. I have tested Lynda.com and have had a most positive experience in regard to its operation and to its quality content.

vagabbondante said...

Hi Ron,
thanks for your review and especially for the discount.
I watched tons of tutorials and videos on the web but I admit that the quality and the variety that kelbytraining.com offers is unbeaten.
I had the opportunity to attend a live training with Scott Kelby and, man, that was amazing!
The guy really knows his stuff and is very good at teaching.
Cheers from Germany,

Ron Martinsen said...

Chris - Thanks for your feedback. I've forwarded your comment to KelbyTraining.com. I've had a couple quirks with bookmarking, but otherwise its worked okay for me. I also like their iphone app.

I will say that Lynda.com is another decent option, but I found the videos to be just too damn long for my busy schedule.

Roberto - Thanks for your comment - your experience mirrors mine

Yodize said...

Hi Ron,

I just tried to sign up for kelby training but it said your coupon code had expired. Is there a new one?

Thank you!


Ron Martinsen said...

Thanks for lettting me know. It shouldn't be expired, so I'll look into it.

You cna double check too that it wasn't an intermittent problem on their end.

These things happen sometimes though but I can usually sort them out and get things working again so please come back. I'll report via the comments here once I find out what's going on.

Ron Martinsen said...

The coupon code has been reactivated, so it will work now.

Thanks for the report! Email me if you don't mind for a special reward.

Devon Wedding Photographer Mark Smith said...

Hi Ron,

A great read and based on this and a 24 hour trial I signed up using your code so hopefully you got a little back and I certainly appreciate getting the $20 off.

Looking forward to really getting stuck into the training now and seeing my photography improve.

Just as a little note, I personally see this as really cheap training, to go on a one day course here in the UK will cost between £150 and £400 so for less than even the cheapest I've got a year and many many courses to watch over and over. Obviously there are some differences between being hands on and just watching, however, for inspiration before going out into the field, being able to watch something at a time that is convenient is great.

Thanks again!


Ron Martinsen said...


There's really no better value in Photography - period. I can't get over how much great content there is at such a cheap price. Even if you were to buy DVD's of any of these instructors you'd probably pay more for a set than you'd pay for a year of Kelby Training.

I love it! I also love watching it on my iPhone when my wife is busy shopping! :-)

Devon Wedding Photographer Mark Smith said...

It's true, I didn't download the iPhone app yet, will have to do so pretty soon, but have watched it a lot on my HP Touchpad while in the gym, I just lay it over the controls of the exercise machine and plug my headphones in... fantastic, getting educated while getting fit!!

Donald B. Miller said...

If you haven't yet at least tried Kelby Training with their free 1 day membership DO IT NOW! Then use Ron's discount code and sign up! I did!
You won't find a better value anywhere for photography training!

Jeff said...

Ron, You posted a WARNING and stated that we should sign up for Kelby training first and than NAPP. Shouldnt it be the opposite. If Im first a NAPP member I will get $40 off Kelby. If I sign up for Kelby first I only get $20 off

Ron Martinsen said...


Yes, I'm surprised no one has pointed out that sooner and that I didn't notice. It looks like my fingers and brain were out of sync when I typed that.

Thanks for the note. I'll correct it now.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, the "try out the first lesson of every course for free" link is no longer working.