The Year in Review: 2022 at Visual Education

As 2022 draws to a close, let’s look back at all the action from another awesome year here at Visual Education – and look ahead to the next one.

We’re always striving to improve your experience of our platform. That’s why we were delighted to roll out a feature that has been requested many times by our members: certification.

Our new certification program is called LEVELS, and it enables you to test and certify your knowledge at no extra cost.

It’s simple: watch the classes and answer the questions. Finish a level to collect a certificate. Complete a course to earn a diploma. All at your own pace!

We launched LEVELS with the three-level Lighting Masterclass course, and plan to roll out more courses in the coming months. Have you started getting certified yet?


Get Certified With LEVELS

Test and certify your photography and lighting knowledge with Karl’s expertly curated collection of classes and tests.

Let there be Light Cone

Another exciting moment this year was the launch of Karl’s game-changing new lighting modifier, the Light Cone.

This product, which Karl developed over many years in collaboration with V-Flat World, is specially designed to make life easier for anyone shooting glossy or highly reflective products. You’ll never shoot a shiny surface the same way again!

In terms of the platform itself, we rolled out a new homepage design. The key change here was the new menu system, designed to make navigating Karl Taylor Education even easier than it was before.

Learning to fly with CGI

A big part of the motivation behind the new menu system was the fact that this year we launched not one but TWO brand-new sections: 3D CGI and Filmmaking.

We are SO excited about these new sections. They reflect our commitment to helping visual artists adapt to the contemporary commercial landscape, where clients expect you to be experienced in a variety of genres, skills and media.

Our 3D CGI section, which we launched in April and have been adding to ever since, contains more than 75 classes. Presented primarily by Ethan Davis, these range from an A-Z of key CGI terminology to an introduction to the tools and techniques of Blender. (Blender is powerful, free open-source software used by CGI artists around the world).


Blender 3D Basics

In this 11-class course, Blender expert Ethan Davis introduces you to the key tools and techniques you need to get the best results out of this powerful CGI software.

Building on these Blender basics, Ethan also delivered classes in which he models, lights and renders products including Apple and TAG Heuer watches, and a Dior fragrance.

To highlight the ongoing battle between CGI and photography, Karl undertook photoshoots of the same products, giving members the chance to see for themselves how professional-level photography and expert CGI compare. We captured these head-to-head battles in a series of Shootouts. Check them out and decide for yourself who came out on top!

Lighting the shot

Ethan's TAG Heuer CGI class

Making filmmaking happen

Come summer, it was time to call ‘Action!’ on our new Filmmaking section. We launched it with Introduction to Filmmaking, a nine-class course designed to teach you all the essential terminology, concepts and equipment in the world of filmmaking and videography.

Introduction to Filmmaking

In this 9-class course, Karl and the team introduce you to all the essential terminology, concepts and equipment in the world of filmmaking and videography.
Since then, we added classes on real-estate and drone filmmaking, and there are plenty of others in the pipeline, too. With moving images becoming an ever-more crucial tool in the commercial photographer’s belt, we’re sure this section will prove extremely valuable to members old and new.
Drone filmmaking class
 Our Aerial and Drone Filmmaking class features some spectacular scenery.

Staying classy

You could be forgiven for assuming that all this CGI and filmmaking action prevented us from producing new photography classes. But you would be wrong! Because ’22 saw the release of 33 new classes covering all genres of photography.

In product photography, Karl showed you how to shoot soap, fragrances, hair products (and more hair products). He demonstrated how to use a TV as a background, and even found time to shoot watches not once but twice.

In the fashion section, things got rebellious, retro and, well, leggy. And if you were looking for new techniques in beauty photography, Karl’s classes on hard light, parabolic reflectors and projection spotlights surely hit the spot.

A selection of final images from our 2022 photography classes.

There was still time for still life, too, with new classes in our Wall Art Shells and Still Life Pasta series hitting the site, as well as a tutorial on photographing tables and chairs.

For the majority of these shoots, Karl recorded post-production followups in which he walked you through his Photoshop workflow. Some of our favourites include Cosmetics Product Shoot Using TV Background | Post-Production, and Parabolic Reflector Beauty | Post-Production, which saw the return of star guest instructor Viktor Fejes.

Speaking of Photoshop, Karl also recorded a class dedicated specially to the Liquify filter. You’re welcome!

Live, live, live!

On top of all these classes, we also went LIVE 25 times this year. That’s 25 opportunities to watch Karl work in real time and get your questions answered instantaneously. Not bad!

Karl undertook 13 live photoshoots, including Photographing Wrapped and Packaged Food, Rim Lighting for Product Photography and Pros and Cons of Using LED Lighting for Studio Photography. Each contained a wealth of useful tips, and you can find all the replays here.


Drop Tank Fruit Beverage Shoot

Watch the replay and learn all about drop-tank photography, including preparation, props and, most importantly, lighting.
Collage of live photography workshops

A selection of images from our 2022 live photography workshops.

We also streamed two new instalments in our occasional live magazine chat show series: Analysing and Critiquing Your Photography, and Marketing Yourself as a Photographer. The latter saw our marketing exec Emma making her debut on the couch and sharing a host of valuable ideas. Go, Emma!

Our Working to a Brief series went from strength to strength in 2022, with each new assignment the subject of live launch and review shows presented by Karl. Members honed their commercial skills by responding to briefs including the Cutting Saw, the Honey Jar Composite, and the Milk Splash, making the most of the chance to receive Karl’s honest feedback on their efforts.

The final fashion image
A selection of the images our members created for Working to a Brief projects in 2022.

Speaking of feedback, it was another great year for members’ image critiques. Karl offered his trademark ‘harsh but fair’ appraisal of hundreds of photographs and computer-generated images created by our incredible members.

These critiques took various themes, including food photography, fashion and beauty work, and ad-style product images. Whether or not you submitted an image of your own, watching the replays of these critiques is sure to help you enhance your photography, post-production and/or CGI skills.

Images submitted for critique
A selection of members' images submitted for Karl's live critiques.

Eyes on the prizes

In addition to all those critiques, we received an overwhelming number of impressive entries for our competitions this year. Judging these contests was, as always, both fun and challenging, with Karl and the team engaging in many heated debates as we tried to pick our winners.

In April, Mohanan Oruvayalil emerged victorious in our ‘Two’ competition with this ethereal equine image.

Two horses in the mist

© Mohanan Oruvayalil

In July, it was Pete Harper’s turn to stand atop the podium as his stunning still life took the ‘Green’ honours.
Green vegetables

© Pete Harper

And in October, it all came ‘Together’ for Daniel Raźniewski.
Newlyweds in the rain

© Daniel Raźniewski

As these brilliant members discovered, you have to be in it to win it! So be sure to enter our current competition, which invites you to lurk in the ‘Shadows’…

Celebrating our subscribers

Not everyone wants to enter competitions, of course. That’s why we try to offer a broad range of ways to get involved in the Visual Education community, which continued to grow in 2022 – making us very happy indeed.

Our members-only Facebook group, for instance, crashed through the 4000-member ceiling and kept on going. We love our group – it’s a great place to share your images, ask your questions, give and receive constructive feedback, and more. If you haven’t already joined, come and say hi!

Elsewhere, our weekly challenges kept members trying new things, experimenting with new techniques and putting into practice the skills they’ve picked up from our classes. From floating objects to pets, and from interiors to self-portraits, these prompts are a perfect way to push your creative limits. So if you haven’t risen to the challenge yet, why not give it a try?

The final fashion image
A selection of members' Weekly Challenge submissions in 2022.

We also took great pride and pleasure in shining a light on some of our amazing members in a new series of Member Spotlight blog posts.

These interview-based features are a great opportunity to get to know the talented and dedicated visual artists who consider Visual Education an essential part of their creative lifestyle. So far, we’ve profiled Stephane Thomas, Faten Smith, and Aidan Hughes, among others. And we plan to keep shining that spotlight in the years to come!

Looking ahead to 2023

As this year draws to a close, we’ve got lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline. Of course, we’ll be releasing regular new classes throughout 2023, covering lighting, photography, post-production, CGI, filmmaking and more.

We even have a whole new section up our sleeve, reflecting our commitment to equipping today’s visual artists with all the skills and expertise they need to succeed. Watch this space to find out which medium you’ll be mastering next!

Sixties-style fashion image

© Karl Taylor

Speaking of mastery, we also plan to roll out new courses in our LEVELS program in 2023, giving you the chance to earn new certificates and diplomas that prove you mean business and know your stuff.

Needless to say, there’ll be new Working to a Brief assignments, new competitions, new LIVE workshops, new opportunities to get your work critiqued – and much more. It’s all part of our mission to bring you world-class online education across the visual arts.

See you in 2023!


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