Jul 292014

A Room for Improvement by Adam Marelli

Artistic Vision for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

Udemy Platform


Out of the Darkness...A Room for Improvement Introduction.  © Adam Marelli

Out of the Darkness…A Room for Improvement Introduction. © Adam Marelli


At the beginning of the year, I got a call from Udemy, the online education platform.  They asked if I had ever thought of doing an online video program for photography.  While I would have loved to take a greater interest, I was flying to Thailand the next day and my mind was out of free space.  But a week later, collecting my thoughts on a near perfect balcony in Chiang Mai, I revisited Udemy’s idea.

Born over a cup of coffee in Chiang Mai Thailand. © Adam Marelli

Born over a cup of coffee in Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Adam Marelli

The Origins

After my second morning coffee, I started to envision a video program with a very specific aim because as far as I have seen, there are no online resources that explain “How to see like an artist,” with specific examples, exercises, and most importantly, designed specifically for photographers.  And not to bad mouth the other programs, but essentially photography programs are taught from one of two angles…they either teach you about cameras, or post production.  They do not start with the real fundamentals, which are exercises in seeing.

Screen grab from "A Room for Improvement."  © Adam Marelli

Screen grab from “A Room for Improvement.” © Adam Marelli

Art for Everyone

Many of you have seen my videos at B&H, “Bridging the Gap” and “How to talk to Strangers.”  I learned two very important lessons when I recorded these talks with B&H Photo.

1.  Art is a photographer’s best friend.  B&H warned me that a talk/slide presentation with mostly paintings would never work for photographers.  Fortunately for me, they were dead wrong and to B&H’s credit, they were happy to be wrong.  “How to talk to strangers” was the highest user-rated talk in the entirety of B&H’s history.

2.  I wanted to create a learning experience for anyone, anywhere in the world with access to the Internet.  By running workshops, there is no way for me to offer these teachings to more people, all over the world, at an affordable rate.  It’s just not possible.  I want people who WANT TO LEARN to have easy, inexpensive access to the foundations that have formed art for the last 50,000 years.  Online videos are the single best format for people around the globe to learn, practice, and discover new ways of seeing.

The goal of A Room for Improvement.  © Adam Marelli

The goal of A Room for Improvement. © Adam Marelli

Lead by Example

Udemy’s platform, which is free to join, offers class sessions with downloads that easily surpasses the potential of any book on photography.  I say it’s better than a book because it mimics the way I learned art.  I learned art and photography from people, not books.  Whether it was a professor, mentor, or fellow artist…ideas were explained, then we looked through pictures, and the explanation continued until I got it.  It’s the easiest, fastest, and most direct way to learn anything.  It’s why cooking shows are more popular than cook books and why people come to workshops…because they want to learn as quickly as possible so they can get to the fun part…which is the shooting.

The structure for the course is four years in the making.  © Adam Marelli

The structure for the course is four years in the making. © Adam Marelli

The Structure

A Room for Improvement” was conceived as a entire foundations course, broken up into ten episodes.  You can purchase each episode, one at a time, as they are published monthly.  Personally I never liked package deals because I’d always end up with a few things I wanted and a bunch of others I did not want.  This is exactly why I selected the episode format.  Each episode will have its own video introduction like this first one…where you can see if the topics covered will be right for you.

Now, if I can let you in on a little secret, the series was made in a specific order because the foundations of seeing build on one another.  The fastest route to success is following each one in order and completing the assignments before moving to the next level.  This way, the lessons from the previous episode are nearly automatic as you incorporate the next episode into your photography.  But…if you want to skip around that is ok too.  I want everyone to approach the topic in a way that keeps them excited about photography, art, and everything that we can do with our eyes.

The title page from the first episode titled, "The Art of Seeing."  © Adam Marelli

The title page from the first episode titled, “The Art of Seeing.” © Adam Marelli

The Art of Seeing No. 1

The first episode, called “The Art of Seeing No. 1” is available here and it lays out the program in greater detail.  Subscribe to me on Youtube (Adam Marelli Workshops click this link)


For years people have been asking me to write a book on composition.  It sounds like a great idea…right?!  But the truth is, I have never used a book on photography composition…NEVER.  That’s not to say I have not read one, I’ve read a dozen of them and looked through another four dozen.  And just as a user’s manual doesn’t teach you how to use a camera, a book will not be able to teach you about photography the way I can teach you through video.

Education is moving online, from MIT and Harvard to the Khan Academy…the Internet is the shared platform of human knowledge and it’s just getting easier to access information that might have taken years to acquire.  If you would like to learn, on your schedule, anywhere in the world, have a look at the course…I look forward to seeing you there!

Watch “A Room for Improvement” here: https://www.udemy.com/a-room-for-improvement/#/ 


Best-Adam Marelli 

  12 Responses to “A Room for Improvement Release”

  1. Loved the story and the new perspective,keep it coming dude

  2. intresting and new perspective,and cool pictures too

  3. Loved the idea :) I’m and always will be a huge fan of yours sir.
    Though, we had a conversation once, i just wanted to say that i learn a lot from you, :)
    I’m a student and i dream of becoming a photograper. This can be a real help for us. :)

    • Thank you Debanjana,

      Its nice to hear from you again…Im glad that you are taking steps to being a photographer. Certainly forming a strong base of fundamentals will be helpful to your growth.


  4. Wow, this is such an exciting idea, Adam. I know I am one of the many who has contacted you about learning composition, so this is perfect. I can’t wait to get started!

    • Hi Joey,

      Yup, its a request that I wanted to answer, just needed to find the correct format. I think this is it. The combination of video and audio is so much better than silent pages. Plus you can watch it as much as you would like…its not like a rental that expires. Its good for life.


  5. Thanks for creating this series Adam. I’m unable to attend yours or the other two photographers I enjoy following personal workshops due to my schedule.

    I’ve just finished watching and taking notes on this first series. I plan on taking my time and not hurrying this journey as the first assignment may seem simple, it’s not to me.

    I’ve changed the capture settings on my Leica M-E to shoot in DNG+JPG fine with the JPG saved as a B&W image. This way I can at least get some help in seeing in B&W and distinguishing between the different grey graduations as I progress.

  6. Hi Adam,

    gratulations for the start of your »room for improvement« series. The format is great. And I find the lesson(s) well structured and easy to understand.

    Thank you very much and my best wishes for a big success with this series!



  7. Hi Adam,
    I’ve really enjoyed “a room for improvement”; in episode 3 you hinted to 10 episodes in the series. when is the next episode being posted on udemy?

    • Hi Micheal,

      Since it took me a while to create the 4th course, I decided to make it a bit longer and combine the courses. In the end, the same amount of material that was designed for the 10 courses will be released, but you will have it all in 6 courses. Which technically means a savings of about $40 overall.

      Thanks for your patience. My aim is to have the next one published by September.


  8. Big fan of your teachings sir. After watching the B&H’s video about bringing the gap and talking to strangers, I went looking for more videos from you. I was hoping that I could find something structured, that I could follow and put it in practise. To my surprise, I found this course. Its blessing. Thanks a lot for putting this together.

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