Review of Kelby One

Many of you know that I teach online photography classes at PhotoClasses.com, but that doesn’t at all mean that I don’t do a TON of learning myself.  One popular resource on the web for learning photography is KelbyOne.

I have been an on-again off-again subscriber to Kelby One for a couple years and would like to give my review of the site.

What is Kelby One?

Kelby One is a website with hundreds of hours of video training on photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and many other topics related to digital art and media.  A subscription to the website costs $24 per month to watch as many photography videos as your little heart desires.

Overall Opinion

The folks at Kelby Media have lined up an all-star team of photographers to teach photography on their online video classes.  It is TERRIFIC to watch such fantastic photographers at work; however, just because many of the instructors are great photographers does NOT make them great teachers, which can make many of the classes painful to watch.

The classes are often VERY slow moving and I find myself frequently reaching for the fast forward button.  However, if you are willing to be patient, this is one of the best resources on the web for learning photography.  For $24 per month, it’s a no-brainer.  Fantastic classes.

What I like about Kelby One

My opinion of Kelby Training is mostly positive.  I have learned many new tips and techniques from the videos that I haven’t seen anywhere else in other workshops or on  other websites.

The price is pretty reasonable for what you get.  $24 per month for unlimited views of photography instructional videos is a fantastic deal.

The videos are professionally filmed and edited.  It looks clean and easy to watch.

All of the videos are created by the absolute leaders on the specific topics.  Joe McNally teaches flash photography, Scott Kelby teaches Photoshop, Moose Peterson teaches wildlife photography, etc.

The website is fairly easy to use, though I did have a few gripes about it that I’ll mention later.

What I didn’t like about Kelby One

My main complaint with the site is that many of the instructors just spent the day photographing instead of teaching.  While watching the videos, I had a thousand different questions about what they were doing that were not answered.  On many of the videos, it seems that the instructor didn’t really plan what he or she would teach.

Maybe I’m A.D.D., but I wish the videos were half the length with twice the content.  I suppose the folks at Kelby Media decided to choose the best photographers in each area rather than the best photography instructors in each area.  It is helpful to watch the masters do their work, but it can be so slow that it’s tough to watch at certain points.

Also, I don’t like how they handle their cancellations.  Although you can cancel at any time, they force you to actually pick up the phone and call them.  Given that I run large websites as well, I know perfectly well that it is SIMPLE to create a way for this to be done by simply clicking a button in the “my account” setting of a website.  The fact that they annoy customers who want to cancel (presumably to keep you subscribed) irks me a bit.

Last, the real problem with learning on Kelby One is the lack of feedback.  You watch, but if you have a question… sorry. You’re on your own.  Video only.

There are benefits and drawbacks but most photographers will find it to be a good value.  If it matches your learning style, it is an AMAZING resource where I learn lots.


About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.

Comments

  1. Potential purchasers 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 responses 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.

  2. I agree that Kelby Training courses would benefit from being 1/2 the length and twice the content.

    I also agree that Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski are the most skilled at doing the classes

  3. While I agree regarding th quality of SOME of the training it does not matter how good it is if you cannot use the site or have technical support. I have had nothing but problems with the kelbytraining site and have now sent over 12 emails in the last 8 days and not a single email has been replied to. For the money they charge I expect a reply within 24hrs. What is the point of all these instructors if not a single person replies to a query or technical issue. I have to say this is the 2nd time I have tried to use them as the 1st membership I cancelled due to numerous technical issues. I am now going to refund my membership and try lynda.com as I keep hearing nothing but praise. One thing is for sure is it cannot possibly be as bad as kelbytraining. They have had over $299 for 8 days and I still do not have access to a single video!

  4. I love CreativeLIVE for its interactivity and I find the chat feature for audiences watching the live stream to be particularly helpful. I’ve gotten a few of my questions answered by others in the chat, if not by the photographer himself.

    If they had paid subscriptions it would be perfect!

  5. Thanks for this review! I am considering which of the various training options to give my hard-earned money to, and its helpful to have your opinion with pros and cons. Thanks!

  6. my Kelby one membership is coming to an end. The site is falling behind. Updates are non existent and it is hard to navigate. There seems to be no direction. Has Kelby lost interest?

  7. I have had a subscription to the Kelby / NAPP program, (Kelby One) since 2008 when the subscription cost was $139.00 a year. Now it is up to $249.00 a year.
    At that time it was the best resource for learning photoshop / photography. I don’t hold that opinion any longer, mainly for reasons stated by other reviewers. I have few complaints over the years. My main two complaints have been while viewing course they would freeze up in the middle of an episode. The second complaint is when Kelby Traing/NAPP consolidated to its current KELBYONE, you lost all the access to the high resolution videos that were available when you purchased any of their DVD’s. and all that was left was iPod versions. These DVD’s sold for about $24.00 to $249.00 each. I purchased over the years about 20 DVD’s and now since I don’t have a iPod can only view a low resolution version of the content on my laptop. When I contacted Kelby about that issue their attitude was ” well you have the iPod version ‘?
    I did not pay that much money for low rez videos. To me that was the turning point for my opinion about Kelby One.
    My subscription to KelbyOne is coming up for renewal and at this point I don’t feel it is worth a $249.00 for a annual subscription.

  8. I subscribed to Kelbyone because I really like some of the instructors they have and the offered courses.

    On the other hand, I have never seen a professional website and mobile app as bad as Kelbyone’s. Also, their support is null; I have open support tickets and 72 hours passed without any response nor acknowledgement.

    Website:
    – Once your profile is created, you cannot change your password.
    – There is a pseudo-history. It does not remember where you left the course. You are forced to navigate within the course to find where you left. They could mimic PluralSights websites for this matter.
    – History does not show all watched courses.

    iOS app:
    – I cannot even get to log in. There are several reviews indicating this same problem (so it is not me).
    – The funny part… I can download the courses (up to two at a time) without being logged in). They might be loosing some money right there.
    – The app crashes constantly. For example, try to move forward on a video.
    – Searching by instructor freezes. Also, several people are reporting this problem.
    – When the video is maximized to full screen, the audio goes off.

    Android app:
    – On this one, yes I can log in, but guess what? I cannot download the courses offline. It just stays at 0%.
    – Full screen video does not work.
    – The app crashes constantly.

    I guess Kelbyone has not invested much (or any) money in quality assurance (QA). They also need to provide minimum support to their users.

    The good; their instructors rock!

  9. thanks for all your iight. the video also stop for me too. im on a month to month, think ill cancel.

  10. My experiences with Kelby One have been awesome. I love the quality of instructors, the variety of topics plus a host of other items. For the money it is well worth it. I have also purchased numerous books written by Scott, and I love each and everyone of them to. I would highly recommend there product and sight. If I have ever encounter an issue it usually took a few days……which I was fine with…put they have always replied. Keep up the great work folks.

  11. Took the trial with Kelbyone. Great.

    Paid up for membership and can’t access videos. Response from kelby help. What kelby help have to bother Scott Kelby twitter account to get a response but after then no followup. Still waiting

  12. I’ve been a Kelby One subscriber for many years. I go back to being a NAPP subscriber. While I enjoy the content, the aspects of website are not up to par with Lynda.com. I had a Lynda.com subscription for
    over a year through work and absolutely loved it. Their programing/technical aspect of the site are just so much better. You can view a video, stop it and come back to the exact place tomorrow. You can see each course you have taken and which parts of a course you have taken. If you take 5 lessons on one course and don’t have time to watch the next 5, you know exactly what you have watched and what you have not. I would regularly have several courses started and depending on my mood or situation, I would jump around and watch different ones. You can tag courses that you want to take as you browse and then go back and take them. Additionally, they have a lot of different subjects not just Photoshop or Photography. Their accounting and membership accountability is impeccable and professionally handled. Customer Service, no complaints. Everything works very well.

    KelbyOne, has always been plagued with poor account management. On the old NAPP site, one would write and ask questions on ones account and all of that was visible to everyone. You can count on anytime their site gets updated, you will have problems. Renewing ones membership often brings problems also. They have people on old grandfathered pricing, new prices, Black Friday specials and you can count on things getting messed up. They revamped their site and they pitched it to us that it was going to be entirely new and a fantastic site. I had dreams of it being updated to Lynda,com standards. It was to come on line in October. Well, I was just able to sign in for the first time in well over a month and that was after spending several times on hold for over an hour, sending countless numbers of emails and even making remarks on Facebook and Instagram, with no one ever even caring. One time that I got to talk to someone, the guy made me feel sorry for him, because he was having to take so many calls from people complaining. One time was told, all would be fixed in 48 hours. A month later, it was not. They extended their Black Friday specials to 12/4 to help those of us with issues. Of course, 12/4 came and went, so never was able to take advantage of any of them. Then I was told, I should be able to sign in as everything was fixed. It seemed like they must have lost a database as people were unable to even request a new pass word based on their email address or account number. On FB, CS stated an email had gone out to subscribers, explaining the situation, many of us did not. I personally had not received my hard copy of Photoshop User Magazine for Dec. either. Apparently I was one of the many lost soles. To compensate me for my frustrations, I was allowed to pick a book for a comp. Problem is customer service didn’t know the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop and I received a book, that I had already purchased as a download and fully read. I had everything in writing as to what I had requested, Wasn’t my mistake. Yet when contacting them about the error, I was told I could send it back (at my own expense) and they would send me another book or I could re-gift it. But they hope I enjoyed the bonus. LOL. Right. Customer Service At It’s Finest. I’d like to ask for a month extension of my account, but that would probably mean more problems and I wouldn’t be able to sign in again. My example is not an isolated case. Many of us were hit this time around.

    I like their material and their instructors, not their site setup, not their customer account management, not their customer service. If I worked for them, I would not be proud of their latest catastrophe and would consider it an embarrassment. Hopefully they have learned from this low point. I would expect an emailed apology to all of us for their debacle, but am sure it will never come. Am sure the mess isn’t over with yet. Will see what happens next.

  13. Thanks for all the feedback on KelbyOne. I was just about to get their subscription, now I won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole.

    I am going to join Lynda.

  14. I have had the worst experience with Kelby one since they took over NAPP I have been a loyal customer of NAPP for many years and let me tell you Scott Kelby destroyed that company I just as of today let my membership lapse I will never go back or watch anything let Scott Kelby produces it is obviously just about the money and the customer support sucks .
    I would never recommend that company to anyone there has to be other alternatives if anyone knows of any please contact me

  15. Do NOT subscribe to KelbyOne, especially if you’re a Photoshop enthusiast. When Scott Kelby began the switch from the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP – his former company), he worked his staff at a frenzied pace to develop every module possible for the new KelbyOne site. When he had extracted every ounce of their genius, he fired them outright, and then told his subscribers that they were merely reclassified as contractors. He assured his subscribers that they would be still be contributing the same video tutorials that the end-users had always enjoyed. To date, not one of the previous employees has posted anything, and they are all establishing their own businesses to make a living since they were so crassly dismissed.
    There are far more resources available on-line or even at your local library to hone your Photoshop and photography skills rather than add one more dollar of profit to such a callous individual.

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