The [SPS] GRADS Program Vision


Hey [member_first_name]!  Thanks so much for taking the time to pop in here and check out the very quiet “BETA” launch of our [SPS] GRADS program.

At least that’s what we’re calling it for now.  🙂

Okay, I outlined my thoughts and kind of just opened up my heart/guts and let everything fly in a video I made last Friday.  But it was inaudible due to the wind.  So today I re-recorded everything in my ole’ office.

This is a long video.  So sorry.  I’ll do better next time.  But… it IS unedited and therefore unabridged and therefore long.

In the video I just share the 4 foundational cornerstones that we currently envision for the GRADS program.  Those 4 foundations (along with the video time…that way you can fast forward if one in particular strikes your fancy):

  1. Continuing Ed (5:25)
  2. Community (9:56)
  3. Practice (14:30)
  4. Discounts (21:18)

Here’s the video:

Before I offer some summary notes of the video, I wanted to point out just 2 simple things from the end of the video:

  1. Click here to join our GRADS Group on Facebook.  Just request access of course (ya’ll know the drill 🙂 )
  2. What are your frustrations when it comes to photography these days?  What struggles do you have?  What bugs you about taking your photography knowledge and skill to the next level? What do you like or dislike about other photography sites?  We’re listening!!  Please send us your thoughts to

Okay, if you didn’t make it through all the video, I don’t blame ya!

Here’s the summary of each cornerstone…


This is what really birthed the idea of the GRADS program.  So many people were asking:

When is SPS II coming out?

I love courses as they provide a framework to walk people step-by-step through a focused subject.  We can build each step on the last.  It makes for a good strategy.  We’ll continue to create courses when the subject calls for it.

But once we have a good foundation of photography knowledge (i.e.: after going through the Photo Fix), so many questions could be answered well in a single lesson, or at least over a few lessons.

Enter the GRADS program, where we plan on having:

  • One Masters Class per month
  • One Live Q&A per month.

The Master’s Class will be a video based lesson in response to our most popular questions.  There’s just SO many topics: from cameras/gear to lighting to flash to studio to posing to editing.  Every month we’ll choose one, and my job will be to dive into that topic and teach it.

In addition, I’d also like to bring in the real Masters into the Masters Class and let them teach us!  Whose your photography hero?  What would you love to ask them?  Perhaps I can be our collective voice and we can get them to teach us!  Better yet, I’d love for YOU to interview your photographer hero on our behalf!

For example, I’ve always loved Jeremy Cowart’s work.  If I have a photographer hero, it’s definitely him.  I’d LOVE to have a Master’s Class where we get to hear from him.  A 20-30 minute interview style where we get to learn from the best on the planet.

But all without the overwhelm.  More on that later.

Second, the LIVE Q&A.  It’s pretty simple: once a month we’ll hop on Blab.  I’ll answer any of the month’s write-in questions, but we’ll also have a time to just chat LIVE.  The idea is to answer photography related questions, but I totally don’t mind if we just hang out and ask each other all kinds of questions.  🙂


As I said in the video, we’ve already built this.  Correction.  YOU have already built this!  And it’s THE MOST BEAUTIFUL part of SPS!!!


Our reputation as being the most encouraging photography community on the web only grows and grows.  To keep it this way, we must stay intentional.

Part of this is making sure that we make room for everyone.  As we’ve grown in our Private Photo Fix Facebook Group, one concern we hear often is:

I love the Photo Fix and the group, but so much of the talk is over my head.  And a lot of it is about going pro.  I thought this was a beginner’s group?  I’m not mad, I just feel really intimidated to ask questions, let alone post my pics.

We haven’t just heard this once.  We’ve heard it quite a bit.  Because of this, I’m just sensitive to keeping plenty of space in the Photo Fix group for our new members to start and grow.  That’s all.

I understand wanting to keep all conversations under one roof and in one room.  But I’m asking if we can at last try to open up another room for some of our GRAD talk?

I don’t want anyone to think hard about where they have to post x, y, or z question.  So don’t think we’re going to be policing like crazy.  We’re way too chill for that!  But some topics we KNOW will just make more sense in a Private GRAD Facebook Group instead of in the (beginner) Photo Fix group.

You get my drift?  It’s all good my sister/brother.

So, starting right now, you’re invited to walk into the next room in our “SPS house.”  It’s the private GRAD Facebook Group.

Please click here to request access.

Just keep doing what you’re doing!  But just expand it into the adjacent room in the house.  🙂


In the video, I share about a website that helped me learn the guitar.  It’s a small website…FAR smaller than  the main learn-to-play-guitar websites.  And it offers FAR LESS actual “content.”  It’s simple, 1 guitar drill every day that you practice for 5 minutes.  And 1 new song to learn every month.  That’s it!!

In comparison, all the other sites feature “thousands of lessons from hundreds of instructors.”

Sound familiar?

It’s all good, but there’s one main problem we innocently run into.  Overwhelm.  Information overload.  When you’re drinking from an open fire hydrant, you simply get drowned out and bogged down.  At best, you consume information but don’t actually PRACTICE it!

And it’s practice that moves the needle, NOT mere head knowledge!

So, a cornerstone of the GRADS program will be practice.  I’m not exactly sure how it’ll look quite yet.  We’d love to hear from you.

But we know the general idea: we want to build a very simple tool that will inspire each of us to shoot every week.  It will probably just be a simple challenge.  No winners or losers.  Everyone who participates wins.  In fact, there’s an idea…a prize simply for participating.

I’m excited about PRACTICE!  I NEED practice!!

And just think, at the end of the year, all of this simple practice will add up to not only better photos, but MEMORIES CAPTURED.  This alone is worth the GRAD Program.


Not just discounts on future SPS courses and products.  But rather discounts from all of the names and brands we already know, like, and trust.

  • Lightroom Preset Developers
  • Apps
  • Camera Bag Makers
  • Camera Accessory Makers
  • Book Makers
  • Your favorite labs (even the big ones)
  • And why not discounts from retailers like B&H Photo Video or Adorama or _______ (name your favorite retailer).
  • How about discounts to Adobe CC?
  • Or discounts / free extended trials to your favorite online photo storage solution?

When we reach a critical mass of GRADS Members, we’ll be able to create some collective “buying power” and make it a win-win with all kinds of partners.

We’ll win as we can get some discounts and incentives from solutions we love.  They’ll win because they’ll get new business.

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4 thoughts on “The [SPS] GRADS Program Vision”

  1. I’m forever grateful that I stumbled across SPS for a multitude of reasons. Thank you for your time and energy, but mostly, thank you for the heart of what you do. And especially, thank you for SHARING it with us. My favorite thing about the videos is how real you keep it. Love watching your family grow. Love it when Julie helps out. LOVE how much you compliment her! And I love the smile I get watching you get tickled about something! You truly make us feel like friends. 😊
    I love that even though I’m new, I can encourage someone a few steps behind or even a few steps ahead.
    I CANNOT WAIT for a real live community event to meet your precious Family. I would be so honored.

    And I so sincerely want to thank you Kyle for the probably unexpected byproduct of the SPS videos as you share your life with us… You are such an uplifting and positive role model… As a fellow human, yes. But also as a FATHER and HUSBAND.
    This is obviously your ministry, thank you for answering the Call.
    Blessed to be a part,

    1. Wow Rene, thank you SO much for taking the time to encourage us here at SPS! Your words are LIFE GIVING and I can’t tell you how far they go in keeping us believing/faithful/going! Bless you sister!

  2. Wow! Kyle, I just love your heart, your passion, your ongoing inspiration to both parents and aspiring pros alike. I know your desire and purpose was/is to gift parents with knowledge and comfort in their skills to capture everyday moments of their families through a camera lens. For me, it has ignited a spark and passion much more than that! I’m so blessed to have been mentored through your videos and able to capture and gift the treasure of ‘memories/moments frozen through lens’ to friends and family. The words ‘thank you’ could not ever justify my complete gratitude. You are a true blessing in the photography world, Kyle. 😊

    1. As I said above Kelly, THANK YOU so very much for your thoughtful encouragement! These words mean the world to me, and our little team here at SPS. We’re so humbled and thankful to be such a small part of your story and a handful of others, and your encouragement keeps us dreaming/believing/going!!!

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