How Much Do You Really Know

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by pbelarge, May 8, 2010.

  1. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    I am new to photography, so I am also new to photographic related software.

    After too much research, I have decided on a few programs to use. All of this is really quite overwhelming.

    I like what I have seen with LR2, and I am on LR2.7. I also downloaded the NIK series of plug-ins. (I also have PSE8, Photomatix pro 3.2)

    Needless to say, I get lost more than I care to say.

    I have LR2 books
    I have LR2 tutorials saved as favorites
    I have LR2 sites saved as favorites.

    I am starting to use the program and I realize after viewing the tuts and videos and reading that I really need to just use the program and see what is what.




    My real question is,

    How much do you really know about the software you are using?
     
  2. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    Doesn't seem like a post for the Beyond the Basics section, but to answer you're question, I know as much as a I need to know. I know quite a bit in Lr and not much is PS when compared to the grand scale of what can be known about PS. I know what I need to know, to get done what I need to know, and if I need to know something else, I learn it. LR is big in it's own right, but PS is massive. Knowing everything in both of them would not only be unrealistic and unneeded, but also likely impossible. Learn what you need to know.
     
  3. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    In terms of digital imaging quite a bit. I've taken quite a few books and taken several certificate courses in using Photoshop up through CS1. (I've been tinkering with it since V4.) Admittedly I probably know more Photoshop at this point than I do about some aspects of photo taking technique.

    I'm however not above admitting I'm perfectly capable of being an idiot about it. I have always had a probably bad habit of just jumping in and using graphics applications and taking it all for granted that I can. Until recently I never really paid too much attention to anything but the main application in Photoshop. I never did get around to using Bridge or Camera Raw properly which was very wrong of me. I'm now in the middle of viewing some video tutorials on them and finally learning to respect those additional applications for what they can do.

    There was much to be learned there and far more utility to those parts of Photoshop than I ever realized. Having learned a bit more about both I'm now feeling properly chastened and vowing to myself to shoot only in RAW from now on even if it does mean changing out the memory cards every 10 minutes!

    My camera only takes up to 2 GB cards and actually most of mine are still 512 MB ones. I really do need to go grab me a few 2 GB cards on Amazon if I am going to shoot in RAW all the time.
     
  4. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is probably more raw knowledge out there about computer programs related to photography then you could digest in your lifetime.

    I think the key to remember is that most of these programs are designed for such a broad audience that you'll never know and understand how to use EVERY feature.

    Just take it slow, pick up knowledge where you can, and if you find something cool to help you out, use it. Otherwise don't focus on learning everything...
     
  5. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

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    I think one of the most important things to learn on programs like Aperture, LR, and PS is shortcuts. I have almost every keyboard shortcut for Aperture memorized at this point and use most of them every time I open the program.

    As far as photoshop goes, I think nobody knows half as much as they think they do about it. It's such a powerful program that is probably never harnessed to it's potential by any one person.
     
  6. Vinny

    Vinny TPF Noob!

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    I think that as you said - you need to use the program. Read the instructions to get familiar with the program but I would "learn as you go" and learn the program in small bites. Make a project out of something (dodging and burning) and play around with photos until you feel you know enough how to use that particular section. Move onto something until you feel confident in doing that task and so on.

    With on-line tutorial for Print Shop or whatever if you get stuck you can view them and try to duplicate it on your program. I bought the Serif photo software and what I described to you above is what I am doing. I'm not great at any of the tasks I tried but hopefully will get better.
     
  7. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    I swear sometimes I think I must be the only serious Photoshop user on the planet who loathes keyboard shortcuts and who will only use those that are absolutely necessary!

    I was just watching a new Lynda tutorial on CS5 the other night? Every other second they're using a keyboard shortcut that takes twice as much time than just using the freakin mouse to click off an arrow in a box or something! It was a great tutorial otherwise but they about drove me nuts watching them mentioning them all!

    My teachers in school, same deal, all of them continually harped on using those keyboard shortcuts too. I did it because they insisted, but honestly remembering and using them all just slows me down. I just cannot get my head around how is it even vaguely helpful to use all those shortcuts when you can usually do the very same thing with click of a mouse in no time flat!

    To each person their own, but I have almost no use for them at all.

    Makes me laugh though when I read people raving about them.

    Clearly I am missing something about the charm using of keyboard shortcuts!
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LR2 user here...

    Its only overwhelming if your goal is to learn "everything" there is about the application. I focused on learning just enough to complete my workflow and refocus what little time I have to elsewhere.
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Software is the new darkroom. Few people were masters in the darkroom, some were adequate enough to get a half decent print and most were somewhere in the middle.

    It will be the same with software. Where you end up depends in large part on your own desire or not to spend the time to learn but also on what quality images you need to satisfy you as well as how much manipulation the images in your mind require.

    I am not Ansel Adams in the darkroom but I am probably not too far because the images in my mind required me to be really good in the darkroom. My personal work was mostly in B&W because I never learned much about color and when I had color images I wanted to create, it was very frustrating dealing with labs who just didn't get what I was trying to do...

    Learn any which way you want. It really doesn't matter much. When you get frustrated because you can't get the results you want, you will go and learn some more. No big deal.

    Now, the professional side of this. For me at least. I will be opening a new studio before the end of the year and I realized that I wasn't going to learn PS that quickly... So, taking this into consideration plus the fact that I can make more money shooting than I can doing PP, I decided to hire a PP person. :)

    The problem I had was: how do I judge someone whose work I barely understand? So I borrowed a friend's PP person to do all the technical testing of my candidates. :er:
     
  10. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

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    For photoshop, keyboard shortcuts aren't as useful, but in Aperture or LR, I will always have one hand on the keyboard and the other on the mouse. I hit p change to 'quick previews' when I sort through them, hit z to zoom where my mouse is on, hit c to pull up the crop tool, hit v to change my screen view (thumbnails/fullscreen/both) etc. etc. They speed up the process by an incredible amount because I don't have to physically move my mouse onto the zoom button then back to where I want to zoom into, or have to click on the crop tool. Sure, it sounds super lazy and ridiculous in text, but in reality, it makes a difference. If you can't remember to hit c for crop or z for zoom, you're just lazy.

    That said, there are more elaborate ones I use and memorize because I use them so frequently. Turning on the red and blue highlight/shadow indicators is an example. I could go through the top menu, or I could just press shift+alt+h. The list goes on, but any way you cut it, they speed up the process and make it easier assuming you can remember them.
     
  11. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I'll have to agree that I don't think it's possible to make a case that keyboar shortcuts aren't faster than clicking your way around. Sure, if you don't know the shortcuts then they're slower, but once you take the time to memorize them really well, it's oooo much faster. I forced myself to use them at first, even when I couldn't remember them, and would refuse to click through, and had a ceat sheet to keep looking up the shortcuts. Now I know all the ones I need and it absurdly faster than clicking through all the menus or moving the mouse all over the page for different tools, switching layers, and all that jazz.
     
  12. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your post raises an interesting point. Great photographer and great photoshopper may not be overlapping skill sets... At some point photoshop becomes more about graphic skills and less about composing a good picture and taking a nice shot that was properly exposed...
     

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