Learning Photoshop for Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by InfiniteLoopy, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #1
    Hello all,

    I'm an intermediate PS user and I'd like to improve my skills. I know that the best way to do so is to practice but I need good training material for that.

    So, I'm wondering what you all recommend in order to understand and master PS from a photography point of view. I'm looking to learn the subtleties of curves and levels and channels and how to master black and white. I can muddle through using them, but I want to truly master them.

    I'm not looking to learn PS as a graphic designer's tool, but as a photographer/editor's.

    I use CS6 extended.


    Thanks
     
  2. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #2
    From a budget perspective check out CreativeLive.

    I'm currently in the middle of an environmental portrait workshop and it's been quite useful for me.

    The ability to ask questions whilst they are working is great as well!
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #3
    I would second Creative Live. I have watched a few of their webinairs.
    Also if you want to learn something specific, YouTube is your friend.
    Lastly look at plug ins. Sometimes they just replicate what you can already do in PS but in an easier way.
    Check out Nik Software, OnOne and DXO. I have used them all for different things.
     
  4. filmbufs macrumors 6502

    filmbufs

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    #4
    Absolutely check out Creative Live! Last year they had a Photoshop week and, even though I thought I was fluent in PS, I learned so much in such a short time that I was able to immediately incorporate new techniques into my work. CL is designed for photographers and artists. It's free to watch (and they rebroadcast that day's seminar,) with the option to buy the workshop you are watching and you can purchase previous workshops as well.

    Currently, they have Dave Cross continuing his 30 days of Photoshop. Here's a link to their schedule. Be prepared to be amazed. http://www.creativelive.com/calendar
     
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #5
    I find that at times, video lessons work very well with a combo of show me and tell me.

    Kelby offers some good courses as does Lynda.com. There are others out there as well that you can do on line and some provide samples to work with that match the lessons.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    Another good place is Lynda.com They have about 250 training video classes that range in time for 15 minutes to 11 hours each. They charge $25 per month. Free sample videos.

    I'm lucky. My university has an institutional membership so I get free access to all of Lynda.com's classes. They have hundreds of different subjects, not just Photo related stuff. The price, $25/month is well worth it if you do actually make use of the service

    There is another service macprovideo.com that compete with Lynda.com in the photo/video/audio area and they are good also and have the same price.

    You can use the free sites and Youtube but the professionally filmed presentations are a better use of your time.
     
  7. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Virginia
    #7
    I'm also a Lynda.com user. While I haven't used it for photoshop, it has been good for Aperture and iPhoto.
     
  8. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #8
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    Perhaps I should have been clearer but I'm rather looking for a "why" than a "how to" book. Obviously, learning how to do something is equally important, but I'd like to understand the reasons why Photoshop pros and imaging specialists do certain things.
     
  9. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #9
    I think you'll find these resources will help you figure out just that, and too, it would be difficult to disentangle the "how" and the "why", at least in my mind. For example, when learning to work with the channel mixer to create a black and white image ("how"), you learn a tremendous amount about colors, saturation, hue, contrast, so much so that you can then create exactly the image you want ("why"), color or black and white.
     
  10. The Bad Guy macrumors 6502a

    The Bad Guy

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    Australia
    #10
    Photographers don't use Photoshop, they use Lightroom. Digital artists / graphic designers use Photoshop.

    www.youtube.com is the only website you need to know to learn either.
     
  11. Photoshopper macrumors regular

    Photoshopper

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    #11
    This. Assuming you're not using LR now-- Definitely learn what you can in PS, but I find LR indispensable, and spend less time in PS with every new upgrade.
    I've found Matt Kloskowski's podcasts (subscribed on iTunes) quite helpful.
     
  12. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #12
    Photographers, or at least those I know, use the right tool to get the image they want. Often, yes, it's LR (or Aperture, or C1, or DxO or...) but PS is part of the arsenal too and definitely worth being versed in.
     
  13. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 3, 2013
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    Scotland, UK
    #13
    Sorry to say it, but this is terrible advice. I'm a photographer, not a designer, and I would not dream of delivering any image to a paying client without putting it through photoshop for colour correction, contrast & sharpening.

    Lightroom, Aperture & Capture are all fantastic for managing your photos; however the tools they provide to do these 3 simple adjustments are mediocre at best. On the other hand, Photoshop provides by far the best set of tools to get the most from your images.

    r.harris1 hit the nail on the head - photographers use the right tool for the job in hand. In many instances, the raw converter is not the best tool.

    Not sure I fully understand your question regarding the "why". Photography is an art, so it's up to the photographer to choose how they want a particular image to look: If your image is flat and you want more contrast then add contrast. If you like it with low contrast then don't. There's no right or wrong here because it's YOUR image and YOUR vision. Photoshop is simply a tool that can help you create the image you want.

    Apologies if that doesn't make things any clearer. If you can give a couple of examples then it might help explain exactly what you're trying to do. Then I'm sure everyone on here will be happy to help.

    Regards
    Iain
     
  14. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #14
    Thanks for the replies.

    I agree that "how to" is linked to "why" but I want to learn more than "Do X to solve Y"; I want to understand why X is better than W to solve Y.

    Yes, photography is definitely an art form and everyone's vision is indeed different.

    Let me give you a few examples of what I hope to learn:

    I really enjoy black and white photography. Now I know that just desaturating is a terrible idea so I instead play with the black and white sliders in Photoshop until I find something that is more visually appealing. I understand the basics of the sliders but I'd really like to understand them in detail. I'm not looking for a resource that will tell me "if you want your sky to not be a dull grey, change the slider X to Y" but I want to understand the intricacies of the slider. Similarly, I'd like to understand what the best way is to just affect part of an image (à la Silver Efex).

    I also want to understand how the levels and curves truly work, as well as many other PS tools.

    Here's an analogy: I get by with HTML and CSS, I can do the basics but I often get to a point where I'm stuck and it doesn't do what I want. So, I search online and find similar topics or tutorials that explain how to solve such and such a problem. This isn't very efficient and I don't learn much that way. I'm at the same stage in Photoshop, and don't want to keep searching to find how someone else does something, essentially, I want to learn and master Photoshop so that I know how to solve a problem, how to get "a look" without a book or online tutorial just telling me to move a slider one way or the other. Essentially, I'm looking for a training resource that goes into all this.

    I hope that the above makes sense ...

    Thanks
     
  15. InfiniteLoopy, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013

    InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Maybe I'll frame the question differently:
    What is your Photoshop level (for photography) and how did you learn?
     
  16. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Ok - that helps me understand what you're trying to do. It sounds to me like you've been approaching your learning in the wrong way. There are 2 distinct halves to your learning here: theory and practice.

    The theory element covers things like understanding channels, colour theory, and exactly what things like "sharpening" actually are (ie - the visual effect that's taking place to make the image appear sharper). This information is not software dependent and learning this stuff will not teach you how to use Photoshop. In fact, it all pre-dates Photoshop.

    On the other hand, the practice element covers learning how the different tools in Photoshop, or any other piece of software, actually work. (ie - what's the difference between sharpen, smart sharpen, and unsharp mask). This stage of learning IS software dependent because every piece of software has slightly different tools. This half will generally not teach you about the theory that a tool’s algorithm is based on.

    Always remember, Photoshop is a set of tools - not a solution. There is no magic bullet. If I liken this to photography, the theory element would be similar to learning about composition and light; the practice element would be learning the different modes & settings on your camera. You need both to be a well-rounded photographer, but learning one doesn't necessarily teach you very much about the other.

    To learn theory as I've described it above I'd suggest you check out Guy Gowan (www.guygowan.com). His website contains videos explaining things like the theory behind colour switching, and why you shouldn't use S-shaped curves (spoiler alert - they create shifts in colour).
    Guy Gowan does use Photoshop, but the info he teaches is not Photoshop dependent. He only uses a small number of simple tools, but by applying theory can use them in a very efficient way.
    Membership to his site is about $150 per year, but he has a number of free videos which give you an idea of what’s in store. For the free videos, go to the "Focus" tab and start with video number 1.

    There are other sources where you can learn all this theory too, but you need to search for the right thing – these will not necessarily be "Photoshop tutorials". I’m sure Lynda.com probably has some information about all of this, but I wouldn't expect to find it under a Photoshop heading. It’s really more to do with art, design, scanning, printing, lithography, etc.

    To learn about all the very latest tools, bells & whistles in Photoshop I'd check out anything by Scott Kelby & his team – I've heard a lot of people say kelbytraining.com is one of the best learning resources for all things digital imaging and I'm sure they'll do a roundup of all the new features when a new version of the software comes out.
    I’m pretty sure Lynda.com will have lots of info about the practice / tools side of things too (this time it WILL be under the Photoshop heading).

    If you really do want to become an expert then I’m afraid you’re going to have to put a LOT of hours in.

    Hope that helps.
    Iain
     
  17. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #17
    Hmmm perhaps you are correct that more photographers use Lightroom or Aperture than Photoshop but some of use who started on Photoshop can do pretty much the same thing and more and pretty much as fast. I own PS, Lightroom, DXO, Capture 1. I found Lightroom to be excellent but there were time I needed to go round robin to PS and as such, it just became easier to do everything in PS.

    In a kinder world - Adopey (Adobe) would get rid of the bridge and use Lightroom as a stand alone or integrated front end to PS.

    Btw one good reason to use Lightroom is that you can buy and install and not get stuck (yet) with a stupid subscription format that Adopey is pushing on us. In the meanwhile, I'll continue with CS6 PS.
     
  18. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #18
    An interesting point, but I don't think this would work. Bridge is a file viewer, like the Finder. But Lightroom is a Digital Asset Manager. This means Lightroom requires files to be imported into a library, whereas Bridge just sees everything on your drive.

    I understand the angle you're coming from, and agree that for most photographers Lightroom is the better management tool. But bridge isn't aimed at photographers, it's designed to tie all the apps in the creative suite together.

    Bridge is handy for those times when you want to have access to the same live file from Photoshop, InDesign, Fireworks, and more. Lightroom can't handle that.

    Regards,
    Iain
     
  19. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #19
    A very reasonable response and appreciated. I do believe that Lightroom would be an excellent "front page" to Photoshop and as you indicated may need some tweaking to be a good option for simple viewing of photo oriented files in general.
     
  20. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Completely agree! For photographers I think it's a fantastic front-end.

    Having said that, I guess one advantage of keeping them separate is that we (the consumers) have extra choice. I used lightroom from V2 - V4, but shortly after Lightroom 4 came out I switched & started using Aperture 3 as my main raw converter. If adobe did integrate some form of image-viewer front end to Photoshop then I wouldn't want to see this forced upon the user.

    If you're looking for the flexibility of Bridge with the features of Lightroom in a single app then I'd suggest checking out ACDSee Pro 3 for Mac. Unlike Lightroom/Aperture/Capture it doesn't need you to import files to a library.

    Cheers
    Iain
     
  21. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #21
    Thanks very much for your detailed reply. I agree that I'd like to learn both the theory as well as the best applications in PS. I'll check out the sources you mention.
    Thanks again. :eek:
     

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