Many of my recent posts have talked about the importance of learning how to use photo editing software like PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements. Knowing how to modify, touch up and re-size your digital images can be a highly effective tool for every artist and crafts person. Gaining skills in PhotoShop means you can edit your images AND produce your own marketing materials such as postcards and announcements. This expands the possibilities to promote your work and enables you to take control of your marketing efforts.
The Professional Guidelines topic Working with Digital Images Effectively offers some guidance – but it is not a tutorial. To learn how to edit photos and images, you need to take some lessons from a graphic design expert or take a class at your local community college or adult education classes. One more alternative is online tutorials. I will briefly discuss the merits of each option below.
Learning from an Expert Taking lessons from a graphics expert might be a reasonable option. If you have a friend who is an expert in PhotoShop, you could offer to trade some work or pay them for on-going lessons.
Take a Class Taking a class at your local community college has great merit. Tuition is inexpensive and class schedules are usually very convenient. You are also making a commitment to improve your skills. One additional advantage to taking a class is that you may be able to buy the PhotoShop software at the student price. This is a significant savings and well worth taking the class.
Online Tutorials There are numerous online tutorials that you can easily find with a dedicated search effort. Online tutorials are often very inexpensive and you can learn at your own pace. However, when you have a question, the lack of human interaction can sometimes be frustrating.
My favorite online tutorial is Lynda.com which accommodates several tutorial options. I like the yearly subscription because it provides access to tutorials for many different software applications such as Illustrator, InDesign, PowerPoint and Photoshop Elements. I even found tutorials for Flickr and Twitter (just to name a few of the many programs available) and learned some nifty tricks in the process. I learned DreamWeaver through Lynda.com online tutorials and manage my own web site as a result. There are over 650 different tutorial topics!
If you don't want the software subscription, you can purchase a CD tutorial for each software application. I am a BIG FAN of Lynda.com! The videos are really easy to follow and use. Most artists are visual learners so it makes a lot of sense to watch a video for each skill and then practice it on your own. Learning these skills from a book just doesn't work for me. Go to Lynda.com and look for some of the sample videos the site allows you to test for FREE.
There are also free software applications on the Web for editing your photos, but these are very basic and the features are intended for editing family photos. To create the superior quality images needed for your artistic success, you should strive for higher level skills, effects, and capabilities.
Beyond the Basics Be sure to learn beyond the basic features. Keep in mind that amateurish photo editing is a professional "no no." No book nor magazine will accept your photos if poorly (or inappropriately) modified.
Having the ability to edit professional quality photographic images can save you a lot of money and significantly expand your promotional opportunities.