Never Too Late to Learn!

A few years back, a friend, Brian Zinchuk,  recommended that I shoot in RAW instead of the JPG format that I had been  using.  By suggesting this friend opened a whole new world of photography to me. With JPG, I was letting the camera do most of my post processing decisions. Shooting in RAW, I now had to have a program, that could work with the format and then convert it into JPG. S0 my friend suggested I try Lightroom. I looked into it and decided it was the program for me! I searched the internet to find out everything I could about Lightroom. I then discovered the web site authored by Matt KloskowskiLightroom Killer Tips. He had free presets that worked remarkably well with my photos. I also saw that he was affiliated with NAPP and Kelby Training. How wonderful to have all these famous photographers teach all a person wanted to learn about photography simply by for signing up to Kelby Training. I soon learned that it cost $199 for a year! Although I was serious about getting into photography, $200 was hard to come up with from the household budget. I decided to carry on searching for free “how to” videos and/or websites from the internet, to help me learn Lightroom.

Sunset on the pasture

As I continued on, I  found it increasingly difficult to do all I wanted to do with just Lightroom. Lightroom is an incredible program and I highly recommend it, but to do the extra little tweeks I wanted to do, I needed Photoshop. But unfortunately, I was not prepared to put out that kind of money for the latest version which was CS5. Again my friend, Brian Zinchuk, suggested that I invest in Photoshop Elements 9. He said that it would pretty much cover all the items I wanted to do, but at the fraction of the cost. So again I followed his advice and purchased the program. I was truly overwhelmed with the power at my fingertips. I watched a number of YouTube instructional videos on how to create such things as a layer, a layer adjustment, a masking layer; use the brush; and the etc etc etc. What the hell are these people talking about???! Where do I go to to get that and find that and do what?? I was overwhelmed and really thought the easiest thing to do was forget it all and just go back to taking pictures in JPG! I felt it would have been easier to just be satisfied with whatever came out of my camera. Forget about all this RAW business and everything else!

But, what about those aspects of photography I wanted to explore, like HDR, long exposure…what about all the wonderful things I wanted to know about? Dammit, I too wanted to create beautiful photos like those I saw on the internet!


At the same time I was working as an Educational Assistant in an Elementary school. Every day I would see kids struggling with the different concepts we tried teaching them. They too wanted to just give up. They questioned why they needed math, learning about vowels, and even why they had to read. It too was difficult for them, instead they would rather do something more comfortable like playing. So it was the teacher’s job and mine to make these aspects of learning more relevant to these young minds.


As adults we understand how important it is to learn math or to read. Without these tools,  these children wouldn’t be able to succeed in life. So I used to encourage them to, “never, ever, ever, give up.” “Keep going.” “Never, ever quit.” These things might be hard to learn. They are suppose to be.  Every grade is harder than the last.  But with learning being a just a little bit harder each year it allows the dendrites in their brains to grow just a little more. These children were able to look back and see how far they have come and how much they have learned.

So while I encouraged these youngsters…I was actually talking to myself. I said, “Hey, how can I be telling these children to never give up, but here I am willing to give up because things got a little hard!” “Shouldn’t I want to grow the dendrites in my brain too?” “YES!” So just as these kids were in school to learn, I figured I better go to school too.

Bridge pic small The best way to do this was to study online. I wanted to learn at my own pace without having to attend a regular classroom. I checked out the local college and discovered they offered a 12 week online course in Photoshop Elements. It promised to break it down so it would be easy to learn. I approached the MR. aka my husband and we decided the $115 would be a doable amount. I was eager to get started so when the course started I hit the ground running. After 12 weeks I got the basics down-pat and passed with an average in the 90’s.  I was encouraged to learn more. I saw the college also offered a Part 2 of the course. Since I did so well with Part 1 and wanted to learn even more, I decided to continue on and I also got the go ahead from MR again. I put down another $115. and the next 12 weeks went along swimmingly and again I passed with a score in the 90’s.


To my surprise a couple months after my 2nd course ended I got a message from Adobe telling me that since I already owned Photoshop Elements I could be able to upgrade to CS6 for a reduced price! I approached MR again and he told me it would be smart to take advantage of this great deal. So I abandoned Photoshop Elements and graduated to using  CS6. Because a lot of the basics are like Photoshop Elements it wasn’t too difficult to transfer the knowledge I learned from the online courses. But what about the other parts of CS6 I wasn’t familiar with?


I then remembered that Kelby Training covered the use of Photoshop as well as many, many, many other courses from professionals I looked up to.  Again I looked at the cost of Kelby Training of $199 for a year for unlimited use. I had just spent $230 on 2 courses which lasted a total of 24 weeks in total. Kelby Training was looking like more of a bargain all the time. I could learn about Photoshop plus all the many other intriguing elements of photography. So I talked to MR again and explained how much I would be saving by signing up with Kelby Training. He agreed. Fortunately, Kelby Training had a promotion and I was able to get a discount off a subscription as well as receiving a free book for the latest Lightroom upgrade. How could I lose?


I signed up with Kelby Training and I haven’t looked back since. I have been happily watching different training videos. Matt Kloskowski has shown me lots of additional things I can do with Lightroom. Moose Peterson has taught me how I can take photos of birds right in my backyard! Syl Arena taught me more about using my Speedlite. Scott Kelby has taught me how I can grow my business. That is just the tip of the iceberg. I am eager to listen to Tim Wallace, Tamara Lackey, RC Concepcion, Joel Grimes and Glyn Dewis and many more. I can do this in my leisure time. I can also do this even when I am out of town through an App I downloaded on my iPhone. I am also able to listen to them during my lunch hour at work during the cold winter months when it is more inviting to stay indoors than go outside and drive home to have lunch.


Imagine this all started with a friend telling me that it is better to shoot in RAW! I can’t thank him enough for open this wonderful world to me!