Why Are Formal Classes On Photoshop Nowhere to Be Found?

October 12th, 2016

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Larry in Georgia asks:

Why are there no formal classes on Photoshop to be found? This question came to mind because so many of the photos on your site are comprised of what to me appears as being rather complicated Photoshop techniques employing multiple steps. Yet, in my area of the country, formal classes are nowhere to be found.

Yes, my part of the country is just like yours in that there are no formal classes on photoshop in my area, or anywhere for that matter. This is because:
  1. Online video is THE BEST way to learn Photoshop, Lightroom or any kind of computer software. Face-to-face classes don’t even come close.
  2. Online video is the cheapest way to deliver training for computer software.
  3. As good teachers know, there are several different learning styles. Some people learn better from books than video. And some people (kinesthetic learners) need to actually go through the movements of learning.
  4. The very best presenters of online video are better than the many local teachers.

As a verification of the above points, in 2015 Linkedin paid $1.5B for lynda.com which is THE best online learning site. On lynda.com you spend $25 for a month of access and learn Photoshop (plus any other computer software) from the very best presenters. It’s less than a local face-to-face class (if there was one) and the training is better than most local teachers are likely to give.

I should also point out that there is also a lot of good free video tutorials on YouTube but finding the good ones can take some work. I have a page where I compile a list of free video tutorials on the subject of real estate photography and post-processing (the white ad that says “Free Real Estate Photography Tutorials” on the lower right sidebar). Let me know if you have some favorite free videos that should be on this list.

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18 Responses to “Why Are Formal Classes On Photoshop Nowhere to Be Found?”

  • My biggest complaint with many of the online tutorials is that they give you the steps, but hardly ever tell you WHY you’re using a particular tool or what a given action is doing to the image. It’s great for accomplishing a task when you need it, but you’re not getting the BIG picture in terms of Photoshop learning.

  • I get Lynda.com for free through my municipal library membership. You may want to see if that type of service is available to you also.

  • I am a Realtor and use Kelby One ” http://www.Kelbyone.com ” For a yearly fee you get Photoshop mag, all there training videos. I find it to be a great learning site it covers photoshop, light room, different cameras and all kinds of classes on how to . Great Site. I will be checking out Lynda.com now to see if I can use it also.

    Hope this was helpful.

    Roy Huber
    803-316-6858

  • I don’t use Photoshop a whole lot for RE photography other than to salvage a picture taken at a bad angle with weird verticals or to insert and blend flames into a fireplace (and I make sure to ask the owners if the fireplace is in good working order before doing so!). The bulk of my work is done within Lightroom. I find the PFRE website offers good insight on techniques or frequent questions about Photoshop/Lightroom, that’s why it is a good idea to subscribe to this site! I am also a Youtube subscriber of the Serge Ramelli and Photos in Color channels. I like these guys because they are very “bold”. I find it easier to learn the concepts from someone that goes a bit to the extremes and then tone down their techniques and apply them to my work in PS/LR. Also, Youtube has an eye opening interview I watched some time ago featuring Randy Henderson, it is not hard to find.

  • On line classes are great, but in person are the best – especially when they are very small and directed at a specific market.
    However you pay for it and heavily. The best of the best is Lynda.com online for those who aren’t able to pay.

  • There are probably courses available through your local Junior College, though they are probably more art-oriented — delving into blending modes and such — than real estate photography would generally require.

  • I’ve gone through a ton of online training sites for photoshop. I’ve used Lynda, Creative Live and Kelby One. The best I have found to date is Phlearn. https://phlearn.com Aaron Nace really digs into the tools and how to use them.

  • I totally agree with James. Another issue I have with online tutorials is that each presenter has a different approach to achieving the same task. For some it’s about quality, for others it’s about speed. Added to that – each presenter has an entirely different workflow. The learning process is very disjointed. After two years of watching online tutorials (mostly free, but some paid), I can honestly say that I am no where near understanding what a proper LR or PS workflow is. As James mentioned, you are not getting the big picture. I feel that my time and money would be better spent if I took a four-year subscription to Lynda or Kelby, and invested it in a three month face-to-face course with a single instructor.

  • “Online video is THE BEST way to learn Photoshop, Lightroom or any kind of computer software. Face-to-face classes don’t even come close.” Really?

    It depends on how one learns. Each of us has a different method of absorbing information and a preferred way to learn new tasks.

    I mostly hate trying to learn from online videos. My preferred method of learning is to study the subject using books. I can jump from one page back to another page, forward to a specific topic, make notes, etc.

    One on one instruction with a quality mentor is also

    I’m probably in the minority here.

    There are all types of people and many different ways of learning. Each to their own.

  • Larry, I live in the Atlanta area and you can take formal Photoshop and Lightroom classes (4 week courses) at The Showcase School of Photography in Buckhead. The teachers are great, it’s all adult ed and you can learn with either Mac or PC.

  • Yeah Lynda.com rocks and it is worth the extra fee to get the supplemental download material. Here is a lynda trick. Sign up for the free trial, then cancel on the last day. Wait about a week and lynda.com will send you a discount of about $100 off. As Greg said, your community college will most certainly offer photoshop classes. Most of them have digital media majors. I got mine from Columbus State Community College and all the credits transferred to The Ohio State University (With some petitioning). Lynda has tought me more than both of those colleges though. College classes tend to focus on design principals and theory, not the actual in depth use of the program. I have been looking for a local university that offers adobe certification but no luck here.

  • There are two Facebook Groups where people help one another with tips on how to take great images and about their gear.

    Photography For Real Estate 924 members. https://www.facebook.com/groups/PhotographyForRealEstate/

    Real Estate Photography With Lights 2100 members. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RealEstatePhotographyWithlights/

  • @Michael – Thanks for bringing up learning styles! I should have remembered this from when my kids were growing up. One of my sons is like you and learns best from books and my wife is a kinesthetic learner who learns best if she actually does what she is learning. So you are right, there isn’t a BEST way that works for everyone. I think part of the problem is that visual learners are in the majority.

    @Terry – Yes, in the large metro areas there are bound to be some classes but they are few and far between. If you need that type of learning they can be found but the fact is that online learning is becoming the norm.

  • I strongly agree with what James mentioned about people not getting into the “why” of hardly anything. Very little content goes in depth in my opinion. I feel like this is driven by you tubers in general, if you post a longer video it gets criticized, which if fine. My point is just that people want to learn how to do something in YouTube in two minutes, and be done and gone.

    I personally believe in the whole teach a boy to fish vs giving him a single fish story. When you’re teaching people you’ve got to tell them why you are doing what you’re doing, and mn turn the finer points. It’s haste makes waste, when you go to fast there is virtually no benefit. I’ve come to the conclusion that YouTube is not the place to learn because of all this. A student is much much more likely to comb through an entire course, and actually learn it, if they’ve paid for it.

  • I 100% agree with Alan. Phlearn is awesome and gives a TON of information for free. So don’t be put off by them offering some paid tutorials. The applications Aaron Nace shows may not be specific to real estate type issues but if you pay attention and learn the tools that he’s teaching, you’ll gain a lot of valuable information that you can then apply to what you do. I have learned so much from him about tools and how to use them properly. And it helps that he’s entertaining as well as concise. So many tutorials out there are 45 minutes long (ie boring!) when they could really be 4 minutes and get the same point across. Phlearn is the best resource for learning Photoshop that I have seen.

  • Photoshop is a very deep application and a general course, I’ve found, isn’t as useful as learning how to do a very specific task and then another one, etc. Rich Baum, a real estate photographer in Sacramento, CA, has been posting some quick, single technique, tutorials on YouTube specifically for RE . Learning how to use layers and blend modes are the best two things to start with. From there, you can learn how to use the clone stamp tool, replace skies and apply color corrections to certain areas of an image. A big technique to learn is removing yourself or your gear from mirrors. After that, it’s good to know how to replace a photo on the wall or a TV image (or just apply a gradient to a TV so it doesn’t look like a black hole).

    Once you get proficient at doing a few things in PS, it becomes much easier to apply that knowledge to solve other problems. Many classes I have seen focus on portrait retouching or are for people shooting weddings. Many of the skills are the same, but you have to be good at transposing those tutorials into RE photo editing.

    Look for local Meetup groups, clubs or college classes that you can get into. They are great for meeting people that can help you when you have questions that you aren’t finding answers to the problems you are trying to solve. There are also frequently links in the Flickr PFRE group to free videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Even Adobe has some free tutorials. Julieanne Kost does a great job.

    Kelby One. CreativeLive. Lynda.com. Phlearn. fStoppers.

  • Have you watched Phlearn? These are great tutorials that teach Photoshop.

  • I think it’s best to learn by doing, and doing it repetitively. There isn’t going to be a course that tells you everything you need to know from A-Z about RE retouching and workflow, especially with respect to an individual’s capacity to digest something complex. Its just suggestions and a starting point at best.

    As you go to work on a photo, if you’re a newb, expect it to be a very slow process. I’ve been using PS since the late 90’s (wow, 20 years), and I still don’t know everything about the program. I know what I need to know, and I learn new things all the time. In some ways, that’s a good thing. A constant puzzle to solve. So, when you get to a place where you get stuck, check youtube or online forums for the answer to the specific problem you’re trying to solve. 1 down, 265million more solutions to go.

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