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What Is The Best Way To Learn Lightroom or Photoshop?

Published: 26/11/2015
By: larry

LyndaLast week I had two readers ask about Lightroom and Photoshop training. One knew Lightroom well and wanted to get just learn Photoshop and the other didn't know either and wanted to find someone that would do one-on-one tutoring for Lightroom and Photoshop.

First of all, this is NOT a paid advertisement. I'm just passing on how I learn to use software like Lightroom and Photoshop. This is what I told them:

  1. Get a good reference book for the software you are learning. You don't have to read it cover to cover, it's mainly to look up subjects that you run into trouble with. There are many good ones, but I like Scott Kelby's books. Here is his Photoshop book and here is his latest Lightroom book.
  2. Video tutorials are the best way to learn software. For video tutorials, I recommend because they have much more depth and variety of courses and the quality is much higher than anyplace else. A standard video subscription to costs $25/month but wait until you have time to study the subject and just subscribe for a month or two. While you are subscribed you can watch any videos on the site. And the way is structured you can study just the parts of the software you use. For example, here is their Lightroom essentials course. As you can see, it's chunked up into short clips on different subjects so you can skip around and just watch the ones you want or need. There are over 80 video courses just on Lightroom.
  3. For real estate photography, Lightroom is the application you need to know the best. It's where you will spend most of your time. It's designed for photographers and it is easier to learn.
  4. Photoshop is more difficult to learn, but you only need to learn to use the parts you need. You don't need to know how to use every last feature. You'll need to know how to do things like replacing skies, cloning out objects and blending layered images. These are thing's you can't easily do in Lightroom.

So sure you can find YouTube and other video tutorials on most Lightroom and Photoshop techniques but if you are serious at learning these applications in depth subscribing to for a month or two when you have some extra time (like the slow season that is going on now) is I think the best way to get high-quality training.


13 comments on “What Is The Best Way To Learn Lightroom or Photoshop?”

  1. Dang, beat me to it, Dave!
    I have founds TONS of great (and usually free) tutorials out there on both LR and PS. Adobe has great training videos.

  2. Creative live is my favorite. They run the shows for free sometimes too, and when they first air. Creative live and a notepad while watching are a powerful combo.

  3. I would agree about I first took her Photoshop, Golive course taught by her in a classroom here in Ojai and it opened my eyes to the power of Photoshop back in the mid 1990's. Then she introduced her online tutorials that are superb. And they are all still there so if you are using an older version of any software, you will find tutorials for most software from the mid 1990's. There are also marketing and other tutorials all of which you get for that $25 a month fee.

    What they are having a harder time dealing with are the frequent changes associated with the cloud applications. Keeping up with the upgrades is a tough challange given the time it takes to make tutorials. I found this with iMovie that had an update right in the middle of learning iMovie since iMovie moved the tools and buttons all over the place so while the tools themselves remained much the same, where you found them did not. So while the tutorials will essentially be almost completely applicable, you may find some of the instructions may take a while for the teachers to update. I maintain my membership since for little used features, I often forget just how to access and use them and that index list of topics Larry mentioned make it easy to go back and retake the tutorial that has to do with what you want to work with.

  4. In my opinion, the material on is the driest sh*t ever - I recently had a 2 month free pass and literally fell asleep (no joking) watching some of the stuff on there.

    I've learned almost everything that I know about Photoshop from Phlearn. Aaron Nace is easily the best teacher on the planet and you can apply what he teaches to any type of digital art and/or photography.

  5. I took a photography certification course several years and we spent a week on photoshop elements. This gave me a basic understanding of what you can do with photoshop. I've been using Lightroom and photoshop for a few years now and my 'method' is to get to something that I can't figure out how to do and then research it on Adobe, maybe watch one of the tutorials and learn how to do it.

  6. Lynda courses are very good. Ben Long is one of my favorite instructors for photography. KelbyOne has some very good courses. is more expensive, but the presentations can be more comprehensive and they have courses that concentrate on very specific aspects of PS and LR.

    Don't forget to search Adobe's site for tutorials.

    YouTube is extremely hit or miss. There is a ton of chaff to throw away to find a few grains. Even when the presenter is good, technical quality can be very poor. I find that the professional training companies give better value for the time spent on broader topics and YouTube is useful for very specific subject matter where it will be assumed that you already know LR or PS well.

    Don't be afraid to spend money on learning. If it speeds you up by 10-15 minutes per job, you will recoup your investment very quickly. The faster you can get to the point where replacing skies, adding fire and compositing flash layers is quick and easy, the sooner you will distance yourself from the johnny-come-lately that will photograph a home for $59.

  7. I have watched Anthony Morganti and Serge Ramelli on Youtube on Lightroom and learned a great deal of information . Both are excellent presenters -HIGHLY recommend.

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