Making the most of fixing in post.

Image Philosophy: Tutorial Rant (Part 2)

This is a follow-up to my recent post about choosing a Photography Philosophy.

Perhaps you already have some great photos and images... but something seems slightly off about them...

This happens to me all the time.

I'll try a few preset filters... but they can turn an ordinary image to garbage or gold. If it's garbage... well, you don't want to use it... but when it's gold, if you're anything like me you have no freaking idea how it got that way. Click save and move on, right?

I know what I'm going for... I put my image together and it just doesn't look like it's in the same league as the pro stuff I see out there.

What the smack went wrong?


Usually I'm just missing out on some tricks or methods. Maybe I'm trying for a vector look using Photoshop where I should be using Illustrator, or I'm using images to create a look that other designers create with CSS. Whether it's smooth animations, or getting text to pop out, I can always tell when I've gone about something in a way doesn't achieve the desired effect.

The bad news:  There is no magic shortcut to getting all the tips and tricks into your brain.

The really good news:  It's crazy easy and affordable to get high-level training online these days through video tutorials. Another bonus is that just about anyone can fit a few short videos into their schedule. No prerequisites, just pick and choose the things you want to learn!

It does take take a little time and dedication, but you're worth it, right? Heck... just because all the school kids are neck deep in books and learnin' doesn't mean you should have to stand in the hall!

Have a gander at 4 great places to learn advanced image creation skillz, with a z.

I personally recommend each for different reasons, and I encourage you to explore all four and figure out which one makes your heart sing!

A Note: While you do not need to own software to take most of the classes, there are exercises you'll want to follow along with, so you'll need to invest in software separately. Creative Cloud (basically Creative Suite subscription) is now offered by Adobe in an affordable monthly payment, and they offer free trials, which you can use while learning... especially if you are experimenting.

///  1  /// online training tutorials

FREE TRIAL?  yes (7 day). has been in this industry for years, and I have used many of their awesome courses to learn coding, the nuts and bolts of Adobe Creative Suite and Apple's professional software.

The benefit of is threefold– 1) Total ease of use for each course. 2) The teachers are top-notch industry pros who actually know how to deliver an effective class. Paramount. 3) The catalog of classes is enormous, with new titles added constantly.

First step's first... grab a 7-day free trial because: free...classes...without changing out of your PJs.

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This Learn Photoshop Editing Class

FREE TRIAL?  no (but low cost).

This course really knocks my socks off.

It's an individual course specifically about building pro chops in Photoshop (and with taking pictures) to create those remarkable eye-catching stylized photos that you see in trendy music, arts and entertainment magazines. If you are looking to make movie posters, incorporate special effects and trick imagery, or you want to add a specific ambiance to existing imagery without a preset... this is ABSOLUTELY the class for you.

The price is not going to cut into your roller skating and concert-going budget, and the stuff you'll learn will get you leveled up with the proper ninja skills.

I also feel it's important to say that the guy, Patrick, who made this class just dropped the price, and he offers a 60 day money back guarantee... And I say this mostly because I just dropped his class into a list of full blown online learning sites... which seems a bit unfair. So check it out!

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Creative Live

FREE TRIAL?  yes (for live events).

My friend introduced me to this site a while back. I was blown away. They offer a shocking number of free classes... most of the time, all you have to do is watch the classes while they're streaming live to get them free.

For example I took a social media class that was a multiple day series. They got fantastic instructors in, whose courses or seminars would normally cost hundreds if not thousands. Lucky for me I had the time available to watch live. If you need to fit your self-education into a tighter schedule, you can pay for a membership or pay for individual classes. It's really pretty amazing!

But I digress. There are a ton of types of classes... but I probably ought to keep to the topic of this post, no? So... (drumroll) I recommend these courses for improving your image creation and manipulation skills:

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This is a beautiful site where you can find video tutorials by pros in tons of cool categories... from coding to crafting, game design to music editing.

For advanced image manipulation, the Design & Illustration category, as well as the Photo & Video category are both robust and you can pick individual videos tailored to whatever part of the creative process you're in.

Tuts+ offers single classes for a low fee, or membership plans that are totally worth it!