Up for Discussion: Learning on Online
There are so many places online that you can learn how to do photography, how to do Lightroom, Photoshop, really anything you want to learn, but how many of them are any good and should you have to pay for them? That is the question I am asking today, I think.
Learning is a continuous thing, well for me, I know I am not an expert and I know there is a lot I don’t know. I enjoy that and I like the challenge of finding out new things to do. This last year I have learned about using a macro lens and doing macro photography. I have learned how to photograph the milky way, and now I am starting to learn how to do long exposures. You know I just learned a different way of replacing a sky with trees in the image, and I also learned about luminosity masks last year. So learning new tricks never really stops, I hope it never does, life would be so boring if there was never anything new to look forward to.
Finding Where to Learn
So if you want to learn new things, the next step is finding somewhere.
Before the world of the computer, and the internet, you would have to find someone you knew, or knew through someone who could help you learn, or was willing to take the time to teach you. If that wasn’t an option then you would have to find a class somewhere. Then there was the library and books to teach you what you wanted to know. If you lived in a small town then it was so much harder, the libraries often don’t have the books you want.
The digital age has certainly changed all that. We now have access to a variety of information from all over the world and access to things that were never possible before. One could say there is so much information out there how do you work out what is good for you, or how do you find what you are looking for?
Perhaps a good question or questions. It is hard sorting out the crap stuff and finding the great stuff in amongst it.
Paying for Online Courses and Tutorials
There are definitely places online that you can find great tutorials for, but many of them you have to pay for. Though usually when you pay for them you also have full access to them anytime you want, or so CreativeLive keep telling us. Which has its benefits, but how often do you actually watch it again?
Then there is something like KelbyOne or Lynda.com where you have to become a member, pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to everything they have. Still, you are paying a lot of money, and seriously how often do you watch stuff on them. I’ve been with KelbyOne for a while now and I don’t think I’ve watched anything on there for months. They don’t have new shows coming on all the time and then I get bombarded with information about events they are doing that are all in the US that I can’t attend because I live in another country. Or they give you these fantastic offers, which you think are great, then find out they are available to US residents only. They are so happy to take money from their Non US customers, but don’t give them rewards either.
I’m not saying these online places aren’t good. I have learned a lot from them, and truth be told, I’ve probably learned a lot more from CreativeLive than anyone else, and it is the one I use the most. I don’t like talking about them here because they can be rude and often don’t respond to emails. I dislike giving people space on my blog if I think they are rude or arrogant. However, I have spent a lot of time looking at their online tutorials. I do like that you can view it for free first while it is being broadcast, then if you wish, you can purchase the course and then watch it any time you like. I have quite a library and have spent quite a bit of money there. There are courses I have purchased and wished I never did, so I am becoming a lot more picky about which ones I do get. I make sure I watch a lot of it first. It isn’t always possible to watch it all, but if I like what I see, and like the presenter, then I will purchase.
One of the biggest problems I find with these courses though is that professional photographers often are the teachers, and they are photographers not teachers, so they teach you what they know and how they do things. Which can mean if they use expensive equipment to do what they do, that is what they show you. Great that is how the professional does it, but what about the rest of us. I remember watching something on architectural photography on KelbyOne and the photographer used all these really expensive lights to set up the shot, well I don’t have the money to do that, so how does someone like me do architectural photography when I’m working on a very tight budget?
The other thing I find is that they can sometimes have presenters who draw large crowds but then when you see them doing post processing it is clear they don’t work in an efficient way. For example, Creative Live have a woman who is always on there doing different classes and she always does stuff with Photoshop, and I now know that she shows people how to do things in destructive ways. Other presenters there are always saying work in non destructive ways, so I don’t understand why they let her do classes on Photoshop when what she does is against what everyone else is saying. I guess it goes back to sorting through the crap for the gold.
Finding Free ones
Of course there are lots of other places to find information. YouTube is a fantastic source of information and if you put in a search for how to do something you will find hundreds of tutorials. Unfortunately they aren’t all good and sometimes you have to go through several before you find the ones that are good for you. There are good free tutorials there, there are also some really bad ones. I am hoping to start putting links to good ones in my newsletter when I find them.
You don’t have to pay for good online classes and tutorials, but they can be harder to find. I am doing a rethink of my online tutorials, and while I don’t think I need them as much, I still learn things and do look for them. I am starting to rethink all I pay for and what I have access to for free.
Do you look at much online in the way of classes and tutorials? Do you find it hard to work you way through the maze to find what you are looking for? Have you found some places that you think are great?
All the images in this post are things I’ve learned to do in the last 12 months, some form online, but a lot from you and those that follow my blog. I have found this blog has helped me learn so much.