Introducing: Things I’ve Learned!

Oh my! Could this be a new segment?! Well, you might very well be correct. Yes, I am introducing a new segment on the blog (look at me upping my game); however, this segment won’t be nearly as frequent as Monochrome Monday. For the next month or so it might, given the increased amount of free time I have in the evenings during the summer, but after the start of August, the posts related to this topic will become few and far between. Trust me. I know myself well enough to know that I will be far too busy for this segment come mid-August. But until then, I gladly introduce to you a brand new segment called:

Things I’ve Learned!

Now you may be wondering what this could be about. I’m glad you asked. The answer is quite simple. It’s about the things I’ve learned. (Ha! Bet you didn’t think of that one.) But seriously, the posts related to this category will document the techniques and such I have learned using the great photo editing software Adobe Photoshop. I am extremely pumped about this for several reasons:

  1. I am a self-taught Photoshop user. What exactly does that mean? Well, I started learning to use Photoshop my senior year of high school in my photography class. But because that class was a total joke and I hardly learned anything from my instructor (not that he was a bad instructor; he just had to deal with the 12 other students who didn’t care and were only in the class for an easy A that none of them got), I ended up teaching myself how to do things. And because of the technologically savvy world we live in, I spent time searching online for tutorials and how-to guides for Photoshop. It’s a complicated program, but it can do so much.
  2. I had to learn how to use Photoshop. It was almost a requirement for my job in the photography/graphics lab on-campus freshmen year. I was hired simply because I had taken a photography class. And rather than having me stick to my initial job description, I became more of a TA being forced to help students with their photography assignments. So I had to know the equipment and chemicals (though they rarely ever used the darkroom which was a total shame because I was the only one who knew how to use it. I love working in darkrooms developing/processing film) and because of the focus on digital photography, I had to know how to use Photoshop.
  3. I have the power to flex creative genius. Don’t get me wrong. I hate when Photoshop is used to “fix” flaws. So your model has a blemish on her face. Ok. Why does it need to be airbrushed over? That guy did not have a 6-pack, so why does he have one in this final edit? I am very much a natural photographer and I NEVER use Photoshop to remove blemishes or make someone thinner or anything like that. (Except I did take pics of one of my friends who had recently had eye surgery. She was at the point where she could start wearing makeup again, but you could still see her stitches, so I did use Photoshop to lessen the number of stitches you could see, but that is the ONLY time I have ever done that.) But despite my angst towards flaw fixing, that doesn’t mean I can’t use crazy cool techniques to enhance a photo. I mean, come on, I can make photos look like they were taken with a fisheye lens without using the lens itself. (No, it’s not as cool, but it’s still rather awesome.)

I’m saying all of that to say that teaching myself how to use such a well-respected (95% of the time), complicated program is amazing. And this summer, I am continuing in my desires to enhance my skills. Maybe it sounds like I’m pushing towards professionalism, and in a way, I am. Of course, I still haven’t started charging people yet, but I’m getting there. So playing around in Photoshop every other night spending hours (more like 30 minutes) staring at a tutorial is my way of improving my skills. Not every piece you’ll see will be flawless. In fact, the examples I show you will be pretty crappy because I would have only tried it once or twice. I mean, I can isolate color like no other, but it’s not as easy to create energy beams or make a person look like their body is disintegrating.

So here’s to learning and gaining experience. I think you’re going to like some of the fun techniques and effects I have learned and will learn. I know I’m excited. I feel accomplished every time I figure something out. So sit back and enjoy the show. These are the things I’ve learned.

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