Pretty much every post I have written has been some sort of stream of thought that has been on my mind prior to the drafting of said posts. This time I want to put out a shout out to all of the various professional photographers out there who have put so much time and effort into making a multitude of resources available to amateurs such as myself who are looking to improve. As I was presenting some work to my wife for her critique she commented on how she has seen my skills increase over the last year or so. This I assert is due to the amount of information and instruction I have digested during this time.
Two of my favorite places to mine for nuggets have been Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski’s program called the Grid, the second is a magazine from the UK called Digital Camera World. Both of these sources have a very down to earth approach and a wholly inclusive mindset in how they present the material they have gathered. For example I have been test driving the new Adobe® Lightroom 4® because of all the raves that I have heard while watching the Grid where they not only rave they also demonstrate this programs wonderfully editing and curating abilities. They are not snobs. Their advice has led to new abilities within the post processing realm that have helped my photography immeasurably, not just because it was good advice but because there was no elitism involved in the sharing of this knowledge. Their show is on every Wednesday and for live viewers there are a ton of really cool give aways every episode. My favorite episodes are the blind critiques where people send in examples of their photography for the hosts to professionally critique. These episodes are absolutely the best thing for helping me assess my own shots (maybe I’ll even be brave enough to submit some some day.)
Digital Camera World magazine is an absolute gold mine of tips and tricks for the amateur photographer who is looking to grow their skill set beyond just taking happy snapshots. All of it is presented in a very accessible manner, with features like “10 things to try right now” where they give a great selection of projects and a brief description of how to achieve the shot you are looking for, and a monthly feature where their Technique Editor, Chris Rutter actually goes to visit someone who has written in with something they want to learn and he takes them through the steps in person as we read along. They also include a DVD of lessons on photography, editing, and gear reviews for the price of the magazine which is an astonishingly low $7.95CAD. What a bargain.
I, as an amateur photographer, am indebted to these people. The least I can do is perhaps help some other aspiring photogs towards bettering themselves by sending them along to my mentors.
PS The photo above was retouched in Lightroom 4® and Photoshop Elements 8® with much greater skill and dexterity than I previously thought possible. Hope you enjoy.