Life Lessons from Photoshop

Rare is the software application that transcends its basic utility to become not only a ubiquitous element of pop culture and daily life for many, but also a verb. Photoshop is one such unicorn. 

As such, many successful approaches to life can also be applied to gaining proficiency in Photoshop—and vice versa. Here’s a look at ten life lessons to be gleaned from and applied to mastering one of the world’s favorite software applications.

Flexibility is Key

While there’s no easy Cmd/Ctrl+Z equivalent in life, the value of flexibility is easily understood. Just as having options in life makes it more manageable , maintaining flexibility in Photoshop is also crucial. Smart objects, masks, adjustment layers—these are game-changing ways of working that provide the ultimate in flexibility. Use them to your advantage.

Experimentation Leads to Breakthroughs

Throughout human history, there are many storied examples of how experimentation, happy accidents, and unexpected discoveries have led to enormous scientific breakthroughs (penicillin, anyone?). The same sense of curiosity and wonder can be applied to Photoshop to unlock new potential. What effect does the Difference blend mode have? How many different ways might you make use of the Render > Difference Clouds command? How exactly might the Pencil tool be useful? What happens if you invert your image or apply your edits in a different order? One of the best ways to figure out what a command or setting in Photoshop does is to push the limits and see for yourself. Drag sliders to their extremes and see what happens. Unlike life, you can’t ruin Photoshop with poor choices. There’s always a way back.

The Learning Never Ends

No one knows absolutely everything there is to know about Photoshop. Everyone has their respective silos of mastery. Some know everything about working in 3D, others can teach you everything there is to know about non-destructive editing. But there is always more to learn. Even after 20 years of Photoshopping, I’m constantly surprised by random little quirks or hidden surprises I somehow never stumbled across before. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to ask questions of some of the original masterminds that have been part of Photoshop’s creation since the beginning—and even they didn’t have all the answers. Let this be both a comfort and a call to action. In life, as in Photoshop, the day we stop learning is the beginning of the end.

(more…)

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here to lay down a little inspiration all about proper preparation.

I’m now getting ready for my departure in the van, which will see me on the road for at least three months. The things I’m doing this week are critical to ensure my van is ready for an action-packed mission to take in as many Nordic countries as I can this winter, as well as spending time well beyond the Arctic circle. I’m servicing the van and installing new components that will make life easier (and warmer) for me. That got me thinking.

There have been many times throughout my photographic career that I’ve made mistakes simply by not being prepared. There are mistakes we can work our way out of, and mistakes we can’t. Misplaced memory cards, uncharged batteries, snapped slings, or forgotten lenses – there are so many levels of unpreparedness to consider.

When we work on a paid project rather than a personal project it can make a huge difference to our credibility and our future success. Being prepared for all our life throws at us, both personally and professionally, makes all the difference. If we prepare ourselves we stand a much greater chance of success.

This week as well as bringing the van up to speed, I’ll be checking, cleaning and charging all my gear just as I would have when I shot weddings and had a job on. If a shot presents itself or a writing opportunity comes in, I’ll be ready. I hope you will be, too.

When starting out as a pro photographer and turning a hobby into a business, this is crucial. There are tons of resources out there to help, including an array of KelbyOne classes, to help us get on track and stay on track.

Have a think about how prepared you are and see if there’s anything you can do to up yourself game.

Much love

Dave

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Today I’m kicking off my pre-conference workshop for the Portrait Photography Conference, and if you want to join us (the official conference kicks off tomorrow and runs through Wednesday – two tracks, all online, with a killer roster of instructors), it’s not too late – tickets and more info here. I’ll see a whole b bunch of you later today at the pre-con.

OK, I know it’s Monday and technically this is a “Photo Tip Friday” but do you really want to start November splitting hairs like that? ;-)

This one’s a quick tip using the awesome new masking features in Lightroom – it’s just 60-seconds or so, but it’s a really handy little tip. Check it out:

Told ya – I’m already using this one a lot in my own work.

OK, I’m off to teach my pre-conference workshop. Looking forward to seeing you all online today – it’s going to be epic! :)

-Scott

Hard to believe it’s already here, but we kick off the conference next week. If you sign up right now, not only will you save $150, but you can attend the orientation class the day before and my pre-conference workshop on “What makes a great portrait.” 

Here’s the link for tickets, and I put the official conference trailer below (it’s short, and I hope you check it out). Looking forward to seeing everybody next week (Don’t miss out – this is going to be a phenomenal conference).

In the meantime, here are five awesome courses you can watch now to get you super revved up and ready for next week (including

Here’s a link to Mary Bel’s class.

Here’s the link to Lenworth’s course.

Here’s the link to Jack and Ed’s course.

Here’s the link to Kristina’s course.

Here’s the link to Gilmar’s course.

So many great courses there. You can buy each class individually, or if you join the KelbyOne Pro Plan (even for a month), you can watch them all this weekend. So much to learn from such talented educators – you will dig it!

Have a great, learning-filled weekend, everybody!

-Scott

“That Guy” Isn’t Happy With Latest Version of LR with Scott Kelby & Erik Kuna | The Grid Ep. 490

There’s an updated version of Lightroom (and pretty much every other Adobe software) out this week, and you know what that means… Loads of new features, new cutting edge technology, and complaints from “that guy!” On the latest episode of The Grid, Scott and Erik show some of the new stuff in Lightroom, share about the upcoming Portrait Photography Conference, and take on “that guy.”

New KelbyOne Course: Unpacking the New Masking Features in Lightroom 2021 with Scott Kelby

Join Scott Kelby for a deep dive into the brand new Masking feature added to Lightroom Classic, Camera Raw, and the cloud-based Lightroom! Masking has taken a giant leap forward into a cool new world of precision control over editing your photos. Don’t worry though, you haven’t lost any of the old tools! They’ve just been taken to the next level and given features and functions that you’re going to love. Scott starts off the class with five important things you need to know first before taking a closer look at each aspect of what’s included in Masking. Scott wraps up the class with a quick look at some updates to the Metadata panel of Lightroom Classic. By the end of the class you’ll be prepared to get the most out of these tools while making your photos look fantastic.

Pandemic Productivity & Creativity: You Don’t Drown by Falling in Water; You Only Drown if You Stay There

“You don’t drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there.”

That Zig Ziglar quote sounds kinda funny, but it sure is true – especially during this worldwide pandemic where many of us have “fallen in the water.”

Breaking my ankle and having major surgery in July of 2021 compounded (greatly) my personal experience of “sailing in rough seas” during the “tidal wave” of pandemic.

At times, like many of you, I felt as though the “water was rising” – especially with how the business side of photography was being affected. However, being the positive person that I am, I found a “life preserver” that pulled me to safety: a life preserver of productivity and creativity. 

I share my story with you (thank you Brad and Scott for the share) with the hope of giving you some encouragement if you feel as though you are falling beneath the waves – and to illustrate how being productive and creative is important, some may say essential, for the health of the mind and body . . . and your business.

Scott Kelby and Eric Kuna are members of the group, along with KelbyOne instructors Karen Hutton, Richard Bernabe, Steven Gotz, Mark Heaps and Rob Sylvan.

To begin . . . In the early stages of the pandemic I started the Photo Therapy Facebook Group – a safe place with no politics, and a place where members could share their photographs and get honest feedback. Today we have more than 5,000 members worldwide who find posting their photographs and sharing their stories very therapeutic and rewarding. Yes, I hope you can join the photo fun and photo learning!

As part of the Photo Therapy Facebook group, I set up a Photo Therapy YouTube channel. Here my friend Linda Marshall hosts Monday Meditation, and I share slide shows (that’s me on piano) of some of the members’ photographs . What fun!

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 1.0.

I came up with the idea for the Facebook group after receiving lots of positive feedback on my all-pictures-and-no-words book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom – discovering the power of pictures, which was published two years earlier.

Shortly after starting the Photo Therapy Facebook Group I came up with the idea for another inspirational book, Photo Quest – discovering your photographic and artistic voice. I felt as though the pandemic was the perfect time for photographers to find their voice. Many of my pro photographer friends agreed, and contributed to the book, hence the “All-Star Photo Mentors” in the credit line.

(more…)
Close