be good at it

This is an article in progress about ‘how to be good at it’.

‘What do you mean?’ says your brain.

Well, today’s topic is photoshop. (PS)

If you’re going to use a PS feature, be good at it.

Hmmm. ‘Is that a swipe? How do I know?’ Brain asks. ’What is good?"

Good question.

Chances are, if you are new to it, you will use every filter available. Create every extreme possible. Solarize! Invert! Layers! Oh mi god-finally I can stretch out my body and be taller than everyone! Shazam!

Not that anyone will notice. Ahem. Except the friends who know you. And people who’ve used photoshop for awhile.

Now. That is not a swipe. That is just an awareness (though I’ve heard many express this opinion as a swipe): when peoplea re new to PS, they tend to over do it a bit.

Now, having said that, I reckon (and I will say this a lot) that the only way to be good at it is to play. PLAY! have fun.

Does it matter other people are more experienced? So your mum and dad learnt to walk before you-they didn’t mind teaching you. They loved it. They just got to practice earlier in history. Once you were up and running, you could do it better. For awhile. Then you learnt to pace yourself. And now you’re sitting in front of a computer. Probably just like them. It’s evolution.

So anyways.

Like the kid with a new toy, you love it more than anyone. Because it’s new to you. And they have played with it before. So they let you be. Every now and then, they get excited for you too, and say Yes! walk… (hang on, have I made this point?) Anyhow. You learn a lot from the balance of being left to have a go yourself, and been shown how. People walked around you, it was expected you’d learn to walk yourself eventually.

Did the people around you say, step, step step. At the beginning, yes. At the beginning, hands were held, arms reached out. (then no one tells you how to walk-you just do it)

Alright already with the metaphors! So what are the steps?

Well. that above objective was clear. Stand, walk. Know which direction you wanted to take. Head towards it. Same with photoshop.

To go from toddler, to proud walker, I advise the following-

Ask yourself: what is the point?

Do I want to make my 5yold look like a solarized tripper? What am I trying to say about this 5yo? Does he take drugs already? Do you see a future in it for them?

Does he make me see the world differently? (of course! I get it now! It was my interpretation that let me down!)

Do you want the image to be about colour and pattern etc.

Question 2: am I doing this to make the photo look better-because it’s not very interesting now.

Aha! if you answered yes-therein lies the problem.

If you think the photo is a bit ordinary…chances are, a bit of wild funky will jazz it up! Hmm. Ok. Sure it will.

Also, if you have to explain why (and I mean, there is a difference between subtle and self explanatory and just…) the message may not be clear.

This is a big lesson to be learnt about making an image interesting. I learnt it from a photographer friend-

there doesn’t need to be weird angles (and wild PS) to make an image interesting. It can be part of it. Remember not to RELY on it.

An interesting photo tells a story, reveals something, shows emotion, colour, light, texture, life, joy, sadness, personal, external…unlimited things. It does.

It’s true, what one person loves, another may be apathetic. As this experience if for you, expresses you, etc etc, remember, this ‘l-earn’ing is for you…so keep this is mind and as long as you’re satisfied, I will share this for your benefit.

cheers
Sam

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