Although I’ve had a great digital SLR camera for years, I’ve also had a block. I’ve just never quite come to grips with matters of aperture, exposure, ISO and shutter speed. Most of my photos have been shot with the camera on Auto.
A few years ago I attended a couple of classes at a Community Education Centre, hoping to learn how to work my camera properly, but those courses didn’t quite cover what I wanted to learn.
There’s another 8-hour course soon for NZ$68. That’s a great price. To attend though I’d have to rearrange my daily timetable, shuffle dog-walking arrangements, drive or bike to and fro. It takes quite a chunk out of the day.
On the plus side I’d get to meet people with the same interests and ask the tutor questions about my specific camera.
We all have different learning styles: some people love a hands-on exploratory approach, some like to read a book, others want to be told and shown before they try something themselves. I find my style varies according to what I’m learning, how much time I have, and other factors.
Recently I discovered the Digital Photography Principles training course at Lynda.com.
In that 3.3 hour course (spread over 58 videos) Derrick Story, author, photographer and trainer, carefully and clearly explains all the various controls and features on my camera.
I didn’t watch all the videos in the course — I already have a camera I’m thrilled with and don’t need advice on buying, for example. I picked and chose what to watch and the breakthrough I’ve been looking for has taken place. I’m handling my camera with renewed confidence.
Having watched those videos. I’ve now gone on to Photoshop training, and other videos related to digital photography, as well as branching out into some web topics to fill in gaps in my knowledge. In the last month or so I’ve watched around 140 videos drawn from some half dozen courses.
Lynda.com is a very well established training library. They use professional recording techniques and highly qualified trainers to create their video courses.
Their repertoire of almost 40,000 videos is arranged in 581 courses created by more than 200 instructors. They offer a lot of web topics, but also courses on how to use your Mac or Windows computer, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, QuickBooks and Quicken, iTunes, Outlook, and many more. Even Twitter, a course added in April 2009.
They make several videos from each course available free. The Twitter course, for example, offers 8 of the around 60 videos free of charge. That’s enough to see if you’re interested in the topic and enjoy the trainer’s style.
If you do decide to pay to see more there are numerous choices. Some videos are available as DVDs for purchase. For the Online Library there are annual subscriptions, and subs for organisations, but the monthly subscription at US$25 gives you full access to all the courses, and you don’t have to continue for subsequent months.
You do need broadband though. While individual videos are of high quality with small file size (on the Twitter course the largest file is 58Mb, the smallest 0.3Mb), if you watch them all you can swallow up a chunk of bandwidth. The Twitter course takes up around 550Mb in total.
If you’re looking for training, see what Lynda.com can offer.
Disclaimer: I recently received a gift subscription to Lynda.com.
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, May 2009. This article may have been modified for publication here.