Rather than spending hours in the digital darkroom editing photos I prefer getting the photos as right as I can in camera, hence giving me more time taking photos than playing around and editing them. That said, I am fully aware that all RAW files need some kind of processing and editing and I am fully aware that I do need to have some idea processing photo files.
The photo software I use is Photoshop Elements 14 (“PSE 14”) and whilst many consider it a simple bit of software to use, I don’t share this idea. My wife bought me PSE 14 a month or so after it was released for sale, and I have been using it ever since. During the time I have owned and used PSE 14 I have picked up a few hints and tips from reading various photography magazines and watching a few Youtube tutorials, however I still have loads to learn. I can use the basic functions of PSE 14 but when it comes to the more advanced stuff, i.e. the stuff I want to do, I really struggle.
For example, I would love to be able to ditch the graduated ND filters and use PSE 14 to achieve the same effect but I just can’t seem to master the technique. I know what I want to achieve and I know the basics of how to achieve it in PSE 14 but the final photo never looks polished. Some areas are too dark, some are too light and it looks really amateurish.
In order to learn how to use PSE 14 correctly and efficiently I thought some visual tutorials, i.e. video footage, would help. I know there are loads of PSE 14 tutorials on Youtube (I have even watched a few of them) finding the good ones, and the useful ones is a real faff. There are some good PSE 14 tutorials on Youtube but tracking them down takes time and it’s a process of separating the wheat from the chaff and the good from the bad. The other issue with Youtube is the inconsistent quality of the video tutorials posted. Some are very high quality, some are mediocre and some are absolutely terrible. Unfortunately, the video tutorials covering the topics I want to watch that I have found have had awful image quality, awful sound quality and are totally unwatchable.
I am more than happy to pay for some decent PSE 14 tutorials as long as they cover the topics I want to cover, and they come with some sample photos to mess around with and edit whilst watching the tutorial on screen, and this is where the problem starts…..
Do an internet search on “PSE 14 tutorials” and you will be presented with hundreds of options, all of which are good image quality, all of which have good sound quality and all of which you stream straight to your computer at your own leisure.
Living out in the sticks of the UK means my broadband connection is rubbish and I can’t stream live footage seamlessly with my current broadband provider and connection. The broadband speed I have is so low that video footage starts, stops, buffers and then repeats the process over and over again. I could upgrade to fibre but the cost of it is astronomical and even then the speeds are very slow. There are other villages a few short miles from where I live where the standard broadband, i.e. the same as what I have, is faster than what I have and more than enough to deal with what I want to do. My mate lives in one of these villages, and he has the same type of broadband connection as me, he uses the same supplier, he pays exactly the same as me but his broadband speed is six time faster than mine. Hardly fair is it? To make things worse I know that if I changed to fibre I would still get slower broadband than my mate, although it would be fast enough to stream, and I would have to pay four times more than him, and what I am currently paying. I currently pay £5 per month for standard broadband and changing to fibre would cost me £20 per month for the first twelve months and then a whopping £32 per month after that!
Considering the above I am sure you will appreciate that signing up to these PSE 14 tutorials and streaming them directly to my computer or tablet simply isn’t going to work. Besides, I want to be able to take my PSE 14 tutorials away with me on vacation to watch.
The only feasibly solution for me is a PSE 14 tutorial on DVD, which is fine but trying to get one is a nightmare. Hunting through the popular consumer buying sites (Amazon, Ebay etc.) I have found PSE 13 tutorials on DVD, PSE 12 tutorials on DVD, PSE 10 tutorials on DVD and PSE 9 tutorials on DVD but I can’t locate a PSE 14 tutorial DVD.
I did manage to find a US site with a PES 14 tutorial on DVD complete with sample photos to work with on the computer whilst I am following the tutorial but I can’t get it. At less than $30USD the dvd and sample photos are cheap enough but the company won’t ship to the UK, so I can’t order it. Hmmmmmm…….
This is not good because this company is the only one I have found offering PSE 14 tutorials on DVD complete with sample photos. The only option I have is to carry on with the free Youtube videos and try to find the tutorials that are not only relevant but also good enough quality to watch, and wait for the broadband in my area to be upgraded and improved to deliver the speeds it should and the speeds I am currently paying for.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.