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Tim has been interested in photography for many years. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Environmental Science. Writing nature articles allows him to combine his interest in photography and nature into one medium.

Three Online Learning Resources for Photographers (Part 3): The National Association of Photoshop Professionals

Seeking Additional Online Training

In my first two articles in this series, I discussed two online resources I’ve used to improve my photography: BetterPhotos.com and Meetup.com. Both have helped me develop my skills. However, I was still looking for one more piece of the puzzle – improvement in post processing and organizing of photos.

The software that I’m currently using for post-processing is Lightroom 3.3. I started with Canon’s software, Digital Photo Professional for processing and ZoomBrowser EX for organization, but after looking into Lightroom, I was convinced that it was the better software (check out my article on ZoomBrowser – I’ll be writing a series of articles on Lightroom soon). The biggest obstacle I faced using Lightroom (other than the cost of the program), was the learning curve, which seemed pretty steep. It was time to find more training.

Finding the National Association of Photoshop Professionals

BetterPhoto does have a class in Lightroom (last time I checked, it was a four week class). That wasn’t exactly what I was looking for; I was hoping that I could find a step by step tutorial on how to use Lightroom. So I continued the search and found the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (or NAPP for short) and their associated website, Kelby Training (Kelby). I watched a few free videos, liked what I saw, and signed up.

Why I chose NAPP

The biggest selling point for me with NAPP and Kelby was their video tutorial delivery methods. All the courses I’ve taken through NAPP and Kelby had very knowledgeable instructors covering topics in detail and the courses were well structured, broken into several sections; this makes it very easy to go back to review a particular topic I may be having trouble understanding. And though I joined NAPP and Kelbyfor their Lightroom training, the bonus for me was their many other photography related video courses, such as wildlife photography, Photoshop Elements (which I currently use), Photoshop (which I don’t use now, but probably will in the future), legal issues, action photography, and lighting techniques, just to name a few.

My Experiences with NAPP

Since joining NAPP and Kelby, I’ve gone through several of their courses and they were excellent. I do have favorite instructors and will probably do reviews of each of the courses I’ve taken in the near future. Check back to the article section of my site for those reviews.

Other Benefits of Joining NAPP

Being a member of NAPP has several other perks. For example, they have an excellent discount program with several major vendors, including B&H and Adobe. If you’re a rookie (or an old pro) photographer and will be buying new equipment soon, check NAPPto see how the discounts might benefit you. Another great benefit is a magazine called “Photoshop User”. They have just recently added two additional issues a year and now publish ten issues per year. The magazine is very well written and has tons of useful content. As I’m writing this, I have the January/February 2011 issue open beside me and there are a total of 126 pages with a wide variety of articles, including four that are specific to Lightroom. Check out the NAPP website for all the benefits of membership.

Conclusion

So do I think that NAPP and Kelbywere good buys? Absolutely – if nothing else, the Lightroom training has been a lifesaver. I went from being totally confused with the Lightroom 30 day demo to being able to do everything I’d hoped to do, plus somethings I didn’t even know existed. I now own the full licensed copy of Lightroom and couldn’t be happier with both the program and the training from NAPP and Kelby Training.

Pros

Very cost effective
Very thorough
Many other perks and benefits
Websites are very well done and updated on a regular basis
Several associated websites and blogs
Training available 24 hours a day
No deadlines for assignments
Magazine subscription with membership

Cons

As opposed to Betterphoto, you don’t get the one-on-one student teacher training
No other classmates in the classes
No assignments or critiques, so you have to be self-motivated

Where everyone learns Photoshop - National Association of Photoshop Professionals

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