Getting Started with Photoshop

There are so many things that you can do with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, that getting started is by far the hardest part. I always recommend that people choose a specific goal or subject area and start there. Say, for example, photo editing, or Project Life, or making posters, or digital scrapbooking. This will help you learn skills and techniques to create real-world projects (versus the whole "let's make text that looks like its on fire!" approach, where you learn techniques but don't get them in the context of anything real). 

hen you've decided WHAT you want to make (or be able to do), it's time to find the resources that help you learn how to do that thing. In other words, you need to find a teacher. Of course, you can learn things from LOTS of different teachers: YouTube is a teacher, as are the many written tutorials you'll find all over the place online. You might buy a book or get a magazine. You might attend a live class as a workshop or even a college-level class. Or you might choose me. Here's why I think you should.

y Classes: What I Teach

The tagline for my site is: Grow Your Skills. I love the imagery of a tree growing both roots and branches, and I think it translates beautifully into the skills we learn in Photoshop.  I like making things that are beautiful to put in my home and give as gifts. I like taking photos of my life and making them better, and then using them in scrapbook pages and decor for my house. This is what I like, how I personally use Photoshop day-to-day, and what I teach.  offer classes in a variety of subjects, but specifically focus on:

Each class is broken into multiple lessons with accompanying videos, downloads, links, inspiration and self-check exercises. You'll know what to expect with each project, have lifetime access to all the materials, and be able to follow along with the high-quality screencast videos as you complete each project. At the end of each lesson in ANY of the classes, you'll have a completed project or specific goal that you've reached. Measurable, real-world success in Photoshop techniques that matter. That's what it means to Grow Your Skills.

y Classes: How I Teach

As a trained instructional designer, I develop and teach online classes rooted in  proven principles of both adult learning and online learning. The result is that you'll learn more in less time, and retain more techniques as you progress - and of course that you'll be able to see measurable progress in your skills! Some of the principles I use as I develop my classes include:

  • Quick success. Adults are far more likely to continue the learning process when they can quickly see the benefit of their effort. In a live class, this means 30 minutes. In an online class, this means within the first lesson.
  • Basics. In adult online learning situations, each student arrives at the class with a different degree of skill and confidence. t's important to take varying skill levels into account during lesson preparation, to make sure that all material (and reference to any previously-learned skill) is explained clearly and completely.
  • Skill Building. New ideas should be clearly identified, explained, and presented in order from basic to more advanced. New material should be tied directly to previously-learned ideas, so students can see measurable growth in their skill, confidence and independence.
  • Application. Pointing to the direct real-world application of a specific technique s critical to the success of the learning. Adding context, history, or stories helps an adult learner identify with the reasons behind a new technique, which increases motivation to learn and apply it.
  • Engagement.  Students should have various ways to interact with the material and with other learners, community members and the instructor to make the  online learning experience more immersive.
  • ssessment. To help adult learners measure their own progress related to key techniques, students should be provided with regular self-check exercises.
  • Empowerment. Each adult online learner as given valuable time and resources to the effort that it takes to enroll in a class and commit to the learning process. I think more than any other group of people, online adult learners need to know that the skills they're learning - although difficult at first - will be worth the effort as their ability and confidence grows.

Creative Confidence - I encourage students to spread their wings and fly - is the result of measurable growth, real-world application, and the encouragement of trusted people) is the entire goal of my teaching. Well, maybe not the ENTIRE goal. I do still love to make cute stuff. ;)