We all can learn more about photography & our equipment, no matter how much experience we have. Although there are many websites that provide free tutorials for many aspects of digital photography (I have links to some at JV’s Useful Photo Tutorial Internet Links), a stand alone package will let you learn even when the internet isn’t available. There are a number of packages available; one of my favorites is 123di by Vincent Bockaert. At $49.95 for the basic version, it is designed for the beginner, the intermediate & the advanced photographer, is available for either Macintosh or PCs, can be downloaded or purchased as a “Boxed CD” version. For an extra $10.00 a more flexible version that includes searching capabilities, bookmarking, etc. is available, and, if you use Nikon Capture software, a version is available that provides additional coverage. Demo versions for Windows or Macintosh are available here.
The software package is very comprehensive – over 4000 pages of information starting with the basics of how your camera works, and ending with printing your images. The table of contents is available at the web site – take a look to see what it covers.
One of the reasons I like this package is where I suspect its name comes from – it offers three selectable levels (1 – Starter, 2 – Essential, and 3 – Advanced) for most of the interactive learning sections. It also gives specific instructions for almost every menu item available on the most popular commercial editing software – The various versions of Photoshop Elements, Photoshop & Lightroom, and, if you purchase the Nikon version, Nikon Capture 4.4 & NX. Although it takes a bit of getting used to when working your way through the application page by page, following the levels through each section works well.
A DVD video based tutorial I like is Ron Reznick’s SureShot System. The collection consists of 5 DVDs – 8 1/2 hours of tutorials. Although it can get a bit technical at times, Ron talks the viewer through the process he & other photographers use when taking photographs, post processing, and printing. Lots of useful information on dealing with color temperature & exposure as well as composition techniques. The system is designed for both beginners & advanced users; for those working with point & shoot as well as DSLRs. The format of the DVDs is a mix of on location discussion as well as Ron at a work station describing the process he & others used to make an image. You can purchase individual sections of the system for around $20.00 per disk, or the entire series for $60.00. I think disks 1 & 2 are the most useful, but the entire series is well worth the $60.00. You can see some of Ron’s work at his web site.