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10 Tips To Get You Up To Speed

1. Spend the first day like a kid in a candy shop. Try everything and keep shouting to friends and family "come see this, it's incredible!" This will insure that no one will be around to bother you when you finally get down to work (they'll all be hiding).

2. Allocate sufficient memory (RAM) to the program so it runs as fast as possible. If you don't have at least 5 times the picture's file size in available (unused) hard drive space, make sure your Syquest or Zip drive is on line as a "scratch disk" to provide adequate disk space for undos, redos, and printing set-ups.

3. Shoot some low resolution images (640 x 480) to work on when you're learning. Their file sizes will be under 1MB and changes you make will occur faster. It takes only seven seconds to rotate a 1MB image but over minute if it's 4MB.

4. The image may appear on screen too large or too small depending on its resolution. Use the magnifying tool to make it fit and to enlarge it for fine detail work. To make it smaller hold down the Option or Alt key when you click on it.

5. Start with easy effects first: sharpening, softening, dodging, burning-in, and adjusting color, brightness, and contrast. Expect your results to be a bit crude; after all it took awhile to learn to use a camera... why should this be different?

6. Learn one effect at a time and learn it thoroughly. Make a note of your settings. Many tools have "settings" boxes (size, opacity, etc.) that can be displayed on the screen. After you finish with an effect, you may want to take a screenshot showing the image and the tool setting(s) for future reference.

7. Make changes in small steps rather than big ones so you can get an idea of how sensitive a particular tool is. For example, lighten things a little at a time...if you go too far, just go back through previous images until you find the best one and move forward from there.

8. Know when to stop. Avoid the temptation to get everything perfect just because it's possible- you'll never finish that way.

9. Allow yourself a little experimentation time after each session. Play around with some of the tools that are not familiar to you and have fun with some of the special effects. Keep an eye on the clock, though- time really flies when you're at this.

10. Don't get frustrated. Sometimes photographers expect miraculous results just because they're used to working with pictures. If you've done a lot of photography, look at digital imaging the same way as spotting prints, working with the Zone System, your first time with a view camera or learning to print well, and it will all come into perspective.


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