Knowing What You Need to Know

We’re in the process of switching over to using Capture One (software for tethered shooting) at the studio where I work. I’ve used Capture One a couple of times in the past, but have never really dived in deep, so it’s all very new to me. To fix my lack of knowledge I’ve started doing Capture U – an in-depth set of tutorials to learn the many aspects and possibilities of the software. This got me thinking about learning new software – art school taught me next to nothing about editing. If you want higher end assisting work, a job at a studio, or to take your own work to the next level, knowing the ins and outs of the software you use is crucial. So what’s the best resource for your money / time?

You need a subscription to lynda.com. If you’ve never used lynda.com before, it’s the most comprehensive website for video tutorials on pretty much every type of software you can imagine. It works on a subscription model – you pay a monthly fee and get access to all of their tutorials. All of them! Once inside, you pick what software you want to learn and then pick individual lessons. If you’re new to the software, you can start at the top and work your way through all the lessons. If you are looking to figure out something specific then do only the lesson you need.

There are two main pricing options – $25/month (everything except exercise files) and $37.50/month (with exercise files). There are also annual memberships for the two tiers that save you money some money if you want to go that route. Here is what I think the best way to approach it is:

One Monthly Subscription: Figure out what software you are looking to learn and find a month that you will have serious time to dedicate to it.

Get the Premium Version: Doing tutorials without exercise files sucks. You will waste a lot of time finding your own files that fit the tutorial, and it will be frustrating and confusing. Spending an extra $12.50 is totally worth it.

An Hour Every Other Day: Commit to doing the tutorials consistently. This will cement the software in your mind and you will really get a lot of value out of your subscription. If you do this for a month, you will know the software better than someone who’s gone to school for four years.

Important Note: If you go to school for a creative program, make sure to ask your teacher if there is a lynda.com subscription included in your tuition. For example, OCAD student got “free” access to Lynda as recently as last year (they probably still do), so make sure to find out and don’t expect your teacher to tell you.

Have you used lynda.com before? What do you think? Also, if your school offers access to it for free, please let others know in the comments.

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