Thursday, July 14, 2016

Master your tools

Never quit learning - master your tools

In France, there is evidence that even thousands of years ago people made visual records of their current events. It is likely that rock or pieces of charred wood were used to make these drawings. Throughout the world are other evidences that people have been drawing and writing for a long time. As technology advanced tools were refined and improved.

However, even when drawing on a cave wall with a charred stick, there's a right way and a wrong way to hold the stick. If you hold the charred end, only your hands will be left with evidence of your efforts. These early artists had to master their simple tools.

Mastery of tools is what separates amateurs from professionals. I love photography and have a digital single lens reflex camera (SLR) that enables me to customize the aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and many other parameters. Once I've taken several pictures, I can take the SD memory card out of the camera and transfer the photos to my computer where I can edit them using Adobe Photoshop or some other program. Like my SLR camera, Photoshop is replete with so many parameters and features that it take can many hours of study, reading, and experimentation to learn all of the different effects, tools, and ways to manipulate your images.

Most of the time, I just use my smart phone camera to take pictures. The native camera app allows me to edit the pictures as soon as I take them wherever I am. If I need a deeper level of editing, I can turn to any of the many photography apps I have installed. Most of these apps allow me to share photos directly to the Internet on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and other similar sites.

Even though I enjoy photography, I am not a professional photographer. The time and energy needed to master the SLR camera and sophisticated editing software does not interest me. I want to take and edit photos quickly. However, I have learned how to use the features of my phones camera and editing apps.

Benefits of mastering tools

Mastering your tools provides two benefits. 
  1. By taking advantage of shortcuts and built-in features, you can maximize your productivity. You can take repetitive actions faster and more efficiently. 
  2. Mastery of the tools you use will build your competency so that you not only have more skills, but can also share information with others.

Regardless of the technology you use, you can find tips by searching on the Internet. Additionally, most of the user manuals or online help sites will provide information on features and shortcuts.

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