Whether you acquired your photographic skills working with film cameras, or entirely from shooting digital pictures, they can be transferred to Photoshop in a variety of ways, as befits the multifaceted nature of photography itself. Photography has always been part art, part craft, and part technology. Some of the earliest photographers were originally trained as artists, and used their cameras to produce landscapes, portraits, and other works from a classical artistic perspective.
Modest skills as an artisan were also helpful, for many of the earliest cameras were hand built by the photographers themselves. Even as mass produced cameras became available, photographers continued to craft their own custom-built devices and accessories. Today, you'll still find that some of the coolest gadgets for photography are home-brewed contraptions. (You'll find a few of them as special projects in my book Mastering Digital Photography, from Course Technology.)
Early photographers also had to be something of a scientist, as the first photographers experimented with various processes for coating and sensitizing plates and film, exposing images by the illumination from electrical sparks. The first-ever photograph, made by Nic ephore Niepce in the early 19th century was created on a piece of pewter coated with what was, for all intents and purposes, asphalt. As late as the mid 20th century, serious photographers were still dabbling in photographic chemistry as a way to increase the sensitivity and improve the image quality of their films through refined darkroom technology. Now that many chemical tricks can be reproduced digitally, photo alchemy has become the exception rather than the rule.
In the 21st century, acquiring the skills a photographer needs is not as difficult as in the 19th century, although a basic familiarity with computer technology has become something of a prerequisite for using microprocessor-driven digital and conventional film cameras. Digital photography has made picture taking easier in many ways, but opened new realms of expertise for photographers who choose to pursue them. But, while photography has become more automated, don't underestimate the wealth of knowledge and skills you've picked up. A great deal of that expertise is easily transferable to Photoshop. The things you already know that will stand you in good stead when you advance to computer-enhanced photo manipulation in Photoshop fall into ten broad categories. I'll run through them quickly in the next sections.
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