Friday, February 25th, 2011...12:16 am
Get Thee To The NAPP Forums!
This week, I taught my first class on networking. In the class I talked about one thing that I think all freelancers and business owners should never be without – a community of like minds. By surrounding yourself with people who understand what you are trying to accomplish, be it technical, legal, strategical, emotional, or personal, you gain strength in yourself and your craft. These people will become your network, your support for times that you are sick, your ‘go to’ place for when you are in need of information, for when you are at the end of your rope and don’t know where to go next, and for when you are at the top of your game and just want someone to celebrate with. Also, if you get active within your community and give back as much as you get, it will come back to you in ways you could never predict or imagine.
How do I know this? I speak from experience. My community is the National Association of Photoshop Professionals or NAPP community, but more specifically, the NAPP Forum community and it’s one that I think more people aught to know about. In order for me to introduce you to my community properly though, you are about to see something that has never been done before. I’m going to give you a sneak peek at what really goes on in the NAPP Forums without you having to sign up for membership.
*Please note that I did get special permission from NAPP staff for this post! NAPP is aware of the images I am using and they are behind me 100%.
The NAPP Forums are divided up into three major sections – Photoshop Discussions, General Graphics and Media, and Departments and Services. Each major section is then divided into multiple more specific sub-sections. Within each sub-section are threads posted by the members that relate to the assigned topics of the sub-sections. With the overwhelming amount of NAPP members there are, you can imagine just how much valuable information gets exchanged on a daily basis in this one place. For any person in the design or photography field, it’s a goldmine and I can honestly say, I wouldn’t be where I am now had it never entered my life.
Welcome to my community.
Let’s begin with Photoshop Discussions. Below is a screenshot taken directly from the forums of the entire Photoshop Discussions section. Under each sub-section title you will find a short description that I hope you will take the time to read.
The sub-sections that you will find me in the most are General Photoshop, Web Design with Photoshop, the Tutorials, Tips & Tricks Room, and the Photoshop Battleground. My very favorite is the Photoshop Battleground. Once a week there is a new weekly battle posted by one of our moderators – better known as the Mod Squad. The weekly battle starts with a random free stock image and then it’s up to you to put your Photoshop skills to the test and come up with something fun using the image. There are also special themed battles and vs battles. When I have the time, I love a one-on-one vs battle! There is just no better way to learn a new trick than by picking apart an opponent’s PSD file. I learned a lot about lighting in my first one-on-one and to this day, I’m still putting those tricks to use. It also lead me to giving my very first tutorial on how to create a newspaper which you can still find in the Tutorial Room if you look hard enough.
Next is the General Graphics and Media section.
It’s no surprise that the most popular part of GGM is the Digital Photography sub-section. Any question you have about photography either has been asked, is currently being asked, or is about to be asked in this room. Guess what – the answers are there too! In Digital Photography there is also a weekly Show&Tell thread where you can show off your latest work and get honest and helpful feedback. I have met many a photographer who’s work has improved just because of this thread alone. If you’re lucky, you might even see one of the Photoshop Guys pop in as they too like to visit the forums.
Now the word “feedback” may leave you questioning just what kind of feedback you’d be getting as some forums can be, how shall I say it.. not so kind? But this is another reason why I love the NAPP Forums so much. The people there are some of the nicest, most generous, and truly caring people I have ever met. Many of them have become my great and dear friends and even <gasp> co-workers! It’s a safe place and we all work hard together to keep it that way.
Lastly, we have the Departments and Services section.
It’s been my experience that most forums that have a Customer Service section.. well, it tends to get a little ignored and dusty. But not here. Our resident Customer Service responders, Linda and Larry, are well known and highly appreciated and respected throughout the forums. Any question or concern that you have, they will answer because they visit the forums daily just to make sure everything is ship-shape regarding all areas of NAPP, PSW and Kelby Training membership.
Ok, so there you have it! A never before seen-in-public sneak-peek look at the NAPP Forums – or as I like to call it, my second family. There is, however, a lot more that I didn’t show you, because that stuff is strictly Members Only! But no worries! Our door is always open and new members are always welcome!
If you’d like to become a member of this great place and come hang out with me, now is a great time! The Photoshop World conference is about to kick off at the end of March and all NAPP members get a discount on their tickets. Tie that into the Early Bird special and we’re talking one heck of a discount! Want a discount on your membership? No problem!! Just tell them I sent you by typing in the promo code FIRGS when you go to sign up and you’ll get $10 off as well as a free training DVD.
Once you’re there – come find me under the screen name datchicfirgs!
I’ll introduce you to all of my kindred cousins.