May 22, 2012

Phlearn News and Updates

Phlearn News

Hey phamily! There’s some great Phlearn news going on around here, with a couple big changes coming soon. Some of them may make some people upset but in the end its all just business and we hope you understand!

Texture Packs

We will now be offering BOKEH and SMOKE Textures for sale! More will be coming in the next couple weeks. These can be used with different blend modes and other ways of applying textures to Stylize your images and add flare. Right now we have hundreds of bokeh and smoke photos available for purchase.

Question of the Day

Do you have any experience changing things around with your business that you didn’t necessarily want to? Did it help or hurt you?

Make sure to become part of the Phlearn Family on Facebook, converse with us on Twitter, and #hashtag your Phlearn Inspirations on Instagram. We want to know what the Phlearn community social chatter is about, and who is sharing it. You all keep us motivated to do our best.

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10 Questions Answered on Building A Business You want to start a business, now what? How do I promote my business? How do you get models? When is a good time to build a team? How to set up contra...
10 Questions About Getting Started in Photography You have a camera, now what? After the honeymoon period from when you first fell in love with photography, it may seem like you have a mountain to cli...

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    Mariah Texidor

    I think you offer so much free material that $5 extra for the PRO tutorials isn’t a huge loss. And I am on a college student budget. So, I don’t know, I feel that you guys need to do what you gotta do to keep making the awesome material  that helps hundreds of us so much!

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    Jenna Petrone

    I think as a growing small business, it only makes sense that your prices would have to raise eventually.  Plus, for all of the content we get out of Phlearn Pros AND the free daily videos you do, I think your customers have it pretty good.

    I respect that you are making decisions to improve Phlearn and to help make it grow and I’ll gladly put up the extra money to support you!

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    I think it’s ok you raise the prices a little bit. Joel Grimes is charging 100 bucks for a 25 min tutorial on how he produces his HDR “edgy” backgrounds (believe me, I did not find that technique edgy at all, the guy   barely knows how to use Photomatix). So I think it’s ok. I haven’t bought any of the pro tutorials yet, but I’ll probably do it. Keep it up, PHlearn is a great site, show, community, world!

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      i sincerely do not understand what is this fuzz all about, anyway this place is shit since Avery left.

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    I want you to continue being here…so do what you need to!!! 

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    Scott Mains

    Transparency is key to informing people why you are going through changes. They will be happy to know why rather than wondering “what the heck” is going on. Good model. A good audience will understand. 

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    Only $5?
    Raise ’em by $10! How much do people pay for an hour-long college course these days?
    $30 is cheap!

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      this is not college. compare that price to Kelby training and you will see. 

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    I think it’s great, I totally understand where you’re coming from. People should understand and see the value in what you do and how much work you put into Phlearn. You have nothing to apologize for, but I think it’s also great that you wanted to explain why you’re making this change.

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    no biggie… totally worth it still.  Need you guys to stay around.

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    Kristina Bewley

    I agree with Mariah, $5 isn’t gonna turn me away! 🙂 Especially since I get so much FREE advice! 🙂

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      Kristina Bewley

      I spend more than that on my coffee at freakin starbucks lmao

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    You said the other day when you posted about business that you decide how much your art is worth. I think it is the same with the knowledge you’re sharing with us. I would gladly pay more for a Phlearn PRO, because they are that good. FIGHTING!

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    Kristen T

    No one wants to pay $5 extra dollars for anything, but if I had to choose I would definitely pick a pro tutorial! Completely understand why you guys are doing this and I think it is a good decision from a business stand point. Raising the price just a little won’t turn me away and I think everyone will understand why this is necessary. 

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    Sean Colquhoun

    Dude, five more dollars is not a lot to ask. Especially for the volume and QUALITY of work you provide. As far as I’m concerned, you could stand to bring it up more.

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    Kristina Bewley

    One thing I had to do was stop including cd’s with my sessions. I thought it was going to kill my business because EVERYONE is town gives out cds, but I only had one client that was upset.  Most people have actually been happy because they actually get prints now instead of throwing a cd in a drawer for 3 years.  But I was really nervous about it and it went well and I never looked back. I think you guys will be fine too!

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    Totally understandable Aaron! You can’t put a price on knowledge. $5 is a small price for becoming a better photographer and photoshopper. I have learned so much from you and will continue to do so. Thank you for your wisdom and tutorials. Continue the great work Aaron!

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    willard chviers

    your tutorials are worth so much more. its fantastic that you put out such a quality product for (still) such an affordable price Phlearn is an invaluable resource and a 5 extra bux will not make me hesitate one bit on my next tutorial purchase. You guys rock! 

    also, holly shit thats a lot of textures for 10 bux!

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    Hi Aaron. I fully understand the updated pricing and I applaud you getting in front of the camera to explain to everyone. It is courageous, yet few business people step up to the plate to say ‘why’ they are raising their prices. It just happens and nobody ever hears a valid reason.
    I live in the 10 – 80 – 10 world…10 % will never get it and leave, 10% love you no matter what price you set…but 80% of your audience is smart, intelligent and has some level of business acumen.
    They are your real audience to cater to…they will go along with this.
    Anyone who has purchased a Pro Tutorial knows its value and will continue to seek out Phlearn for their photography and Photoshop tutorials.
    My hat goes off to you..bravo!

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    Far out, I thought it was going to be really bad news. $5 is not bad news. Your tutorials are worth every cent. 

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    Damn it, Roxanne! (j/k) Congrats on the evolution of your business, Aaron! This is my one excuse to ask for a raise at work, or find a better paying job! :oP

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    Michael P

    I’ve purchased probably 90% of your tutorials and can honestly say that, for the excellent quality of your product, a mere $5.00 USD increase is nothing. I’ve seen high-end retouchers charge $70 for a product that pales in comparison to any one of your pro tutorials.

    At $15.00 and $25.00, these tutorials are still a steal.

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    Agreed, it’s not going to break the bank – I will buy the tutorials I consider most interesting irrespective of the price to some extent.   That said, have you guys considered the model where you drop prices and sell a LOT more pro tutorials such that the net profit is greater ?  Is it possible for example that someone who might never buy a pro tutorial ever would buy each single one of them at $5 each ?  This price point may appear insulting to your work but it’s not intended to be- honestly.  Is it better to sell thousands at $5 each or hundreds at $25 each, for example ?  The larger customer base paying less money for each tutorial will reduce volatility in monthly earnings and I’m going to guess will contribute to a faster growth rate for the company since it’ll help get the word out on the product. For phlearn, the cost of manufacturing thousands is the same as manufacturing hundreds.  Just a thought…keep up the great work.

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    Did you used to shave your arms?  Not judging (I shave my chest).  Just my OCD mind noticing random stuff.

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       Also I agree with the comment below me.  You teach SO much in every PRO episode, you could easily mark it up $10 and people would still feel like they are getting a great deal.

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    Justin DeGuzman

    dont matter how much you charge … if you give out a great product people will keep paying for it no matter the cost. and most of these people are loyal so dont think youll have a problem selling them

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    Michelle avendano

    I totally get you guys, it comes a time in bussines that you have to make this kind of changes. 
    for me it was matter of time also, for almost 2 years i couldn’t acepted the title of photographer as it is, so my ethics (that little voice in your head) couldn’t let me charge more because of it, but as I was getting more jobs and investing more time and money in my shoots that whats was coming in, then I told myself it’s time to make an adjustment, but i can’t lie for me it was kind of a challenge, I thought I was kinda like robbing people or something, but it was only because I could not acept the title of “photographer”. 
    keep on the PHantastic job guys! n_n

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    Roberto Belardo

    I really appreciate your trasparency on this. $5 dollars more is not a huge price to get those amazing pro tutorials. I think that $14,99 for 5 free episodes a week and a pro tutorial (when it’s discounted) it is an honest deal.
    I bought maybe 5 of them and each time i was happy and amazed. I like Phlearn, the community you created around it (aka Phfamily), i like the way you run your business, and i definitively like your pro tutorials.So i will continue to buy them. I must confess i’ll continue to buy them when they are discounted :)Keep rocking Aaron. And please, keep doing pro tutorials on people’s images like “Fashion”. It is amazing.

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    i’ve bought quite a lot of your pro tuts and honestly, if they’d been $5 more i still would’ve bought them… don’t get me wrong, i may invest in another couple before the price increase 😉 but i’ll still buy em after too!

    you may lose a few customers due to this (i saw this happen, as a store manager, a few times) but i’d be willing to bet that at least a third, if not half, will come back again, when they see what the rest of the market has to offer and they’ve had time to cool off.

    thanks for PHlearn, it’s been a great help and if this is what you need to do to keep it running then you’re doing the right thing!

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    what about free stuff??? actions and tutorials and monthly newsletter tutorial. You branded yourself as free and now you all about business, this isn’t about giving back to the community as you said before it’s just about paying the bills!!

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    Yo Mama

    I admire your courage to do something hard.  I know it has been a burden on your heart to consider raising your prices, but in order to keep offering so much free to the phamily, you have to eat and pay your bills.  I am glad that you did not cut the free tutorials in order to have more time for stuff that is profitable, I know you love to share your knowledge and creativity.  Keep up the good work!

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    Your tutorials are a pleasure to follow, and what strike me often the most is your capability as a comunicator, which is equal if not superior to the artistic one.

    I’m also touched you often give us a glimpse of what your life is on the backstage~!
    We’ll keep growing as a comunity~!

    Thanks Aaron

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    Sebastian Ortiz

    The Best on the “InnerNUT”, huh, Aaron? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA … catch at 4:30 and 4:35.. HAHAHAHAAAA… Gotta love it!

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    Mark Worden

    I’m going to chime in just like everyone else and say that raising prices by $5 on the PRO Tutorials is nothing and if it helps you guys keep growing and moving forward, then that’s what is important.  I’m sure I’m like a lot of other people and check in daily to see what new free episode you’ve posted and I know that each one of them is costing you time and effort to share with everyone.  Just keep doing what you’re doing and I hope that not only can the Phlearn Phamily continue growing, but also that your business becomes even more successful

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    Darrell Moore

    Not bad at all, especially for the rich knowledge that is being given. I support it

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    Vitaliy Piltser

    I appreciate your honesty and forthcomingness (is that a word? it is now!) I watched a tutorial that a photographer was/is selling for over $300 and I swear there were moment where he’d do something to the image while saying “I have no idea what this does, but I just think it makes the image look cool”…(seriously?)
    On top of that, I’m not sure he knows a thing about using layers as he used the eraser tool to ‘mask’ things out on pretty much every image in the tutorial.

    *I wonder if I’m talking about the same person you mentioned in this video… 🙂

    Don’t worry about a thing.

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    Jordan Long

    I know times are tough and some people will get mad about a $5 increase but, this is an understandable decision and I would much rather have you guys go up a small price and stay open to make your tutorials then to have you guys stop making them. I have had to raise my prices since the start of this year just because of taxes and gas so I completely understand why this is happening.

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    Maria Dolgopolova

    Phlearn you are great!
    FIve extra bucks make no sense! Your tutorials are great! I hope your business will go futher! We all try to help you with it.

    I also should say about the recent Fashion tutorial. We all had problem downloading it. But I would like to say that you all work really well! I asked you a question about my problem. 3 minutes and the problem is solved. So thank you!

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    When you offer good things to people for free, people will understand that you have to receive something for some things.

    It’s totally understandable Aaron. Keep Phlearning. Show must go on!

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    Petter Haugen

    The changes at PHlearn has been great, the business has evolved. By now you are more aware of the costs attached. 14.99 for one of your tutorials are fine by me. Im going to by them anyway if you keep the tutorials interesting and have the same depth and devotion to pass on. Well worth and you deserve it!!

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    Mojo Jojo

    Hmmm – devil’s advocate time? A non cool-aid drinker here 🙂 And I say all the following with respect as it is obvious I check this site out almost daily and enjoy the content. That being said….

    I guess I am the only one that thinks 24.99 is too much for an hour
    tutorial as they are right now. For that you can get a month over at and can stream that content to your iPad iphone etc. You can get a kelbytraining subscription (again with streaming) for 12 bucks a month. You can become a NAPP member for 90 a year.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the 4 pro tutorials I purchased were good
    but your training style is still all over the place and is hard to
    follow when trying to learn. Less fluff and more serious training maybe? I have been noticing that a lot of the info is repeated from tut to tut as well.

    I’ve also noticed the daily free shows have been going down in content and quality (but hard to argue with free – I am guessing that is a time issue)

    Netflix messed up with their price increase and look at them now. Most
    likely you will still only make the same money when you factor in the loss of
    sales due to the increase at least till the economy picks up.  But
    maybe I am wrong as I obviously don’t have your sale figures in front of me and don’t know how many sales only come from half price day. I am guessing more than half.

    And I don’t think your overall tax burden at the end of the year is 40%. If it is you need a new accountant/tax preparer!!! And hey, if you are then you are grossing more than 400K and don’t really need an extra 5 spot unless you start running your own servers so we can stream these tutorials from anywhere (hint, hint!)

    Still love Phlearn – just won’t be buying any more until I can get them at 9.99 again.

    Good luck!

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      you nailed it! the industry leader is Kelby Training obviously and at 9.99 a tut thats pushing it in comparison to what you get from Kelby. ill be taking my money to a subscription to Kelby and call it a day. musch bigger library of content and they add a ton more varied content. lighting, wedding, cars, photoshop, graphic design. as someone that has seen 90 plus percent of the Pro tuts. most everything is repeat information and you are paying the 9.99 to see if he used levels or curves, healing brush or clone stamp. i wish you all the best of luck! love the stuff here. just price is a big push to invest elsewhere. 

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      respect to your opinion however… from a ‘cool aid (or whatever the british equivelant is) drinkers’ point of view; i’ve got tutorials from both lynda and kelby and, although they are great, proffesional (dull) and informative, they are missing one important aspect… Aarons style.

      Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some kind of Aaron fan post. i’m not just talking about his teaching style, which i, personally, find far more engaging for a lengthy tutorial (please don’t change that too much Aaron, you make me chuckle every episode), rather more his style of photoshopping.

      the reason i found phlearn was beacause no tutorials came close to the style of photoshopping i wanted to do. i couldn’t find enough on kelby and lynda to help me create the type of pictures i wanted, which was to create a situation that was either unlikely or impossible to happen yet make it look real. the closest i came to what i wanted was ‘photoshop top secret’ and occasional free tutorials, but nothing that was spot on or comprehensive.

      i personally think that Aaron has hit on a niche in the market, catering well for the conceptual photographer, and i’ve yet to find anyone else who does that this well.

      and yes, a lot of info is repeated from tutorial to tutorial however, i’m finding that it helps the tools and shortcuts to become second nature. i would rather that, than having to watch the same tutorial over and over again in hopes that some of the info will stick! from someone else who has a lot of his pros, there’s new info each episode and also enough familiar tools that you feel confident in recreating the image and inspired to create your own.

      personally i find that, for the conceptual and creative photographer, the competition doesn’t come close. honestly, i’ve never tried cool aid and i’m not a sheep, clone, follower or saddo of any kind, i just know when someone is providing a quality service that meets my reqirements!

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        Robert Ash

        ArrowLili, your note has to be the best-articulated expression I’ve seen (including my own posts here!) of how I feel about Aaron’s tutorials. Thanks a million for saying it much better than I could (and in fewer words). Cheers.

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      Ben Leavitt

       One thing everyone needs to understand is that Aaron isn’t competing with Kelbytraining or Lynda at all, he’s in a completely different league altogether. If you want Aaron to be Scott Kelby, then just hang out with Scott Kelby, because obviously you don’t value the higher end conceptual knowledge he’s offering.

      Yes, Walmart is cheaper than Whole Foods but people still go to whole Foods and spend 4 times as much money for the atmosphere and high quality ingredients. Aaron is top shelf material. The only issue I have with this, Aaron, is that you didn’t increase the price by more than $5. If you include the photo shoot that happens before the Photoshopping then you could charge even more!

      I’ve been faced with having to raise prices before, and the only thing that happened was I made more money so I could stay in business and I lost a lot of customers who were a pain in the butt. hmm…. tough choice to make.

      I do like the idea of a dedicated streaming server.

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        Mojo Jojo

         To compare kelby and to walmart is a joke.

        To state that rasing prices for these training videos would be a good way to get rid of pain in the butt customers is dumb.

        You have to remember that Aaron’s only expense here is his time when
        he makes the videos. He has his recording software like Camtasia (or
        something like that) and he edits a picture for us and explains all the
        cool things he does. That is so cool – which is why I purchased the 4
        videos I did.

        But to state in his explanation that he is fighting expenses and 40%
        taxes and that is why he is raising prices is ridiculous. Just come out
        and say you want to make more money. I would respect that because
        everyone in business wants to make more money.

        Now I know he is renting studio space and his equipment is expensive,
        etc so he does have expenses, but if he is just talking about the
        training videos it is just him, his computer, and the recording

        This is why I mentioned the dedicated streaming server so we can
        watch anywhere and anytime without clogging up our devices with these
        huge files. And that way he could do a subscription service and not
        actually GIVE the videos to us. If we wanted to access them we have to
        keep paying each month or once a year, etc.

        Finally, as much as I love Aaron and his knowledge, his training
        style really needs work to improve. Say what you will about kelby and
        lynda, but the production value of
        is top notch and MOST of the trainers at kelby are very good because
        they have been doing it so long. Also, both sites break down the stuff
        into segments which is very useful when trying to find stuff later that I
        need help with. Rewatching a 90 minute tutorial to find that one spot
        where Aaron talks about a blending mode or skin retouch is not a good
        way to use my time.

        It’s just scary not seeing any solid improvements in training styles
        from pro tut #1 to the most recent but now we are getting a 50% price
        increase for each tutorial (assuming you buy when its on sale)

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          Ben Leavitt

           Very good points Mojo. I didn’t mean to call Kelby or Lynda the Walmart of tutorials, I was just trying to illustrate that they both fulfill different niches for different audiences. I probably conveyed that the wrong way.

          Yes it would be good to have segmented tutorials for easy browsing. I agree the subscription service would be cool. I’m sure he’ll read your comments and take them into consideration since he’s always looking for ways to improve and values customer feedback.

          I suspect he didn’t get into too much detail about finances because he felt he didn’t need to. His main point was that he cares about us enough to explain he needs to raise prices.

          I love the tutorials I’ve purchased as well, and yes, I’ll be a bit more analytical when deciding which ones to purchase from now on compared to before when I could easily make a $10 impulse purchase.
          One thing to consider: It doesn’t matter what his expenses are for making the tutorials, what matters is the value of the knowledge in them, and that’s probably where Aaron is able to provide the best value while turning the most profit. As a photographer you would charge for your knowledge, experience etc. Your prices don’t drop if the price of photo paper and equipment goes down.

          Yes, ideally he could have started the tutorials at a higher price point so he wouldn’t have to raise them now, because in our minds, the $10 tutorial we bought last week is still a $10 tutorial with a higher price tag. Maybe in the future tutorials he’ll include more value-added elements such as photo session footage. If not, it might be harder to give a higher value to established clients.

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    Griffin Beste

    HEY PHLEARN COMMUNITY  I used the texture pack to create this image in post ….!!!! awesome and heres a personal use of it

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    Business is business. 😉
    Sell one of your widgets space for advertising (but not the random google thing), or banner. Start affiliated marketing with B&H. We can create bookmarks with your link to B&H and every time we will buy something it will be somehow profiting Phlearn…
    Higher prices are OK but what you really need is more clients. Maybe its time to think about marketing as well. I found Phlearn via your flickr profile and never heard anywhere else about Phlearn… I am just saying 😉

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    Conn Young

    5$ isn’t that much extra, but if you’re saying they were underpriced because phlearn was a startup company does that mean the bigger you grow the more you’ll probably charge?

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    $5 isn’t going to drive me away.  The tutorials are great value and I’ll continue to purchase them. I have to disagree with Mojo Jojo.  I had a subscription to Kelby training and wasn’t that enamoured to be honest.  Keep up the good work guys 🙂

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    Mark Odo

    I applaud you for the change.  It comes at the right time.  I own many of your tutorials after the 5th or 6th one I started to become a lot more picky on what I was buying.  There are probably many of us that have done the same.   I will continue to buy them I believe they  are worth the money – if the content is fresh and new to me.  
    I hope your audience continues to grow and I hope the pro tutorials will become even more challenging.

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    Michael Nightmare

    While I rather pay 9.99 if the content in the video can help me improve my skills and knowledge in photoshop I would pay the new price. I have to agree that some of the content does overlap and I stopped buying tutorials for the past several weeks because some of the content seems to be found in most of the other videos I have already paid for. I would like to see more structure in what you are teaching and each new lesson builds on what was previously taught. I find that I sometimes buy a video just for one effect that I have been wanting to know how to do.  I love the teaching style because you do explain why you are doing what you are doing and most people do not do that.  Also with the new price I do not see me buying every new video that comes out each week as it does add up quickly buying one video a week. I will continue to buy videos but will be more thoughtful about what I purchase as I was buying all videos because of the cheaper price. That is my rant / thoughts about that.

    In the end thanks for the great content and I am still a fan!

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    Tom Simone


    This website must be great cos I’m here every day…

    I’ve bought a couple of your pro tutorials and think your pricing is about right, $5 doesn’t make much difference to me.

    However, I find having watched your free content I rarely find the time to watch any more.

    How about getting people to pay before you create the pro tutorial?

    If you told me about a photo shoot / project you were doing and would happily donate money towards it if it meant I got content and info on how it was done, even if I didn’t up watching it all.

    You could have a target, with a counter on the site, and once that was reached you could undertake the project.

    Or perhaps that wouldn’t work….. ramble ramble… right, back to my own editing….

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    Why dont you guys think about an annual subscription price that gives me an “all i can eat” for your tutorials and blend packs etc. that way you you might optimzie revenue across your customer base to a greater extent. You need to know how many of your customers that bought 1 tutorial and bought 2 and those that bought 2 how many converted and bought 3 (make sure you know your demadn waterfall conversion rates)etc..what you may find is that there is a optimal  point in that due to overlapping knowledge your only ever sell 1 additional tutorial to 2-5% of your potential customer base (defined as those that get your newsletter). So now your business game is how to better that conversion rate and thats how you increase the value of your business.

    So why not consider a different reveune model and sell a subscrition to the Phlearn premium world of content-all the tutotials i can eat, all the new content libraiires and whatever else you guys are doing. At $39.95/yr you may now optimize upto 10% of your potential base vs the slog at 2-5% (example).

    Also lets be honest for a second..your real payday will most likely come when you sell the business to a larger entity and a subscription model is valued very differenlty than one that has to slug it out selling one tutorial or blend pack at a time. Your content reveune potential scales with each new additonal content service you create as it now works with pre exisitng content offers to continually attract new subscribers that are optimzied at $39.95 at the point of entry and so on. Granted your new business game becomes one of renewl but no one ever said it was going to be  a cakewalk, but really think about your valuation model and exit stratgey as you should be rewarded fopr your hard work in a few years.


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    Matt Heltsley

    First off, Aaron, I am a huge fan.  I’ve followed your career since long before ARF.  I was willing to pay for content back then, even if that never fully manifested itself.  Honestly I would pay to see you photoshop at $10 or even $15 without batting an eye.  I now have a 19 pro tutorials and have paid well over what a year of Kelby or other options cost.  I will keep buying them, at $10 a shot as long as they are available.  I will even buy them at $15.  I hesitate to drop $20 or $25, but if the episode is good enough I would and have.  

    I think what would make me more willing to pay more, or buy more, is if you took some of your “famous” images, you know, the ones you did for the 365’s, etc on flickr, and made tutorials about those.  I know they are long done and you may not recall what was done, etc.  But if you were to redo them and let us in on the process, that would be huge. 

    Secondly I would love to buy “packs” of tutorials.  I.e. 3 or more (maybe 5 or 6) for one price which is less than each of them alone.  

    A subscription would be great too.  I did Kelby, watched every video I cared to see over the course of a year and have never looked back.  I don’t see the content they have produced since then as worth another years subscription.  Maybe a month.  But I digress.  I would not want a subscription for your work to ruin my love for it.  So only offer a subscription if you feel you can make that model work.  

    Finally I want to say thank you.  Your tutorials are awesome.  I watch them and rewatch them until I hear your voice in my head while I am working.  They are great.  Sure you ramble like a crazy person.  Sure you make some “interesting” choices from time to time.  But you are so entertaining and so remarkably talented that I actually like all the “non professional” chit chat and “interesting” choices.  Do what you need to do to keep this all going.  You have my support regardless of what you decide. 

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    not a big deal you gave us a lot of  free stuff, and your pro tutorials deserve more than this and i always think you share LOVE and that is Priceless 

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    Some people will complain about the price $24.99 for a one hour video. But do a google search for a photoshop day courses and then divide that cost by what 8 hours ? for a day course. Then you’ll see how it compares. No one wants to pay for anything these days, but I have to say that I have bought several Phlearn Pro episodes and I have learnt so much. I guess you have to take the attitude, support them or lose them.  🙂

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    Mikael Wahlin

    5$ increased dont mean a thing if they are worth it…
    The problem with the PRO tutorials nowdays is that they are too basic, no where close to the standards of the once you released in the beginning. A PRO tutorial shouldnt be judged by its length (wich is the case now ) but by the content.
    An increase in price have to be followed by an increase in quality.
    I will keep on buying them, you have a great teaching style and they are kinda relaxing to watch. But as I said I havent learned anything from the latest tutorials that i’ve bought and if your “students” doesnt learn anything you have missed the prime goal of this site.

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    Robert Ash

    Aaron, gang, I would pay more for these lessons.

    As I shared via email, you teach things I’ve been dying to learn. Those who don’t like the price hike and are comparing your material to KelbyTraining et al, I can’t agree with them. You package a wide variety of techniques into a coherent single project, explain everything your’e doing in exhaustive detail (very helpful) and create an actual artwork. Not just a cool effect, but a useable tool kit. For me personally this approach far exceeds what I personally get out of KelbyTraining,, Photoshopuser Magazine, etc.

    For me, they show you single techniques, many of which are cool and useful. But you have to roll your own project and string all those techniques together yourself. What you provide is guidance on how to conceptualize an entire project — sort of like the difference between learning hard lighting, soft lighting, leading lines, etc. versus planning and executing a complete on-site modeling shoot end to end.

    For me, I can find one-off techniques in a lot places. But these advanced complete projects are rare, and I’ve paid a lot more for top-flight DVDs by Natalia Taffarel, Mark Manciardini and other amazing experts than I’ve paid for the all the Phlearn tutorials I’ve bought put together (and I have most of your tutorials). And I consider your expertise every bit as amazing as theirs, and they are the very best. So are you.

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      Robert Ash

       Also, yes I do understand your business’ financial situation. I had to make the same decision myself, to raise prices. You do lose some of your audience but you get a different audience, one that appreciates your work, the quality of what you do and the value they are getting. You definitely have to earn that price because people who pay more expect higher quality. But if you meet the quality standard they’re willing to pay for it. And even your new prices are not unreasonable.

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    What i love the most about Phlearn is the part that less is affected by the new price policy, hence the FREE tutorials, because they range from photoshop, to taxes advice, from inspiration, to motivation, from planning tips, to pure art, with some tips on how to use different accessories…

    Everybody should keep in mind that phlearn as a whole can thrive only if some money are rolling in, and I hope to see the free daily being the bread and butter of this website with a weekly or so pro airing to rock us all 🙂

    I’ve just bought 1 more pro 1 texture, and 2 packs before the price increase is going to be effective.Thank you for giving us some time to choose what to buy at this price.I’m going now to spend some days filling up my time with your tutorial, and eventually put in to action what I’ve learned, and going to share my results with you~!!!

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    I’ve almost all the PRO’s, but those are hard times AAron, I will continue to consider myself as your fan, but the adventure for me, ends here..I understand what you say but I simply can’t get all your Tuts as was until now, understand me

    I prefer no texture pack at all but PRO’s as before, but that’s your choice so…

    I really don’t know if is better 5$ for every Tut (but less PRO’s sold) ora a robust, enthusiast, fan base
    do the math friend

    And everything you will do, good luck


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    Mojo Jojo

    To compare kelby and to walmart is a joke.

    To state that rasing prices for these training videos would be a good way to get rid of pain in the butt customers is dumb.

    You have to remember that Aaron’s only expense here is his time when he makes the videos. He has his recording software like Camtasia (or something like that) and he edits a picture for us and explains all the cool things he does. That is so cool – which is why I purchased the 4 videos I did.

    But to state in his explanation that he is fighting expenses and 40% taxes and that is why he is raising prices is ridiculous. Just come out and say you want to make more money. I would respect that because everyone in business wants to make more money.

    Now I know he is renting studio space and his equipment is expensive, etc so he does have expenses, but if he is just talking about the training videos it is just him, his computer, and the recording software.

    This is why I mentioned the dedicated streaming server so we can watch anywhere and anytime without clogging up our devices with these huge files. And that way he could do a subscription service and not actually GIVE the videos to us. If we wanted to access them we have to keep paying each month or once a year, etc.

    Finally, as much as I love Aaron and his knowledge, his training style really needs work to improve. Say what you will about kelby and lynda, but the production value of is top notch and MOST of the trainers at kelby are very good because they have been doing it so long. Also, both sites break down the stuff into segments which is very useful when trying to find stuff later that I need help with. Rewatching a 90 minute tutorial to find that one spot where Aaron talks about a blending mode or skin retouch is not a good way to use my time.

    It’s just scary not seeing any solid improvements in training styles from pro tut #1 to the most recent but now we are getting a 50% price increase for each tutorial (assuming you buy when its on sale)


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    John White

    So many people are mad.  You could skip McDonalds for one day and make up the extra $5 that it cost. Aaron has went through in the past to “Know what you are worth, and set your own prices”, this is a great example of that.  He feels his tutorials are worth more and has the full right to raise the price.  If anything, the Pro tutorials are extremely underpriced in my view, and to top it off, the new texture packs are even more underpriced and an amazing assortment of very good images.  I am not fanboying on Aaron, I am just blown away at the amount of negativity over $5.00  .  Sad 

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      Robert Ash


      I have to agree with you. So very well said.

      I’ve found that people who gripe so much and make such a big deal over such a small amount typically aren’t people who buy a lot anyway. Plus they tend to be the most demanding and consistently critical. They’re typically not the ones who really appreciate what you do. So I’d advise Aaron to consider deeply if that is a customer base he really wants.

      Some customers can tear you down instead of building you up, especially customer at low price points. These exact same people wouldn’t dare complain about a great painter’s prices based on how much his brushes cost. But they’ll complain about Aaron’s prices based on how much his recording software costs!!! With no regard whatsoever for Aaron’s phenomenal talent and exceedingly valuable time.

      You don’t really see such customers nearly so often at higher price points if you are delivering good value, which Aaron certainly does.

      There are some people who genuinely have little or no money but would like my work. For me personally, they are not my target market for my photography — but I sometimes do pricing favors to certain individuals from time to time because I appreciate their appreciation for what I do.

      In Aaron’s case, however, given that almost *anyone* doing photography and photoshop spends 100s or even 1000s of dollars on cameras, lighting, computers and software (e.g., Photoshop) I just don’t see why they won’t spend money on top-rate training. I personally chose in the past and still choose now to spend less on equipment so I have more money to spend on advanced training, seminars, tutorials, etc. It’s the eye, not the camera, that makes a professional image.

      Photographer Mike Colon spoke about how he used to do $700 weddings. He lost his entire customer base when he went to $1,500. Then lost those again when he went to $5,000 then again when he went to $10,000-25,000 per wedding. But he’s much happier and more appreciated — and he finally started making money commensurate to his skill level and ability to run a successful business. I hope Aaron doesn’t start charging $10,000 per tutorial in the near future 🙂 but an extra $5 is certainly nothing unaffordable to someone who wants and truly values the outstanding quality of his lessons.

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        fine, you’re for sure a business man, can’t be otherwise.
        So If a customer can’t buy a product because he have to give an overprice of 150% without an improved product, so it’s better to lose the customer. great logic here.

        Aaron is a great artist, and I’m not talking about his value, this point is clear;
        As I’ve already wrote, I’ve almost every PRO’s Aaron have recorded, I just don’t like the “textures packs” idea that drive to overprice the  PRO, why don’t sell the textures without packs? 1€ per image, or 2, or 3, but leave PRO’s out of this contest.

        Do you need a better business? ok then do a Video 3-8 hours long and talk about the whole postproduction process for 30-35€ or 45 or 55, that’s ok, fine, but changing the price of the tutorials is an error that will reduce if not destroy, the userbase created with time and efford. Just my 2 cents.

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          Robert Ash

          Apologies, I didn’t mean to come across wrongly so I’ll try to explain better. Judging by your previous note, you sound like a customer I would agonize about losing. Seems you’ve bought a lot of product and feel you cannot afford to pay more per product. No good businessperson would want to lose a customer like you. It’s always really painful.

          I also spoke as a customer. And for me personally, I make sacrifices in one area to make up for expenses in another area, as I described above. Both in business and as a customer to other businesses. I will buy less or delay purchases for items that honestly are above my budget for things I really want.

          To share points of comparison, 8-hour DVDs like you’re describing, when done by other top experts, cost much more.

          —  Peter Hurley’s head-shot DVD download costs $300 for 8 hours (download, no chapter divisions, not much variety in material throughout, but really well photographed with lots of good tips and industry insight).
          —  Natalia Taffarel’s DVD cost $250 for 11.5 hours a couple of years ago, now it’s on sale for $199.
          —  Photoshop Top Secret costs around $300-350 for the 4 DVD series (not sure how long it is)
          –Many good photography and Photoshop workshops run $300-400+ per day (including multi-day workshops broken down into days), plus you have to pay for lodging and transportation, and even meals.

          So $15 for early purchase or $25 for regular purchase for 60-90 minutes of material of the quality of Aaron’s is not too much to afford. If I had that much of a budget crisis I’d buy fewer tutorials but would still buy them.

          I always felt they were underpriced, especially the $10 advance downloads.

          Your post was reasonable, like your response is this time. My main surprise was the caustic tone of some of the comments, some that went as far as tearing down Aaron personally. Over $5. That’s rather sad.

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            Robert Ash

             And I don’t mean your notes, Angelo, I mean some of the other notes. Your notes are thoughtful and reasonable, and again apologies for any unintended misunderstanding. All the best to you.

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            I’m very sorry but those times in italy are not easy, you know, and I’m a strong fan of Aaron, but I can’t go more than this, at least in this moment.. You’re right and I was wrong, an 8 hours video (not a tutorial) should cost surely over 150-200$, shame on me. Caustic tones about Aaron make me agree with you, he is a very nice and gentle person, can’t understand who can hate him, thanks for response I’ve appreciate and excuse me fo my bad english, hope to back soon in the phfamily :’)

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            Robert Ash

            Your English is perfect. I wish I could speak Italian that well 🙂  I feel for you, Angelo, I’ve been reading about the financial situation in some of the Eurozone countries including Italy.  I certainly hope things get better for those countries. If you are on Facebook or Twitter we can keep in touch.

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            Robert Ash

            Correction to my note above – –> Peter Hurley’s head-shot DVD is $300 for *4* hours, not for 8 hours.

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        Mojo Jojo

         I’ve found that people who gripe so much and make such a big deal
        over such a small amount typically aren’t people who buy a lot anyway.
        Plus they tend to be the most demanding and consistently critical.
        They’re typically not the ones who really appreciate what you do. So I’d
        advise Aaron to consider deeply if that is a customer base he really

        ————————- What? LOL. He wants people to download his training. Your argument makes no sense. ———————

        But they’ll complain about Aaron’s prices based on how
        much his recording software costs!!!

        ———————Aaron was the one that brought up expenses as a reason to raise prices, not us. His software has not increased in price lol. I can only debate based on what he said in the video ————————-

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      Mojo Jojo

      No one said he didn’t have the right to raise his prices. He could raise them to $100 a tutorial if he wants to – it is his business.

      And if we skip our McDonalds for one day, we still have to spend money to eat somewhere else or buy ingredients, so how is that helping us with the price increase?

      No one forced Aaron to offer the tutorials at a discount the first few days. That was his decision. $15 versus 10 is a big deal for some people, especially considering those people were purchasing early to get the discount.  Those people have the right to purchase less tutorials and they probably will (I know I will unfortunately) because it quickly adds up with everything else I need to spend money on each week. You don’t know our financial situation, and even if we were rich, you have to look at the fact the quality has not really increased with the price.

      And for those that said raising the prices would get rid of the “bad customers” or the “customers he really would not want anyway”, are you kidding? It is a business where YOU DOWNLOAD A TUTORIAL. He obviously wants every possible customer. It’s not like we contact him and demand refunds because we didn’t like the training. LOL, ridiculous.

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    Why don’t love the loyal customer? 🙂 who have less than 5 PRO’s will pay 15$, 5-10 PRO’s 13$, 20 or more 10$ so it will be a deal to take as much video as we can and you can make muuuch more money. or who have more than 10 PRO’s can download a PRO with his photoshooting tutorial (10-15 minutes live for light scheme, suggestions) for 15$ (for the others with few PRO, separate downloads 15$ + 10$ ), do you think it’s reasonable for your business? just my 2 cents to help our phfamily

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      Tony Walls

      Really like this idea… (I would, I have 21 pro tutorials and all the texture packs as well..LOL) Aaron, as you can tell, I’m a HUGE fan of your tutorials. I teach photography myself, but I’m still learning daily (with help from you and other sources) to keep my creativity fresh. Your style is real world, and so are the topics you cover in your tuts and daily injections.. If people were to think of it as not necessarily 15 or 25 bucks, but just a “donation” to help “keep the lights on”, operating costs, if you will, then I don’t think it would be such a big deal.

      I totally understand the economy being crap right now, but ALL of the tutorials and texture packs, brushes, etc are luxuries. As you said in the vid, if you can’t afford another 5 bucks, then you have other problems, and maybe you shouldn’t be thinking about getting a tutorial at all.. Save that money and buy a loaf of bread or something if it’s gonna break you that much.

      I do, however, agree w/ the loyalty program. The services and general community you’ve provided and helped build is invaluable to my growth, so I will definitely continue to support this site, and all you do regardless to if you went up 10 bucks a tutorial. I personally feel it’s me investing in myself to learn from those that inspire me. Me watching one of your PRO tutorials feels like I get to watch over your shoulder and see the better way of doing things.. My workflow has changed completely since I happened upon Phlearn.

      I use Apply image so much now that I can’t believe I never used it before. And I’ve learned so many keyboard shortcuts, Stamp Image layers are now a staple in my workflow as well.

      I’ve emailed you a few times about certain ideas and things I think would help grow Phlearn as well as other products that I felt would benefit the community as a whole. I look forward to seeing what comes next, and hope that my extra 5 bucks per tutorial can help fund whatever ideas you have in store for us.

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    Andrea Peipe

    I completely understand that you have to raise the prices guys! You were always really cheap in my eyes anyways and it was good while it lasted but it makes sense to do it. Plus you really have to live off it so no worries there 🙂 I still have not found the time to watch any of the Phlearn Pro tutorials (major sigh) although I bought quite a few. Actually I have not even found the time to be on Phlearn in forever… the day does not have enough hours! 

    Great news on the Textures 🙂