What Does Phlearn Mean To You?

What Does Phlearn Mean To You?

The Holidays are all about spending time with the people you love, and we hope that means the Phamily too.

I am home in Pittsburgh with my parents for Christmas, and give you a quick preview of their life.

After I introduce him, Chris takes over, and does an amazing job relaying what Phlearn is really about. Phlearn is more than just tutorials, we are changing lives.

What You Will Learn

  • 0:30 – Intro to Chris
  • 1:30 – Growing up around scantily clad women
  • 2:00 – How has Phlearn Changed You Life
  • 3:00 – Chris Takes Over
  • 7:10 – Getting the right point of view
  • 12:00 – Chris talks about Ira Glass
  • 14:00 – How we change lives

Your Story

Chris has done a really amazing thing here, opening himself up to the phamily. I have watched this so many times, and each time, I become very emotional.

Chris is not alone. I receive emails with similar messages every day. Now it is time for your voice. Please remember, that I am just a voice, and that the REAL POWER of Phlearn is the phamily.

How has Phlearn changed you? What does it mean to you?

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    Aaron Nace

    Paul just told me that I look like I just rolled out of bed! Not my prettiest moment haha. Guess that is what sleep deprivation does.

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    Excellent revelations Chris! You’re doing a good work.

    Aaron, my passion is not photography. It’s authentic, creative expression. It’s telling stories that need to be told, in whatever form it takes. What Plearn gives me, is more options and tools to make that happen. Your discerning eye is one of your greatest gifts and if I can glean a percentage of that, it makes everything I work on that much better.

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    Jenna Petrone

    I think it’s pretty amazing what the Phlearn community can do for each other. ¬†I started watching Phlearn videos earlier this year but I haven’t made an account and provided my feedback until a few weeks ago. ¬†Ever since then, even though it’s been a short amount of time, I see the¬†incredibly¬†strong bond of the members on this website. ¬†I feel like I can’t find this with any other site and I really¬†appreciate¬†Phlearn being such an open and helpful community.

    I also find that I am really motivated by Phlearn in general. ¬†With Aaron’s¬†inspirational¬†videos and the community itself, I feel even more motivated to accomplish my dreams and become a better photographer. ¬†Thank you for that.

    Chris, I am so glad that you got this opportunity to share your work with Phlearn and have it be critiqued.  I see that is has affected you just by seeing your reactions to each comment and what you said during this video.  I am really looking forward to seeing where your photography goes from here!

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    I’m not quite sure where to start about Phlearn. I remember being 15 years old and viewing photos and thinking, WOW I wish I could produce work as good as that. And then I started to take photos. But this past year, I’ve become 100% dedicated to making Photography my life.

    Phlearn has helped me get that much closer to my goal, insanely fast! I can’t even BEGIN to imagine how long it would have taken me to master some of the skills I’ve aquired in the past year if it hadn’t been for Phlearn. I can genuinly say I had not a single clue about photoshop. What was the patch tool? no idea. What was the gradient tool? Not a clue. I have learnt more than I can ever imagine, all thanks to you Aaron and the whole team of Phlearn. Seriously. I am so grateful to you in so many ways.

    Today I gave my first lesson in photography. It was simple and really quite light hearted, but in the back of mind I was always thinking, “What would Aaron say?” and in the end I just resorted to showing the two girls Phlearn ūüėõ Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to learn. I gave them three pieces of advice: 1) try to grasp the three basics of Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed. 2) to play around with their camera’s as much as possible. 3) to watch Phlearn every day.

    Not lying.

    Its that important.

    You’re amazing Aaron, seriously, if there is EVER anything I can do to say thank you more, let me know, cause I owe you big time.

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    David Irwin

    Touching video man…I think I can speak for the community here on Phlearn that Aaron kicks ass. He has helped me out so much with photoshop and general inspiration during 2011. He’s a genuine guy committed to helping people learn and grow..Cant wait to see what 2012 brings.

    Oh and the discounted Phlearn Pros for the holidays – nice stocking filler !!!

    Happy holidays..

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    willard chviers

    Aaron, I ran across Phlearn last month maybe? I have grown as a photographer more than i ever could have thought in such a short time. Hell, ive grown more as a human than i ever thought i would from a photography site. I¬†literally¬†learn something new from every episode you put out. Every one. There is no way for me to¬†adequately¬†express my thanks for what you do. Your pro tutorials are amazing. 20 bux? 10 if you hurry? really? Who the hell does that? Phlearn, to me, is so much more than photoshop tips and tricks or a lighting tutorial. Its amazing because its so genuin. You have never once come across hokey or over the top or “out there” or whatever. I have only ever felt honesty coming from you. And its that honesty that draws me in. Its that honesty that that makes everything sink in so deep and stick. It was that honesty that, after your first¬†critique, made me realize my portfolio was a¬†complete¬†mess and I have some really shitty images in there. But its also that honesty that makes me know that I am¬†capable¬†of replacing them with much better ones (which has already begun). You put everything and more into Phlearn and it shows.

    I will continue to watch Phlearn every day. And i will continue to buy your pro tutorials. And i know i will never be able to give back what i receive but for what its worth i want you to know what you do is special and rare and has changed my life.

    Thank you thank you thank you

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    Paul Liebrand

    For many years I have tried to figure out what type of photographer I want to be.¬† I dabbled in weddings, portraits, etc.¬†and¬†never really felt super¬†satisfied. How can I be so passasonate about photography yet struggle to find my place?¬†I have always known and loved Photoshop but it never occured to me to combine the two.¬† I was always worried that people would judge them more and say it was not really “photography.”

    Phlearn has given me a new direction.  It has helped me realize that I should not care what others think about what I create because it is art regardless of how it is created.

    I have come to a point where I know deep down inside that I do not want to be a “sit on the stool and smile” type of photographer.¬† There is nothing wrong with that but it’s not for me.¬† I want to create new experiences and images by combining my knowledge of photography and photoshop.

    I have put the wheels in motion to go down that road.  I know it is going to be tough and I know I will fail but I will learn.  I will get better.

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    Andrea Peipe

    3:45 am…. jeez! That is early! ūüėČ

    Phlearn has changed my life so much…honestly! Let me explain: I have learnt SO much from Phlearn about so many different things! About editing of course, I had no idea about layer masks (BEST feature to me ever!!), channels, paths, how to apply textures etc. But it also helped me with regard to pursuing my dreams, my goals, my ideas. It has shown me that it is ok if I ask for things even if I may not get them. You made me question my work and my website and some of my general approaches but in a good way, in a way that I want to work on them and get better. Now, if I don’t like an image, I think about why and what I could do to make it better instead of giving up.¬†

    I always try to watch Phlearn every day but I never manage to and then come back and watch loads of episodes in a row (like that day a few weeks ago where I watched Phlearn for 9 hours straight ūüėČ ). I still have about 30 of the 200 episodes but that is also because I pause them and try to edit with you until I get it right and then right everything down into my Phlearn book. But I love it sooo much, I love that you make us laugh and you are not just telling us how to edit step-by-step you know?

    I am so grateful for what you do for us Aaron, I love that you care for us and want to make us get better! I want to give something back to you as a thanks but since you live so far away all I can offer is a telepathic hug and an honest THANK YOU!  

    @Chris: Very emotional and wonderful words here, I am beginning to really like you as a person even though we never met. You come across as a really nice guy and I wish you all the best in your future!

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    is really great! I actually always wanted to say how Phlearn changed my life!

    kind of a long story but I’m going to write it anyways!

    I am 22 years old and two years ago I was in an emotional abusive relationship,
    the man that I was married to was always pointing at everything that is wrong
    with me whether it was in my appearance or in my talents! He was constantly comparing
    me to everybody else and always telling me that I picked the wrong passion and
    I should learn something other than photography! Having low self-esteem and a
    lot of self-doubt I quit photography and I stopped taking pictures or even look
    at any photographer’s work!

    a struggle I manage to get a divorce but I lost my Dslr camera in the process
    of moving out!

    the same week I got my divorce I discovered Phlearn and decided to take photos
    even using my point and shoot! I loved how Aaron always say in tutorials ”
    if you can’t get it right the first time you can always try again” or say
    “If somebody else is doing a better job than you just don’t worry about

    of what Aaron said about self-portraits I decided to leave my image issues and
    self-esteem aside and forget everything he said about my looks and start taking
    these pictures and see my flaws and embrace them!

    shot my first self-portrait and posted it on Flickr because of you¬†ūüôā

    found that I can get inspiration from the darkest hardest memories and things
    that I’ve been through and create a good image that can really show how that
    moment went!

    I know that I have an amazing phamily that will help me with everything! Not
    just photography related questions!

    I owe you Aaron, Really!!

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    Hey Aaron, every weekend without your videos I just wish you made videos every single day ahah, but I know that would just be so taxing and you need a break.
    Your videos have seriously made a big impact because they’re not just tutorials. They’re inspirational and motivational, and they really make me want to go out and give my best at everything I do.
    The best part about Phlearn is how you genuinely want to help others be better. That’s hard to find today; most people are selfish and look out for themselves. The phamily is amazing too; they provide such great and constructive criticism, and I love how everyone’s passion shines through, it’s just so inspirational.
    Love all of you.

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    Daniel Tuck

    Where to begin…?! Phlearn means the world to me. I have enjoyed photography as little more than a hobby for some time, thinking it would be very cool to actually be a photographer as a living, but never really buying that I would be able to do it. Recently, the photography bug bit me again and started telling me “hey, this is something you are passionate about, love doing, and are actually not too bad at.” So – with my wife’s permission – I went out and bought a new DSLR. I stumbled across Phlearn no more than a couple of months ago, and wow – it has made so much difference to my photography. My wife tells me I’m too picky with the photos, never thinking they’re good enough, but as Aaron says – you can never be TOO picky. I’m still not picky enough, I think! I’ve learnt so much from you, Aaron, and the phamily as a whole – it’s stuff that books and most online tutorials just can’t or won’t share. And the passion you bring to it too – wow – Aaron, you make me want to go out and be the best I possibly can be. Your generosity is an inspiration to us all, never mind your awesome photography and Photoshop skills. I will be with Phlearn right to the end (which will hopefully never come!) – just wish you guys were in the UK! I’m going to have to take a holiday to Chicago, I think……… ūüôā

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      Daniel Tuck

      Also, to Chris – thanks for sharing your message with the rest of us. It was clear from your video how much Aaron’s input meant to you, and will continue to mean to you probably for the rest of your life. I’m sure we will all continue to fail alongside you, and as a phamily we’ll go on this journey to striving to be better photographers together

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    Jenny Su

    As I have mentioned, three or four years ago I came across amazing photos and I never thought I‚Äôm able to make one myself (cause no one teaching me). I‚Äôve always been an artistic girl. When everyone sees my paintings, and knew I‚Äôm self-taught, they always say ‚ÄĚyou‚Äôre gifted.‚ÄĚ So I kept doing and doing in my leisure time. I‚Äôve been asking myself over a thousand times ‚ÄúWhy are you doing art?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúIs it because you are good at it, or you like it?‚ÄĚ
    Then here I am in phlearn, learning from zero. In the beginning, watching everyday episodes was the most exciting moments, everything was new and I felt I‚Äôm growing fast in this really short period. Not being super passionate, I would not be here. (Insanely busy, we‚Äôre even studying anatomy and dissecting cadaver till midnight.) Most of the time when I‚Äôm overwhelmed, phlearn is my psychological dependence. (If you make a bad picture, it‚Äôs ‚ÄúOh, crap‚ÄĚ. If you make a tiny mistake in the hospital, you kill someone.) Lastly, what phlearn did mainly is pushing me from ‚Äúmaybe I‚Äôll be an artist some day in my life‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúI‚Äôll be a photographer right after I get my degree! ‚ÄĚMaybe I look more sleepy than you, Aaron. :^P

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    Shahram Rad

    I am new , so Phlearn hasn’t changed my life yet. ?
    I think Aaron is a Borg “Star trek “ 
    Many of  you are assimilated into a Phlearn Collective.
    “We will be assimilated , resistance is futile ‚Äú

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    André Borgen

    For me¬†Phlearn¬†a¬†supplement¬†in my daily life.¬†I check¬†Phlearn¬†every day¬†…¬†I¬†find it¬†amazing that¬†you choose to¬†spend¬†as much time¬†of¬†your life for¬†this community.¬†I am very¬†interested¬†in¬†photography¬†and you (Aaron)¬†is one of the most important persons that¬†maintains¬†that¬†interest.¬†
    I¬†just hope¬†you don’t let¬†phlearn¬†and your¬†generosity,¬†suck¬†all¬†your¬†energy. Its okay to take a brake once in a while ūüėČ

    Thanks for 201 great inspirational videos.. Next time i’am in Chicago i’ll bring you a cake!

    Marry Christmas and a lots of greetings from Norway!


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    Mabyn Ludke

    I’ve only been following Phlearn for about a month but already I’ve found little tips and techniques to improve my photography & photoshop skills. In turn, this makes a better product for my clients. What I really love, Aaron, is your enthusiasm, heart, and passion! It’s exactly how I feel about my clients and other photographers. It’s always a beautiful thing to find a kindred spirit that inspires you to be better. Thank you for your generosity with your time, talent, and¬†knowledge! I try to fit Phlearn into my daily routine…I especially love watching you with my morning cup o’ joe and my fuzzy slippers! No better way to learn in my opinion!¬†

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    Aaron, I’ve been following you since those character self-portraits on Flickr. I’m so happy that you’ve created Phlearn because if it wasn’t for Phlearn, I would be less of a photographer than I am today… I owe it all to you and your team! I admire your enthusiasm in each episode, it has motivated me to pursue my desire to become a better photographer. THANK YOU AARON!!!

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    Martin Bartsch


    ¬†Aaron you are one of a kind. I¬†fell¬†in love with Phlearn since the first day Beth Duri recommended it to me. I also love the¬†community¬†and more importantly I am forever¬†grateful¬†for what you do and the example you set for others to follow. Viva la Phlearn and god bless you! ūüôā

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    tanie ksi??ki

    Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past few posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

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    kevin goodchild

    The past two videos have been beautifully powerful. An honest critique that not only helped Chris but all the viewers. Thank you for sharing