Learning Lightroom (& Photoshop)
When it comes to hobbies, I would definitely consider myself a "bootstrapper" when I'm starting something new.
When I first started blogging, I was on a free plan (Wordpress advertisements and all) and I still haven't invested in an actual calligraphy set (although that's mostly because I've barely made time to do faux calligraphy with what I have). When I first started photography, I got an economy-end DSLR (not that the Nikon D3400 isn't a great starter body—I've been thrilled with it) and made do with Apple's inherent photo-editing software.
Now, I've forked over the extra $10 a month for the Lightroom + Photoshop package and I am ecstatic. While the iPhoto editor does have a lot of features, Lightroom gives you so much more control over color compositions, pixel-edits, and overall creative freedom that the built-in software lacks. It also has a cool cloud feature so you can edit pictures and push to Instagram right from your phone!
One thing I have to say about my camera is that it takes wonderfully balanced photos if the shots are set up properly. I've taken photos in the past that I've barely touched with an editor, simply because they didn't need it. However, with Lightroom, I now have the freedom to balance out those "almost-perfect" shots that I took in a hurry/in less-than-ideal lighting/etc.
I'm still learning about all of the features and how to achieve the appearance I want because the possibilities are really endless. I'm learning more about the specific tools and options, but I also want to learn how to correct and balance photos overall. I'm worried that I'll quickly become reliant on the pre-set auto edits, and that's the last thing I want! I've watched a few tutorials but most of them have been a lot of fluff without any usable content—so if you have any recommendations, shoot them my way!