This Photoshop course almost didn’t happen. In all my years of recording videos, I can honestly say that I’ve never faced so many relentless technical difficulties as I did while recording ‘Photoshop For Morons‘.

Recording 42 video tutorials during a heatwave was not my wisest idea. Doing it with a broken video camera was even more idiotic.

You can probably imagine the screamed expletives as I checked the back of the camera after each recording often to discover the delightful ‘Writing to the memory card was not completed correctly‘ message that is now a staple of my Sony A7R1V.

I chose neither and eventually switched to my old A7RII with its none functioning LCD and wheezing batteries simply because it had a more reliable reputation when it came to recording video. To my relief, it didn’t let me down.

Is Thing Even On?

The next rage-inducer was the wireless mic by Rode. It’s a pretty good system but if you ever plug an external lav mic into the transmitter you’d best ensure that none of the hair fibres from the dead-cat (which is now superglued in place due to the atrocious design of the dead-cat attachment method – shame on you Rode, you knew it was crap but sold it anyway) get stuck anywhere near the mic socket. If you fail to notice this you can rest assured that your 30 minutes of flawless performance will sound like a popcorn popping contest next to a deep fat fryer. Cue the embolism.

I Can’t Work Under These Conditions

Next up was the blistering heat of Nanaimo during the peak of wildfire season. I managed to combat this by doing much of the recording from around 4 AM onwards but even then it was necessary to switch on the noisy air-conditioning – which you’ll be delighted to learn makes its debut on some of the earlier tutorials on this course but eventually vanishes as the weather cools off.

At least I had it easy compared to Clarence Von Ponce. For the promo, he had to endure the sweltering conditions of filming in his gross PVC imitation leather Grandma jacket while wearing that stupid blue beret. Talk about ”fashion victim”!

Please note: Clarence does NOT appear in the tutorials but if I get enough requests for him to appear in V2 then I’ll negotiate his appearance fee accordingly.

The Constant Interruptions

After that, there were constant interruptions from my cats Leo and Sterling. Leo likes to loudly pronounce ”Wah!” for no apparent reason but he graciously times these declarations exclusively for periods when the recording is in progress. I believe he’s protesting at the hardship of not having been visually observed for a period longer than 8 minutes – which is entirely unacceptable to him.

Sterling demands my full attention somewhat aggressively by standing up on his hind legs and reaching for my bare knees with his unnaturally pin-sharp claws. If I try to pre-empt this maneuver by picking him up, he runs away outraged at the prospect of being touched. I, of course, tolerate this abuse like the well-trained human that I am. Please don’t tell Amanda that I let the cats into Unicornlabs – she has a strict no-feline policy in the room where we make prints.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

After a couple of days of major tantrums, technical difficulties, and painfully early mornings I finally found my rhythm. Until the neighbor discovered his long-lost chainsaw. Oh, how he loved to rev up that Husky to such decibel bursting volumes that I swear he must have been right outside my window. Pause recording.

Eventually, he either ran out of either fuel or limbs (depending on his skill level with the blade) and I was able to resume my quest to educate morons everywhere on how to handle Photoshop and overcome its many quirks and foibles.

The Struggling Computer

The final challenge was the limitations of my computer. I even tackle this very issue in my tutorials because Photoshop is renowned for being a resource hog. Add to that the strain of running a screen recorder with high-quality audio and my newly built computer was already beginning to struggle with the heavy load.

Usually, I do all of my image post-processing on my monster computer ‘FrankenPC’, but the background of the videos wouldn’t have looked as look as cute as Unicornlabs so I opted for the newer but less powerful PC in that office. Luckily I know a few tricks to make Photoshop run a little smoother in such circumstances so I made sure to employ those. Here’s a free preview from ‘Photoshop For Morons‘ showing you a few tricks to improve the performance of your computer while using Photoshop to process your own images.

And This Was Only The Beginning

I should mention that prior to all of this, I’d spent about a month attempting to film Chapter 4 of my Composition Made Easy course. After about a dozen failed shoots due to terrible weather conditions, many miles hiked and few injuries related to gross incompetence, I had to admit defeat, quit, and plan an entirely new project.

That’s when I found the email from a client asking ”Teach me Photoshop like I’m a complete moron”. Cue the lightbulb moment.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes while creating a course like ‘Photoshop For Morons‘. I actually did start to enjoy the process of recording these very ‘informal’ tutorials so if the feedback is good, I’ll consider doing more of these in the future. If the feedback is crap, I’ll consider a career in stand-up.

Thanks for reading
Gavin Hardcastle – Fototripper

Published by Gavin Hardcastle

Gavin is a professional landscape photographer from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC. He teaches photography workshops all over the world and writes extensively about his experiences on location. You can read his photo guides and tutorials here at


  1. We need to see more of crazy Amanda

  2. I really love the combination of humour and education in all of your content and courses. Actually, you spoiled me for any other vloggers…
    I loved the F4 Roadtrip and with this new course “PS for morons” you achieved your goal (at least for me): you took away my shying away from the depth and complexity of Photoshop and now I think, it will be fun to work with.
    Oh, and I love to see your cute cats! Thank you, dear Gavin and keep up the brilliant work.

  3. All seems so easy and fluid when the final video is uploaded. If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it? Well, most people these days seem to be doing it but only a tiny percentage are actually any good.

    I find your uploads really informative and I’m hooked by the sense of humor you put across. Keep up the good work. If only other similar you tubers could take note and follow suit (I hate guacamole but he does make a good wrap if you know what i mean).

    Keep up the never ending effort of attempting to humor and entertain the miserable masses. I for one love it.

  4. Hello Gavin me old mucker! Ow do? I am a loyal subscriber and I have made several comments on your Utube Chanel over the past few years! I love your work and comedy! I was living in Central Oregon (Bend) but have now moved to Coos Bay on the Southern Oregon Coast. I know that you know where that is as you have filmed at Shore Acres State Park. I have moved into a home with 2 acres. If you ever are in The area you would have a free (magic word) parking spot with water and electric. I am from London if you ever want to put a Cockney Wideboy character (Think of Bullet Tooth Tony) in one of your skits. Anyway I wanted to say that I love your stuff and you are welcome anytime. Best Wishes!

  5. I feel bad for you about your Sony A7R IV. It’s the same with sound reinforcement too with technical problems ..problems you would never even imagine would just show up at the most inopportune times like before running sound for a school musical.. Anyways, best of luck moving forward Mr. Hardcastle. You are a great teacher.

  6. I know the name is Photoshop for Morons, but would Nincompoops benefit as well?

  7. Man, I feel your pain. I created a whole video course on how to convince your boss to work from home (called Escape the Office) and released it just as COVID forced everyone to start working from home. Weeks of work down the drain!

    If this course of yours is as unpolished as you say, I reckon it’ll only enhance its authenticity. Looking forward to getting stuck into it this weekend. 🙂

      • Dear Gavin,
        What a pleasure to hear from you! Your uTube videos I really look forward to and enjoy very much. No consolation to you, but it was ‘sort of’ reassuring to know that I am not alone when it comes to techno hitches and glitches. The World is Real!!
        I contracted Covid in March 2020 and now trying to beat the effects of ‘Long Covid’. Getting there by degrees, I will be very keen to one day join you on on one one of your ‘expeditions’….even if Grumpy happens to be there as well.
        I am a ‘Photoshop Moron’ but getting very practiced at being one, so hopefully I have something to give.
        Just to sincerely thank you for lifting life up a lot with your great video’s. Keep it going, a hello from this stranger to Amanda and Grumpy as well. It will be great to meet up one day….perhaps on one of your trips!!!!
        My warm regards, Philip Cooke.

  8. i love your videos Gavin. i was wondering when the next F4 project might get underway? as of the moment the border is opened, although with delta variant on the rampage, that might be very temporary. hope all is well.

    • Apparently Americans are allowed into Canada but Canadian are not welcome in the US. Clown world continues to ensure that there will most likely never be another F4 project. That and my loosing the will to live.

  9. Gavin thanks for using the gifts God gave you to make the world a better place. Also….in addition to your book and tutorials I ordered, Smart Ass, Kicking Horse coffee. My wife and I love it. Thanks for the free promos. LOL. Take care!!!

  10. Mr Hardcastle photoshop for morons is a light in the current darkness that besets us all. It is surely what we have all been waiting for. The first green shoots of recovery, and if not the course will show you how to add those shoots. The technical expertise displayed by Mr Hardcastle is stunning. The lesson with Amanda doing the fan dance is worth the price on its own. I mean the cost of the electricity for all those fans alone would be astronomical.
    My only concern is how can there be a version 2, what can be added ? If you dont buy this course you must be a tight ars@# bas#@!d. Well done Mr Hardcastle

  11. Just binge watched Part 1 and it reminded me of stuff I didnt know or had forgotten – just brilliant.
    Gavin, you must have been a teacher in a previous life ( before you got sacked for having WAY too much humour ) cos the length of each segment is just perfic for us morons with the concentration level of a gnat. Worth every penny and having said all that I look forward to the arrival of that coffee you keep banging on about 🙂 AND dont blame Covid, which has fk all to do with Vancover Island Postal Services just get posted or I will spill the beans on your antics in Huddersfield.

  12. Absolutely love the combination of humour and you knowledge.
    You and Amanda are a dream team.
    Best wishes from Cornwall UK

  13. I am thinking of ordering this Photoshop for Morons, although honestly I think its way to advanced for me. You see, I am a one click warrior, ie Skylum Luminar and all the topaz labs and Nik tools. Oh, once in a while I grab a slider. But for me, I never really got into photoshop or especially Lightroom. I have both along with Photoshop Elements basically a piggyback for the plugins. Well, now, I grow tired of plugins with all the updates and have to haves. I need to really learn photoshop. And while this may be way more advanced for me… I have to start somewhere. :). I am quite sure there is a name alternative for Moron at the bottom end of the scale. Idiot is still to high a level up for me to reach. Maybe Megamoronidiotdisaster is more like it. Do I have a chance to succeed?


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