You’ve read Martin’s Top Ten Photography tips and here is my Photoshop Top Ten.
1. PANIC NOT
Don’t be afraid of the program! At first sight mild panic is often followed by clicking the little red cross in top right hand corner. It might look complicated at the outset but when you start to break the interface down it really does start to become far more logical. (I’ve had it compared to an airplane instrument panel on several occasions). After some simple instruction you will soon start to fly.
2. RAW CONVERTER
On the assumption that you have taken your images in RAW, make sure to optimise your images in Adobe Camera Raw. Investing time understanding how to effectively use the adjustments possible here is a must before you start working in Photoshop.
Layers are fundamental to efficient use of Photoshop. Learn how to use layers and it will not only save you time but will make your work-flow more efficient. Always select “adjustment layers” when changing things such as levels, curves, hue & saturation etc. so that if you wish to edit or delete the adjustment it is all contained in that layer.
4. LAYER MASKS
Once you have mastered layers add layer masks to your repertoire of skills. You will never use the eraser brush again and life will become much easier.
5. CLONE ONTO A BLANK LAYER
Always clone onto a separate blank layer; then you will be able to move, rotate, and transform your cloned area to your heart’s content.
6. READ PHOTOSHOP MAGAZINES
Purchase or borrow some photoshop magazines to pick up project ideas. Start with some of the simpler techniques and work them through. My favourite two magazines on the (UK) market are Digital Photo and Photoshop Creative
Learn my Top ten short-cuts. They will save a serious amount of time when editing your images.
8. MONOCHROME IMAGES
There are numerous ways to create monochrome images but my favourite is to select the Black and White adjustment layer and then tweak each colour until the overall contrast is to my satisfaction. There is no such thing as a standard setting here; every image is different and will need to be adjusted to suit the overall tones and colours to optimise your final creation.
The benefit of this approach is that it will automatically give you a layer mask. If you fancy adding a little colour tone to your image you can also click on the tint box at the top and select the colour of your choice. Sepia is a popular choice but do keep it subtle!
9. SAVE YOUR SELECTIONS
Ever spent half and hour or more carefully selecting an object then get called to tea, saved your image and lost the selection? Never again! Make sure you save your selection so that you can reload them as and when necessary as shown below.
As with anything, if you want to keep up to date with all the current and future tools in Photoshop it’s practise, practise, practise.
Experiment along the way. Check out the filters for some different creative effects.
Try clicking on something new every day for a week and reap the rewards.
If you are still getting stuck and frustrated then why not check out our 1-to-1 Photoshop tuition.