Photoshop Tips & Tricks

Now of days, most of us photographers shoot digital. With digital, we are opened up to a whole new world of opportunities. If you are not editing your photographs with software such as Photoshop, you are missing out on making your images look as good as they can.

Whether you are a budding amateur photographer, or a proud parent looking to take better pictures of your kids, software like Photoshop elements can make your images stand out above the rest. There are basic tools that you can use to get the most out of your photographs. Every image that you see in a magazine has been edited to some degree. Every professional photographer that is successful in his or her industry uses these tools to enhance their art.

Notice I said “enhance,” because even the best PS experts cannot save a picture that was compositionally wrong, or had horrid lighting, but with the right knowledge, you can make all of your images better. Adobe (maker of PS and PSE) offers a free trial of their software that allows you to “try before you buy.” For most amateurs, I would suggest PSE, because you get some serious horsepower, and you can always graduate to the full version later. Here are Photoshop Tips & Tricks that you should know how to use to get you started.

1. Layers

This is the subject that turns most users away from PS right away, it seems hard to wrap your head around, but this should help you get a grasp on it. PS offers you the ability to work on layers, to keep certain parts of the image from being affected by your tools. Think of layers as steps. Your base picture is your background, and then every layer that you add is like placing a plastic wrapper over the original layer. Now every tool you use will only affect that single layer. In PS, just go to layer>add new to create a new layer to duplicate the background layer.

2. Levels

Your levels can be found by clicking Image > Adjustments > Levels. Levels adjust the contrast in your images or the difference between brights and darks. Play with it for an instant boost in your images.

3. Hue and Saturation

This can be found by using the same method as above, except you click on Hue and Saturation. Saturation affects the colors in your image. The more saturation, the stronger the color! Just be careful not to go overboard! The hue and lightness can be played with to change the tints.

4. Selection tools.

On the toolbar on the left of the screen, the first four tools are selection tools. They offer you various methods to affect certain parts of an image. Make sure that you right-click, and select a feather radius of 5-250 pixels to soften the edge of the selection.

5. Filters

By clicking the filters tab on the top, you can open ourselves up to a million different opportunities, add some blur, you got it. Sharpening? No problem. You have to play with them all to see the power they offer.