Advertisements, huge billboards, magazine photos, and pretty much every other professional photography example goes through the magic process of image editing. You may already be familiar with Adobe's Photoshop, but still don't know how to make your photos look, well, not amateur. Everyone started from the bottom, so don't be discouraged. All it takes to improve is the will to become better and to practice hard. Lucky for you, we have ten of the best Photoshop tips to help you achieve just that.
What Is Photoshop?
Even though Photoshop is a piece of software, many people use the word "Photoshop" as a verb. In reality, back when Adobe decided to create their own version of image editing software, no one expected it to become an industry standard that quickly. Even people that know nothing about computers are familiar with the program's name and often you'll hear someone say "this pic is photoshopped" or something along those lines.
Formally, Photoshop is an image-creation and manipulation software which enables the user to edit single or multiple photos through techniques like layer replication, blending, and cloning among various others.
How Is It Used?
Photoshop is mostly used by professionals working in multimedia, marketing, and IT fields. The program can accept images in a RAW, PSD, JPEG, PNG, and other famous picture formats. By multiple manipulation methods and implementation of widely used Photoshop tips, the image will reach its final retouched state where other effects can be added such as text, overlay images, special effects (glare, reflection, elements), etc.
10 Photoshop Tips to Take Your Pictures to the Next Level
The internet is flooded with photoshop tips, but today we'll be trying to present you with the ten absolute best ones that will actually help take your image editing skills to the next level. So, without further ado, let's jump right in.
1) Watch Tutorials
Rome wasn't built in a day! Even if you believe that you know everything about a single subject, you can never accumulate all the knowledge that is relevant to it. Watching tutorials is a great way to discover new techniques that will offer a fresh perspective to your photos. We aren't just referring to specialized tutorials though. Repetition is the mother of all learning. Dare to dive into the basics now and then to refuel your memory.
2) Subscribe To Galleries and Follow People
This may not sound very important, but it will actually benefit you much more than you think. Creatives all around the world share their work and knowledge with online communities and, apart from gaining inspiration, you could learn a great deal. That being said, there are multiple websites and forums out there, each one specializing in a particular area. There, you can find people that share content similar to what you like creating. We recommend you try to connect with them or at least follow them on social media.
For example, Illustratd, Behance, and DeviantArt are all online communities where people share their creations made using image editing and 3D modeling software including Adobe's Photoshop. On the other hand, you have websites such as UCreative where you'll find tons of freebies, mostly free fonts and brushes, as well as a fair share of advice and Photoshop tips in general. Other similar places are CSSMania, which is a great place for web designers to find inspiration, and Logo Pong, where graphic designers showcase logos they've created.
3) Replicate The Work Of Others
How many times have you seen an amazingly retouched photo? There may have been special effects such as scars or crazy hair coloring combinations. No matter what you found interesting, you should try to replicate it with one of your own photographs. We understand this may sound like nonsense since you wouldn't be making something original, but think about it. As you go on, you will think of extra things to add and at the end, the result will be different to what you originally imagined. You can think of that as a form of practice which will increase your experience in a particular area of image editing.
4) Increase Layers and Maximum History State
If you've watched many tutorials, you most likely have noticed the extensive number of layers people use when using Photoshop. This is a common practice used by professionals to keep track of changes and quick adjustments of different areas. You should do that so you can select which layers to hide or display so that you can check the difference between the original and edited parts. A good idea would be naming those layers based on the changes you've made on each.
Another common method is increasing the maximum history state. Doing so, the maximum edit steps the software can recall is increased helping you fix any accidental mistakes as you go. This option can be easily tweaked by going to "Edit", then "Preferences", and finally "Performance", where you can adjust the number. Note, that this will require additional processing power from your computer, so try not to overdo it unless your device can handle the extra weight. Talking about fixing stuff, you're most likely already familiar with the Ctrl+Z keyboard shortcut, but if you want to undo more than one action, you can use another shortcut, the Ctrl+Alt+Z.
5) Design Contests
Spending hours upon hours on Photoshop doesn't mean you can't benefit from it. There are various photo design competitions available throughout the internet with cash prizes that can, at times, be fairly large, and the winners can receive it via PayPal. Some of the most popular sites are DesignCrowd, PhotoshopContests, and PhotoshopNation. You should know that some of them require original artwork, so image editing won't be enough unless you want to go for the first place prize.
6) No More Pre-made Filters
Before calculators, people had to write the equations on a piece of paper in order to find the result. Using the same exact logic, you must try to steer away from using the pre-made filters that are offered by Photoshop's filter gallery. We aren't saying that to make you sweat, but if you want your final image to be perfect, then you'll have to work for it. Creating your own filters (or custom brushes) will not only result in a more natural-looking photograph, but it will increase your experience using the software's tools to the maximum. If you want to find out how to create custom brushes, we'd advise you to take a look at PhLearn's YouTube channel. They have various Photoshop tips and tutorials.
7) Master Layer Blending and Masking
Earlier, we talked about using more layers when editing. As soon as you become familiar with this method, you'll have to move on to blending them together. You should know that blending is considered the most powerful tool available to a photo editor. Imagine that you want to create a double exposure effect. How would you achieve the perfect outcome? By using a couple (or more) of layers using different photos and then blending them together by adjusting the opacity of each one. This is just one simple example. There are thousands of effects you can create using layer blending methods.
Even though blending and masking may sound like the same thing to you, there is a distinct difference between them. Blending is used to adjust how each layer will interact with the layer placed underneath it while masking is used to hide or show part of another image (found in another layer) over your active one. Both methods require lots of practice, but the results are more than worth it.
8) Become Familiar With the High-Pass Filter
Using the high-pass filter, in combination with layer blending techniques, you can easily manipulate a faulty photograph to an acceptable state. This tool is often used to sharpen an image when some parts are too blurry and missing the extra details you'd like from your photo in order to appear more vibrant and realistic. Becoming familiar with the high-pass filtering technique is one of the basic steps to taking your Photoshop skills to the next level.
9) Color Saturation
Probably one of the best Photoshop tips someone could give you early on is how to saturate a photo's colors properly. Saturation adjustment can play a big role in what your photo is trying to get the viewer to feel. For example, if you want to go for nostalgia, you'd increase the contrast between black and white areas and reduce the saturation of the other colors making the photo appear gloomy or even completely black and white. It can be done by applying a filter, but if you do it yourself the result will most likely be far better. Also, proper saturation of the main colors in a photo will make it much more vibrant. For example, if you are editing a photo of a field with dandelions and a bright blue sky, you'd increase the saturation of green and blue while decreasing red.
10) Clone and Blur
Sounds fun, right!? Well, suppose you have an image of a Ferrari driving down the street, but there is someone walking by that you'd like to remove. Using the clone stamping tools, you'll copy parts of the surrounding environment slowly brushing it over him until he disappears from the background. Still, the results may vary depending on how difficult the adjacent area can be to reproduce. This is where the blur tool comes in. Blurring the background will increase the quality of the photo.
No matter the number of Photoshop tips we give you, your skill level will not increase unless you put the required time and effort into your photo editing sessions. Try putting everything we said to use, and we can guarantee you that you'll become familiar with Photoshop quickly. Now, if you'll excuse us, there are some photos we have to edit. Thank you for reading and remember to always edit on!