A Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop

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I’m going to start doing a series on using various photography programs and camera basics as I have been seeing some questions coming in about this. And I wanted to start with Photoshop because this program can seem daunting at first. There are a lot of options and can be quite confusing to learn when you don’t know where to go in the application to complete specific items. Now there might be several of these guides dedicated to Photoshop specifically, but those will be more focused on specific topics.

But before we dive into the guides, I am going to give two disclaimers about this series:

  1. I am not professionally trained in any of these areas. These are all things I’ve learned myself and do when I use these tools.
  2. I don’t always edit my photos. Sometimes I think they are excellent quality all on their own, but those are far and few between.

I personally use Adobe Photoshop version 13, so if you use different version things might be in slightly different locations or appear differently. The very first thing you’ll want to do is open up your photo within Photoshop by going into the file then open then choose the image where it is saved on either your SD card or computer. For this guide, I will be using the following image that I took with my Canon Rebel EOS T6 camera on a tripod. I shot this in my bathroom which doesn’t have the greatest lighting in the world as there is no natural light in there.



Common Steps

These are the things I generally adjust when I am editing any of my photographs:



EXPOSURE: I will always adjust this as this will help make things look brighter. But be careful with adding too much or details in the photo will be lost.



CONTRAST: I like to add a little contrast to the photographs as this makes the white and black pop more. But I don’t like to add too much or the subject stops looking realistic.



LEVELS: If you are taking photos of beauty products and want to have the text pop, adjusting the black leveling of the image. If you shoot with a black background, this will help the text not become washed out. Whereas, on a white background this is a major issue.


However, I never adjust the photo directly. I will always make these changes in layers to avoid destroying the original photo and so you can switch things back and forth as needed. To open a new layer within Photoshop several different ways: 1. By selecting Layer > New > Layer, 2. Pressing Shift + Ctrl + N, or 3. In the layers panel by selecting the new layer button.



What are your go to photo editing applications?

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