5 Easy Photoshop Tips for Beginners - Digital Photography School

5 Easy Photoshop Tips for Beginners

Photoshop CC iconPhotoshop has changed the way we transform our imagination. If you are into any digital workplace, learning Photoshop can be a great help. Photoshop today is certainly a centre of creativity to which almost every digital domain; from web designing to animation; from photography to digital magazine, is deeply connected. Today, when it comes to photography, it is not possible to imagine it without Photoshop.

Good Photoshop skills can’t make a mediocre picture perfect unless you are into manipulation. However, it can certainly help you to enhance your best photo into an amazing masterpiece. Learning Photoshop is a slow process, and you should try it with enough practice, after all it is a digital art.

In this article I will walk you through some basic Photoshop retouching skills. These 5 easy Photoshop tips for beginners will be a great start to learning to proces your photographs.

1. Learning Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning keyboard shortcuts will help you to speed up your processing workflow. There are few key shortcuts for different tools in the tool bar. A few of the most widely used shortcuts are:

Photoshop keyboard shortcuts

  • V = move tool
  • F – toggles through display screen modes
  • Space bar = temporary hand key
  • B – paintbrush tool
  • D – sets the foreground/background colorss to default
  • X – swaps between background and foreground color
  • E – eraser tool
  • S – stamp or cloning tool
  • W – quick selection tool
  • Ctrl+j – duplicates the selected layer

There are just few of the most regularly used Photoshop shortcuts. When you start using the program more, your knowledge of shortcuts will gradually increase. Once you are aware of the most used shortcuts retouching pace will be faster than ever.

2. Color Enhancing – Saturation versus Vibrance

Photoshop tips vibrance

Color is another domain you can try while enhancing your photographs. Generally when you are beginning in photography, enhancing the color of every image looks good, as if the colors are speaking out of the photographs. It will be lot more helpful if you can understand the difference between how saturation and vibrance works. Go to Image menu and choose Adjustment under the menu

As shown in the image to the right, select the Vibrance option. You will get two options under the menu – Vibrance and Saturation. Vibrance increases the saturation of less saturated colors. This option avoids yellow and orange skin tones. Basically vibrance works best for portraits.

Photoshop tips saturation color adjustments

On the other hand, saturation increases the intensity of all the colors in your image equally. This may not be a good option for portraits or peoples photos. What I can recommend is this: slowly start with vibrance for the color enhancement and use saturation later if you want to pump up the color more.

If you compare the two photos below, you will understand how vibrance is only responsible for increasing the intensity of less saturated colors, where as saturation increases the intensity of all colors equally.

Photoshop vibrance adjustment

Photoshop saturtation adjustment

3. Adding a Vignette

Photoshop vignette

Vignetting is basically a technique to darken the edges of your frame so that the eyes move to the subject more easily. This procedure works best when you have a subject in the center. Our eyes tend to move towards the brighter part of the image and recede on the darker side. This technique will result in dark space around the subject.

There are lots of manual ways you can add vignetting in your photos but I will talk about how to easily add vignetting in your images via Photoshop. Go to Filters Menu at the top and select “Lens Correction”, then choose the Custom Tab on the right. The third section down is for adding a vignette. Slide the Amount to the left to darken, and Midpoint to adjust the size of the circle.

Photoshop tips vibrance Photoshop tips vignetting

4. Adding Sharpness and Details

Photoshop filter lens correction vignette

Adding sharpness is another technique for beginners in Photoshop. This will make your image look more detailed. I would suggest detailing most of your images with appropriate values. But make sure you sharpen, or detail your images with a small value if you are going to upload images on Facebook because it compresses the images and adds some detail to make it took a bit sharper. So when an already sharpened image is uploaded in Facebook, there is a change of it looking too edgy.

Like any other technique, there are many ways you can add details in Photoshop. I will show you a very simple technique. Once you understand how this works you can experiment with some of the other techniques.

  • Photoshop high pass filterStep 1. Duplicate the selected layer with a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J (PC) or Command+J oP MAC
  • Step 2. Open the High Pass filter: Filter > Other > High Pass on the top layer
  • Step 3. Apply an appropriate value (just to see the edges in the image) and click Okay
  • Step 4. Change the blending mode of the top layer to Overlay
  • Step 5. Adjust the opacity of that layer to your taste
Photoshop-tips-layer-blend-mode

Layer blend mode

5. Photoshop Filter Gallery

Photoshop tips filters

Filters are basically automated effects that you apply to your images with a few clicks. Filters can help you to achieve certain special effects or looks. There are various filters in Photoshop, which you can pick individually, each filter results in different effect when applied to different images. You an also apply more than one and stack them. Though I don’t use filters much, it’s good to explore if you are just starting out in Photoshop. Later, when you are more familiar with advanced tools and techniques you can try to create the similar effect from manual options and controls.

To apply a filter select the layer and go to Filter > Filter Gallery. Before you apply any filter in the gallery make sure to change your image to 8 bit. You can do that by going to Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel

Photoshop filter gallery

I hope these 5 basic Photoshop tips will help you to retouch and enhance your photos. If you have others suitable for beginners please share in the comments below.

For further reading on Photoshop head to:

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Anup Ghimire is a 23-year-old Nepal based self-learned photographer, retoucher and blogger. He does mostly landscape and fashion photography and writes about them. He has completed a Bachelor in Information Technology with major in multimedia. He also make videos and edits them and has been doing tutorials on YouTube mostly about Photoshop and Lightroom. He's a founder and blogger of Pixel Tut and World's Most Beautiful Places which is deeply related to his passion for photography and travel.