5 Easy Photoshop Tips for Beginners

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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:

Read more from our Post Production category

Anup Ghimire is a23 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.

  • These are some great Photoshop Tips! Im just starting to use it and this will really help 🙂

  • Shital

    Great article dude 🙂

  • yes Trine , practice these tips and you will see gradual improvement on your retouching pace.

  • Thank you 🙂

  • Jim Pressler

    I am curious, why do you prefer the method above in 4. for sharpness over the unsharp filter?

  • Jim there are lots of other ways to add detail , but personally i prefer use of high pass filter for adding detail , the same technique i have listed in the 4. I feel more control with the amount of detail . Try it for yourself and see what works best for you.

  • disqus_vBZ2nSpMs5

    “Start as you mean to continue”…. all these things can be done with layers. Things “seem” more complicated when you have to “unlearn” something and then do it differently. People with a fear of Photoshop to begin with have their fears confirmed when they have something thrown at them after the fact. Besides this, all of these are indeed great tips.

  • It not at all about unlearning a technique , i think there is no way of doing that unless you stop doing something completely. Getting to know different technique to achieve a similar result can be a great advantage, and some one who want to improve post processing should be not afraid of trying different techniques.

  • jessylittlej

    I want to know how to make a picture back and white, then make only certain parts color (like the polka dots on a dress)

  • Jessy its easy but you will need to practice in selection procedure of photoshop. And like any other technique even this can be done by several method.

    1. Select the required area u want to make colorful , try to make you selection as precise as possible .

    2. Inverse the selection. It will select the rest of the part levaing waht you selected initially. (Command + Shift + I in mac , Ctrl + Shift + I in windows)

    3. Now apply black and white effect(black and white adjustment layer IMAGE >Adjustment > Black and hwoite) on the selected path or simply desaturate the image(Command + Shift + u in mac , Ctrl + Shift + I in windows )

    another method is simply applying the black and white effect and using masking to erase the effect on desired area. Hope i was clear. let me knw if u need additional help.

  • Dan

    As these tips are for beginners it would be useful to know what version of photoshop you are using. Many beginners are working with CS3

  • Dan i am using photoshop cs6 , and you can use apply these techniques on past version of photoshop as well. But more than the technique and procedure try understanding the final result. Once you do that you wont be limited to one set of procedure. for example “Vignette” it about making the space surrounding your subject lil darker , now you can achieve that result with so many technique. Cheers keep photoshooping

  • Tim Lingley

    One of the filters that is incredibly useful is the Camera Raw filter which basically brings your image into adobe camera raw. I’ve found this interface much easier and more intuitive to work with than having to apply separate filters to make basic adjustments for exposure, lens corrections and sharpening. Even better is applying this filter on a smart object layer so you can go back and adjust things while you work.

  • trialex

    Before-and-after images would have really helped this article to illustrate the effect of each technique.

  • Santanu Chandra

    Photoshop is an ocean….this type of posts are really great help for beginners like us….thank you very much….

  • Shiva Krishna

    This iS REally Amazing nD its Helps A Lot …Need to LEarn More …

  • kimMarie

    Hi, I have CS6 and I would like to know the process of inserting a baby in a basket. I want to take the front part of the basket off – insert baby and put the front part back in. Does any one know how to do this – I understand I need to cut the front part of the basket out – but is it a layer I put in – any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • kimMarie

    Can anyone tell me if they can see my post. Just not sure if it was posted.
    Thank you in advance. Kim Marie

  • A

    Please delete this comment once you’ve changed it, but your bio statement has a couple of typos in it. Right now it says “Anup Ghimire is a23 year old Nepal based self-learned photographer” and should probably say “a [space] 23-year-old Nepal based self-taught [not learned] photographer”. I don’t claim to be a grammatical expert, but those two changes will make a big difference in your bio.

  • A

    The tips in this article were extremely helpful. I had photoshop up on one side of the screen, this article on the other, and began playing. I especially liked tip #4. Thanks so much for the help!

  • daniyal

    What is the version of this Photoshop ? I have been using Photoshop 7 and it don’t have such commands such as vibrance , filter gallery etc

  • jamesapril

    That’s quite old. He’s talking about Photoshop CS series. CS 4, CS 5, etc.

  • This is called Color splash effect check out here… https://goo.gl/gVDH3G

  • This is very useful things you have shared its so informative every beginner will be benefited by this.

  • very good your 5 Easy Photoshop Tips for Beginners post, thank you

  • I was searching on the google and this page appeared. Which version of photoshop is this ? I don’t have such filter gallery.

  • Danish Hussain Danish Hussain

    Really nice, Thanks

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