Photoshop is one of the most powerful tools in a photographer’s arsenal. In addition to basic editing, it truly has the power to transform photos into digital works of art. Photoshop has become the industry standard because of its versatility and proficiency. Today we will be introducing new photographers to Photoshop’s layout and function. So first things first, click that beautiful blue icon and let’s dive into your first taste of post-production with Photoshop.
When Photoshop loads you will find a window that looks like the image above. Annotated are the main areas you will need to be familiar with when you begin. Menu Bar – you are probably pretty well versed in using this section already. It contains options and menus for operating Photoshop. Options Bar – This area holds the options for the particular tool you are using. You will notice this bar changes as you select different tools from the Toolbox. Toolbox – this menu contains shortcuts to commonly used Photoshop tools. Panel Dock – this dock holds user customization panels for different tools and attributes. Layers Panel – this panel will hold a list of layers that you have created and allow you to edit their attributes by selecting the layer.
Understanding the Toolbox is important because it is one of the most commonly used menus in Photoshop. Each tool has a specific task and allows you to edit your photos in unique ways. This dock is located to the left of the window by default but can be moved or detached based on user preference by simply dragging it anywhere on the screen. Most of the tools are self-explanatory by their name but a few you will need to use to really understand how they work. Get your feet wet by opening a picture with Photoshop and simply going down the list of tools clicking each one to see how they work.
Excellent, you are starting to
understand how Photoshop is laid out! Let’s take the next step and grade a photo using some basic tools. Start by opening a photo, any photo will do but it is preferable to start with one you have taken from your camera so that the photo will not have prior effects applied to it. To begin grading your photo open the Brightness and Contrast tool, as seen on the left. You will see two sliders allowing you to adjust both properties. You will notice as you bump up the contrast the picture looks a little more defined but loses detail in darker areas. If you go overboard on the brightness property you’ll notice your photo start to wash out. Set these sliders to a value that looks appealing and click OK when you finish.
Now that you have adjusted the lighting on your photo let’s start making the color corrections. Open the Vibrance tool pictured to the right. Once this option is selected, you will see two sliders, one for Vibrance and another for Saturation. As Vibrance is adjusted you will notice the colors that are not very well saturated start to become more vibrant or less vibrant depending on the level of adjustment. Saturation, affects the overall color without regard to which colors are already well saturated. Be careful with saturation as colors can easily get “blown out’ and look unnatural.
Congratulations, you have used Photoshop for basic lighting and color correction! It is now time to save your corrected photo. Use the Save As option under the File menu then select a folder to save your photo in as well as a format. I suggest JEPG for your finalized photo if you are posting online or just storing on your computer. Select save to be taken to the next option pop-up. On the last pop-up choose your quality and format options and select OK to save your photo. You’re all done; you have successfully used Photoshop to edit a photo.
That wasn’t so bad, was it? As you familiarize yourself with Photoshop, go deeper and explore the menus and how each tool affects your photos. The more you play with each setting the better you will get at finding the look and feel you desire. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and try new tools to accomplish your goals. Welcome to the world of Photoshop, I hope you have enjoyed your first glimpse.
Questions, comments or concerns? Drop a comment below and start the conversation!