5 Photoshop Tips for Beginners

Photoshop is one of the absolute best tools for enhancing your photos. The program contains a huge array of adjustments, filters, selection options, and more, but if you’re trying Photoshop for the first time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

That is why, in this article, I explain everything to you. I share my top five Photoshop tips, including:

  • An easy way to speed up your Photoshop workflow
  • A great way to improve image colors
  • How to Use Photoshop to Highlight Your Main Subject

When you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to enhance your images with pro-level Photoshop adjustments!

1. Learn basic keyboard shortcuts

Photoshop is a very practice program.

In other words, to get things done, you often need to select multiple tools, create layers, create masks, duplicate layers, etc.

And while you box Do all of these things manually – just by clicking around the interface – you can dramatically speed up your post-processing workflow by learning a handful of simple Photoshop keyboard shortcuts.

Photoshop tips for beginners

(The shortcuts aren’t hard to learn, and if you practice, I guarantee you’ll master them in a few hours.)

We wrote an article about our favorite Photoshop keyboard shortcuts, and I highly recommend you check it out. In the meantime, here are some of the most common:

  • V – Select the Move Tool
  • F – Switch between screen display modes
  • Space – Temporarily select the Hand tool
  • B – Select the Brush tool
  • D – Set foreground and background colors to their defaults
  • X – Swap background and foreground colors
  • E – Select Eraser Tool
  • S – Select Clone Stamp Tool
  • W – Select Quick Selection Tool
  • Ctrl+J – Duplicate selected layer

2. Enhance colors with Saturation, Vibrance, etc.

Serious photographers to like adjust colors in their work to create interesting effects (the results are sometimes subtle and sometimes striking).

Indeed, this type of adjustment, known as color gradientis perhaps the most important thing you can do to create polished, professional-level work.

Now, you can perform color grading in a number of different ways, but the basics involve:

  • Adding color tints to image highlights, shadows, and midtones (often separately)
  • Saturated and desaturated colors
  • Pushing colors in different directions (e.g. making blues more green, reds more orange, etc.)

Photoshop Deals very Fine controls for color grading, but I recommend starting with a simple color enhancement.

Select Adjustments in the Image menu, then select Vibrator:

Photoshop tips for beginners

Next, try increasing Vibrance, Saturation, or both Vibrance and Saturation:

Photoshop tips for beginners

You don’t wanna take it too far, but in my experience a little extra Vibrance and Saturation will increase the color intensity and make your image really get out of the screen.

What is the difference between Vibrance and Saturation? Saturation increases the intensity of all colors in an image, while Vibrance increases the intensity of colors a bit more selectively (emphasizing less saturated colors). Vibrance is particularly useful if you want to add punch to your portraits as it specifically avoids skin tones. Saturation is especially useful if your image is full of color and you want to smash the viewer on the head!

Photoshop vibrance adjustment
Photoshop Saturation Adjustment

Once you’ve finished your Vibrance and Saturation adjustments, you can call it a day – or you can experiment with advanced color grading methods. The next step might be to apply a color balance adjustment and use the tool to add interesting tints to highlights and shadows. (Here I recommend playing until you get a result you like!)

3. Add a thumbnail to grab the viewer’s attention

Vignetting is a technique designed to emphasize your main subject. You simply darken the edges of the frame, forcing the viewer’s eyes to move to the center of the (brighter) image:

Photoshop tips for beginners

It may sound simple, but it works extraordinarily well, and it’s a Photoshop trick that professionals use on a huge percentage of their images. (Of course you have to be subtle about your vignetting; as the pros often say, the best thumbnails are felt, not seen!)

Now, there are many ways to use Photoshop to create a beautiful thumbnail, and I’ll share the easiest one with you:

First, select FilteredSo choose Lens correction:

Photoshop tips for beginners

Click on the Custom tab, then find the tab Thumbnail section:

Photoshop tips for beginners

Finally, drag the Rising to the left to subtly darken the edges of your image. You can use the Environment slider to change the thumbnail size (moving the Middle slider to the right will widen the circle; moving the Middle slider to the left will close it).

Most images can do with a slight increase in sharpness; it will improve detail, accentuate texture and give your files a bit more punch.

But how do you sharpen images in Photoshop?

The easiest way is to select Filtered>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. The window will then allow you to select a sharpness Rising, where higher values ​​increase the sharpening effect. (To fine-tune the result, you can also adjust the Radius and Threshold sliders.)

Photoshop tips for beginners

But many professionals prefer to use another sharpening technique, known as high pass sharpening, which works like this:

First, duplicate your image layer (select CTRL+J/Cmd+J), and rename it “Top”.

Second, make sure the top layer is selected, then click Filter>Other>High Pass to open the high pass filter.

Photoshop tips for beginners

Third, adjust the Radius slider until you can only see the edges of the image. Click on Ok.

Photoshop tips for beginners

Fourth, change the blending mode of the top layer to Cover.

Fifth, adjust the opacity of the top layer until you get a result you like!

5. Have fun with Photoshop filters

Have you ever wanted to make your photos look like watercolors, oil paintings, mosaics or pastels?

So you to have to check out Photoshop’s filter gallery.

You see, Photoshop filters are basically automated effects that you apply to your images with just a few clicks, and they can help you achieve certain special effects or looks. They are not difficult to use, but the results are exceptional. Here are some of my favorites:

  • film grain
  • raw pastels
  • Colored pencil
  • Glass
  • graphic pen
  • coal
  • Stained glass

To apply a filter, go to Filter>Filter Gallery:

Photoshop tips for beginners

You will see an array of filter options; just click on the corresponding icon and then adjust the sliders to your liking.

Photoshop tips for beginners

These days I don’t use filters much – I prefer to create my effects manually – but it’s a great way to have fun when you’re new to Photoshop. Note that you are not limited to a single filter; you can always stack multiple filters for unique effects!

Photoshop Tips for Beginners: Final Words

Well, now you have it:

A handful of simple tips for getting started editing in Photoshop.

So learn some keyboard shortcuts. Experiment with color grading. And have fun!

Now your turn :

Which of these Photoshop tips is your favorite? How do you plan to approach your post-processing workflow? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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