The Most Important Things about Photoshop all Beginners Must Know - Dreamstime

© Vukas
All dedicated beginners usually already know that with the help of Photoshop you can heal the photos, clone the background, move the objects, adjust skin tones, and do many many amazing tricks, and there are lot of tutorials out there to guide you. But I want to talk about some main principles what to consider when you think about becoming a Photoshop user, or just have become one.

© Jgroup
(1) Photoshop don’t have brains, and it doesn’t know by itself how to improve your photos

Obviously it’s clear for everyone, but still it’s a good thing to stop and think about before you go to buy yourself this high-end software. Sometimes people think if I have this first-rate camera or this expensive software I would produce amazing images. And they are unhappy when they can’t afford such tools. But reality is that you can achieve great results with your great skills and great knowledge. Absence of expensive equipment is not an excuse for boring photos. Your skills, knowledge and creativeness mostly make the great photo and only after that those super tools can help to get even better results. So before you buy yourself professional software, you can easily train your skills and learn the basic techniques with some free photo editing tools or lighter version of Photoshop - Adobe Photoshop Elements. If you later feel you need more professional tools, then all those extra features would be really helpful for you. So, basic skills are possible to learn with basic tools.

(2) Photoshop can be learned by trial and error, but the better way is to learn it with the help of experts

It means you need to know where to find the best training tools – videos, tutorials. An online class would be a great starting point, but another very useful place is Adobe TV. Learn the best and fastest ways to perform tasks before you acquire some bad habits by trial and error. Old habits die hard, they say. It’s true with Photoshop as well.

© N.l
(3) Photoshop can ruin your photo and waste your time, or it can help you to work fast and productively

It’s good to gain the habit to manipulate your photo nondestructively. If you don’t have raw file to start with then always make a copy before you open it for editing. Learn to use layers, adjustment layers, smart filters, and masks. For example, if you put a text on your photo and a little bit later you realize that it should be more on the left, then it’s really hard to fix it when you have both text and photo on the same layer. And even when you are very sure how you want to modify your image and you are happy with end result, there will come always a day when you’ll think or even worse – you’ll be asked by a client - to make a little correction on your image, which you can’t fix otherwise that recreating your image from scratch, if you don’t want to ruin the quality. But with the layered image you could only adjust or move one layer. Much faster approach for unforeseen circumstances. And the final image will have much better quality while edited nondestructively.

© Maigi
(4) Photoshop can’t do magic with a crappy photo

That’s true. You need to have good source material to produce great manipulated images. Proper lighting while creating photos, crisp focus with the help of tripod, maximum image size and quality, raw files – it all helps you to get beautiful final result.

(5) Best way to store Photoshop files is to store them as layered psd file

Once again, there will always be moments when you wish to change something small on your image, maybe even some years later, and you would be very happy if you’ll find that you have saved your working project. Which brings us to another point – it’s always a good habit to manipulate your photo with the highest size possible. Even when you create an image for a website. When there is a slightest possibility that one day this image could be printed out on a large canvas or you would need a little bit different crop, then you would be very happy to have the best starting point available. And quite often you don’t know it in advance that you would need that image again after 3 years. So it’s better to have an habit to save your images as layered psd files. Although psd files are large, the storage space becomes cheaper and cheaper nowadays, so having one additional drive for your photos, have more advantages than disadvantages.

© Maigi
(6) Photoshop love tablets

Yes, it does. You will realize it when there comes first time when you need to isolate an object. Stick a ballpoint ink reservoir through the sponge and try to draw a circle holding the sponge, and then take a ballpoint pen and draw a circle – you’ll feel the difference. Tablet makes editing so much easier.

(7) There are shortcut keys available

And they are really useful and help you to speed up your work. It takes much less time to hit couple of keys on keyboard than go and select new tool from the menu or toolbar. Maybe one time the difference is not significant, but when it comes to hundreds keystrokes then you really can save a lot of time.

Photoshop can be lot of fun and it’s rewarding to acquire good habits right at the beginning.

Happy photoshopping! Oops - happy using the Adobe


Photo credits: Danielslave, Feng Yu, James Steidl, Maigi, Miszaqq, N.l, Slavenko Vukasovic.

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November 12, 2012


I'm just amazed at what people can do with Photoshop. I love to watch tutorials, even if I can't remember it all!

November 12, 2012


Great tips.Thanks.

November 12, 2012


Lots of good reminders here. Thanks! I wish I had taken the time to learn about layers and masks before I started using PS many years ago.

November 09, 2012


I fully agree, to obtain beautiful images do not necessarily need expensive equipment and software, especially when you are not able to exploit its immense potential Thanks for reminding me
Ciao Sandra

November 09, 2012


Yes, Sally, if I only had a ticket to New Zealand, I would give you the whole week personal training in Photoshop. ;)
Sally, check out Adobe TV, they have really great videos out there. :)

November 09, 2012


Glad you like it. You are pros, you know how it works. :)

November 08, 2012


Nice article! Indeed Photoshop it`s a great tool, but it can do no magic without a little help from our brains :)

November 08, 2012


Very nice and useful article Maigi:)

November 08, 2012


I just started using Photoshop and this is very helpfull.

November 07, 2012


Geat article Mailis, I agree with all you're saying and yet, as a very basic user of Photoshop, I can see how easy it is to make the mistakes you're talking about it!

November 07, 2012


Useful as usual Mailis! Well written blog! :)

November 07, 2012


:) Thank you guys for your kind words!
LOL Simon, it's not a big problem when your friends are thinking this way. But when your client shares this view, you will be in trouble. :))

November 07, 2012


I can only agree with you. All this is true.
Jajaja... One time a friend of mine that dosn't know about photography and retouching told me about Photoshop: "This must be magic: A button to remove the flab, a button to get the porcelain skin, a button to change the color of your eyes ..." Eyyy stop stop stop... jajajaja is not as easy as you say. I'm sure there are a lot of people that think like my friend.

November 07, 2012


True. Photoshop is not a cosmetics brand :)

November 07, 2012


Very nice blog, thanks!

November 06, 2012


I agree! Nice post Mailis!

November 06, 2012


Very nice and useful blog!

November 06, 2012


Yes i will buy one tablet:)

November 05, 2012


Very instructive ! Wish I could tell my brain and hand that they need to work together and learn how to use a tablet !

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