Basic Photoshop Skills Every Photographer Needs to Master

Woman's face photoshopped with a difference

Photoshop is often the first choice for photographers who want to edit their photos. It has been around for years and has lots of useful functions. But if you’re new to photography or photo editing, you might not have a clue where to start. It can look pretty complicated if you look at the software without knowing what’s what. When you first get started, you only need to worry about the basic skills. Once you have them down, you can start moving onto more complicated skills. Before you begin trying to do anything like that, make sure you master these basics.

Cropping

Cropping images might seem like the most basic of core competencies. However, in Photoshop, it can seem more sophisticated than in many other programs. You have a couple of options for how to crop your images. You can do it the traditional way, where the image stays static, and you bring in the sides of the frame. Photoshop also allows you to move the image around so that you can position it exactly where you want within a set frame. You can also preset different sizes and resolutions, so they’re ready to go at any moment.

Brightness and Contrast

Adjusting the brightness and contrast of your images is also an important skill to have. It’s something you have to be delicate with because a wrong move can make everything go wrong. Luckily, there’s always the opportunity to undo what you just did. Before you start fiddling with slides yourself, try using the “auto” button first. It will try to guess at how to adjust your image so that the brightness and contrast are balanced. If you’re not happy with the results, try moving the sliders up and down to see what you can do. Practice makes perfect with this tool.

Layers

Using layers can help you to have more control over your editing process. Instead of making sweeping changes to your photos, you can layer it to make your edits more targeted. It also means that each time you make an edit, it’s only one layer and not the entire photo. You can change the opacity of a layer and use blending to concentrate on one area. Getting to grips with this function could take you a while. But once you learn to do it, you’ll have much better control over how your photos turn out.

Cloning and Healing

Photoshopping often involves getting rid of bits of your photo that you don’t want. It could be a mark, some frizzy hair, or a blemish on someone’s face. When you do this, you need to be able to remove it without leaving a hole or an obviously photoshopped patch. Cloning and Healing allow you to do this. You use these tools to blend the spots where you make changes. You can use the cloning tool to sample bits of the photos and replace other parts. The healing brush uses pixels surrounding the bit you want to edit.

These skills are essential to learn if you’re a photographer, and there are several more. Don’t forget to learn the basics before trying the harder stuff.

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