Our guide to Photoshop
Kristina K

Our guide to Photoshop

First published date September 10 2013 Amended date October 31 2014

From Instagram and Hipstamatic to Photoscape, pictures these days are highly manipulated. Whilst going au-naturale is beautiful, sometimes we need a little help to make pictures look better. After all, the sun rays can’t always shine perfectly on your face and bring out the different shades of your hair, and neither does a 30 carat (or even more!) diamond ring sparkle with such blinding light. Whilst you’ve got to have reasonable skills fiddling with the camera, there are plenty of Photoshop for photographers courses that will make your pictures look like they’ve been professionally taken. Or, if you’re already an expert with Photoshop, and use it on a daily basis for work, then look at some of our Photoshop courses that are perfect for web designers, graphic artists or anyone involved in the creative industry.  


More than just filters

Yes – we love the cool vintage look and the sepia grunge-like filters, the Polaroid frames and quirky title fonts. They make sharing, say, photos of The Shard, interesting at first but surely you’ll be bored by the time you see the 10,000th one? If you’re nodding your head, then why not expand your photo-editing skills, move away from merely using apps and spice up your images using a wider range of filters, colours, tweaks, layers, clone and content aware tools, and everything under the sun! With those skills, you could even crop yourself hanging off The Shard! Photoshop is a lovely combination of your favourite Instagram and more!


For the professionals’ toolbox

If you’re already a professional photographer, a web designer or someone who’s versed with Photoshop, up your skills with more advanced techniques. Learn all about colour management, raw conversion, digital noise and camera aberration control, tonal and colour correction, masking techniques, black and white conversion, retouching, cropping, healing, re-sampling, sharpening and finally, preparing your work for print and the web.


Layers of levels

Whatever level you’re at, you’ll develop the confidence to manipulate and output images to precise specifications and be able to use resolution and file size to create stunning images. You’ll feel comfortable using all sorts of tools such as curves and levels for basic colour correction, adjust layers, explore smart filters and patch. For the amateurs, say goodbye to the horrible dread you get at the pit of your stomach when your image gets distorted. All you need is a little tick in the maintain aspect ratio box! Photoshop is accessible to beginners, intermediate and advanced users, so why not bring your creative vision to life?



Classes range from a couple of days to weeks depending on what you decide to learn. Many of them can be studied on a part-time basis, and students are tested on both their practical and theoretical skills. Because new versions of Photoshop come into the market every so often, it’s a good idea to update your skills frequently so that you remain competitive in the job market.


Photoshop tricks

Those teeth whitening toothpastes – do they do as they say? How do models in magazines achieve that bright sparkly smile? It’s all down to Photoshop! Look at the tips on how to whiten teeth…

·          Create a Hue/Saturation layer via Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation Layer. On the top of layer palette, change the blending mode from Normal to Colour.

·          Select the white box next to the icon of the new Hue/Saturation layer and fill that with black (Edit > Fill...).

·          Select the brush tool and paint white over the teeth you’d like to change. Nothing will change as we’ve not adjusted the Hue/Saturation yet, but paint it back in anyway.

·         Back on the Adjustment Layer panel, change the colours affected from “Master” to “Yellow”. Reduce the Saturation level to about 15% and raise the lightness to remove black. 


Some handy tips...

Refining a selection - After you make a selection in Photoshop, you can edit the selection using refine edge in the top toolbar. Try it, it’s very useful!

Hidden options behind arrows – Click on the tiny arrows on the tool bar – they’ll open up to a whole new world!

Liquify – The airbrushing tool of Photoshop, Liquify allows you to push around pixels, stretch our areas, shrink others or pull in a jaw line.

Undo, undo, undo – You probably know that Cmd/Ctrl+Z is Undo, but you ,may not know that Cmd/Ctfl+Alt+Z lets you undo more than one history state.  

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