Running a blog or business, you are creating visual content day in day out. Visual content works better we all know. Even if you’re not a designer, you have to learn a few skills to create images and graphics for your blog, social media or advertisements. In this post, you can learn about the advantages of Photoshop, get advice from the experts, find the 7 best Photoshop tutorials for beginners and get a cheat sheet with important Photoshop shortcuts so you will work with lightspeed.
Why Photoshop is a pro app
There are lots of possibilities for non-designers to quickly put together some images to post on social media e. g. with the use of one of the many free online tools. These tools, however, are limited in their possibilities. I am all for inexpensive or free stuff. These apps will work fine for most of your needs. But I am also a pro and contra kind of girl. What I recommend is looking for an app which gives you the most features for the best possible price. Do you want to look like a pro? Well, then you have to use pro tools.
The possibilities are endless
There are a million (just a guess) advantages of using Photoshop over other apps, you can get for free. Just a couple of them are:
- Large amount of fonts (with Adobe Typekit even more)
- Multiple file formats: PSD, JPG, PNG, PDF …
- High resolution, you can use for large sized prints
- Save small file sizes for web with as much compression as you want (Don’t know what file size you need? Check out this post: Resize your images in Photoshop)
- Working with layers makes your files easy editable anytime
- Use actions to record your editing process and save time
- Transparency possible
- Cloud to store files and easily access from different devices
One of Adobe Photoshop’s old slogans was “See what’s possible” and with Adobe’s Creative Cloud offers, Photoshop is more affordable than ever. The photography plan costs $ 9,99/ month. It includes Photoshop and Lightroom + some other apps. You can always get a free trial first.
Don’t fall for a myth
Most of you will possibly start scratching their heads now and say, “but Sandra, Photoshop is way too complicated. I can never figure this out.”. That’s a myth! A myth that is going around for far too long and probably created by people who never even opened this program once. You are using other programs like Word e.g. for a long time now but you figured that out too. You’re probably a more technical savvy person than I am (can anyone explain to me how Facebook works?), so why are you scared of learning something new. Let me tell you a quick story: When I started using Photoshop, back in the 1990s, (I started with Photoshop 4.0 by the way) I hadn’t spent more than 10 hours on a computer in my life. I didn’t know how to write a text in Word, hell, I didn’t even know how to turn a computer on and off. Still, I made it work.
Overcome your misgivings. You don’t need to learn everything at once. Take it step by step. There are features you will never use, there are features I never used in all those years. What you need to figure out is your way to use this amazing tool. Everybody started out in the same place as you are in right now. No one became a Photoshop guru overnight. We all started, we all struggled in the beginning, we all took time and still put effort into perfecting our skills.
What the pros can tell you
All this rambling would amount to nothing if I didn’t give you some examples on how to easily start your skill training. I went up and down the internet to find the best tutorials to get you started and while I was on this trip, I asked some fellow bloggers who are real Photoshop pros about their experience. What kind of problems they were confronted with in the beginning? Is there anything they still can’t figure out? What helped them most when learning this program? Why do they prefer it over other programs?
Let us start with Sarah Morgan @xosarah.com. Check out her blog to find more Photoshop tutorials.
I was using Photoshop for at least 5 years before I found the crop tool. Instead of working through tutorials (I’m not sure there were that many back then) I dove right in and tried to figure everything out on my own. I didn’t know what a crop tool was so I had no idea where to find it and what a time save it would be. Now I’m editing at light speed with that addition to my Photoshop arsenal.
Holly McCaig, just like me, started to learn Photoshop in the 90s. She’s got a brand new e-course called Photoshop Your Biz coming up. This course is tailor-made for biz owners and bloggers who want to create their own images with Photoshop to attract more readers and customers, make their brand’s message easily understandable, sell products and convert new customers. For more information on her course, starting the 23rd august, check out her course page. And here’s some good advice from Holly:
So I’ve been using Photoshop since the early 1990s. The version I started on was Photoshop 2.0. Yep, 2.0! Old school! It was overwhelming to me then, but it’s grown substantially in features and power over the years so you can only imagine it’s still intimidating. The point is that if you go into it knowing that hardly anyone uses Photoshop to its full potential so don’t let it feel overwhelming to you. Learn what you need to do, and challenge yourself to try new things by watching tutorials, or making it a habit to get familiar with new shortcuts frequently.
To answer your questions: I think I struggle with understanding channels and still don’t really get them. I did a lot of photography editing and for some reason, I just never absorbed using those features. But there are dozens of ways to achieve one thing in Photoshop, so it’s okay! I started learning Photoshop in college, but over the years have self-taught myself more advanced features and steps to get certain results. There are lots of tutorials out there, and you can even jump in on courses that are specific to what you want to learn. For instance, I took an illustration class for Photoshop users on Skillshare once. I believe there is importance in understanding the different uses for Adobe programs. Yes, you can achieve some of the same things like creating a logo in Photoshop and Illustrator, but Illustrator is technically better for that type of project because, in the end, the file works best for scaling and different printing requirements. But, Photoshop is the go-to for photography editing. You can’t use InDesign to edit photos. They each have their use. That being said, a lot of people probably own Photoshop vs the other Adobe platforms, so they adapt to it for their needs. So I work to provide a little bit more help for those that use Photoshop when I can.
Erin is a professional photographer who teaches people how to take better photos on sixthbloom.com. Here’s how she answered my questions:
What did you struggle with in the beginning or still haven’t figured out? I struggled with finding my editing style that is timeless and classic, not trendy, but one that would last a lifetime of trends.
What helped you most when you learned using Photoshop (are you self-taught or did you take courses)? Self taught and Constantly learning, reading and asking questions.
Why do you think it is important to learn Photoshop and why do you prefer it over other programs? Photoshop will help you edit your photos in a professional way and it’s ease (once you learn it) can speed up your workflow.
Laura @westellamee helps busy bloggers and creative businesses to get organized. Photoshop has helped her to create awesome visuals for her business:
I’m a self-taught Photoshop user and finding tricks and quick tutorials have helped increase my ability to create for fun and for business. I love the challenge and sense of accomplishment that comes with taking on a new idea using Photoshop and adding it to my ever-growing list of ways to use the program.
The 7 best Photoshop tutorials for beginners
I personally had a lot of trouble working with layers. In the beginning I didn’t see the reason to use them. So most of the time I didn’t and it always brought me into trouble. Therefore I chose this to be your first tutorial.
If you take photos yourself, you know that on a photo you see every detail. Tiny spots, dust, things you didn’t see when you were clicking away. Chaitra @itspinkpot.com has the perfect solution to get rid of these flaws.
Rekita @rekitanicole.com made a video tutorial for those of you who like to improve their mobile phone pics before posting on Instagram.
Holly’s tutorial shows you different ways to add font to a photo on hollymccaig.com. This tutorial is a must for all who want to create images for their blog and social media.
Sarah @xosarah.com goes one step further and adds a personal touch to fonts by creating patterned text.
Erin has an in-depth tutorial on how to change the background in a photo over on sixthbloom.com.
Here’s a trick to improve your workflow from Laura @westellamee.com. She shows us how to create color libraries in Photoshop.