Photoshop CC is a complex and sophisticated program, but once you understand what it can do and how it works, the pieces will fall into place. In this guide to Photoshop for beginners we’ll take you through the stages of setting up the ideal photo editing workflow.
Photoshop for Beginners: 01 Organise photos with Adobe Bridge
The Photoshop subscription package includes Adobe Bridge, a separate application you can use to organise and evaluate your pictures.
You can use the Folders panel to look at any of the folders containing images that you have on your computer, and pictures are displayed as thumbnails in the main window.
Adobe Bridge can be used to check the shooting information saved by your camera in its image files, and you can add keywords, copyright information and other ‘metadata’ to your photos to make them easier to sort.
Adobe Bridge can also be used to open Adobe Camera Raw, a Photoshop add-on that opens raw files from digital cameras – see step 02 for more on Adobe Camera Raw.
Photoshop for Beginners: 02 Get started with Camera Raw
Photoshop opens raw files using the Adobe Camera Raw add-on, and this offers an ever-increasing range of adjustments for enhancing your photos.
In many cases you won’t need to open images in Photoshop at all.
You can adjust exposure, white balance, contrast and other global settings, as well as apply ‘local’ adjustments with the Graduated Filter tool, Adjustment Brush and Radial Filter.
Changes you make in Adobe Camera Raw are non-destructive – you can go back and change them at any time.
Photoshop for Beginners: 03 Smart Objects and filters
Sometimes, adjustments you make in Adobe Camera Raw are simply preparation for more serious work in Photoshop, such as adding effects with filters. Photoshop CC has a clever feature called ‘Smart Objects’.
You can turn any image into a Smart Object and then add filter effects ‘non-destructively’ – you can double-click the filter in the future if you need to re-edit it.
This photo has three filters applied: one to straighten the building, another to create the black-and-white effect, and a third to create the aged, ‘stained’ look.
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Best Photo Editing Software? 6 budget alternatives to Photoshop tested and rate
Photoshop Curves Tool: 6 techniques every photographer must know
Unsharp Mask – how to ensure the sharpest images possible every time
Adobe Camera Raw: 8 tools that will save your raw files
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