Photoshop inarguably sets the standards when it comes to photo-editing software. It’s used by professionals all over the world because of its versatility and excellent results, because in fact, with Photoshop, there are literally no limits to what you can do with your photos.
If you have Photoshop on your PC or have ever had the chance to try it, you probably know that although it’s a great program, it’s not easy to use. While anyone can get the hang of the basic features, the trickier tools can be hard to master without a little help.
In today’s article, we intend to give you just that. Keep reading for our basic guide on how to use the main features of Photoshop. We hope you find it helpful!
How to install/update Photoshop
At the risk of stating the obvious, before you start reading our guide, make sure you have Photoshop installed and updated to the latest version. That’s the only way you can be sure the software works correctly and you can use all of its tools.
To do this, just open the Creative Cloud desktop app, and in the menu, click the “Apps” option to check for available updates. Then click the “…” button and “Check for latest updates.” If there is a newer version of Photoshop, it will be automatically downloaded and installed on your computer.
Or if you prefer, you can manually download the latest version of Photoshop below.
How to open an image in Photoshop
There are three ways to do it. The first is by clicking the “File” button in the top left corner of the screen and then “Open.” The second is by clicking the “Open” button that appears on the left side when you open the program. Finally, you can drag your photo from the folder where it’s saved and drop it on the Photoshop interface. It’s so easy!
When it opens an image, Photoshop will normally ask you which working space profile you want to use to edit your photo. The options are as follows:
– Preserve embedded profiles (instead of the working space)- You’ll use the original color (sRGB).
– Convert the document’s colors to the working space- You’ll convert the image’s profile to that of Photoshop (Adobe RGB).
– Discard the embedded profile (don’t color manage)– You’ll discard that profile and won’t use any other profile.
We recommend choosing the best profile for how you intend to use your image (post it online, print it, work on it, etc.)
How to crop your image
Knowing how to crop an image in Photoshop is essential, whether you want to add a frame to your photo or quickly resize it.
To do so, first click on the cropping tool, which you’ll find on the menu on the left side of the screen. Alternatively you can select it by pressing the C key.
Then select the cropping area by clicking and holding your left mouse. If it doesn’t turn out like you wanted, don’t worry. You can adjust it by dragging its selection points.
Once your image is cropped, there are many other options you can fiddle with, such as modifying the proportions or rotating it to make it more horizontal. To learn how to do this, check out our step-by-step guide.
How to use layers
Using layers is essential if you want to do any kind of editing on Photoshop.
A layer is an image, drawing or photo superimposed on a base background. Each layer is stacked over or under the others, creating an onion-skin effect.
So, for example, if you have a base image, layer 1 over it, and layer 2 over the latter, layer 1 will be stacked on top of the background, while layer 2 will be stacked on top of layer 1 and the background.
Once you have created your layers, you can work on them by selecting them in their panel. Then you can easily edit the image, and the changes will only affect the selected layer and the underlying ones.
To make more precise changes, you can show or hide layers by clicking the eye-shaped icon beside them. This will make the selected layer either visible or invisible.
Layers are used for many purposes, but the main one is compositing multiple images.
How to use layer masks
Now that you know what layers are and how to edit them, we’re going to teach you how to use layer masks, which let you show or hide a section of any layer.
To add a layer mask, simply click the “Add layer mask” button, which you’ll find in the lower right corner of the layers panel.
Then you’ll see the selected layer appear with a white box, indicating that a mask has been added to it. Add white or black color to the box depending on whether you want that part of the layer to be transparent or opaque.
How to correct imperfections
One of Photoshop’s classic features is correcting small (or large) imperfections in photos, portraits, etc. Nobody likes to see their perfect selfie ruined by zits or unsightly wrinkles.
Fortunately Photoshop has a tool specially designed for this. We are talking about the correction brush. To open it, just click the “Spot Healing Brush” tool or press the J key.
If you have done the above step correctly, you’ll see your brush change to this new tool. Now simply move the brush over the areas you want to correct. It’s as simple as that!
How to use Content-Aware Fill
It’s happened to almost everyone: you think you took the perfect picture, but when you view it on your PC, you spot some object in the background that ruins it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to retake your picture, because Photoshop has a feature that will get you out of a pinch.
To get rid of unwanted objects in the background, first select the “lasso” tool, or click the L key. Then draw a selection around the object you want to remove from your photo.
Once the object is selected, press Shift + F5 to make the fill window pop up. You can get to the same window by going up to the “Edit” option in the menu bar and choosing “Content-Aware Fill.”
To finish, just choose “according to content” and click “OK.” You’ll see the selected object disappear and blend in with the background like a chameleon. Isn’t that useful?
How to apply Smart Filters
It’s normal to get carried away with making changes and edits in Photoshop, to the point where your image can become truly hideous. If you’ve saved your work often as different files, it shouldn’t be too hard to return to a previous version of your image, but… what if you didn’t?
To solve this problem, Photoshop has something called “Smart Filters.” They make sure that any change made to a filter is saved as a Smart Filter, so if there’s something you don’t like, you just have to remove that filter. That way you never have to be afraid to edit your photos.
To apply Smart Filters to a layer, first select them in their panel. Then click the “Filter” option, which you’ll find in the menu bar, followed by “Convert for Smart Filters.”
Then, any change to the layer will appear below the latter as a Smart Filter. So go ahead and try out all the new Photoshop features without fear!
How to save your image with the correct resolution
We’ll wrap up our guide with some tips on how to save an image in Photoshop depending on how you intend to use it.
If you’re working on a project and have not yet finished, we recommend saving your file in PSD format. To do so, click “File” and “Save,” and select the .PSD or .TIFF image format. That way, when you open your file, you can continue where you left off.
Otherwise, if you’re going to save your image for personal use or to be shared with your friends online, we recommend using .JPEG or .PNG format.
If you have a blog or a website, keep in mind that Photoshop can optimize photos for this medium. Just press Ctrl + Alt + Caps Lock + S. Then you can use the settings to compress your images while ensuring they have the necessary quality for your medium.
Photoshop like a pro!
We hope our selection of tricks and basic tips for Photoshop has been helpful to you. There are plenty more things you can do, but these should give you the basics to get started. We hope you have loads of fun trying these tools out!