3 things for Photoshop newbies to remember

12th February 2015

Photoshop for newbies

I spend a lot of time of Twitter, following bloggers and hearing their problems. One that arises frequently is:

“I want to use Photoshop but it’s too difficult to use.”

And so bloggers result to using online programmes for editing and creating images which, let’s face it, aren’t as good as Photoshop. If they were, Photoshop wouldn’t exist.

Today I’m going to share three little reminders for those using Photoshop for the very first time. These are not tips on how to use the software (but if you’d like some I’d happily write some posts on that) but instead some general things to remember so that you persevere and don’t give up straight away.

1. You won’t be good at it the first time you use it.

When I see bloggers saying that they use online services like PicMonkey because Photoshop is too difficult, I always think “Well, you must have had to learn how to use PicMonkey?”, or what ever website they are using. You aren’t going to be good at anything first time round. Just because Photoshop looks scary and uses words that you might not understand, it okay because one day you will get use to it. You’ll learn, just like you learnt to use any website or programme.

Image from here.

2. Practice makes perfect.

Following on from the last point, you need to practice using Photoshop before you will get any better at it. Your first practice may look terrible, and when you compare it to the works of others you’ll probably think “Why doesn’t mind look like that?” (see GIF above). Practice, practice, practice, and don’t give up until you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve.

3. Tutorials are great, but try to explore on your own.

Photoshop tutorials are great. Just a simple search on Google or Youtube will throw up tones of tutorials to help guide you through the process. You’ll learn what different buttons do, how to create various looks and also some sneaky shortcuts for getting the job done quicker.

However, tutorials will only get you so far. Once you are more familar with the programme it’s time to run wild and free! Explore what you can do in Photoshop and you’ll discover some pretty neat tricks, I promise.

Also, this is just my personal feeling, but I would never pay for Photoshop tutorials. It’s very much something you can learn on your own using free online tutorials and it will save you a small fortune.

What tips would you give to Photoshop newbies?

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  1. Great post! I pay monthly for my subscription to Photoshop, so I’m determined to get every bit of use out of it I can! I don’t think I can give any better tips than the ones you’ve given here!
    I would never pay for Photoshop tutorials. I got a Photoshop book out of the library once, and that was very useful. It was the wrong version but the basics still applied.

    • Holly

      Yeah, I just taught myself using tutorials I found online. And then later when I go into using RAW files from my DSLR Tyrone became my tutor!

  2. Cat

    I’m often bothered by people who don’t want to try something because it looks too difficult. It might be Photoshop or switching to manual settings on a DSLR or even sewing their own costume instead of buying one. Like you said, no one is good the first time around! Most of us got where we are because we took a chance and just kept at it. Everything requires practice!

    If I were to give a few Photoshop-specific tips, it’d be:

    1. Take advantage of layers. Layer everything! It’s the best way to make adjustments and save your work.

    2. Try everything at least once. I learned Photoshop on my own by just opening up an image and trying every single thing I could find – every tool, filter, image option, layer style, etc.

    3. Make a bunch of graphics, even if you won’t use them. This really goes with your practice makes perfect. I made so many graphics just for fun when I was learning, even though I had no use for them anywhere else.

    I would never pay for Photoshop tutorials either. There’s so many free ones out there, and I write many free ones too!

    • Holly

      People who refuse to learn manual annoy me. Why buy a DSLR if you aren’t going to use it?! I’m glad Tyrone taught me use manual from day one because I’ve never been tempted to switch to auto.

      Great tips!

  3. I remember getting Photoshop and KNOWING absolutely nothing about it, but now I learn new things everyday. Heck, I just learned how to do Actions, which is great!

    I just say, always make a new layer to everything or a duplicate layer. Saves time and frustration. XD

    • Holly

      Good advice! A little practice everyday makes a huge difference. I’m still learning how to use everything, especially considering how much changes with each update.

  4. Agent Q

    I don’t have any specific tips/suggestions regarding Photoshops, but I’d apply the concept of trial-and-error. What’s the worst that could happen? They mess something up? Just undo the stroke, and try again. Practice makes perfect. We all have to start somewhere right? 😉

  5. Alice B

    I don’t think it’s just Photoshop, it’s the same for others. for instance, I’ve seen people who whine about wanting to make magazines but when suggested to use Adobe InDesign – which is obviously programmed for magazine layout design – they would whine about its difficulty. I think it’s not because they don’t want to learn but rather, some people instantly have this default opinion that anything Adobe related will be difficult and take such great effort to learn.

    Some people think I’m biased for Adobe because I’m a Windows AND a Macbook user (doesn’t make sense, I know) and they argue that all designers are Adobe biased. I’ve had non-design students say that design students are probably Adobe-biased despite the expensive price. Honestly, I think that’s silly. Adobe is, by far, the best package for almost anything and everything and their programs are interrelated to one another. I know people want the easiest way out and they probably think, “all I want is just to beautify my image. I don’t need Photoshop, I can manage with just PicMonkey” but yeah, result proves everything. Besides, there’s a reason why Adobe is such the “it” brand for programs involving editing videos or images, etc.

    Some people also think I’m crazy for subscribing to adobe creative cloud – I just think they don’t understand the quality of it. After all, adobe does not make a name for itself for nothing. Obviously there’s a difference in outcome when, for instance, editing a video using movie maker and adobe premiere pro. I suppose not everyone understand this and those who don’t get it think it’s alright to, like you said, use a program like Pic Monkey.

    I myself learned Photoshop on my own since high school and I agree that tutorials can only get you so far. I think programs that require creativity cannot be taught, at least that how I see it. Hence when people ask me to teach them how to use Photoshop or to code a web layout, I don’t think it’s something that can be taught. You need to play around with its hidden secrets haha I think tutorials are only helpful in telling you which tool is which, etc.you know how some people sell photoshop actions and distribute PSDs? some people actually do buy them. I can see that they look good but I feel like buying them would make me feel like I’m following someone’s editing style instead of showing how my signature editing looks.

    Curves and levels are my best friend in Photoshop. I tend to to use them most of the time and then the offset and gamma from exposure. Not a lot of people use them, I think. Most people use color balance but that doesn’t always work in fixing white balance.

    This is such a great post btw! 😀

    • Holly

      Yeah, it’s the same for so many situations. I always see bloggers moaning about learning to use a DSLR, and the principles above apply to that too.

      Adobe is the best. I know quite a few artists and designers (I mean, I even work for a company that designs websites) and they all use Photoshop. If PicMonkey was so great, Photoshop wouldn’t exist.