Download the Practice Files (or use your own of course!)
Okay hotshots, time to get in shape…er, your Photoshop skills in shape! you want to learn more about Photoshop, so dive in!
1. Make a copy of the file you want to work on, always.
2. Crop and Rotate and Resize
I used to do this more in my early days as I regularly took images that were not straight or framed well. I’ve since improved this by changing my in-camera technique – but it’s always worth a quick scan of the image to check that it’s straight, that I have my subject positioned well in the frame and that I don’t have a distraction in the background that could be removed with cropping.
3. Adjust Levels
Next I open the levels dialogue box and check the histogram of the image that I’m editing to see if it’s balanced. Looking to see the shape of the histogram can tell you a lot about an image. I pay particular attention to the edge of the histogram to see if there’s a full spectrum of tones in the shot.
4. Adjust the Color
The good thing about adjusting the levels first is that it can sometimes bring the colors in your image to life – however sometimes it can be necessary to make further adjustments. I usually try ‘Auto Colors’ first to see how Photoshop treats it – but if am not satisfied with it will undo it and tweak things manually.
5. Remove Spots/Marks/Distractions/Boo Boos
At this point I scan the image for any kind of distractions or marks. This may be something that was in the scene that can’t be removed by cropping or could be a speck of dust on your image sensor. I tend to keep things simple here and use the Cloning tool for most of these.
6. Add any special effects, text, craziness, etc.
Once I’m satisfied with all of the above factors I then do sharpening. I used to think that this was the most important element and that I could fix poorly focused images – however I now know that you can only work with what you’ve got when it comes to sharpening.
Some Practice Images:
Tom’s Rule of Three: Watch it, Read about it, Do it…(lecture, reading, tutorials)
Introductions; syllabus review and expectations; online resources, and the Mac interface; project files and use of image files and lessons; the “nearly-paperless” course modality; the Creative Cloud, a quick tour of Photoshop CC.
Adobe is providing free this 768 page Photoshop Reference PDF which covers quite well CS6 and CC broadly and in detail! Right click to download (12 MB).