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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jumpstart Photoshop

10 tips to help you get going quickly in using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

Jumpstart Photoshop

If asked to list the most intimidating parts of digital photography, a large number of photographers would include Adobe Photoshop. Without question, it's the premiere image-processing software on the market, but its high price matches its learning curve. The good news about Photoshop is that it has a huge number of controls; the bad news about Photoshop is that it has a huge number of controls.

A top, overriding tip: You don't have to know everything in Photoshop to do excellent work with your photography. You only need to know what will work with your images. Consider that Ansel Adams had a limited range of tools for his work. He could make an image lighter or darker, change contrast and then do the same for small areas of the print. Yet look at the wonderful images he was able to produce! It's really a disservice to photographers when Photoshop is taught and promoted for all its features rather than how to use the key program elements that photographers actually need.

This article is designed to jumpstart the photographer who's challenged by Photoshop. The tips I recommend work extremely well in doing that, but as one grows in working with Photoshop, each photographer finds his or her own approach. For example, most advanced workers use Layers, yet there's nothing about Layers here (we'll revisit this in a future issue of PCPhoto). Layers can be intimidating and confusing if you're not comfortable with some of the key tools in the program. I'd rather have people start to have fun in the program, gain some confidence and not have them deal with Layers until later.



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