Photoshop for Dummies (Like me!) 5 Must-Knows for Beginners

When I was new to Photoshop, I was just as intimidated as anyone. I was working on a Mac for the first time, I wasn’t that sure about layers, and my only experience was Instagram. Luckily, with the help of a (great!) photography teacher, and some friends (who were also newcomers to the software) to play around with me.

But in case you need a little push, here’s some basic things about Photoshop to help you get started.

1. Layers, Layers, Layers!

Always use layers. That’s what it’s all about and it’s probably the most important thing. Especially with photo manipulation, you will want to separate adjustments. Make things easier for yourself!

Tip: “Command J” to Duplicate your layer!


2. The Lasso Tool

My Media Arts teacher set the record straight: it is pronounced “La-soo.” The lasso tool will help in cutting out images. Remember when you used to edit yourself into a picture with the Cheetah Girls? Now you can almost be one of them thanks to this awesome tool! Tip: “Command X” to cut and “Command V” to paste.


 3. Zoom In and Out

When editing photos, after a couple hours you may start to go cross eyed. Adjustments start looking the same and you start to lose proper judgment. My advice to you is

  1. Take a break or move on to another photo. The flow will come back later

  2. Zoom in and out. Sometimes you can see a photo differently depending on how close it is. For example you might have a photo that looks good up close but when you zoom out it looks completely wrong, or you might be editing the the photo for to your screen and you miss the small details.

Tip: Command+Space+Click to zoom IN

Alt+Space+Click to zoom OUT


4. The Clone Stamp Tool lol (no shade!)

Ever had someone curve you? Do you have millions of pictures with them but you look to good to delete them? No problem! With the help of the clone stamp tool, you can cover them up like a bandaid. Haha. All jokes aside this tool is one that I use all the time. For one, it helps when my backgrounds have inconsistencies. It covers things up seamlessly with a bit of practice.

Tip: Adjust opacity and brush hardness for seamless blending!


 5. Mask Tool

When you just want to give some love to a certain area of a photo but not the whole thing, use the mask tool! It masks out what you don’t want affected when you’re editing. For example, if you want to change the colour of your model’s lips to purple but you don’t want your whole photo to be purple, hit the Q and start masking! It’s quick and easy!

Hope that will help you out! My BONUS TIP is to spend time exploring the different tools and adjustments. You’d be amazed at just how much you can do!

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