When it comes to understanding where to even start with Adobe Photoshop, many stumble upon the sentiment of feeling utterly lost, particularly because, famously, Photoshop has so many editing options for you. It has been argued that even professional editors don’t know the entirety of this app’s abilities. That must truly mean something then.
But there are a few key techniques everyone uses Photoshop specifically for, and these techniques are really not at all hard to get a hang on. I am a self-taught user of Photoshop, and my biggest recommendation for beginners is experimentation. Practice makes perfect, doesn’t it? And the best way to discover new methods of editing is through testing after testing. Needless to say, I did not download the program and click randomly on my screen until I found the purpose of each button—I of course followed online tutorials and manuals.
There are so many techniques Photoshop is famous for fulfilling, such as colour editing and grading, airbrushing, selections and masking, appropriate use of adjustment layers, cloning, background removal, text designs, warping, and so many more.
But Photoshop cannot be learnt in day—time, attention, and patience is essential. In this article I will help you get set on colour editing, a fairly simple and straightforward set of editing techniques that you will definitely be using abundantly throughout your images in Photoshop. In fact, colour editing and grading is always my primitive editing technique, even if I will end up using tens of layers afterwards.
Before I show you some of the most effective options Photoshop offers regarding colour editing, let me clarify that every person has a different style. If you have seen my other articles on photography and editing, you may notice that a lot of my techniques repeat, such a absolutely always increasing contrast and saturation and focusing on the extreme grading of colours such as blue, green, and red. It is also notable that unless I am editing a picture and adding effects to it such as dispersion or other abstract creations, I will typically only colour edit my photographs, and Photoshop is too profound for just colour editing. I will mostly edit my pictures in Photoshop Lightroom if I am only focusing on colours and basic airbrushing. If you need help on getting started in Lightroom, click here.
But for now, let’s focus on colour editing in Photoshop. The most basic and well-known options for this are found in the Image Tab at the top of your screen. Nevertheless, first make sure to add your photograph in by clicking on the File Tab at the top, and click on the second option “Open…”. The very next thing you’ll do is create a duplicate of the layer, which you can see in the bottom left corner. Right click on the layer and duplicate it. You will be working on the duplicated layer so that you can easily go back to the original in case you make a mistake further into the editing process. After that you can click the Image Tab to take a look at the numerous options you are provided with.
The very first option I will always look at is adjusting Brightness-Darkness and Contrast. I tend to always, as I’ve mentioned already, increase contrast, because it simply looks a lot better when there is even just a little bit of differentiation between the colours in a photograph.
After that, it is time to work on the actual colours of the image. A disadvantage of using Photoshop in this case is that it is slightly more complicated to edit specific colours that appear in your picture, whereas Lightroom allows you to do that very simply. For that, I rate Photoshop-Lightroom highly. Nevertheless, that is not to say that editing colours and giving tints to your creation in Photoshop is impossible. Take a look at some of the adjustments you can experiment with in the below images. I would go through each of these in detail but I reckon they are reasonably straightforward and easy to understand. Just remember to test them out and see what fits your style and photo best.
Let me know how you get going and what tutorials you would like me to make! If you would like to send suggestions anonymously, click here to be directed to our Contact page here you can send The Kookoo Talk crew a private message.