Photoshop is one of the most important tools for photographers, but it can be overwhelming for some owing to the sheer number of editing options available. Get to the grips of Photoshop with the following tips.
Using adjustment layers
Adjustment layers are basically an expert way to add edits to your photographs. These layers sit on top of the Background layers (the original image), and enable you to make several adjustments without changing the original image or deteriorating its quality. Adjustment layers are accessed by clicking on the half-black and half-white circle icon at the base of the Layers panel. If you wish to save a picture with adjustment layers still intact you will need to save it as a PSD or TIFF – JPEG is a compressed and flattened file type of format, which does not support layers.
Turning any picture Black & White
If you want to convert a color image to black and white you will almost instantly achieve better quality by converting the raw file in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw. However, if you are working on a JPEG file and wish to convert it to mono then the Black & White adjustment layer is a great option.
Making your images pop with levels
It is quite common for images to turn a bit flat when you open them in Photoshop. The most common solution to this problem is the Brightness/Contrast feature, but you can achieve even better results by using either ‘Curves’ or ‘Levels’ tools. Using Curves is a little advanced, but you can pretty much achieve the same results with Levels. Click Ctrl+L on Windows or Cmd+L on Mac. Another method is by opening the image by clicking the adjustment layers icon and selecting Levels.