How To Edit Photos in Photoshop? [Super Easy!]

Why Learn How To Edit Photos in Photoshop?

One of the most potent picture manipulation tools available is Photoshop. There is no excuse not to utilize this application, which has some of the greatest features and layer tweaks available. The issue is that, if you’ve ever attempted to modify a picture with Photoshop, you’ve probably felt a bit bewildered. It’s challenging to start since there are so many features.

Planning to learn how to edit photos in photoshop? Fortunately for you, learning how to alter photographs in Adobe Photoshop has never been simpler with this straightforward process along with photoshop editing tips.

If you have not gotten your hands on Photoshop yet, you’ll find our guide to buying Photoshop helpful.

When Should You Use Photoshop to Edit Your Photos?

Photographers who are just getting started with Photoshop frequently have the following misconception: That less skilled editors adhere to beginner-friendly software like Lightroom or Luminar while more expert editors solely use Photoshop. But this is incorrect. In truth, most pros edit photos in Photoshop and Lightroom.

How does that function? Primarily when creating a picture for social media display, they utilize Lightroom for quick and dirty changes. Then, if they’re prepared to do a highly detailed alteration, they switch to Photoshop.

In fact, many photographers may edit a single shot in both Lightroom and Photoshop. They’ll begin with Lightroom with some fundamental tweaks before switching to Photoshop for more involved and often focused modifications.

In other words, don’t assume that you have to pick between Photoshop and Lightroom even while Photoshop is highly capable and can surely meet the majority of your basic editing needs.

Both apps are efficient and will keep your photographs appearing as sharp as possible when used together. Additionally, Photoshop does come with one caution that you should be aware of before you begin editing:

Photoshop is Not a RAW Editor

RAW files cannot be edited with Adobe Photoshop CC. Therefore, if you shoot in RAW, you will first need to edit photos in another tool before transferring them to Photoshop to complete the task.

Does this imply that before using Photoshop, you must first use a tool like Lightroom or Luminar? No. When you attempt to work with a RAW file in Photoshop, Adobe Camera RAW-and Adobe Camera RAW instantly opens. This is because Photoshop really comes with a companion RAW editor.

The Lightroom interface and the Adobe Camera RAW interface are virtually identical. So, if you have experience with Lightroom, you’ll be OK in ACR. Therefore, it is not a huge concern if Photoshop cannot handle RAW data.

However, it’s important to be aware of it since you’ll need to integrate RAW editing into your workflow, either using a separate RAW editor like Lightroom or Photoshop’s integrated RAW editor, Adobe Camera RAW.

The Photoshop Interface: A Quick Look

The image above gives an overview on the Photoshop interface. When learning how to edit photos in photoshop, keep in mind that the user interface is completely customisable, allowing you to arrange the layers panel anyway you see fit. The interface seen above is typical among Photoshop users, though.

Your open picture is in the middle of the window. Additionally, you may switch between open photographs by using the tabs up top.

Your tool panel, which includes the Brush tool, the Clone stamp tool, and other tools, is located on the left.
The Options Bar will alter when you click a tool to show the changes you may make to that tool:

Your histogram and the icons for your adjustment layer are on the right:

The Layers panel, which shows all of your active layers, is located in the bottom right corner. The majority of your adjustments will show up in the Layers panel here.

Photo Editing in Photoshop: Understanding Layers

A damaging picture editor is Photoshop. In other words, whatever change you make in Photoshop is irreversible. You cannot just go back and make changes since the correction is baked into your image. This is an issue.

A practical workaround for Photoshop’s destructive editing is to use layers. Your image is covered with a layer that enables you to make modifications without permanently changing the one underneath.

In other words, a layer is a transparent sheet of paper that sits over your image and lets you make changes without really painting on the original image.

Therefore, once you create a layer, any changes you make to it become permanent, however they only have an impact on that layer and not the original image. You may simply erase a layer and add a new one if you decide you don’t like a modification that has been made to it.

I would advise you to often add new layers when altering layers. It’s best practice to start a new layer whenever you go on to a new editing stage, and it may be wise to do it even more frequently.

To create a layer, you simply have to navigate to the menu and select Layer>New>Layer, and click on the OK button next.

This will produce a fundamental layer that is entirely empty. Keep in mind that this layer will require editing by way of painting, lettering, etc.

As an alternative, you may make an adjustment layer by going to the Layers panel bottom, clicking the half-moon symbol, and then choosing one of the available options:

What Are Adjustment Layers?

Photoshop offers a particular kind of editing layer called an adjustment layer.

Because an adjustment layer enables you to make particular modifications to your image, whereas a basic layer is merely blank.

Therefore, if you wish to utilize a layer to make your photo brighter, you may use a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, which lets you change both the brightness and contrast of your image.

And if you want to utilize a layer to make your photo more saturated, you may use a vibrancy layer, which lets you alter both the saturation and vibrancy of the image.

In other words, if you create a Brightness/Contrast layer, you can only use it to alter brightness and contrast. These adjustment features are incorporated into specialized adjustment layers. It cannot be used to alter the color tone, saturation, or anything else.

Simply click the half-moon symbol in the Layers panel as shown in the last section to create an adjustment layer:

Then choose the adjustment layer you want. It will display right away in the Layers panel.

Editing in Photoshop: What Are Masks?

When learning how to edit photos in photoshop, you will come across a little more complex Photoshop editing feature, known as masks. But even if you don’t wear masks much at first, you should at least be aware of what they may do.

Making precise modifications is the main goal of masking. They function by letting some aspects of a layer impact the underlying image while blocking off other parts of the layer.

Therefore, you could use a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to increase the brightness of the entire image if you wanted to brighten the middle of your image but not the edges. Then you would add a mask that allowed the alteration to show through in the image’s center but prevented it from showing through along the corners of the frame.

You choose the layer you wish to apply a layer mask to first. When dealing with adjustment layers, keep in mind that masks are really included automatically, so you may skip this step.

Simply press the Mask icon in the bottom right corner to bring up a mask next to the layer you’ve chosen.

You would need to make a Brightness/Contrast layer for the aforementioned Brightness/Contrast example. And you’d see the mask right away next to it:

Your layer mask will be white at this point, indicating that all adjustments will be applied to the whole scene.

Click on the mask first to apply modifications only to certain areas. The mask will then be completely black after pressing Ctrl + I (Command + I on a Mac). Select the Brush tool.

A Step-By-Step Photoshop Workflow

Now that you are familiar with the fundamental Photoshop features, let’s walk through a quick, step-by-step method for modifying photos.

I’ll presume you’re using a JPEG, but if you started with a RAW file, you’ll modify it in a software like Adobe Camera RAW before bringing it into the main Photoshop window.

Step 1: Crop and Straighten for the Best Composition

Since you are just starting to learn how to edit photos in photoshop, I usually advise beginning your edits with a crop tool. This is due to the fact that, even while it’s wise to get your composition just correct when you’re out in the field, you’ll frequently discover improved compositions once you can view your image on a screen. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider various cropping possibilities and how they could enhance your compositions.

Thankfully, cropping in Photoshop is a breeze. Simply choose the Crop tool, then drag at the crop overlay’s boundaries to alter the crop and at the corners to rotate or straighten the picture.

You may also use the Straighten tool from the Options Bar if you determine that your photo needs to be straightened but find it difficult to do it manually:

Then watch as Photoshop and its straighten tool miraculously straightens your image by dragging it across a portion of your shot that ought to be straight with the crop tool.

Step 2: Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Control Exposure and Contrast

The exposure and contrast of your photograph should now be taken into account. Check out your histogram first. In general, the centre of the graph should be where the peaks are located.

However, you should make a Curves adjustment layer if they are skewed to the right or left or if your image just seems too bright or too dark overall. Select Curves by descending to the adjustment layer icon from the curves adjustment layer.

If you wish to enhance exposure, move the tone curve upward:

If you want to lessen exposure, move downward:

Additionally, you may boost contrast by adding another Curves layer and calculating an S-curve to give your image more pop:

Step 3: Boost Colors With a Vibrance Adjustment Layer or a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

When learning how to edit photos in photoshop, be sure that the colors in your photo should be enhanced after the tones have been corrected, especially if they appear a touch flat. Consequently, add a Vibrance adjustment layer:

Then boost the vibrance and saturation until the colors appear more strong. You may always build a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer if you want to focus on particular hues (for example, increase the yellows without affecting the blues):

Then pick a certain hue and make it more saturated. Additionally, you may change the hue of a certain color, and also the lightness can be adjusted:

All of these modifications are excellent ways to fine-tune your color tone and guarantee the greatest outcome.

Step 4: Add Color Grading With a Color Balance Layer

A wonderful approach to give your photographs a mood or editing style is by color grading. Additionally, Photoshop has some of the greatest color grading capabilities available.

I’m especially fond of Photoshop’s Hue Balance tool, which enables you to selectively modify the color of the highlights, midtones, and shadows in your pictures.

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer first:

Select Shadows next:

And then alternately move the various sliders until you find a value you like. The use of cooler shadows, such blue or green, is advised.

Go to the Highlights next:

Do the same thing next. Highlights of a warmer hue, like orange or yellow, typically look wonderful.

You may use the same procedure to alter the midtones if your image’s colors still require some work. You’ll have a lovely outcome in the end.

Step 5: Add Base Adjustments With Camera Raw

Photoshop has a useful feature called Camera Raw that functions like a little Lightroom. You may do all the standard white balance, exposure, color, and spot modifications with this tool that you would find in a picture editor. The best thing about Camera Raw is how quickly you can make basic tweaks to your shot.

Base adjustments are the broad modifications required to balance the white balance and exposure in your photographs. You’ll often have an exposure that leans more toward the shadows or the highlights. You may even these out with base changes to produce a better-exposed image to work with.

I firmly advise that you convert your picture layer into a smart object before opening Camera Raw. In this manner, if necessary, you can always go back and update your Camera Raw changes. Here, you may read more about the capabilities of smart objects.

To duplicate the one picture layer we still have, press Command + J (Mac) or Control + J (Windows) (PC). You may guarantee non-destructive editing by using a second background layer.

Then, choose “Convert To Smart Object” by performing a right-click on your new layer. Your layer thumbnail will display a smart object icon after it has been transformed.

To access the layer you’ve chosen in Camera Raw, pick Filter > Camera Raw Filter.

And this is how to edit photos in photoshop made simple!

Step 6: Remove Unwanted Objects With the Spot Healing Brush Tool and the Clone Stamp Tool

Photoshop is excellent at eliminating extraneous things. I’m referring to pesky objects like distracting exit signs behind your subject, flaws on flowers, persons standing off to the side of your subject, and more.

Find any sections you wish to remove from your photo by first looking at it. Choose the Spot Healing Brush tool next.

Use a brush that is just a bit larger than the object to paint over the sections you want to remove. They may be quickly cleaned up with Photoshop. The Spot Healing Brush tool now performs admirably on isolated items.

But what about elements of the scene that are related to other objects? For instance, what if you wanted to remove a sign that was too close to your topic?

The Clone Stamp tool can be used in this situation. Choose this:

Ensure that your brush has sharp edges:

Holding Alt or Option will allow you to choose a portion of your photo for copying.

Finally, carefully cover the undesirable object with the duplicated area and watch it vanish.

Step 7: Include a Vignette to Enhance the Main Subject

I always like to add a vignette to my photos, for example, by darkening the photo’s edges.

vignettes are excellent for drawing the viewer’s attention to the primary subject, for this reason. They direct attention to the engaging content in the center of the frame and away from the frame’s boundaries.

A vignette can be made in a variety of ways. Making a Brightness/Contrast layer, reducing the brightness, and then using a mask to ensure that the change only shows through at the borders of the picture are a few options.

Another method is to create a blank layer and use a sizable, soft brush to paint black around the layer’s perimeter.

To avoid the vignette becoming too prominent, you’ll frequently want to lower the opacity. Make careful to keep things appearing understated no matter which approach you use. The most effective vignettes can only be felt.

Step 8: Dodge and Burn

You are starting to like the way your shot looks at this point. There is one more thing you can do to make it stand out, though. Dodging and burning is a strategy used in this phase.

In other words, burning selectively darkens your image while dodging selectively brightens. You may create some artistic contrast in Photoshop by switching between these tools.

A 50% grey layer is required to begin applying your dodging and burning non-destructively. To access the dialog box for adding a new layer, press Command + Shift + N on a Mac or Control + Shift + N on a PC.

Toggle the “Overlay” blend mode on, select the “fill with 50% grey” option, and change the layer’s name to “dodge and burn.”

Press O to open your dodge tool and start using it. Keep your exposure set between 5% and 10% and your range set to “Midtones” when looking at your settings bar. Your modifications will seem more dramatic the greater your exposure. I’ve discovered that this range produces the effects that are the most lifelike.

Start dodging any sections of your shot you want to draw attention to more by selecting your dodge and burn layer and starting to dodge. such as the subject, intriguing textures, or the horizon. Paint the same area with several brushstrokes to make it appear brighter.

Click and hold on the icon for the dodge tool in your toolbar once you’ve gone over your photo and dodged various areas of it. From the tool window that appears, pick the burn tool.

Once more looking at the options page, adjust your exposure to between 5% and 10% and your range to Midtones.

You’ll be darkening certain areas of your picture this time. Any places you don’t want to stand out should be painted over. Additionally, you may burn the corners of your image that are in opposition to the light source. This will draw your attention to the lighter parts and make the highlights in your photograph truly jump out.

Alternate between avoiding and burning until you are satisfied with the results. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll see a slight but noticeable improvement in the way your photo’s regions of contrast seem.

Saving and Exporting From Photoshop

After completing an image’s alteration in Photoshop, you should either save it or export it for viewing.

PSDs are the default format for storing files in Photoshop, saving layers from layers panel for further modification.

Therefore, all you need to do is choose File>Save As, name your shot, pick a location, and ensure PSD is checked at the bottom before clicking Save.

However, you may always choose File>Export>Export As if you only want to export for display.

Then adhere to Photoshop’s instructions to establish the image’s size and other details, followed by clicking on Export:

How to Edit Photos in Photoshop: The Next Step

After reading this article in its entirety, you should be fully knowledgeable on the best ways to edit photos in Photoshop. And you’re on the right track to mastering Photoshop. Photoshop isn’t difficult; getting it correctly just requires time and practice. In order to see what you can produce, start photo editing.


Is Photoshop difficult to learn?

The majority of picture editors are easier to learn than Photoshop. It is a pretty complicated application with many different tools and settings.

However, getting started in Photoshop isn’t particularly challenging, and you definitely don’t have to understand all of its ins and outs (because Photoshop caters to both photographers and graphic designers, there are a number of choices that you won’t need to touch).

Even though learning Photoshop seems daunting, I urge you to persevere if you want to make precise, local editing on your photographs or you just want a lot of control. You’ll soon become accustomed.

How do you get good at editing in Photoshop?

You’ll need to employ a combination of lessons and practice if you want to become proficient with Photoshop. Your knowledge of the appropriate tools and procedures will be confirmed by the tutorials, and your proficiency with them will be confirmed by practice.

Although there are many excellent Photoshop lessons available, the approach described in this post will put you on the correct path.

Can RAW Files Be Edited?

Actually, no. Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop’s companion RAW editor, will open a picture when you attempt to open a RAW file in Photoshop since Photoshop is unable to handle RAW files. If you’re familiar with Lightroom Classic, you’ll recognize Adobe Camera RAW as being highly capable.

Why? because the Develop module in Lightroom Classic is identical to that in Adobe Camera RAW. ACR performs an excellent job of processing RAW photographs and getting them ready for Photoshop, but it obviously lacks the organizing features of Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Do you need to edit photos in Photoshop?

No, you most certainly don’t. Although Photoshop is powerful, you’ll discover that Lightroom will work just as well for editing your images as Photoshop does. Lightroom is quite comprehensive, however Photoshop can perform several tasks that Lightroom cannot, such as focus stacking and compositing.

Personally, I’d advise starting every photo’s modification with Lightroom, then switching to Photoshop only when necessary.

Are there any good Photoshop alternatives?

The most effective Photoshop substitute is Serif’s Affinity Photo. If you’re not sure whether Photoshop is the perfect choice for you, you could always start with Affinity and see what you like. It’s also reasonably priced.

But before you buy, keep in mind how similar the user interfaces are and how difficult Affinity is to master. Additionally, you should think about the integration possibilities; as Photoshop is an Adobe product, there isn’t a better solution than the Lightroom-Photoshop integration.

Should you edit photos in Photoshop and Lightroom together?

Yes, in most cases. Despite the fact that both Photoshop and Lightroom may be used independently, combining the two tools frequently yields the greatest results. You should use Lightroom to manage your photographs and perform some little editing there.

Once you’ve reached a brick wall, or have a photo that requires sophisticated alterations, you switch to edit photos in Photoshop. You may always return to Lightroom to make final adjustments. Keep in mind that Lightroom and Photoshop were created to operate together, so switching between the two is really easy.

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