This is a guest post by photographer/blogger Sarah Hewitt. Photos by Kevin Tang.
Photoshop is an incredible tool for anyone interested in design, art or image manipulation. It allows you to make the most ordinary image into something spectacular with a bit of imagination and know-how. Whether you use Photoshop for work or for pleasure, the possibilities are quite literally endless. Photoshop has a massive array of flexible image manipulation tools and effects, even professionals that use Photoshop every day are constantly learning new techniques, tips and tricks to create unique and stunning images. Photoshop skills are endless.
Here are our top 5 ways of staying on top of new Photoshop skills and learning tips and tricks to improve your Photoshop editing techniques no matter whether you’re a novice or an expert.
Use online tutorials
If you’re looking for help with a particular effect or if you just want to start out right from the beginning, there are many independent websites that offer Photoshop tutorials for all different levels of experience.
Explore the internet and bookmark a few tutorial websites to keep up to date with. One of my favorite site is PSDtuts.
If you’re willing to spend the money, Sweet Photoshop Tutorials is a really good resource.
Make sure you’re constantly on the lookout for images that you admire. Whether it’s in magazines, on the television, on the internet or in books or newspapers, keep a note or a copy of any images that you really like and try to replicate the effects used on them yourself. As long as you are replicating them for your own use and learning only then this is perfectly acceptable. You can get help on how to achieve the effects using tutorials online and it will give you a real sense of achievement when you’ve figured it out as well as improving your knowledge.
Join an online community
There are many websites, blogs and forums on the internet that you can join to meet people of all different levels of experience. Take some time to browse a few different websites and find a few that are the most useful for the kind of Photoshop editing that you are interested in. You can then participate by sharing your own images and resources and by asking and answering questions. I find that online communities can be some of the best places to go for advice if you get stuck trying to achieve a certain effect in Photoshop.
The RetouchPro.com forums are really good for learning more about all sorts of retouching, although they do specialize in high-end fashion. You might want to also check out the retouching forum at Dpreview.
Subscribe to online galleries and check out other people’s work
Get inspiration from other people’s work. There are many online galleries where people can display their work like DeviantART, Behance, Designflavr, Flickr and Carbonmade. If you sign up for free you can display your own work may kit be photography or photoshop skills and get feedback on it as well. Online galleries can be a great place to go for ideas of new effects to research and learn.
Ask the experts
I was recently on a holiday in New Zealand where I really fell in love with photography; luckily there are plenty of photographers in Auckland who were only too happy to help me, whether it was with the actual taking of the pictures or the editing of them afterwards. Professional photographers by enlarge are a helpful bunch so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. If you aren’t in a position to be able to ask a photographer then look online, there are vast amounts of tutorials available on YouTube from very talented individuals and many forums such as the official Adobe forum that have experts online helping out with any problems users may have.