Sunday, March 04, 2012

Photoshop for Beginners


(Gold Finch action by Simon Filip)

(Rubies curve from The Color Shoppe)

(Vintage action, made by me)

If you're anything like me and want to play around with the appearance of your images but find Photoshop super intimidating you need a little help here and there before you start to understand how it all works. Liss from Daydream Lily recently shared some tips, tricks and resources for editing your film pictures (see the post HERE) so consider this a kind of Part II with a little info on editing your digital images.

I have no problem with admitting that I still have so much to learn when it comes to Photoshop which is why I started out with resourcing the talent of others to help me along. The easiest thing I've found is the use of curves and actions. They only require the click of one or two buttons and are an easy way to enhance the colours and light in your image. Once you get the hang of that and begin to understand what you like, it only takes a little research on youtube to get the tools to start editing pictures by yourself.

In the meantime here are links to what have been my most useful resources while I've been learning my way around Photoshop:

Curves & Actions
The Color Shoppe
Free Curve Friday
Simon Filip
♥ Wish Wish Wish

Tutorials & Useful Information
The World Looks Red
Wish Wish Wish - How I Edit my Pictures
Adobe Students ANZ
The Color Shoppe FAQs

The next thing I'm trying to learn in Photoshop is how to blur the background of my images. I know you can buy lenses for your camera which can do this, but right now I don't want to spend the money so youtube tutorials have been the way to go. I still have so much to learn but have been willing to give it a try. After watching this video, I tried it out on the same image as above and got this result:

I still have so much to learn and know that someone else could do this so much better than me but I'm sure every time I give it a go I'll improve bit by bit. It's a process!

If you have any great websites or youtube channels for anything Photoshop related let me know in the comments :) 


  1. You learn really fast as soon as you get started.


  2. Good job starting to learn. Photoshop can be a nightmare so it is great to have basic skills.

    I personally use lightroom for the majority of my photo editing, it is much faster and easier for large batches of photos, keeps everything organised and you can get plugins that give a pre-made effect, much like curves.

    Might be worth checking out if you are only doing basic editing rather than retouching :)

  3. Nice Start! You missed the "lens blur" under the heel (on the plants) and inbetween the two shoes but if you used a mask it's easy to fix. Keep it up and let me know if you have any questions. :)

  4. Thanks for the links! It's funny...I definitely had that Gold Finch action by Simon in my shopping cart on etsy. I kind of forgot about it until just now! I think I'll go purchase it (finally!)

  5. who cares about photoshop.... LOOK AT THOSE SHOES! :O! Are they yours? If so, I demand to know where you bought them!

  6. Free Curves:

  7. I found this Site extremely helpful, the tutorials are excellent

  8. Thanks for these great resources. It's been a looong process learning photoshop for me, haha! :)

  9. ack, photoshop, need it! am going to save this post for later reference... :p

  10. If you have a Mac, Snapspeed is a great little editing programme too. You can blur bits of the photo, get vintage effects etc. Do you have a DSLR? If so, it's not the lens so much that gives the blur, it's the setting you use on the camera, although of course you will get better results from different lenses. Do you have AV setting? If so, you can change the aperture setting (make it low) to get that lovely shallow depth of field you're after. It's worth looking into :) x

  11. hey!
    in regards to that last photo, if you change the f-stop on your camera, you should be able to get the background to blur without needing to force it in PS. Just change it to the lowest aperture.

    a 50mm f1.8 lens is an AWESOME investment (though they are not actually that pricey), and you can get lovely blurred and bokeh effects

    Cute blog by the way :)

  12. Thankyou SO much! I love finding curves (preferably free ones atm!)I appreciate you doing this post it was very helpful :)

  13. Such a useful post thank you! I'm just starting to work my way around my camera and photography in general and this is exactly the kind of posts I'm after!

  14. i purchased those simon filip actions after you blogged about them, theyre my favourites to use when i have good lighting!! people just dont realise how easy it can be xo

  15. Photoshop can be horrible to learn indeed! but as soon as you get the hang of it it's so nice and fun to use!
    All the youtube tutorials are basically enough to learn from! so handy :)

  16. i quite like puglypixel photoshop tutorial as well

  17. nice work on the blurring!! I forget what fstop that lens goes down to, is it 5.6? you should defs try some pictures on the lowest fstop and see if you can get background to blur, but then it is really hard cause you have to stand so far back. oh and yep, what the other comment said, a 50mm prime would be a worthwhile buy, cause you can get one I think for under $100. try them on the camera at the shop, so you know what its going to do and if you going to lose some of your frame. then write down the ones you like for later reference :)

  18. My favorite photo editing site is Picnik. But They are closing in April and I have no idea what I'm going to do when they are gone. Does anyone have any free and easy online photo editing tools to share?

  19. But Photoshop is SO expensive to buy! I had a PC version but it doesn't work on my Mac and I certainly can't afford spending hundreds of pounds on software. Did you buy the whole package? Did you get InDesign or Illustrator with it as well?

  20. That YouTube video is brilliant. Thanks for posting it!

  21. Thanks for posting these tutorial links... I find photoshop ultra intimidating, but I love the look of blurred pictures too and always play around with colours a bit in Picnik - a much simpler program that is closing next month. Your images look beautiful, so all that swatting is clearly worth the effort!

    Catherine @ The Spring


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