Edit Pictures With Ease: Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners

photoshop editor

It's not uncommon for admins to take on light image-editing duties, such as fixing pictures going into a newsletter or on social media. Do you have the skills to provide this kind of help when it's needed? Here's what you need to know about using the popular photo editor, Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop is a versatile photo editor with many powerful capabilities. Using it may feel like driving a race car to the supermarket, but don't be overwhelmed. Once you get over the initial learning curve by completing some Photoshop tutorials, you'll be able to edit pictures quickly and easily.

Let's take a look at some common needs and how to handle them in Photoshop. (Note: The instructions in these Photoshop tutorials are based on version 14.2.1 for Windows.)

You can zoom in and out to get the "big picture" or to see fine details large and clear. The "View" menu has the Zoom In and Zoom Out commands. Holding the Alt button on your keyboard while using the scroll wheel on your mouse will also allow you to zoom in and out when you edit pictures.
For a beginner, one of the more confusing things about Photoshop can be the toolbar. You may find yourself looking for something that you know must be on the toolbar, but you are unable to find it. The secret is that many of the buttons actually share a position on the toolbar and are hidden away. To find these hidden tools, look for buttons with an arrow in the bottom-right corner; click the arrow and you will see all of the hidden buttons.

crop tool

Figure 1

One of the most common tasks for a photo editor is cropping a picture. Maybe you need a picture of a couple employees at the company picnic, but don't want to see the food sitting on a table next to them. Cropping lets you remove the portions of an image that you do not want, without resizing the image itself. The Crop tool is shown in Figure 1. To use it, select the tool and then use your mouse to create a box in your screen. The area within the box will be kept, and the rest will be cropped out. After you select your box, you can use the "handles" on the box edges to fine-tune your selection. When you are ready, click the check mark in the menu bar (Figure 2) and your image will be croppedresizing tool

Figure 2


Once you have cropped your image you can resize it to fit your needs. For instance, you might be told to submit a photo of your manager in a particular size to be used in a conference brochure. In the past, making an image larger would result in it having many imperfections, but modern versions of Photoshop do a superb job of scaling images up and keeping them looking great in the process.

The easiest way to resize your image is to go to the "Image" menu and choose "Image Size." Make sure that the chain icon (Figure 3) in between "Width" and "Height" is selected. That will ensure that the current height-to-width ratio (the "aspect ratio") is maintained. If you have ever seen an image that looks stretched or squished, it was probably resized in a photo editor without maintaining the aspect ratio. In this dialog you can choose the size you want in pixels (or other units of measurement), predefined sizes like 8.5" x 11", percentage of the current size and more. When you are ready, click “OK” to see the final result.

resizing options

Figure 3

Don't worry about making a mistake when you edit pictures. Photoshop lets you see everything you have done and go back in time if you goof. In the "Window" menu, choose "History," and you will see a list of everything you have done (Figure 4). The History window is powerful, but the most common use is to double-click one of the actions listed in it to set the image back to that point in time. The History window can save you a ton of heartache if you make a mistake.

history window












Figure 4

Photoshop has a lot of power that can take some time to learn to use. But that learning curve should not stop you from accomplishing everyday tasks with Photoshop. Following Photoshop tutorials, poking around the toolbar and menu bar, trying new things and relying on the History system to bail you out if you don't like the results in the photo editor are the secrets to learning Photoshop's functionality.

How often do you use Photoshop in your job? Share below.

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