All I Want for Christmas is Photoshop

This fall, I was employed as a night-time industrial photographer at a testing facility out on Long Island. One of the perks was access to Adobe Photoshop CS4. Up until this moment, I had only heard of Photoshop’s greatness and seen the amazing things it can accomplish. For the position, I learned some basics from my coworkers and my supervisor:

  • Inserting Text
  • Cropping
  • Adjusting Underexposure/Overexposure

That was all well and good, but I knew I had barely scraped the surface of Photoshop’s potential. I went down to the library and took out Photoshop CS4 All-in-One for Dummies and began reading. This wasn’t a good method for me for two reasons. When it comes to learning, I find I retain more by throwing myself into something and just doing it. For some reason when it came to learning Photoshop I wanted to know everything there was to know and then try my hand at it. I think I didn’t want to somehow ruin the photos I had taken or edit them one way and find I would have rather done it this way. Secondly, I only had the book for a limited time and it wasn’t mine. I couldn’t mark up the margins or leave torn bits of paper as bookmarks or refer to it later. To remedy this fact, I began writing important points in a notebook which is good since I can keep that. However, since I’ve yet to take an actual photo class (I’m crossing my fingers for this summer) and hadn’t really explored Photoshop as much as I should have, the directions and jargon were over my head. I felt overwhelmed. So I gave up on reading the book and returned it ten days late and only 150 pages in and went back to my favorite method of learning: asking.

Let me just say that there’s no way to start editing your photo and ruin it because of something amazing I need to share right now. It’s called “layers”. You have the original picture and then to edit you create a layer. You can create a layer for everything you do if you like. If you’re not happy, you don’t have to scrap everything you’ve done up to that point. All you have to do is delete that layer, or use the history tool bar to go back a step or even back 20 steps! It’s like Photoshop knew I would be slightly neurotic about my pictures and made this method just for me! Thank you, Adobe!

I’ve set this post up a bit differently from the last ones in that each picture will have a before and after. With each photo, I do my best to describe the method by which I edited and will include the video (or videos) by which I learned something new! If you’re looking for further info on how to bend Photoshop to your will, either use Google to search for videos and tips or check out Adobe’s Online Support system.

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