10 Photoshop editing skills every photographer should know

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Adobe Photoshop has long been the industry standard image-editing software for photographers. It’s a comprehensive and powerful program, and despite its reputation for being complicated it can actually be used with relative ease by photographers of all ability levels.

The possibilities it opens up are almost endless; from basic adjustments to high-end retouching to creating surreal composite images, Photoshop can do it all. So, whether you intend to make major adjustments to your shots or just minor tweaks, these 10 tips will help you do it faster and more effectively.

1. Using adjustment layers

Adjustment layers are the professional way to apply edits to your images. Adjustment layers sit above the Background layer (your original image), and allow you to make multiple adjustments without altering the original image or degrading its quality. Adjustment layers are accessed by clicking on the half-white, half-black circle icon at the foot of the Layers panel. If you want to save an image with adjustment layers intact you’ll need to save it as a TIFF or PSD – a JPEG is a flattened and compressed file type that doesn’t support layers.

2. Converting to black and white

If you’re planning to convert a color image to black & white you’ll almost certainly get better image quality by converting the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. However, if you’re working on a JPEG file in Photoshop and want to convert it to mono, the Black & White adjustment layer is a powerful option. You can go for the default conversion, one of the 12 presets, or manually adjust how individual colors are converted to greyscale using the sliders.

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