1. Photoshop is just plain intimidating for a lot of photographers, but if it can be a lot easier to master Photoshop if you approach it as a toolbox packed full of every tool you can imagine. If you try and use all those tools at once you're gong to end up in a giant mess. But if you take it a bit slower and master each tool as you need it, you'll not only find it easier, you'll remember what you learn for next time.
2. When trying to do something, see if there's a plug-in that does it for you. There are a lot of things you might want to do with Photoshop, but it would mean tinkering with values and brushes for hours. But sometimes other people wanted to do the exact same thing - in fact several people did, and they created plug-ins and brushes, which they offer for free.
3. Sometimes the best digital fix of the mall is a Depth Of Field adjustment. If you find there's something in a frame distracting from your main subject don't despair. There's some easy Depth-Of-Field actions you can download (search Google) and fix those images in a flash. No need to spend a fortune on a f1.2 lens... do it in Photoshop instead!
4. Anytime you find yourself stuck needing to use a weak image, consider turning it into black and white! Sometimes we miss the shot... that's life.... but if that weak image is one that would really complete your set, consider turning it into black and white or sepia. The change will often disguise contrast or brightness issues, and make your corrections harder to spot.
5. Always keep the raw layers on your adjusted files. It might seem like overkill once you have the perfect image, but saving the detailed layer files as well as the output is smart. You never know what a Client might ask for, and there is nothing more frustrating that retracing your steps and trying to remember what settings you used, when all you really needed to do was make some minor change to once layer.
Layers are a powerful feature of Photoshop that allow you to work on one part of an image without disturbing the rest of it. While the concept of layers may seem intimidating at first, once you get the hang of using layers you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them!
The transparent parts of any layer, shown by the checkered grid, allow the layers beneath that layer to show through. You can show and hide each layer in an image by clicking on its corresponding eye icon in the Layers palette.
To organize your layers, you can arrange them into layer groups by going to Layer > New > Group…. Each layer group displays in the same way as any ungrouped layers on the Layers palette. A layer group is signified by a folder icon. You can collapse or expand layer groups by clicking on the triangle to the left of the folder icon, and nest layer groups within each other by dragging one folder icon into another.
Here are 10 quick Layer Shortcuts.
1 - Rename layers by double-clicking on the layer name.
2 - Select a layer by using the keyboard shortcuts Alt-[ and Alt-] (Option-[ and Option-] on a Mac).
3 - Merge a layer into the one beneath it by pressing Ctrl- E (Command-E). If you have selected layers, this shortcut will merge those selected layers together.
4 - Change the transparency of a layer by changing its opacity with the Opacity slider, or typing a value into the Opacity box (which is visible when you have the Selection, Move, or Crop tools selected).
5 - Duplicate a selected layer by pressing Ctrl-J (Command-J on a Mac). You can also duplicate a layer by dragging it while pressing the Alt (Option) key.
6 - Select multiple layers by holding down Ctrl (Command on a Mac) and clicking the layer names. This forms a temporary link between the selected layers that allows you to move them as one unit, delete them all, and so on.
7 - You can also link layers together. Select layers by clicking on them while holding down Shift or Ctrl (Command on a Mac).
8 - To unlink all the layers, select one of the linked layers and go to Layer > Unlink Layers.
9 - To temporarily unlink a layer, hold down Shift and click on its link icon (a red “X” will appear over the link icon).
10 - Reactivate the link by holding down Shift and clicking the link icon again.
If you want to get more out of Photoshop, check out this amazing set of Photohop CS5 Video Tutorials. They are presented by a professional portrait photographer and show you the exact post-processing he applies to his images to create jaw-dropping images his Clients absolutely love.