Top Tools To Master In Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is widely considered the best tool on the market for quick and powerful photo manipulation, and most professionals do use it for a variety of reasons. It only works, though, if you’re willing to put in the time to train and practice using everything it has to offer. These are some of the most vital basics to get your head around.

Understanding layers

This really is a key point to understand before we go any further. Photoshop is different to other, more basic image editing software because it is built around the use of different layers. These can be controlled, edited and manipulated independently of each other so you build up an image gradually.

Making selections

There are many different ways you can make a selection in Photoshop, which is essential for choosing the area of an image you want to work on. Some tools will let you automatically select pixels based on a shared colour or area, while others give you more manual control, and this can get quite advanced. Selecting is a great starting point for beginners (or even some pros who aren’t yet getting the most out of the software).

Using brushes

Brushes in Photoshop are not particularly used for painting or drawing, contrary to what you might think from the name (Adobe Illustrator is much better suited to this task). Instead, they are primarily useful for creating adjustment layers, although you may find yourself using different brushes for many different tasks.

Adjusting with layers

Adjustment layers, as we just mentioned, are another element available for Photoshop masters. You can use these to temporarily make alterations to image layers, and if you decide to remove the effect later you can simply hide the adjustment layer. This is infinitely more powerful than having to edit the original layer to change brightness, contrast, colours and so on.

Creating masks

One of the main benefits of Photoshop is the ability to use masking. It lets you control where certain pixels are shown or hidden, and can be used to create a wide variety of special effects. A mask is what determines which pixels you want to be visible or invisible.

These are just five essential tools, but there are a lot more besides that your work could most likely benefit from. Whatever you use Photoshop for when you edit your own images, make sure you do your research and learn how best to use every relevant tool.

Why Photo Editing Is So Important

Obviously, if you are a professional or even amateur photographer, taking pictures is at the core of what you do and there’s no way you can achieve great results without having at least a decent image to begin with, no matter how much you edit that image to produce the final product or work of art. However, it could be argued successfully that editing makes up a hugely important part of what many photographers consider to be their true work.

This is why it’s important to start by getting the right software and hardware. There is a good reason that we focus heavily on this aspect of the work here on our blog, because a lot of your options as an editor in post production will come down to the capabilities of the computer put in front of you combined with your own skills manipulating the tools and images you have.

However, even this is only a part of the editing process. Before you even settle down to start editing pictures, you will need to go through several stages following the photoshoot itself. For example, your steps may include…

1) Initial evaluation of the images you’ve captured to get a sense of the overall tone and what you’ve been able to achieve.

2) Critiquing the set as a whole and planning what you need to do to improve these images for the final results.

3) Start rating each of your pictures to help narrow down your options, then move your top choices to another folder to view them in isolation.

4) Wait a while to allow yourself to look at the images with a fresh pair of eyes.

5) Make final selections and begin to consider post-production.

This may not be your exact process, but it would be wise to follow a similar one. Generally it may only be at this stage that you really start to get deeper into the artistic process and think about the results you hoped to achieve from the beginning. You may even draw inspiration from your own photographs and feel like making particular edits to emphasise different elements or take the project in a new direction. Don’t underestimate how much of your mindset and approach can be seen in the results of your photography and your editing work.

Can Photo Editing Software Save A Bad Photo?

Digital photo editing is a skill that requires a lot of training and practice to get right, but the results can be truly spectacular once you know how to get the best out of the tools you have to hand. Having said that, as photographers and editors we do need to understand that technology has limits, and ultimately the best art will probably be created with less digital assistance than you might think.

Technically, it’s definitely amazing what kind of results you can get by polishing up photos that started off looking quite disappointing. Subtle effects can brighten up dark skies, switch facial expressions with those taken from other shots, remove unwanted objects from the frame, or otherwise completely change major points of interest in your pictures.

However, layering up effects can eventually begin to show, especially if you are not the most experience editor. It’s likely that any major changes will be obvious, even if you’ve technically done all the right things. It simply won’t look quite right in many cases. When you’re able to capture an image perfectly the first time, it really tends to show and look completely natural when compared against a picture that’s been improved in post production.

Perhaps because the differences can be hard to explain, it seems there is still a widespread misunderstanding that editing photos can save even sub-standard photography work. If you really want to produce good quality work and get better at what you do, we would definitely argue this isn’t the case.

Tweaks are one thing, and if you want to completely change certain aspects of your photos then that’s probably fine. You might not be staying true to the reality of what happened at the moment you took the photo, but in many contexts that’s not really important.

What does matter is when you consider the things digital software will never be able to do, no matter how much you learn about photo editing. A blurry subject can’t truly be brought back into focus if you used the wrong lens, or the wrong shutter speed, or the camera was shaken. Ultimately you might actually like some of the minor mistakes you make when taking pictures, though, as you have the satisfaction of knowing that it was purely your photography skills that allowed you to capture that exact shot. Maybe you can’t always save a bad photo with editing software, but that might be for the best after all.

Tips To Make Your Photo Editing Easy

Tips To Make Your Photo Editing Easy

When you’re using software such as Photoshop or comparable programs to edit your photos, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can save a huge amount of time if you learn them early. Some things you will probably pick up by yourself over time as you learn from your mistakes, because if things go wrong you can find yourself wasting a lot of time trying to find your own workarounds for issues.

Fortunately, you can benefit from our experience! Regardless of what software you’re planning to use, here are some of our top tips for working with photo editing software.

1) Layers

A simple mistake to make if you’re new to advanced image editing software like Photoshop is to ignore layers and just work on one flat image. The problem with that is every action you take permanently overwrites what was there before. If you use a new layer each time you tackle a new area of your image or a new effect, you can experiment with switching on or off different elements and moving things around until you get it right.

2) History

You should make sure you set up your software so it remembers a fairly long list of actions. This allows you to “undo” multiple times if you realise you made a mistake earlier, and sometimes you can take snapshots of the current state of your document so you can revert to a particular stage later. This is a good idea when you’re about to make significant changes to multiple layers.
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Photo Editing – Mac or PC?

The debate about whether to choose an Apple Mac or a PC running Windows is notoriously heated in many circles, and within the field of photography this is no different. Ultimately, people have success stories using both, but it depends on the user’s experience level and the configuration of your hardware and software at the end of the day. Personal preference can also play a major role!

That said, we want to offer some advice to simplify the issue. If you’re at the point where you need a new computer for working on digital image editing, you may be tempted to switch from one to the other, but can’t decide whether a PC or Mac will be better suited to your needs. Here we cover a few commonly mentioned points and try to shed some light on the debate.

1) Performance

Not all photo editing software is compatible with both OSX and Windows, although in all fairness the vast majority of professional tools are available for both. If you’re using something like Photoshop or Lightroom for most of your work, you might find people claiming that these programs will run better on a Mac. In fact, as long as you’re willing to spend good money on a high quality Windows laptop, it can definitely match the performance of a Mac.

2) Troubleshooting

Windows computers do have more errors, issues, viruses and unexplained lapses in performance than Macs. This is a proven fact, unfortunately. Having said that, Apple computers are not immune from similar issues, and you may have probability on your side but that isn’t a guarantee. You’re probably less likely to get frustrated with major software and hardware hiccups when working on a Mac, but we don’t think this completely balances out the potential benefits of using a PC.
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image editing software

Choosing Photo Editing Software

Making your photos look better, even if you only edit them, is actually really easy once you have the basic skills. It’s a fun and rewarding process, which is probably why so many people get into it as a hobby and want to make sure their hardware and software are both up to the task. There is a range of software available, depending on your budget and skill level, so we decided to compare the main players and draw some comparisons.

1) Photoshop Elements 14

This is Adobe’s product aimed at beginner to intermediate users on a budget. It makes everything simple and provides easy access to all the tools you need to edit images effectively, without cutting out too many professional features that more advanced users might expect. Instead of offering you a massive toolbox without guidance like full Photoshop software, Elements is more geared towards making the editing process quick and straightforward, with plenty of helpful pointers and guides. It’s also great value for money, coming in well under £100.

Image editing software

2) Photoshop CC

One step up from Elements is Adobe’s flagship editing software for photos. Photoshop Creative Cloud 2016 is the latest edition, and it basically packs in everything you could want for image editing purposes. You need to already know your way around, as we mentioned earlier, and you won’t find much in the way of guidance if you get stuck and don’t know how to use a tool. However, once you master the tools and get over the relatively high price, Photoshop is unrivalled in terms of what you can achieve.
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The Best Photo Editing Laptops

We already looked in detail at the key features you should be looking for in a laptop if you want to primarily use it for photo editing. This level of specification requires an upper-mid range budget, so we’ve looked at some appropriate models and decided on a pretty solid list of contenders. If photo editing is your passion, one of these picks should suit you perfectly.

1) Microsoft Surface Pro 4

OK, the very first entry on our list isn’t even a laptop as such. How exactly does that work? Well, in fact it’s absolutely great for photo editing. This 2-in-1 combination allows you to use a high quality stylus with the 12.3 inchtouchscreen to touch up your images, and with its excellent quality display you’ll see all colours accurately. It also features 8GB of RAM and a pretty impressive 256GB SSD for storing your image library.

2) Dell XPS 13 9350

Everyone has been raving about the XPS 13 since Dell launched it a few months back. Its standout features include the 13.3 “infinity display” with an impressive edge-to-edge 3200 x 1800 resolution, and Intel Core i7 processor. It includes the exact same RAM and storage as the Surface Pro, but in traditional laptop form, albeit an extremely well designed one.
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Choosing a PC for Creative & Visual Work

Choosing a PC for Creative & Visual Work

Creative tasks like photo and video editing are essential in many lines of work, and it’s also a hobby that many advanced laptop users enjoy and take seriously. It’s possible to balance the technical requirements you need for serious creative work with a pretty modest budget, but you do need to be fully aware of what you’re looking for. Features you’ll need for photo editing include:

Screen resolution

You’ll need to choose a 1080p FHD display at an absolute minimum, and preferably go closer to something like 3200×1800 so you can really get a clear view of the finer details. Also consider the actual quality of the screen, and not only the number of pixels, unless you’re planning to do all your work with your laptop connected to an external monitor.


An Intel Core i5 is the minimum processor level we would recommend for intensive photo or video editing, but i7 is highly recommended, especially if you are working with fairly demanding software. A better processor will allow you to work much faster and more efficiently, especially when you’re multitasking and using large files.
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Using laptops for photo editing – how to choose the best hardware

When talking about photo editing workstations, most people usually imagine a desktop PC with a big monitor or even a multi monitor setup attached to it. It’s true that the absolute best way to go for serious photography is a powerful tower and high quality IPS displays, but for 95% of the work, a laptop can be more than enough.

Traditionally, laptops were less powerful and had lower quality displays than what you could get on a desktop setup, but that’s no longer the case. Mobile hardware is powerful enough even for heavy duty work, and with ultra-high resolutions and IPS screens becoming more common, you can get some amazing results when using laptops for photo editing.

Choosing the best laptop for digital photography

The trick is in paying attention to the details when choosing the best hardware for the job, and with today’s multitude of choice, that has become extremely easy. When it comes to working with photos (especially large ones), every component is important, but the two things you absolutely can’t skimp on are the display and the processor. These are the only parts that you will heavily depend on and which can’t be easily or cheaply replaced – everything else can be upgraded as you go.

The best display size and resolution

Since you want to work with graphics, the display is practically the most important part of a laptop, and you should pay careful attention to what you get.

Display size is one of the most contested things if you look for advice on various photography forums – some say you need the largest screen you can get, while others say you can get away with a 11.6 inch display.

I guess it’s an individual choice, but I’d recommend going with a 17.3 inch display – sure, it will be a heavier and probably more expensive machine, but it’s a noticeable step up from 15.6 inches when you work with graphics every day (your eyes will thank you for it), and the laptop will likely be able to accommodate higher end hardware, more ports and in a lot of cases, a second internal drive, which will no doubt come in handy.

You need to get a Full HD display, not only because of the higher quality picture, but also because lower resolution panels are the cheapest of the bunch, and they often have a very bad color gamut, as well as brightness and contrast issues (like backlight bleeding and bad viewing angles).

A higher resolution would be great, but it’s not absolutely necessary – the laptops featuring them are also quite expensive right now.

The panel manufacturer

When looking at a traditional TN panel (the standard technology that most laptops and monitors use), you should pay attention to the manufacturer – AU Optronics and LG panels have the highest quality, while Samsung and Chi Mei/Innolux often have some issues (although Samsung has improved a lot lately). You should avoid panels from lesser known companies altogether to save yourself time and money.

The easiest way to view the panel manufacturer on Windows is to go into Control Panel -> Device Manager -> Monitors, select the display and click on Properties -> Details -> Hardware IDs. You should be able to see the panel number, which often has the manufacturer in it, but if not, a quick Google search will reveal it.

Obviously, if you can get a laptop with an IPS screen, it would be the best choice – IPS screens are able to display a much wider range of colors, and they have better viewing angles, too. This is what Apple uses on their MacBook Pros, which are considered the golden standard for creative work on the go.

The main issue is the price, but if it’s close to your budget, you can even save on other components if you can get an IPS screen.

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Invest in a Cheaper Second Hand Laptop for Photoshop Editing

Anyone who has done photography for a while knows that even the best photographer, with the best camera, still has to edit photos. This is because a raw photo is always far from perfect and thus it still requires slight alterations such as retouching, adjusting and adding effects to the images to make it look more beautiful.

Photoshop is one of the best and most commonly used photo editors available today. It has become very popular among editors because it incorporates very powerful editing tools that make it possible to make any pictures look excellent with just some slight tweaking. Sometime back photo editing was mainly done by professional photographers and journalists. Things have changed these days and now we can edit our own personal photos that we take with our Smartphone cameras or digital cameras.

Even though you will find photoshop on most people’s laptops, many of them are not enjoying using it since their machines either don’t meet the required specifications, or don’t have the features to run it smoothly. One thing that you may have already realised is that to get a new laptop that can run photoshop smoothly you will have to dig deeper into your pocket to get one. This mainly is because photoshop requires a laptop with a great display size, a powerful processor and enough RAM memory to work properly. These features come with the extra price and cannot be ignored when we are choosing our desired laptops for photoshop editing. Still this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy your desired editing laptop if you are on a tight budget.

You should opt for the next best alternative which is to get a second hand or factory refurbished laptop that is in good condition and that can do the job. You can get laptops for photoshop editing on sites like ebay at discounted prices.
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Basic photoshop skills for photographers


Photoshop is one of the leading photo editing software used by most professional photographers. It’s a powerful software that can enhance your images in an instant. It’s important for photographers to know the basic tips and tricks in able to produce good quality work in photoshop. Once you’re familiar with some of the tips, you’ll be able to create outstanding photos within a few clicks!

Black and white

Converting images to black and white is a classic style that many photographers used for some of their pictures. It’s also an easy trick as this can be done by adjusting the black and white tone in your picture. There are also different kind of style of black and white images, and this can be adjusted easily to your preference.

Healing brush

The healing brush is perfect for fixing any imperfections on an image. With this tool, you can remove any flaw by covering and making it blend with the rest of your image. To use this tool use


Masking is useful for making accurate adjustments on any parts or objects in your images. Simply use the quick mask mode by entering the Q in uppercase and select the desired object. Once selected, lock the selection by pressing the same letter on your keyboard.

Dodge and burn tool

Dodge and burn tool is excellent for brightening or darkening certain areas on your photo. When using both tools, it’s important to duplicate another layer of your image as this will be more effective for the picture. The dodge tool is used for lightening and burn is for darkening.

Multiple layers

One of the useful tools in Photoshop is the layers. Building layers provide more flexibility while you’re editing your image. Simply build a layer on top of your original image to preserve the quality of your image and prevent any changes.

Free Photo Editing Software


You don’t always have to spend lots of money when buying a photo editing software. In fact, there are many photo editing software online that are absolutely free to download. You can either download the free software to your desktop or use the software using your online browser. So if you are looking for a free alternative, we highly recommend the following photo editing software below.


If you haven’t heard of GIMP before, you are missing out! GIMP is a photo editing software that’s known as a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It offers a very similar editing layout to Photoshop and also provides you with a high-resolution result to your images. GIMP allows you to resize and retouch your photos just like the Adobe Photoshop. Just bear in mind that GIMP is quite limited when it comes to printing your files as it doesn’t have the same capacity and flexibility as Photoshop.

Image Forge

If you’re looking for basic editing, we recommend Image Forge. Although Image Forge is known for it’s drawing capabilities, it’s also flexible with photo editing. It has all the basic tools you need including enhancing images with effects and resizing tools. The free Image Forge was introduced as a teaser for their pro package, however, it offers all basic editing you need for photo editing.


Picasa is another free editing software that was made by Google. The software is very easy to use and perfect for beginners. It allows smooth managing of your photos and different options to share your images online. It has all the essential tools you need for editing including cropping, picture alignment, shadows, contrast, colour corrector as well as lighting effects. They also offer some basic photo effects and filters including black and white, softening, sepia and many others.

Best photo editing apps for iPhones

iphone photography

iPhones have bumped up their image resolutions on the newer version making it an ideal camera for photography. With more and more people now using their iPhones for social media, it’s worth knowing the best editing apps that can enhance your image even further. Photo editing apps are increasing in numbers and to help you choose the best ones, we’ve selected a few photo editing apps that can make a massive change in your images.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop is already known to be one of the best photo editing software for your desktop. They’ve also created an alternative app that can be used on your iPhone. Although they don’t fully have the same tools as your desktop, they still provide you with basic tools for photo editing while maintaining their professional standard. This app is completely free and can be downloaded straight from your app store.

RAW Power

The RAW Power is a relatively new app that’s recently been introduced. What’s interesting about this app is that it’s been designed and created by a group of professional iPhone photographers. The name says it all, the app basically allows you to shoot in a raw mode which means you can achieve a higher quality image when using this app. It also offers tools that allow for handling any kind of raw camera formats.



VSCO is one of the most popular apps used by Instagram users. What’s great about this app is that it offers you with various filter effects that are fully customisable for tweaking brightness, colour balance as well as contrast. So if you ever feel limited by Instagram’s photo filters, try the VSCO app. The app is very easy to use and great for any levels who want to achieve different automatic effects for their images.

Where to find missing options in Lightroom


When using Lightroom, you may stumble upon tools that you’ve never used before, or you might have accidentally closed some of the tools and are now unable to locate them back again. These tools and features are essential for editing your photos, so it’s essential to know where to find them for when you need to use them. On this article, we’ve listed some of the most important features in Lightroom and where you can locate them.



In the middle of viewing or switching panels in Lightroom, you may find that one of your panels have disappeared. If this happened, you could easily bring the panel back by right-clicking on the panel headers. This option also allows you to hide any panels.


Folder and photo collections

Your photo collections are important for when you want to open some of the files that you have previously edited on the software. To locate your photo collection, just click on the ‘File’ option and then finally ‘Open Recent List’. While opening your most recent pictures, you may find that you have more than one catalogue. As a last resort, if you’re unable to locate them using the above option, you can directly search for the file ending in ‘.LRCAT’ in your computer.



When the toolbar has gone missing, simply press the letter ‘T’ on your keyboard, and this will act as a shortcut which enables to show or hide the toolbar. You can also customise your toolbar by allowing specific tools to be shown or hidden. To enable this, simply click the downward triangle on the bottom right corner and leave the tools checked if you want them displayed on your toolbar.


Lightroom menu bar

Sometimes you may accidentally maximise your Lightroom window and find that the menu bar has disappeared. In this case, you simply need to close the full-screen mode by holding Shift + F on your keyboard, and you will then be able to minimise or maximise your screen. Once minimised, the menu option will be back on your screen.  


How to edit raw images in Lightroom


What does a raw image mean? A raw image is a photo that’s not processed by automatic settings in your camera. They are completely taken directly from your camera without applying any type of setting. They can easily be transformed into better images just from editing them using a photo software.

Lightroom is one of the most high-quality photo editing software in the market that can enhance any images particularly raw images as they support all kinds of raw files. To help you edit your raw image in Lightroom, we’ve provided some great tips below.



Raw images are untouched therefore depending on when you’ve shot the image; they can either come out overexposed or underexposed. The exposure can be easily corrected by using the exposure option that allows you to control the amount of exposure in your image.


White Balance

The white balance button has various types of options including cloudy, tungsten and much more. Why not try each option and see which setting fits your images the most.



Raw files are usually brighter than your regular JPEG files which means this can automatically reduce some details on your photo. The fill tool can be used to highlight more details in your picture. You can also adjust the brightness of your file to bring out more details.


Colour correction

An auto colour correction can be applied to your photos in Lightroom. But if you prefer to edit the colour you can adjust the saturation, vibrancy, tone and hues of your photo. Just slide the bar if you would like to increase or decrease each setting.



The retouching feature can be used to make adjustments to your photos. This usually involves retouching blemishes or brightness while at the same time maintaining the quality of your photo.