I was always impressed by beautiful images I was not able to get just by taking a photo without any editing, so I wanted to become an expert in Photoshop and improve my pictures like a pro. And not only to improve but also to create a new design or composite those unreal beautiful photomontages. It took a long time, but it was worth it.
So how to become a Photoshop expert, and what does it mean in reality? You have to study, watch the photoshop experts in a real workflow, practice as much as possible, and if you want to get to a higher level, go for Adobe Photoshop certification, and become a certified expert.
When I was starting my Photoshop knowledge path, I mainly used and read books. There was not a lot of stuff out there on the internet at that time. Today there are tons of excellent tutorials and resources that help you, and a lot of them are for free.
- 1 Install Photoshop to be ready to go.
- 2 Choose the right studying approach.
- 3 Start to study and watch the tutorials.
- 4 Watch the Photoshop experts at their work.
- 5 Practice, Practice, Practice!
- 6 Get the Adobe certification.
Install Photoshop to be ready to go.
If you take your future work and career seriously, you should invest in Adobe Photoshop subscription and get the licensed version of Photoshop. It is no cheap, but you will need it and use it on a daily base. So go and subscribe. There are more options, so you can decide if you will invest more and also get more apps from Adobe as Photoshop is part of Creative Cloud.
Install Photoshop on your computer or Laptop. There are technical recommendations for your PC hardware to be powerful enough to allow you to work quickly without having to wait for a Photoshop filter or other operations consuming quite a lot of your RAM.
A big discussion is out there that Photoshop is too expensive. Yes, it is not cheap, but this is the industry standard. Adobe is investing a lot into constant improvements and new features. And it gives you also a guarantee for the future to have the best tool on the market.
Choose the right studying approach.
Here are two methods available in general.
The first one is to take Photoshop as a sophisticated program consisting of many tools, filters, menus, and settings. You take them one by one and learn what each feature means and how to use it.
The second approach is based on a series of particular tasks you want to accomplish. For example, you start with the task of how to brighten the image in Photoshop. And during the work, you have to learn and collect information about particular tools and menus you have to go through to achieve this goal or task.
Another example is to enhance the landscape image. So you are literally forced to get information and learn how to use layers or adjustment layers. How to mask and how to use filters or how to make a selection.
You will need to know where to find brushes and how to set them and so on.
An important note here: in Photoshop is always a lot of ways or methods on how to achieve the same goal. And it is essential you know them all or at least most of them.
Start to study and watch the tutorials.
An excellent resource to start with is Adobe’s web page. You can find there detailed information about each single Photoshop tool. They also provide short video tutorials for beginners as well as for intermediate users.
These native Adobe’s resources are being underestimated, but you should realize they are the manufacturer, so they know their product best. Additionally, if you are an absolute beginner, this is the place where I would start.
Photoshop itself has a useful Help tool integrated, so you can read the explanation of a particular tool or process until you’ll understand it.
YouTube: an excellent place to start
Watching the tutorials on YouTube is a great way how to get more information and improve your Photoshop expertise. There are a lot of YouTube channels offering comprehensive resources of information and even complete pieces of training.
Most of them are, of course, oriented to show just a piece of information to attract you and offer to buy full training on their websites. But frankly, you can learn here almost anything, even for free.
The most popular and valuable channels are:
here is a growing group of online learning portals. Here you can find a complete training portfolio leading you to on the way to how to become a Photoshop expert. We can mention here Udemy or Lynda (now part of LinkedIn).
Watch the Photoshop experts at their work.
Another valuable resource to learn is to watch Photoshop expert “over the shoulder.” I understand it is not easy to find someone that will have patience with you and mainly who will be willing to reveal his secrets, methods, and workflows.
But there are professional photographers or Photoshop experts that are selling their courses online.
It is another investment, but be sure it is worth the money. Here you can learn the most. And compared to YouTube, this is a very well organized resource leading you and focusing on the most important things.
Prices are varying, and some of them are subscription-based, and the others offer you to buy a particular photography editing workflow tutorials.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
This is the most critical part of your journey to becoming a Photoshop expert. You have to practice as much as possible. I remember it from my experience.
You watch a good tutorial or training, and everything seems to be clear and understandable. You spent 3 hours watching the complete training.
Then you open Photoshop and try to apply what you’ve learned. And suddenly you don’t know where to move, how to use this menu or that tool, how to set the right setting.
Best Approach to Practice.
I’ve learned the best way how to move forward to your desired Photoshop expert goal is to practice even during the learning process. I mean, when you watch the training open your project, and after every single step you see on the screen, do it yourself on your own image or photo.
I know it is a tedious process, but trust me, you will learn and memorize all the necessary information, and you will remember it forever.
Get the Adobe certification.
If you want to take it seriously and use your Photoshop expertise as a source of your primary income, you should get certified.
I went through the process and got the Adobe Certified Expert certification.
Certified companies are providing the exam. I am sure you will find the local one near you. It is a Prometric exam, and you are sitting in the room under cameras and taking the test on the computer. I remember my test was consisting of 120 questions. Some of them were hard, and there were questions I could not even answer. But I’ve passed the exam successfully.
The exam was hard but doable. There are also resources on the web for exam preparation.
Having the Adobe certificate helps a lot when you are applying for a job or finding a new client. It proves your knowledge is comprehensive, and it guarantees you can provide excellent results.