Up for Discussion: 5 of My Favourite Things About Photoshop


Today for Up for Discussion I thought I might Show you a post that I wrote a while ago, but it was popular when it was first published. For those of you that have been following me for some time know how much I love Adobe Photoshop CC.  It is one of my most important tools for working on photos and I think I would be lost without it. I hope you enjoy this repost of 5 of my favourite things about Photoshop.

Up for Discussion: 5 of My Favourite Things About Photoshop

I thought it might be fun today if I talked to you about my favourite things that are essential for my workflow.


1/ Curves

Without a doubt one the most important adjustments for me.  As you work with it more and more you start to see all the possibilities of what you can do with them.  It is one of the most versatile adjustments I think.  You can lighten or darken the image, you can emphasize the highlights, you can change some of the tones of the image, too many things. Slowly I am learning how to use it, but I’m also using it so much.  Most of my images have many curves layers.


2/ Blur

I know this could be a strange one, but it is something that I enjoy using. I don’t always use it, and sometimes I only use it for part of the image, and others for the whole image.  There are so many ways of using it. Of course there is the obvious Gaussian blur that I think most of us know about, however, there are lots of other blur effects and another one I love is the radial blur.  However, there are lots of other ones there too, and I’m always learning. The biggest learning curve about using it is restraint.


3/ Adobe Camera Raw

Seems a silly thing to say, or something to choose, but I really couldn’t live without it.  Of course, I could use Lightroom instead, but I do like Adobe Camera Raw or ACR.  There are adjustments you can use in it that aren’t available in Photoshop. If I only had Photoshop and not Lightroom then I couldn’t live without ACR, it is an essential part of my workflow.


4/ Gradient Tool

This is my finishing tool.  Nearly every image I work on I use the gradient tool.  It is how I add a subtle or not so subtle vignette to the images.  I have a thing about white or light edges in images, and if I can get rid of them, then I will.  A dark gradient added to the edges is fantastic, well I think it is.


5/ Layers

I know when a lot of people first start using layers they can get confused and can’t get their heads around them. It’s not something I ever remember having problems with, it just always seemed logical to me. I really like how you can add things and later on decide you don’t like it, and instead of having to go back and start again, you can just delete that layer. I know some photographers won’t work in layers, but I think that is just silly.


There are many other things I like in Photoshop, but they would have to be my top five.

So what are yours? It isn’t as easy as you think to work out your top five.

The photos have been done using Photoshop and many of them were done using the above things, if not all at least some. They were taken a few years ago, and processed, so they don’t necessarily reflect my style now.

Further information

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Here are some links to some other articles you might also find interesting.

U4D: Reposting That’s a Great Camera

UFD: Reposting Critiquing

5 Reasons to go out with friends when taking photos

24 Common Photography Mistakes made by Newbies

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  1. Hello Leanne. I’ve always been watching what you Post, even though I don’t say much, but this time I will. I have Photoshop CC and have been having trouble learning all that this program will do. I wish to heck I could get Images like you do, but it looks very complicated to complete. I get so very frustrated. Half the time I leave it alone! A program that I rarely use. I use Lightroom CC more than anything. If I could only know how to do allot of those things you do would be outstanding. I’m watching and Thanks.

    1. Thank you Les, Photoshop is a massive program and I’m still learning how to use it. I am finding new things all the time. I think it is about making that decision to just learn and see what you can do. Experimenting and that sort of thing. When you are ready, I’m sure you will have a lot of fun with it.

    2. Yes, Leanne, Photoshop is a massive program. I do have allot to learn with it. However, what I want to know is just how it’s done to create such great Images you have Posted. The “Theater Chairs” are just one of them. Wish I would know just how to do that. Photoshop CC has book on learning to use it, but it never really shows how to do different things. Just explains the different functions. I need more than that.

    3. That’s for sure Les, it is. I think the trick is to learn how everything works, and then you work out how you can use certain things to do what you want. Each artist and photographer works in different ways.

  2. Great images as always! I still have a thing about photoshop .. sure it was layers and not being able to get my head around them (is there hope for me) 🙂. I too enjoy the gradient too (Lightroom)

    1. Of course, there is Julie, it is just a matter of trying and trying, they aren’t that bad in the end. Great to hear Julie, thank you.

    1. I went the other way, started with levels, then went to curves, though I often do some things in levels now too. That’s great.

  3. Wow! What a lot to think about. I am VERY much a beginner here. I only use the editing tools on my Apple Mac in ‘Photos’. I have seen ‘Curves’ there but ignored it up til now. I just went to have a brief play with it and could not work out how to use it at all without getting very bizarre results – must investigate further. Thank you for waking me up to Curves!

    1. Curves can be weird, but also good. Keep experimenting and I’m sure you will get there. There is a lot to work out, take it slowly, absorb and learn. You’re welcome and thank you for sharing.

  4. I love layers, masks and using Photoshop for panoramas and image stacking! Does a pretty good job on blending multiple shots of the same image to reduce noise and uprezing for large outputs. It also does a nice job assembling multiple hand held images for large multi row panoramas!

  5. Without a doubt, ACR. After that: layers, spot healing brush (for all those stupid spots on the sensor), and content-aware fill. Even though it’s part of layers, you could probably add text to my list, because I’d rather do a project in Photoshop than Illustrator.

    1. I love ACR too. They all sound good Steve, maybe you should get your sensor cleaned, lol. Interesting, I don’t have Illustrator so I have to do everything in Photoshop. Thank you Steve.

    2. I remember that you posted an untouched photo from your old camera not very long ago, Leanne, which showed all the spots on your sensor. Mine is still very clean compared to that, or I would have it cleaned.
      I still find some old film shots that I haven’t scanned, and when I convert those to digital, spot healing brush is my friend there as well.

    3. Oh yes, but that photo I posted was an extreme example, I’ve never let my sensor get that dirty again.

      Oh yes, film can be such a pain, there gets so much crap on the film, dust and fluff.

  6. I am using Affinity Photo as editor for my pictures. In addition to the top five you mentioned, Leanne, I use masks, live filters with the clarity filter being my favourite, and the correction tools. I also on occasion use the blending modes that come with every layer and live filter I am using. This was a very interesting post, Leanne. I am looking forward to read more of this kind in the future. Thank you!

    1. I have been hearing a lot about that software recently. Oh masks are fantastic, I think I just thought they go with layers, but I should have make it one of the 5. Lots of great tools there Peter. That’s great Peter, thank you, I will have to plan more.

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