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What Should Be Done First in Photoshop

Category: Photoshop, Tools, Video
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Oct 31

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What Should Be Done First in Photoshop

Hey Everyone!
We had some amazing entries this week for the Halloween contest, it was so fun looking through your images. The winners of the contest really went above and beyond, or just flattered me.
Congrats Greg, Ted, Angela, Priscilla, & Parthov!

This week we are focusing on the fundamentals of editing, and I think these episodes are really going to help you make your images stand out. It is easy to get caught up in the details and the cool tricks you can do, but sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Today we are covering what you should do when you FIRST open an image in Photoshop. These are things I have learned, and I would love to hear what you have learned helps you. We start off by putting the image into Black and White. Doing this strips a lot of visual distraction from the image, and allows you to focus on form & tone. It becomes a lot easier to see what is right and wrong with your image.

The next suggestion is to zoom way out and see what stands out to you. If you can blur your eyes, even better. This will give you a clear idea of what is distracting, and what your eyes are drawn to. If they are the right things, great! If your eyes tend to be focusing on the wrong elements of the photo, that is something we need to change.

You can also flip your image horizontally to check your composition. A good composition should look balanced any way you place the image.

  • Lawrence Smith

    ok so with just seconds into the shows’ lesson I already learned something new.The new layer>fill white>blend mode color=B&W

  • Priscilla Lumbreras Fernández

    Thank youuuuuu! Thank you very much!

    I have to say that your weekend contest are being a great stimulate for me.

    And your advices are really good ones. This weekend I was editing an
    awful pictures that I have to send a month AGO and I didn’t know what to
    do with them, and I decided to follow some or your advices.

    The first one, I’ve learned in this tutorial with Chris and the cat and
    already see it in your Howl tutorial, and what is it? To put the photo
    in black and white! And it really works! It helps a lot! Hahaha!

    The second one is an annoying thing that you use to do… to move away the picture to see the hole composition!
    And it really works too! It helps a lot too! Hahaha! I said that this
    is annoying because I use to get too close to the photo to see the
    details, and happens exactly that you say in this video, that I use a
    lot of time in things that later I realize that there are no goods for
    the composition and I drop it out, so I get frustrated.

    So, the conclusion is: you must tell us this advices a long time ago! hahaha!

    Thank you very much, your work it’s helping me a lot.

  • Priscilla Lumbreras Fernández

    Hey! Congrats for the review!

  • Marvel Bishop

    A fantastic start for this subject on the upcoming week Aaron. what i can tell you is that the mistakes i def make is looking at the details wayy before i look at the grand scale of the picture. I tend to just worry about the face and how it looks and retouching it. This episode however makes me look at pictures in a different light. I remember in the class you told us to always turn the picture to black and white, but Zooming out as far as you can to find the distraction is great lesson for me. Hopefully i can use this to the best of my ability. Thanks for the Advice!!

  • JD

    This is one of the best episodes so far in my opinion!!  All new information for me and incredibly helpful!!

  • Angela Butler

    Awh sweet! Thanks so much Aaron, I’m so glad I was one of the winners. :)

    Don’t forget about those contact sheets we have to fill out! :P

  • Ethan Davis

    Hey Angela, 

    Just go up to “Connect” in the menu bar at the top of the page and click on “Contact.” There’s a form there, and I’ll make sure Aaron gets it.

    Congrats on winning, and thanks for posting such a great image!


  • Andrea Peipe

    I have actually started going through those steps ever since I saw you do it in different episodes! :)
    In the “How to change the background” one you put a white layer over everything and I thought that was a great idea, esp. because you can turn it on and off so fast!
    A lot of times I find photos look great in color and then when you turn them into b&w they are kinda flat and you see they are not that great actually and you have to work on them. And also the circling of things you want to change is a great idea because then you already know what you need to change and cannot miss anything. 

    And CONGRATS to all the winners!!! I loved the images so much! Creeeeepy :D Ted’s image was esp. making me sick in a good way ;)

  • Wouter van der Linde

    Can’t believe I’ve been so stupid for being to late! 
    Anyways, here is my halloween entry, better late then never!

  • Aaron Nace

    this is awesome!

  • Aaron Nace

    I know! so easy right :)

  • Anan Adnan

    cool :)  

  • Stefano Tealdi

    Actually when first seeing you Aaron converting a photo in black and white to see the major problems and the differences in light and darks in a phlearn pro episode, now I do it EVERYTIME with every photo.. It’s so simple and so useful.. Thanks for your piece of advice

  • Anonymous

    Nicee can’t believe I was one of the winner!! All of the images were awesome. I am always learning something new from you and everyone here. Keep it up and thanks!!

    BTW, how do I select the phlearn pro??? :)

  • Anonymous

    Very Good.

  • David

    Sitting down to check out this series today, and looking forward to the rest.

    Aaron, you seem to be a note man, and I’ve seen you using notepad a few times in videos. You should check out Evernote. I’m a huge note taker and it’s organized life a bit. Think virtual notebook with everything in one place vs. dozens of loosies floating all over. You can have notebooks within notebooks as well to keep things even tighter. Could be great for keeping notes organized by episode, topic, etc.

    Thanks for the vid!

  • Tony Walls

    Flip mode is the greatest… You just earned so many cool points for that.. You don’t know!!!

  • Karen Johansson

    You’re awesome!

  • Jeff Sargent

    David, I use Evernote everyday and I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes I feel I can’t

    remember my own name and with this tool, as long as I write it down I never forget a thing. I absolutely love it.

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