6 Quick Photoshop Tips For The Non-Digital Artist

By Nicole Tinkham

Have you tried to explore the possibilities of Photoshop only to give up after 10 minutes over how complicated it seemed? We hear you artists! Photoshop is an absolutely incredible program if you know what you’re doing. But for the newbie, the numerous tools can be overwhelming. If you’re an artist who just wants to adjust a few reference photos or simply get your feet wet in the program, this blog is for you! We’ll go over everything from sizing to saving in this super basic Photoshop crash course. Read on for 6 quick Photoshop tips for the non-digital artist.

1.    Adjust the angle

Adjusting the angle of the image is rather simple but you may want to use the ruler tool (in the left hand tool bar under the eye dropper icon – Click and hold the icon for other options to come up and make your selection) to draw a straight line to compare. When you draw your straight line with the ruler tool, you can hold the “Shift” key while you click & drag to create a totally straight line. See the screenshot below for how to make your angle adjustments.


2.    Sizing

See image below on how to open up the resizing options. When you go to resize your image, a helpful tool is the “Constraint” symbol which will keep the image in proportion.


3.    Enhancing the color

To play around with the color of your image, you want to go to “Image” at the top of your screen and then hover over “Adjustments”. There are many options here (we briefly describe them below) so the best way to discover what they do is just to play around with them. Have fun with this and don’t panic if you don’t like something. You can always go to “Edit” and “Undo” to take a step back if you don’t like it.


Brightness/Contrast: Adjusts the tonal range
Levels: Adjusts the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights to correct an image
Curves: Allows you to adjust the tonal range in more detail
Exposure: Allows you to adjust the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights
Vibrance: Adjust saturation of all the colors or selective colors
Hue/Saturation: Allows you to play with the saturation on a particular color
Color Balance: Bring out specific colors in the image
Black & White: Turns the image grayscale
Photo Filter: Applies different color filters like “Warming Filter” and “Cooling Filter”
Channel Mixer: Tints the image
Color Lookup: Different styles added to your image which are already created for you
Invert: A negative of the photo
Posterize: Produces a poster-like look
Threshhold: Creates a black and white version of your image
Gradient Map: Creates different gradient fills for the image
Selective color: Allows you to select a color and then change it
Shadows/Highlights: Easily adjusts shadows and highlights

4.    Sharpness

If your photo doesn’t look perfect when you get it into Photoshop, don’t worry. You can always sharpen it for more detail and crispness. See screenshot below for how to do it!


5.    Adding text

If you want to add a title or quote to your image, you simply click the “T” icon on the sidebar and your type options (font, color, alignment, etc.) will be along the top bar. Draw out a text box and begin typing. Then you can format that text however you like.


6.    Saving files

When it comes to saving your file, you have many format options. You can find these in the drop down menu “Save As Type” when you go to save. Below we’ve listed some of the most commonly used formats and what to use them for.


PSD: Photoshop format, the default format that you can open back up and edit in Photoshop
EPS: Encapsulated PostScript, rasterized image that can be transferred between applications
JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group, compressed file used to display photos in HTML docs
PDF: Portable Document Format, A cross-platform format that preserves font and page layout.
PNG: Portable Network Graphics, Used for web graphics

We know this is a lot to take in all at once but take your time to explore Photoshop. There are so many creative things you can do with it. If you ever get stuck, there are a ton of resources out there that you can reference. You can also reach out to us (leave a comment below) and we’ll do our best to answer your Photoshop questions or at least point you in the right direction. Now over to you! We can’t wait to see what you end up creating with this incredible tool.

How to take better pictures with your smartphone

By Nicole Tinkham

How to take better pictures with your smartphone

STOP! Before you hire a photographer to take professional photos, read on to discover how you, the amateur, can take high quality photos right from your smartphone. Whether you’re photographing your artwork, gathering inspiration, capturing special moments, or just trying to get an interesting shot for your Instagram account, we can help you seem like a pro even if you aren’t one. Ready to give it a SHOT? Here’s how to take better pictures with your smartphone.
1.    The rule of thirds
When you go to take a picture where do you typically align the subject? In the center of the frame, right? Actually, the trick is to break the frame up into thirds both horizontally and vertically in an imaginary grid (or your phone may have a grid option for you). Where you see the lines intersect is where the focus should be. See below for an example and notice where the star is. Your subject can be aligned wherever those lines intersect.


2.    Use natural lighting when possible
Natural lighting will always give you a better picture especially when doing portrait shots. However, natural lighting isn’t always available. In the case of little natural light, reflect as much of it as possible using white objects like a white poster board or large white sheet.
3.    Use editing apps
There are numerous photo editing apps available for your smartphone which allow you to crop, rotate, add filters, change colors and more. Play around with them as well as the settings on your smartphone camera.
4.    Digital zoom is a no-no
Instead of using the zoom feature on your smartphone camera, get a little closer to the subject. Fill the frame if possible but remember that you can always crop the photo if you need to. Note: High res photos mean better quality. You should be able to adjust the resolution in your camera settings.
5.    Accessories to have
Two things to invest in: Attachable lenses (yes, they make them for your smartphone) and a tripod. Lenses can give you special effects like fish-eye shots. All you have to do is pop them onto your camera lens. Tripods are a MUST especially if you have a shaky hand. Many of these are small and portable so you can take them anywhere.
6.    Make the most out of panorama mode
Most likely, your phone has a panorama mode and we highly recommend you play around with it. Landscape photos come out great using this! You just can’t have anything moving in the scene.
7.    Clean the lens
Smart phones go through a lot. They get shoved in pockets, thrown in purses, and are touched throughout the day. Clean your lens frequently so you don’t end up with gunk in your photos!
It’s great to take all of these tips into consideration when doing some photography work but if there’s one thing to start doing right now, we’d recommend playing with your camera settings. You’ll start learning all the really cool things you can do right on your smartphone. Also be sure to look up some editing apps and play around with lighting. Quality photos don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Start doing these things to take professional looking photos right from your smartphone. We know you can do it!

Have you taken a brilliant photo with your smartphone? We’d love to see it! Share the photo with us over on our Facebook page.