Photoshop is one of the most popular image editing programs on the market, with a huge number of features and options to help create stunning images. However, Photoshop also has a steep learning curve and can be difficult to learn without getting discouraged. In this blog post we’ll provide you with information on where to start so that you can delve into your new hobby without frustration. This article will cover the essentials of adjusting contrast and levels, manipulating layers, working with filters, using adjustment layers in some basic ways, cloning images of excellence in Photoshop CC 2018+, recovering objects from under or over something else using object selection techniques and masks in many different ways.

1. Adjust Contrast and Levels Using Curves

Curves are one of the most effective tools that you can use to control the contrast in your images. It’s a reasonable starting point for someone who doesn’t know much about Photoshop, as it allows you to adjust contrast with more precision than most other tools. Using Curves, you can invert your image and change the midpoint to match your desired amount of contrast. Many people view this as a negative effect on their image, but it is one of the simplest ways to get started with adjusting contrast, before moving onto other more sophisticated methods such as Curves Tools and adjusting eyeshadow and skin tone separately. Adjusting the midpoint (pink) of the curve results in a high contrast black-and-white image where the whites are drained of color. Image adjustments such as this can easily be done with Curves as it’s essentially a way to adjust contrast without moving your exposure slider, however I would recommend learning to work on layers and making individual adjustments to separate parts of your image.

2. Layer Masking

A layer mask is essentially an invisible mask placed over the layer that you want to modify or remove. You can do simple things like make all of your layers transparent, or simply turn off what you don’t want in your image. It’s a simple way to specific areas of an image that you want to use, and one of the best ways to use Photoshop to work on one image at a time. There are many other advanced ways to create layers masks, but this method is more than enough if you’re just starting out. To make a layer mask, right click on your layer (or press shift and click), hit “Create New Mask”, and then select your favorite brush from the stack in the options.

3. Using Adjustment Layers

Adobe added adjustment layers to Photoshop CC 2018 which make it easier for beginners and experienced users alike. 

Adjustments on adjustment layers can be applied with a brush or a gradient from the adjustment layer options, and once you’re done you can simply click on “Duplicate”, or “Merge Down” to make duplicates of your adjustments for easy saving of time later on. This is good for saving time, as it saves time not having to replicate the process all over again when you need to.

4. Working with Filters

As with any image editing program, Photoshop has filters to help enhance an image. You can use filters in different ways, and at times it may seem overwhelming if you’re not sure what effect they are intended to have. You can always use the layers options to change the layer effect that is being applied before applying another filter, or apply a filter directly on another image or document. There are plenty of tutorials available online on how to use filters in Photoshop, so I won’t go into detail here.

Using Filters as a starting point is a way of making simple adjustments at first before moving onto more advanced techniques such as adjusting eyeshadow and skin tone separately for example. One thing to remember is that often subtle changes are the most noticeable, so don’t be afraid to just play around.

5. Cloning

Cloning an image is one of the first things that people learn when trying out Photoshop. It is a relatively easy way to remove mistakes from photographs, and another way to work on images individually using the clone stamp tool (S). Make sure you have a clean area of image for your source by using the clone stamp on an empty layer (press alt-click on the layer thumbnail in order to check that it’s empty). You can then make individual adjustments such as this one by duplicating your new layer and changing its blending mode to “Multiply”, or any other given blending mode. Another method to remove backgrounds and other unwanted parts of an image is removing them using the Pen Tool (P).

6. Masks

Masking is another helpful tool that Photoshop provides, allowing you to harness the power of the pen tool (P) while still keeping things simple. It allows you to create your own object selection and once you have made a selection or mask in an image, you can use it again by clicking “Load” when “New” is selected in the options bar under Create Guides, Paths or Rulers. You can also make masks using different tools such as a layer mask (see above) and even using a Quick Mask (Q).


Adjustment layers are a great way to start off with Photoshop CC 2018, and even if you’re an experienced user, it can still help you save time. I recommend playing around with the layers options to see what handles you can find and use to change the effect of your adjustment layer. Masks are also a good starting point if you’re new to Photoshop, as it allows you to make sure that you have selected what area of your image needs to be saved before making any other adjustments. Once you have some skills under your belt, it may be worth taking the time to learn more advanced methods of adjusting contrast and adjusting layers by masking individual parts of your image using different tools.

There are many labels that could be given to describe me, but one thing’s for certain: I am an entrepreneur with passion. Whether it's building websites and social media campaigns for new businesses or traveling the world on business trips - being entrepreneurs means constantly looking at yourself in a different light so as not get bored of your own success!


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