It can take a while to figure out what does and doesn’t work in Photoshop for new photographers. We’ve all been there. We’ve discovered some new tool or technique, and we go overboard. We think it looks amazing, we start doing it to every image, but we’re really doing ourselves more harm than good. In the long run, it’s all part of the learning experience, but the sooner we figure this stuff out, the sooner we can move on.
This video from YouTube channel Photoshop Tutorials, highlights five of the most common Photoshop mistakes photographers make. I’m not sure I entirely agree with the first one. I do in part, though. Why do something with a dozen layers if one will do? Aside from anything else, it’s wasted time. Sometimes, you really do need 100+ layers, though (but, please, learn to group them).
Admit it, you’ve probably done all of these at some point. You may have only done some of them once or twice, but you still did them. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all have to learn at some point. Learning what not to do is just as important as learning what we should do.
- Creating too many layers – Learn to group them or use Smart Objects to organise
- Not using Smart Objects – They’re one of Photoshop’s most powerful and valuable features
- Using the wrong document settings – DPI doesn’t make a difference if you’re not printing, and if you are printing, don’t convert to CMYK. Let your printer do it.
- Unnecessary Luminosity Masking – Many of Photoshop’s filters and effects will let you specifically target highlights, shadows or midtones anyway.
- Overprocessing – Just stop with the plastic frequency separation, overcooked HDR and ridiculous vibrance levels.
As far as my personal Photoshop experience goes, the only one I don’t think I’m guilty of is #2. Sure, I used Photoshop without Smart Objects, but that’s only because Adobe hadn’t implemented them yet. As soon as they were available, I jumped right in and never looked back. They’re absolutely amazing.
Don’t beat yourself up too much over Photoshop mistakes, though. Failure is how we learn.
What mistakes have you made with Photoshop that you’ve ended up regretting? Did you go back and delete the work afterwards to clean up the evidence? Or have you left it up as a lesson to others? Let us know, and show off some of your own failures in the comments.