Advanced Photoshop

Why Photoshop?

Just as necessary as learning technique is knowing how to apply it: what are the problems this images presents? what are its possibilities? The decisions made in image processing and manipulation are inseparable from our ideas about structure and meaning. I've always believed that the process of working on images in Photoshop can be a way of becoming a better photographer. Taking the time to observe and alter the visual relationships on screen over time informs how we see when we go out to shoot. For a lot of photographers, it can be a virtuous circle.

Part of Advanced Photoshop is technical and surveys ways of making local adjustments which are more precise than can be done with brushes and selection tools alone. Below, I’ve outlined some of the tools and methods covered in the class. The second part of Advanced Photoshop deals with evaluating an image and developing a strategy for enhancing it. I’ll demonstrate with both reference images and with participants’ images, taking students step by step through the process. Just as important as knowing how to do something in Photoshop is is knowing what to do.


  • Review of Brushes and Selection Tools

  • Making Selections with Color Range

  • Soft Light Burn and Dodge Layers

  • Channel Masks for Precise Selections and Expansion of the Tonal Range

  • Low Amount High Radius Sharpening

  • Retouching as Needed

  • Analysis Layers to Help Identify Problems

  • Naturalistic Representation of 3-Dimensional Space

  • Supporting Structure and Subject

  • Prioritizing Elements and Directing the Viewer’s Eye Movement within the Frame

  • Using Color in a Controlled and Expressive Manner

  • Re-Shaping Light