5 Beginner Tips to Edit Photos in Photoshop

Nov 22, 2019 by Anna Maree


Whether you’re interested in editing photos for social media or wanting to start out on a new hobby... In this blog post, we’re going to break down five tips for beginners for editing photos in Adobe Photoshop.



When it comes to photography, the best photos are the ones that are able to tell a story. Sometimes when we take a photo, we have unwanted objects on the side or too much negative space, these problems will take away from the subject of the photo. The best and easiest way to solve this is to learn how to crop images.

  1. Select the CROP tool
  2. Either select your desired aspect ratio by using the drop-down menu (in the upper left-hand corner) and choosing from 
  3. Unconstrained
  4. Original Ratio,
  5. Or any other presets
  6. Or you can choose your own dimensions in the field beside the menu
  7. Another option is to click and drag the corners or sides of the photo in order to achieve the framing you want
  8. Hit ENTER or CLICK THE CHECK-MARK icon to confirm the crop



Sometimes when you take a photo, you might be unaware that when you took it, it was crooked. This is something that we can easily fix in Photoshop.

  1. Find the RULER Tool
  2. Usually, it is behind the EYEDROPPER tool. Just hold click the eyedropper until you see the ruler in the drop-down menu
  3. Now, in your photo, find a line that would normally be straight and drag your “line” on that from the beginning of the line, all the way to the end of the line.
  4. Good Examples of This Would Be:
  5. A Horizon
  6. A Top of a Table
  7. The Floor or Ceiling
  8. A Wall
  9. Next, select the button that says STRAIGHTEN LAYER.
  10. When you hit Enter, your photo will have white edges around it since it has now “Straightened” the photo.
  11. Use the CROP TOOL, and crop the photo in a way that gets rid of any extra white space.



Sometimes in photography, it’s tricky to get the lighting right and you might end up with a photo that is either overexposed or underexposed. Depending on the photo, this is something you can correct. The best way to do this and to not compromise the original photo is by using adjustment layers.

  • On the layers menu, in the bottom right-hand corner, click the half filled-in circle. 
  • When you scroll over it, it should say “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer”
  • This can also be done by clicking LAYER -- NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER
  • When you select this, you get a wide range of options, the best ones that you use for correcting Exposure are:
  • Brightness / Contrast
  • Levels
  • Curves
  • And Exposure

If this is the first time you’re using these tools, they’re pretty straight forward. When working with Brightness / Contrast, Levels, and Exposure, adjust the sliders on the right-hand side until the image is something that you’d like.

Normally, you’d want your whites bright, and your blacks, dark.

If you want to have a little more control, you might want to look into adjusting:

  • Shadows / Highlights
  • Or even, HDR Toning

To find these two options:

  1. Go to IMAGE



Sometimes there are objects in your photo that you wouldn’t want to have there, either someone in the background, an unfortunate breakout, or even a stain on a shirt. These are just a few examples of things that can be adjusted in Photoshop.

There are four different tools that you can use to fix your photo:

  • The Spot Healing Brush Tool
  • The Healing Brush Tool
  • The Patch Tool
  • Clone Stamp Tool

How to Use the Spot Healing Brush:

  1. Select the SPOT HEALING BRUSH from the Right-Side Toolbar
  2. Also known as the Toolbox
  3. Choose a desired brush size whether you’re doing so from the menu above, or by using the SQUARE BRACKETS on your keyboard [  ]
  4. Choose a Type:
  6. You won’t need “Create Texture” for most photos, most of the time, Content-Aware is the best option
  7. Click on the spot or area that you want to fix

How to Use the Healing Brush

  1. Select the HEALING BRUSH from the Toolbox.
  2. If you cannot find it, click and hold on the SPOT HEALING BRUSH to open a drop-down list.
  3. Choose your brush size in the menu above or with the SQUARE BRACKETS [  ] on your keyboard.
  4. Select SAMPLED as your source
  5. ALT-CLICK near the spot you want to fix in order to get a “copy” of the area
  6. Click on the spot or click and drag the mouse until the spot has been corrected

How to Use the Patch Tool

  1. Select the PATCH TOOL
  2. If you cannot find it, click and hold on the SPOT HEALING BRUSH to open a drop-down list.
  3. Make sure that SOURCE is selected and not DESTINATION
  4. DRAW A CIRCLE around the blemish or spot that you’re trying to conceal.
  5. DRAG THE CIRCLE to a different area that would be closest to the appearance that you’re looking for. 
  6. When you let go of the mouse, the area you’re correcting will be fixed.

How to Use the Clone Stamp

  1. Select the CLONE STAMP in the Toolbox
  2. Adjust the brush size to what works best for the spot / blemish
  3. ALT+CLICK to “clone” a clean area you’d want to copy
  4. Adjust the opacity of the area if needed
  5. CLICK AND / OR DRAG the mouse around the spot to essentially “clone” or “paint” over it.

Removing Unwanted Content with Content-Aware

 If none of the tools above work for what you need to hide or erase from your image, then using the “Content-Aware Fill” might help.

The latest version of Photoshop has a feature called the “CONTENT AWARE FILL OPTION,” this new feature allows you to remove unwanted objects or spots from your photos.

  1. With the LASSO TOOL, draw a selection around the area or spot that you want to replace or conceal
  2. Try to keep the circle tight around the object
  4. Resize the area and your initial circle by using the SAMPLING BRUSH TOOL or THE LASSO TOOL.
  5. Adjust the FILL SETTINGS to improve the quality of the fill, trying to make it look natural.
  6. When you’re done, CLICK OK, on the bottom right-hand corner.



Sometimes, even with all the work you put into editing your photo, it’s still missing something. Most of the time, it’s adding a little bit of sharpen to the image to really make it pop.

The key to this, however, is to not add too much sharpen to an image, otherwise, it will end up creating the opposite effect.

  1. Create a Duplicate layer of your photo
  2. On the layers tab, RIGHT CLICK YOUR IMAGE
  3. Thenclick DUPLICATE LAYER
  5. On the Duplicate layer
  6. Go to FILTER
  8. Select a sharpen filter
  9. Test which filters really make your photo stand out.

Or if there is something you want to individually bring into focus in your photo:

  1. Select the SHARPEN TOOL
  2. Then CLICK / DRAG  the area that you want to bring into focus.
  3. Repeat Step 2 until you feel like the area has been sharpened enough

The reason that we use a duplicate layer instead of the main source image, allows you to test different filters without making permanent changes to the original photo.


Adobe Photoshop has so many options that allow you to enhance your photos, and these are just the basics to help get you started.

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