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Looking Beyond Photoshop’s Controversial Reputation

Did you know Rihanna has an extra thumbnail? Well, she doesn’t, but it sure looks like she does in this Instagram photo, published on Riri’s account Monday. People are calling out the “Photoshop fail” and, yet again, this Adobe program is at the center of a body image controversy. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people only associate the software with retouching. Yes, retouching can yield impressive results, but Photoshop has so many other tools that can help you to produce amazing things for both personal and business purposes.

Making Good Pictures Great

More than 25 years ago, Photoshop burst onto the image-editing scene. Some of its original tools like the crop tool, eyedropper, and eraser are still part of the software today. As time has gone on, more and more features and capabilities have been added. This visual history gives a great overview. What has been integral to Photoshop all along, though, are the tools that help to make good pictures great.

Try this little experiment if you know some Photoshop basics: upload a photo, make a copy of it, and lock the original. Make all the adjustments to the copy (preferably each adjustment on its own layer). That may include: setting a new white point, adjusting the color balance, increasing the saturation, etc. Then, look at the final result, and compare it to the original. If you’ve done everything right, you’ll say, “Wow”. The good picture with the nice colors will now be a great photo with vibrant colors. Another amazing thing that Photoshop can do is make an old photo look new again. Take a 50 year-old picture with faded color and detail. Then, using LAB mode, restore it to its former glory.

Why Great Photos Matter

Obviously, everyone wants good photos to share with their family and friends online. However, from a business perspective, being able to incorporate high-quality, original pictures into the company website and blog is critical. Yes, stock photos are available, but there’s no substitute for original images your target audience won’t see anywhere else.  For example, suppose you run a family business. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have photos of your parents or grandparents opening your company on your website, blog, and social media? Also, research shows that social media posts that incorporate visuals to support content and links result in more engagement. What business couldn’t benefit from that?

Getting Creative with Photoshop

Suppose you are a self-published author. You want to create an amazing cover for your latest eBook. A man is hiking in the mountains and comes upon a secluded village? That is definitely possible. With Photoshop, you can take a photo of a man, a photo of mountains, and a photo of a secluded village and create one amazing image. With masking techniques and blending modes, Photoshop helps us design any fanciful scene we desire. If you want to go beyond images, Photoshop also makes it possible to create short videos and 3D objects.

So, don’t believe the hype. Photoshop is not all about making someone’s neck look longer or skin appear acne-free. It actually has a lot of practical applications that the average person and business owner can use. While there are both good and bad videos about how to learn Photoshop on YouTube, a great resource to get started with is Adobe’s free Photoshop tutorials. Also, just have fun and play with the software. You never know what you might create!

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