Photoshop Tips and Shortcuts

Article by Dave Morrow

Photoshop and post processing can be a daunting tasks, but there are many ways to make things much easier on yourself & that’s where I come in. Below I have provided some quick and dirty shortcuts and post processing tips to make your everyday workflow much more efficient and add some extra pop to your pictures along the way.

Post Processing Tip No. 1: Straight Line Brush Strokes in Photoshop

Ever wanted to make a straight brush stroke in Photoshop from one point to another without dragging your mouse or pen the whole way?

First off, select your brush and opacity accordingly. For sharp, accurate and straight lines select a hardness of 100%.. While holding down the shift button click on your picture at the exact location you want the line to start, with shift still selected click on the location where you want the straight line or brush stroke to end. This technique is great for making layer masks or painting in general.

Post Processing Tip No. 2: Extreme Texture in Lightroom

Are you done processing a picture but can not seem to capture that added texture or pop in certain areas? Go ahead and save the picture as a JPEG and import it back into Lightroom. Once your picture is in the LR develop module select the brush tool, and bump up the clarity and sharpness sliders to your desired level. Sometimes the Shadows slider will also need to be adjusted to make up for the contrast that is added along with texture. Now you can carefully and selectively brush in that added texture to your picture. Play around with this one until you get the desired effect!



Post Processing Tip No. 3: Sharpening and Contrast with Silver Efex & Photoshop:

I would recommend doing this as one of the last steps in your post processing workflow to add sharpness and added contrast selectively to different parts of the picture. The first step is to duplicate your final picture and run this layer through Nik Silver Efex with the structure slider moved 3/4 of the way to the right. Upon closing Silver Efex with your new black and white photo, set this black and white layer to Soft Light or Overlay blend modes then watch the magic happen. If you would like to selectively use this layer create a group with a layer mask and decide what you would like to add or subtract from the visible layer.

Post Processing Tip Number 4: Adding Glow to your picture using Photoshop

Sometimes those sunrises and sunsets need a little bit of extra glow to make everything flow. Here is a quick and easy way to add this effect without any extra plug ins. Duplicate your final layer and set the duplicate to Overlay Blend Mode. With this same layer selected click on your Filters at the top of the Photoshop screen and select Stylize>Diffuse. WIthin the Diffuse Modes select Lighten Only and click OK. The next step will be to add Gaussian Blur to the same layer. To do this select Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and select a radius of around 5 Pixels. You can add a layer mask to this layer and selectively “paint in” the added effect.

Post Processing Tip Number 5: Adding a Creative Vignette in Photoshop

My final touch on a photograph is usually a slight or sometimes extreme vignette. There are many applications or plug ins that do this for you, but one of my favorite techniques uses simple paint brush strokes and layer blending modes. The first step is to add a black solid color layer. Next set the blend mode on the black solid color layer to Soft Light. Now using your brush set to a very low hardness, brush in or out the areas you want to be darkened and lightened for the vignette. Adjust your brush opacity to control how smoothly your vignette blends into the base layer.

I hope you enjoyed these simple yet effective tips and have the chance to use them in your own post processing workflow. Head on over to for my FREE Star Photography, HDR and Star Post Processing Video Tutorials , Learn Photography Page, Lightroom Presets, reviews, and much more




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