Photoshop Interface and Tools

Knowing your way around the Photoshop interface is essential. In this photography class Karl gives you a complete tour of the popular software for photographers, highlighting the most common and popular tools.

Starting at the very beginning, he shows you how to customize your workspace for maximum efficiency, helping you to quickly and easily access your most common tools. He navigates through the program, highlighting and demonstrating common Photoshop tools for photographers before sharing a number of useful keyboard shortcuts that can be used to speed up your workflow.

This comprehensive course builds a solid foundation for the rest of the course and is the ideal place for anyone starting out or looking to expand their Photoshop knowledge.

In this class:

  • Editing software for photographers: Photoshop
  • How to use Photoshop
  • Customising your Photoshop workspace
  • Photoshop keyboard shortcuts
  • How to use the History panel in Photoshop
  • Common Photoshop tools and how to use them
  • Move tool, Marquee tool, Lasso tool, Clone Stamp tool, Brush tool, Blur tool, Sharpen tool, Burn & Dodge tool, Adjustment Layers and more…

The work along file for this Photoshop class can be found here.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Gary Stasiuk

    Curious what the benefit of using/saving Tiff files over just using Psd. I’ve worked with graphic designers in the past and they often use Tiff. Is that just a convention, or is there more to it? Generally, my Psd files will have curves and adjustment layers as well as custom channels. I’m not sure if they would be saved, for instance, in Tiff. But a Tiff can have layers… is this a more universal way to pass specific alpha layers between printers/designers/photographers where images might be destined for Illustrator or InDesign?

    1. Hi Karl, I cant express how amazing is your tutorial. Your patient way of explaining toe by toe steb by step allows us to learn something. 5 stars tutorial overview, Cant wait for next lesson.
      Thank you Karl !
      Happy Christmass 2021

  2. Hi! Karl Taylor, I’m so excited about your tutorial, but I difficult to find pictures in the tutorial video to practise it. I think it better just attached the download file with the exact picture in the video tutorial.

  3. Hi Karl,

    You mention colour calibrated screen that you retouch on. I have a laptop and an iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Mid 2015), Is it possible to accurately colour calibrate this? I need to learn how to do that in the first place but i just wondered as you retouch on a specific screen

    1. Hi Afshin, the imac and macbook screens are not the worst screens but they do not calibrate perfectly because they are too glossy and contrasty to really be considered suitable for professional use. The Eizo Color Edge screens are probably the best but there are also other good calibrating screens such as NEC, ASUS, BenQ and some Dell ones.

      1. Thank you Karl. I have one other question. Im a little confused about where you set your Adobe RGB (1998).

        What’s the difference between setting it in :

        1) Assign to profile ==> Working RGB or Profile (and then you choose)
        2) Convert to profile ==> Destination Space
        3) Color Settings ==> Working Spaces
        4) Image ==> Mode ==> RGB Color

        1. Hi Afshin, I was very surprised to find we don’t yet have an individual class on that so I’m going to get one made in the next couple of weeks! In the meantime if you go to the ‘Edit’ menu at the top left of the screen and then go down to ‘Colour Settings’ in there you set your colour profiles based on the working practise of you, your lab, litho printers or main clients. If you are in Europe for example then that would likely be Adobe RGB for RGB, Fogra39 coated for CMYK and 15% Dot gain for spot and grey. You can convert to sRGB when you save jpegs for web use. In answer to your question 1. This is if the image doesn’t have a colour profile attached to it (which isn’t common) generally speaking if you intend to work on the image then it’s best for it to be in the RGB space you work in such as Adobe RGB so you’d say convert. 2. Is which conversion colour space your going to convert too. Colour settings I’ve covered above and Image Mode is the mode you are working in such as CMYK or RGB and generally you’d be doing everyhting in RGB unless you are specifically designing images for brochures where you are managing the print production.

          1. Thank You again Karl…I was also wondering given that ProPhoto RGB has the widest colour space, why do you suggest working on Adobe RGB 1998 instead? I do live in the UK. Does that have anything to do with it? Logic tells me that its best to work with the largest amount of available colours

          2. Hi Afshin, the colour space of ProPhoto RGB is used by some but it is considered to wide gamut by many (including me) which means when translating it back to Adobe RGB (the industry standard) then you can run into problems. Adobe RGB is the industry standard for most commercial printing applications where the pre-press stage is to convert the RGB image to CMYK for commercial printing. Most pre-press houses and commercial printers are more familiar with this conversion process from Adobe RGB 1998 also most of the best calibrated monitors will give you 99-100 display of the Adobe RGB gamut.

  4. hello Karl, is there any video were you can show us your workflow from transferring your files from CF card until you export your final file to be print or to upload on your blog or website? thank you very much in advance, I think it will be a great help to see how you process your raw files before getting into PS.

    1. Hi InLoveMX, join us for this Thursday’s live show as I retouch the images from the ‘Natural Decay’ shoot! Otherwise catch it on replay. To be honest I don’t do a great deal to the RAW files, I might make a couple of tweaks (things shown in the LR courses here or the post production in the Landscapes section) then I export as 16bit tiffs and then continue the workflow in PS that is covered in the ‘Photoshop for Photographers’ course. But on this Thursdays show I will be giving the images a slight treatment in RAW then exporting multiple files for a focus stack and continuing the PS work after, hope you can join us. Cheers Karl.

    1. Hi Peter, we’ll come to that in this course. But I work on RAW first in the RAW capture software and then in PSD or Tiff, but you can also work on the file in PS as a smart object so that you can keep it linked to the RAW file if you need to go back to the RAW but I don’t find that necessary given that I’m working a 16bit tiff or PSD and have already made my RAW adjustments.

  5. Hi Karl,

    As a beginner photographer, would you recommend learning Photoshop first or Lightroom? I’m unsure as to whether I should watch your Photoshop tutorial or your Lightroom ones.


    1. Hi Ariel, LR is probably easier to get your head around to begin with and then a good stepping stone into PS. The only thing is there’s a lot of faff with LR catalogues that I find a waste of time.

  6. Hi, Karl

    Finding this very informative, and already my images are better for the first three lessons.

    My question is: which version of PS are you using. I’m on the most up to date PS (2020 I think), and the layout I get is nothing like yours. I’d love to see the histogram, for example – and acn’t seem to find it.

    Many thanks

    1. Don’t worry – you’ve answered in the next minute. I promise to be less impatient next time.

      John Wade

  7. Hi Karl

    First of all, discovering you from youtube is one of the best thing which has happen to me this year so far i mean, thank God i learning from you & not from them view to make money youtuber thank you for the teaching it’s very helpful.

    Now my question is this, what is the best way to calibrate computer monitor please?

    1. Hi Azeez, thank you for your comments. Depending on your monitor you will need a calibration measuring device like an Ione from Xrite or a Spyder from Datacolor – On their websites it will give you the information you need.

  8. Ok. I finally did it. I held out as long as I could using LR5 only. I have now switched to the subscription model of LR with Photoshop. I’m finding as the courses continue the need for photoshop is more prevalent. Great overview. This really helps with the learning curve.

  9. took me two days but i finally finished this! this is the best teaching method ever! i went from being overwhelmed with Photoshop to feeling very confident. Like one user said here that it may take her a long time to be proficient, i felt that way too until i watched this video to the end. it wont be long now. thank you Karl, money well spent

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