Retouching: Recommended Equipment

This Photoshop for Photographers course is aimed specifically at photographers and covers everything from the basic tools to more advanced techniques.

In this Photoshop course, Karl runs through some of the key features of this extensive programme to help you to get started. You’ll be able to follow along step-by-step using the project files provided (which you can download here) as he demonstrates everything from hue, saturation and luminance to layers and layer masks.

To begin with, Karl provides an overview of the equipment he uses when working with Photoshop, including his laptop, monitor, storage medium and Wacom tablet.

In this class:

  • An introduction to Photoshop for photographers
  • Common Photoshop tools
  • Recommended equipment for Photoshop work
  • Storing your photographs

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi Karl,

    I’ve had a look at the Wacom and wondered whether there’s a specific level that’s best to look at given the variety they have. I’d like to consider purchasing one, but I’m not sure which is best. I do a variety of photography from animal and landscape to light painting and products, if that is any help.


    1. Hi Louise, I use the intuos pro medium but if I was only using one screen I’d probably be OK with the small one.

  2. Hi Karl great tutorials thank you. What monitor do you recommend getting for phot editing I am having trouble finding izone

    1. Hi, thank you. There are lots on the market at various prices but you should search for colour accurate monitors for retouching / photography. I believe Del, NEC, BenQ all make them. Asus are a good brand and the best ones are from Eizo ‘Color Edge’ series.

  3. Hi Karl,
    If you had experience/feedback on it, can I ask you for some advice regarding the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 to be used instead of the mouse?
    Best and thank you,

    1. Hi, Ben our video editor loves it, he uses it for everything. I personally prefer a mouse for general use and a Wacom Intuos Tablet for retouching.

  4. Hi Karl,

    I’m new to your course and just watched your photoshop video and was wondering does a person need a wacom tablet if using a laptop that has a touchscreen

    1. Hi, yes a wacom is highly recommended for the burn and dodge work but you can practise with a mouse in the meantime to understand the techniques.

        1. Hi, I’m not familiar with that, I guess it depends how many levels of sensitivity your setup offers compared to a wacom?

  5. Hi Karl,

    I’d like to know if you recommend using a color card for white balance and color correction, (when I try to use my X-Rit Color Checker in Lightroom I don’t get good results) if so would you consider doing a video for that?

    Thank you

  6. Hi Karl

    Starting watching photoshop where powerful software can drastically enhance pictures I am wondering and would love to know your opinion about the potential effect of present and future AI taking over to some extent product photographs or even smartphones being good enough in the near future to be an alternative to DSLRs?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Joseph, I don’t think AI can currently predict how to best compose a product image as it doesn’t understand the aesthetics or form of the item and what its attributes and qualities are. There are ways of using CGI to build and light a product realistically but it needs a skilled operator who understands lighting. Lighting is the key to any of it whether it’s in camera or in CGI and that needs knowledge. It also doesn’t matter what the camera is if the lighting is crap the photo will be crap. I can take a better photo with your Iphone and good lighting than a novice can with my Hasselblad and no lighting knowledge. Learn Light – That’s it.

  7. Hi Karl and the team!)
    I’ve just bought the Wacom tablet but it seems that I can’t use it right.
    The first problem – there are lots of settings that should be adjusted to make it suitable for photoshop (and I tried to watch some YouTube videos, but people often say contrary things and I don’t know what to do now). I’d be great if you could make a lesson about your way of adjusting tablet to your needs-as I’m learning from you, I’d rather adjust my tablet as you do)
    The second problem- I’ve just been using it for a week but there are already lots of scratches and also the pen nib got shorter)) Is it because of high pressure ?
    Thank you for any tips you have!

    1. Hi Anna, OK i’ll look at a video on that for the future but essentially I turn all the settings of on the tablet (all the buttons) and I turn off the buttons on the pen. Then I just use the pen and my keyboard to change the size of the brush. The pressure settings are pretty good in the default ones but you can easily customise the pressure settings in the preferences. I wouldn’t worry about the surface getting scratches but it should take quite a while for the nib to get shorter.

        1. Hi Anna, no I don’t think so, well I don’t anyway I mostly use the default round brush in it’s softest type and I just use the keyboard shortcuts to harden/soften them or change their size.

  8. Hi Karl,

    Deeply thankful to one of my best friends who has encouraged me to sign in, besides wishing that days had at least ten hours extra in order to absorb all the impressive amount of knowledge herein, I must say that I have not been a big enthusiastic of post-processing so far.
    Yet, watching a tiny bit of your tutoring about this very important “dark room” work part, I would now very much like to know what specific Wacom tablet you have been presenting in this introduction video.
    From the dimensions viewpoint, it looks like they would match your 17″ Apple laptop (which, by the way, would be worth mentioning the precise model and inner structure), but can you please add some more specific details like, for example, regarding its size / diagonal / active inches?

    Thanks and best,

      1. Very many thanks indeed!
        As I’ve been coming to digital from ancient film (i.e., Soviet Smena 8 and only 100 / 200 ISO black-and-white locally produced 35-mm film rolls), I’m doing my best to get an image as good as possible straight out of camera. However, I very well know that, in our modern days, that’s just an ideal situation (so impossible to come to), and post-processing is a must.
        Watching your lectures (have I mentioned that I wished a day had had 10 hours more?) I realise that learning some Photoshop would develop me. (So far, as a Nikon user, I have only retouched images in the Nikon’s proprietary editing software, Capture NX-D).
        I am doing no “professional” work (i.e., getting any money out of photography) for the time being, I’m just an amateur striving for his best possible shots.
        Once again, thank you very much indeed!

  9. Hi Karl I am new in course and watching this video you were mentioning that you use calibrates cream. I would like to know more about it ( how to do it).
    I’m really happy with this purchase and I have learned so much already.
    Thank you.

  10. Hi Karl, what are your views on photo editing on the likes of a tablet (IPad Pro for example) Apple seem to think that this is the future of computing I just wanted to get your thoughts on it with the likes of Adobe releasing a lightroom app and photoshop app. Could you see the ipad taking over from a laptop if not now in the future?


    1. Hi Samuel, for me it comes down to two things. Computing power (how fast can I work on big files) and Calibrated screen quality (not currently feasible on an IPad). As such I think it will be sometime until an Ipad is suitable for the type of work I shoot and edit.

Leave a Comment