Photoshop is arguably the image editing application that gives the finest control and most advanced photo developing capabilities. It is also a very complex piece of software that isn’t always intuitive. One of the features of Photoshop that puts it above the rest is layer masks. However, the challenge of understanding how layer masks work can also be the stumbling block that keeps many of us from learning or using Photoshop. If that sounds familiar then I made the tutorial above for you.
Advanced tools, such as luminosity masks and advanced techniques, such as exposure blending, are often reasons photographers want to get into Photoshop. Photoshop provides more adjustment options and finer control for the most nuanced and delicate image developing. Layers and masks are also required to accomplish many of the techniques that Erin Babnik outlines in her article, A Lexicon of Post-Processing Terms in Landscape Photography Today such as focus stacking, focal length blending, perspective blending and time blending.
In the video above, I do my best to break down layers and masks to the essentials. They are the gateway to Photoshop. Once you understand what they are and how they can be used, you begin to unlock its power. So, whether you are brand new to image editing or have been using Lightroom or other apps and now want to add Photoshop to your post-processing toolset, getting a handle on layers and masks is step number one. I hope the tutorial is helpful in this respect, but if you still have questions let me know and I will be glad to help as best as I can.
I am currently (as of April 2020) working on a complete course for learning to use Photoshop called Photoshop Essentials For Outdoor Photographers. I expect it to be available in May 2020. Until then, if you are brand new to Photoshop you could begin with my free course called 10 Steps To Getting Started With Photoshop which is available on THIS PAGE of my website. My YouTube channel also contains a large collection of Photoshop tutorials.
Sean is an outdoor photographer, digital image developing enthusiast and photography educator based in Ashland, Oregon, where he resides with his wife and two sons. His previous career as a science teacher makes photography education a good fit. Sean teams up with fellow Photo Cascadia members leading workshops. He also teaches digital image developing classes, lectures and offers a series of Photoshop video tutorials.