5 Basic Photoshop Skills You Need as a Digital Marketer

If you work in digital marketing, especially for a small business, sometimes you don’t want to waste time and money passing small jobs to a designer that you essentially could do yourself.

The following are things in Photoshop that I use on a daily basis.

NB. This article is written for those people with either no or very little experience with Adobe Photoshop. The videos included are not mine and are based on CS6 – if your version of Photoshop is different, search YouTube for the relevant video.


1. Resize and Crop

Useful for: All kinds of things, from ensuring the images you are loading onto your website aren’t enormous, to finding that perfect crop for a Facebook ad.

To crop: select the crop tool. Insert how big you want the crop to be in the width and height boxes at the top. Select the area to crop, press enter.

To resize: i.e. scale down the size without cropping, go to Image > Image Size in your menus.


2. Shadows

Useful for: Shadows are particularly good with getting text to read better over an image.

How: Select the layer that you wish to affect, then click the “Fx” icon and select “Drop shadow”. Subtlety is often better in these situations. You can experiment, but I usually set the distance as 0 and keep spread/size low to avoid going OTT.


3. Photo Filter

Useful for: It’s a little like Instagram, click this button and your image is instantly warmer. And studies have found that warmer-looking images are more attractive to your audience, particularly in tourism where I work.

Just don’t use a warm filter on snow (nobody likes yellow snow).


4. Gradients

Useful for: Using subtle gradients can help turn a plain image into something more professional.

How: Create a new layer above the image and select the gradient tool. Ensure your fg/bg colour palette is set on the normal black/white. By default this should mean that your gradient is dark to transparent.

Drag the gradient from outside of the image in towards the centre to create darker edges. You can do this any number of times from any number of angles. It also works for lighter – as shown in the video.

Tip: Hold the shift key down whilst dragging the mouse to get a guaranteed straight line.


5. Borders

Useful for: Display/Banner advertising, as a border has been proven to attract attention and increase click-thru rate.

How: Click the image layer, then the Fx icon and select “Stroke”. Change Position to inside and alter size as necessary.

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