Photoshop is a powerful and large program. It’s easy for Photoshop to become disorganized. You can make your workflow work more efficiently and get the best out of your images by creating a routine. So you know you are on the right track, we’ll cover the essential components of a Photoshop workflow.

When shooting

Maximizing what you get while shooting is a key component to speeding up Photoshop’s workflow. This will save you a lot of time in post-processing.

While Shooting - 42West, Adorama

Make sure you have the right gear for the job and shoot in raw

It can help you save a lot of time editing by making sure your camera is working correctly and the settings are correct. You should ensure that you are shooting in RAW and setting the exposure properly, as well as checking your metering settings. You can save time in Photoshop by investing in better gear. Sharper images and better night photography are some of the benefits that come with higher-end cameras.

Your Editing Setup

To have an efficient workflow, you need a setup that works well for you. Toiling on a laptop while you sleep will cause neck pains and waste of time. You should instead invest in a quality setup that has all the gear you need to be productive. You could have a card reader, a monitor on your desktop, a hard drive, a graphic tablet for detail work and enough RAM and CPU to run Photoshop without any lag.

Post-Processing

The steps that you take to edit images in Photoshop are completely up to you. It all depends on the result you want. Post-processing can slow down beginners. We’ll be covering the most important steps, regardless of what type of editing you do. To create your own workflow, you can add your own steps. These are only a starting point.

Before you use Photoshop, cull your images

If you plan to edit large quantities of images from a shoot, the first step in any Photoshop workflow is to reduce your images. Adobe Lightroom can help you do this. You can flag images in Lightroom to keep them safe. This ensures that you only edit images that are good enough. After you have selected an image, open it in Photoshop.

Initial Cropping

To improve composition and visual interest, cropping photos should be your first editing step. Click on the photo once to open Photoshop’s crop tool. Next, click O to cycle through the different overlay options. Click and drag any corner to change the borders of the crop box.

Photoshop Workflow - Initial Cropping

Adjusting color and contrast

To change the color or contrast of your work, you will need to use Adjustments. To view the Adjustments panel, click Window>Adjustments. You will find many tools to adjust colors such as Hue/Saturation and Color Balance. You can adjust contrast using the Brightness/Contrast option. To apply these changes to specific parts of your photograph, you can use a layer mask.

Photoshop Workflow - Adjusting Color and Contrast

Spot Removal

Spot removal can be used to remove unwanted elements and blemishes from images. Spot removal is useful if you have too many distracting elements in your image. Use the spot removal tool to paint over any unwanted elements. Photoshop will adjust the image automatically to seamlessly blend the gaps. Press J to access the spot removal tool.

Sharpening

You can sharpen your image by going to Filter>Sharpen. This will let Photoshop sharpen it automatically. You can have more control over sharpening by going to Filter>Unsharp Mask. This dialog window will allow you to adjust how sharpen you photo.

Photoshop Workflow - Sharpening

Exporting and Reizing

There may be several steps to export your work depending on the type of project. You will often need to resize the images before you can upload them online.

I recommend that you manually resize images in order to upload them to the internet. When I resize in Photoshop, I prefer to sharpen images twice. You can avoid blurry images due to automatic resizing by resizing manually.

Always back up your files

To prevent files from being accidentally damaged or lost, it is a good idea for backups to be done somewhere else than your computer. A good external hard drive, or cloud-based file storage system, can be very useful.

You may use Dropbox or Google Workspace to share files with clients.

Personally, I back up my photos to a SynologyNAS which syncs with Google Workspace. If my computer or an external storage/Synology Box is stolen or destroyed, I have backups of my photos in the cloud storage. In case the cloud storage service is unavailable, my photos are still available on my computer as well as in my local network storage.

All in One

This is the key to a more efficient Photoshop workflow. To do this, you will need a visual reminder to stick to your desk or wall to remind you which steps you should take and in what order. Write down the most important tasks that you need to complete and note any keyboard shortcuts that are useful for your Photoshop workflow.

Bringing It All Together - 42West, Adorama

Quick Tip – Stick with It

It can be difficult to follow a long list in the right order. It might seem a little tedious the first time you use Photoshop. Keep at it! You must be consistent in your editing to create and maintain your own style as a photographer, no matter what subject you are working with.

Last Thoughts

A good workflow in Photoshop can make it easier to be a professional or a beginner. You will find the best workflow for you by trial and error.

Useful Hardware Recommendations

Are you looking to improve your gear skills but don’t know where to begin? These are some helpful suggestions to help you get started.

Cameras & Camera Gear

  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera Body 1897C002
  • Sekonic L-308XU Flashmate Digital Lightmeter 401-305
  • SanDisk 128GB Memory card
  • Canon EF-S 18 55mm f/4-5.

Editing Setup

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16”
  • BenQ GW2780 27″‘ Full HD IPS Monitor
  • SanDisk Extreme USB Type-C Card Reader
  • LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive LaCie USB-C 3.0 2TB STFR2000800

Printing

  • Canon PIXMA Pro 200 Pro Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer 13″ Canon PIXMA Pro 200 Pro 13″ Canon PIXMA Pro 200 Pro 4280C002
  • Epson Ultra Premium Luster Ultra Premium Photo Paper