Adopting good Photoshop habits from the beginning is very important in order to optimize time and not make the most common 7 mistakes all photoshop beginners do when they learn design and photo editing.
During my 10 years journey using Photoshop, I learned that optimizing tasks when working in Photoshop will help you be a lot more efficient and saving a lot of time on the long run as long as help you avoid the most common Photoshop mistakes photoshop users do.
7 Mistakes all Photoshop Beginners do
This is a list of what I consider to be the top most common mistakes that all Photoshop beginners tend to make when starting out using the software. If you make any of these mistakes, try your best to avoid them.
1 – Not customizing their workspace
This is among the most significant mistakes all Photoshop beginners do, mostly because they don’t even know that this can be done, to start with and also because they didn’t develop a personal workflow yet. It’s crucial that you create one so that you always find things quicker and don’t have to go through all the menus and find the tools or panels you’re looking for
If you use a certain panel or tool preset more than 3 or 4 times in less than 10 minutes, it’s generally a good idea to place that panel or tool on a toolbar so you can access it quicker, or even access it through the keyboard shortcut if you use it a lot.
In time, you can modify your workspace to make it fit your style and workflow, but it’s always a good idea to have a starting point. This is my basic custom workspace in Photoshop.
2 – Not using keyboard shortcuts
This is by far one of the most common mistakes all Photoshop beginners do and also not so beginners as well. You can save up to 40% of time just by using 5 or 6 keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop. Many users find it difficult to remember the shortcuts but it’s actually very easy to remember them.
All you have to do in order to remember Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts is learning only 1 or 2 at a time. And not focus on the other ones until you incorporate these two on your workflow. Many shortcuts are the common to other software like: Copy, Paste or Undo. If someone asks me for the best Photoshop advice for beginners, it would be to learn at least the 10 basic keyboard shortcuts.
3 – Not using layers or not using them correctly
When it comes to the most common mistakes all Photoshop beginners do, this one comes high in the list. Most beginners don’t know how to properly work with layers and they work only on the background layer or, worse, they use layers but frequently merge them because they start to panic when they see layers beginning to pile up on the layers panel.
Layers help you work more efficiently and more freely and also save time when trying to achieve certain things and in some cases it’s even impossible to work without them, especially if you want to use layer styles for different parts of your project.
4 – Using adjustments directly on layers
This mistake has a major consequence in my opinion. It prevents you from making adjustments to your design later on. I’m a big fan of editable and modular designs so I always use adjustment layers and smart filters whenever necessary.
By using an adjustment directly on a layer which is not a Smart Object, you modify the original pixels of the layer’s content and you will have to redo your work if you want to change the settings of that adjustment later on. Instead, use Adjustment Layers.
5 – Lack of organization
When using a software that has a more complex interface or uses layering, you want to be as organized as possible. Not only because it helps you find things easier and work more efficiently, but also for other people that maybe will have to work on your project too.
Get used to name your layers and groups. Group elements and have an organized layer structure on your project. Avoiding some mistakes all Photoshop beginners do is just common sense as you can see.
6 – Not being patient
Every skill requires a certain amount of time to be mastered. The same applies to Photoshop and for the most part it’s not even about your artistic skill but about how familiar you are with the software settings, panels and tools.
Using a custom workspace helps you get familiar with the tools you use the most, because depending on the kind of designs you’re doing, you might not even use some tools ever.
Patience will pay of in the long run so don’t rush things. Set yourself goals and achieve one thing at a time. I would rather learn fewer things but learn them well, than trying to do lots of things at the same time and not being able to do right any of them.
7 – Compare yourself with others
Comparing your skills with other’s or your designs with other artist’s designs is almost never a good idea, especially if you’re a beginner. You should focus on yourself and improving yourself and your techniques and skills.
Comparing yourself with others will most like be harmful for your self-esteem and motivation and will easily discourage you. It’s always a good idea to look for inspiration to boost your creative process but never use other designs as “template” for yours.
Being a beginner on any field can be as funny or as boring as you make it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of attitude and how passionate you are about the particular skill you are trying to learn. Avoiding these 7 mistakes all Photoshop beginners do will help you not only be more efficient in Photoshop and look more professional, but it will also help you stay motivated and avoid frustration when you first start learning how to use the software.
Here is my list of the mos common mistakes all Photoshop beginners do.
- Not using a custom workspace
- Not using keyboard shortcuts
- Incorrect use of the layers or not using layers at all
- Using adjustment layers destructively
- Lack of organization
- Being impatient when learning
- Comparing yourself with other artists