If you were to teach Photoshop, what would you suggest are the most important principles?

I’ve been using Photoshop for many years now and because of my experience I was asked to teach Photoshop on a one-off basis to a class of 20. These people are beginners and have likely never even opened Photoshop before. Therein lies my problem, I have no idea WHAT to teach. I suppose my experience in Graphic Design has taught me specific ways to use the program, i.e. doing cutouts, improving compositions etc, but I’m not sure I can fill a day’s session with what I use it for.

Can anybody suggest what they would teach if they were to do a similar session to mine? What would you consider to be the basics.

[I know this question is slightly subjective, however it is very constructive for me to see the answers and it will help me a great deal]


I would really stick with the core basics:

  • Creating a file, saving a file, exporting to different formats
  • The core selection tools: marquee tools, lasso, magic wand, transform
  • Core creation and editing tools: paint bucket, gradients, eraser
  • Then get into the core power of Photoshop: Layers and Masks
  • Finally, do the core filters as this is a fairly deep subject on its own: Blur, Render, Sharpen, Stylize

I would leave it at that because that offers a good foundation for further exploration on their own. Be sure to have ready example photos and art for them to use to walk through the basic features. That also ensures everyone will be (more or less) doing the same thing at the same time and you’ll understand the context of a given question.

Since you have all day, you could structure the class around task-oriented exercises, so doing some common tasks with photos (i.e., removing red-eye, moving images of people between files), basic postcard layouts. Leave enough time for questions during and after the teacher-led exercises.

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Philip Regan

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