Top 10 Big Ticket Items Every DIYer Should Own: day 3

February 7, 2011

Now some of you may disagree but I'm going to tell you one of the best tools a DIYer can have......

Now, I know some of you are thinking, "I'm not into photography. Why would I need Photoshop?" Photoshop is useful for many, many things beyond photography. For instance....

Framed family silhouettes. So much easier with Photoshop. Freezer paper stencils. Interesting labels. Heck. Anything scrapbooking! Creating custom artwork (ie typography art, photos into storybooks), creating and saving pattern templates, editing sketches, and I'm leaving out about a billion more uses but you get the picture. If not, I'll Photoshop it for you:P

And if you *are* into photography well then you are REALLY missing out. You can take a dark, almost indistinguishable photo and make it look like you just turned on a light in the room! If you DON'T have DSLR, you can blur the backgrounds of photos to make it look like you took it with a DSLR lens (which I did often before I bought a DSLR for myself). Case in point. And here too! Just one more:) You can fix mistakes, change the color of objects, change the direction of light, add a sunset....and on and on and on.

And if you aren't into photography you can play around with typography in your paper crafts in ways you could never do before. I have 10,000 fonts in my library. Imagine the possibilities of that?! Here's a great site to find free fonts. But if you don't find what you're looking for just do a google search for "free fonts".
photo credit 
You can create templates of your work. Say you sew and sell your patterns on etsy. You can scan and alter your patterns in the program and save them as PDFs for everyone to use. Recently I used Photoshop to edit some sketches I drew up for my editor that came out a bit messy. 
You can talk a photo and make it look like a comic strip (neat idea for custom Valentines) or painting or drawing and frame it as artwork. See tutorials here. 
And if you're a blogger Photoshop is just plain necessary: headers, sidebars, photos, you name it, it's in there.

For people who love the vintagey look of some photography but don't know all the ins and outs of PS. I recommend using "actions". It's a very simple way of hitting a button and having your computer do the work for you. But also, I think it can help beginners get to know why and how PS works by going by through the history of the actions and examining what each step produced. They're also good in a pinch if you are in bit of a hurry. Here's a great site with FREE actions. Here's another.
Now, with everything there is a learning curve. Photoshop is not as user friendly as it's lighter PS cousins, like PS Elements. Some may think that having PS Elements is good enough. And I guess until you discover all the amazing things Photoshop can do you'll never know exactly how much you're missing out on. I have a real-life blogger friend: Stories of A to Z who recently decided to try the whole Photoshop package. She told me that she was surprised at how difficult it seemed. That was a few months ago. Just recently I popped in and saw her new header! I'm guessing PS had a part in it. Looks fantastic.
Stories of A to Z 
Lastly, the cost. The cost of PS is not cheap but there are workarounds. The latest retail version of CS5 will set you back $700. What the?! No way! But yah:( For students and teachers you can purchase it for just $200. I believe all you need is a student ID. Years ago I purchased the student version with an old expired student ID, so it's not exactly strict. Surely you know someone with a student ID out there who can help you buy it. But why the giant discount? Reason is, you are not allowed to use the student software for commercial purposes. But otherwise the programs are identical. Now there are other ways around the cost of the standard version. I'm not going to mention them here but I think you know what I mean. But if you want to purchase PS the legitimate way and don't want to pay $700 you can find discounted ones on ebay for as low as $100 but probably closer to$250 or $350. Those are finished listings.

If any of you have any questions about PS that you would like answered I'd be happy to try and help. I can't guarantee I'll know the answer but I promise to try!

24 {comments}:

Pretty Zesty said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm gonna check out that tutorial for the comic strip I've always wanted to figure out how to do that!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Photoshop is very easy to get for students and many schools don't require full time student status to qualify for discounts. I was able to get CS5 from my school for free.

Also, if Photoshop seems intimidating for photo editing, a great alternative is Adobe Lightroom. It's specifically designed for photographers, so I greatly prefer it for editing photos.

Julia said... Best Blogger Tips

I've been using the iphoto program on my Apple, but I've recently been told that Photoshop was the way to go. I am going to check it out!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I use GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulator Program), which is an open source (free) version of photo shop. I am still figuring out what everything means How did you teach yourself photoshop? I'm searching youtube for tutorials right now.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I use Picnik. I simply can't afford photoshop right now... But it might well be on my birthday list!

Sunni said... Best Blogger Tips

I do love Photoshop, though I still don't know alot of things about using it. It's really fun though. I took a community ed class for it, which didn't go into great detail for many things, but still was good for starting the basics. It's so much more than photo editing, like you say. Playing around with shapes and fonts is seriously addicting. And I simply love actions! They are the bomb!

Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

I got my Mom to purchase photoshop as well as lightroom for me. She's a teacher so they asked for her "teacher id" or business card, and pay stub. I'm Still working on learning more about photoshop. Although I do know quite a bit as far as editing pictures go. I'd be interested to learn how those cute little labels were made for those jars! Is there a link to that? Or would you care to show us how to make such a thing?

Love and Hugs, Jess

Ana said... Best Blogger Tips

I got the photoshop program couple of months ago. I'm still learning, but it's a great to have...for sure!

Seinde said... Best Blogger Tips

I love photoshop, but I'd like to suggest the smaller, faster, and free open source alternative: paint.NET

Andrea said... Best Blogger Tips

I want photoshop, but for now photoscape is good enough for me.

Sarah Jordan said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for sharing the photo links. I use Gimp and as a free alternative to photoshop.

Ashley said... Best Blogger Tips

Photoshop is such a powerful tool!

I would definitely encourage anyone willing to invest the money in the software to invest money in classes also. As a graphic designer, I take classes every time a new version comes out. If you're only looking at free tutorials, you're not only not using the software to it's full potential, you're also cheating yourself on your investment.

Jessica Peck said... Best Blogger Tips

I use both LR and Photoshop as well. I import the RAW images into LR and do my initial editing there. If I want to do anything further I'll import that jpg into Photoshop. Can't say enough good things about LR though!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Another vote for GIMP. I used to have photoshop, and have switched to GIMP, and have not found one single thing I did with photoshop that I can't do with GIMP, for free.

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips

For me, Illustrator is as indispensable as Photoshop--especially if you're working with lots of type. is excellent for free fonts, as well . . .

I'm loving this series, keep up the great work!

Kira said... Best Blogger Tips

I use Illustrator for my blog probably more than I use Photoshop. I bought CS2 back when I was a student and got a discount on my MacBook, too. At work I have new versions of everything so it's kind of frustrating to come home to a version that now seems ancient to me, but it still works for now!

the sleepy time gal said... Best Blogger Tips

thank you so much for the information. i've been considering buying photoshop and now am sold.

Erin said... Best Blogger Tips

I have been using Photoshop for 15 years now! (That statement makes me feel old) The best way to learn it, do the tutorials in the book that comes with it. There are also a ton of books that are dedicated to Photoshop and many of them are quite useful. They give you step by step instruction with pictures.

Also, the place I have purchased it a few times is and have had great customer service from them.

Annemarie said... Best Blogger Tips

I would love to get Photoshop!! but 200 bucks still sounds like a lot to me :P
Maybe I have to find a way around that ;)
You make really beautiful stuff, love your blog!
love, Annemarie

Beth said... Best Blogger Tips

Yet another GIMP user here :) Nothing against Photoshop... I've only heard good things about it. But for the price (i.e., free), GIMP can't be beat.

tamdoll said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tip! I love to edit my photos and got PaintShopPro - more affordable for me and works great.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

For those of you who don't have a couple hundred bucks to spare, you should check out GIMP. It's a free photo editing program with a lot of the same functionality as Photoshop. You can download it from I think its awesome.

They call me aggie said... Best Blogger Tips

My most favorite place ever to get free actions...
This lady is amazing.
Easy to install and easy to use.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

PSCS is my best friend. I learn how to work around Photoshop from tutorials in LiveJournal, and some LJ members even share textures, actions, and PSDs.

Deviant Art also has free textures, actions for PS and PSP users.

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