An image of a person that has been edited using Adobe Photoshop.


How to use Adobe Photoshop.

You don’t need to be a graphic design pro to use the leading image editing software. Explore this beginners’ guide for everything you need to start using Photoshop.

Get started with Photoshop basics.

Some fundamental knowledge of Photoshop can help you take the first steps to creating impressive digital artwork using photos, textures, shapes, and line drawings. Dive in and start a simple project, such as a postcard, to see what you can do.

An example of a new file being chosen in Adobe Photoshop.

Begin your first project.

After you download and open the app, create a new file in the Photoshop Document (PSD) format. As the native file format for Photoshop, a PSD file can store a large amount of data, including high-quality images.

Examples of Adobe Photoshop templates.

Start from scratch or a template.

You can get a head start on flyers, postcards, and posters with a Photoshop template, or you can work from a document that’s entirely your own.

An example of document size being chosen. The example shows a width of six inches and a height of four inches.

Choose a document size.

To create a new document, click the blue New File button. Then select the canvas size and resolution that fits your project. For example, a postcard is usually 4 x 6 inches.

An example of a graphic with 300 pixels per inch.

Choose your resolution.

Choose 300 pixels per inch (ppi) to make sure you don’t lose any detail if you print it.

Discover how to work with layers.

Layers are like clear sheets you can lay over background layers or images. Working in layers allows you to add and adjust different elements like portions of photos or text. If your layer is transparent or semi-transparent, you can see through it to the layers below it.


You can add images, textures, colors, and text to one layer without affecting the content in the layers below it, so you can undo or adjust any moves you make that you’re not happy with. Create a new layer from scratch or create one from an existing image.

Create a new layer from scratch.

Click the Create a New Layer button in the Layers panel or choose Layer › New › Layer from the top menu. (Give the new layer a name that will make it easy to identify later.)

Create a layer from an existing file.

Add a piece of artwork or an image to your project as a new layer.

1. Import the file.

Let’s say you’re creating a postcard from a perfect beach photo you captured. To add the photo, drag and drop a JPEG or PNG photo file from your desktop into your Photoshop project. It will become a new layer over the background layer. 

2. Reposition and resize it.

Click and drag the corners or edges of your photo to make it larger or smaller. (Make sure the Show Transform Controls box is checked in the options bar at the top of Photoshop.) Use the Move tool to reposition your photo to fit your layout. 

3. Press Enter or Return.

Photoshop will automatically turn the layer into a Smart Object layer. This is simply an object you can change as you like without reducing the resolution.

A photo of a person that has been converted into a layer mask.
A layer mask of a person placed over an image of a pink sky and clouds.

Adjust certain areas of your image with layer masks.

A layer mask allows you to control what to hide and what to show on a layer. For example, you can combine two images seamlessly by creating a layer mask of your subject and then placing that subject over a background from another photo.

How to add a mask to a layer.

Let’s say you want to add someone who wasn’t there to your beach postcard photo. You can do this in the Select and Mask workspace. 

1. Set up the photo.

Drag and drop a photo of the person (or pet) you want to add. Line up your subject in a layer above your photo backdrop.

2. Make your selection.

Click the layer with your subject — the layer you want to mask — in the Layers panel. In the top menu, click Select › Select and Mask. 

3. Select your subject.

Click Select Subject in the options bar. Photoshop will automatically select the most prominent subjects in the image. Note that the layer mask thumbnail will appear next to the image thumbnail in the Layers panel. The selection will appear white against a black background. The white part is the part that will be revealed while the rest will be hidden. 

4. Refine your selection.

Use the Add or Subtract buttons to add or take away pixels from your selection. You can also click Refine Hair and Photoshop will automatically find and refine difficult hair selections. Or try the Refine Edge Brush tool, the Lasso tool, or the Quick Selection tool in the upper left of the toolbar to refine with even more control.

Remove an object or spot from an image.

One easy way to use Photoshop is to remove things like garbage bins, power lines, and photobombers from your pictures. It’s also easy to remove a blemish from a portrait or a piece of litter from your perfect postcard beach shot.

A before and after image. The photo on the left shows a person's hand holding a telephone. In the image on the right, the person's hand and arm have been removed using the Spot Healing Brush tool, leaving only the telephone.

How to clean up your image.

Follow these steps to take out what you don’t want.

1. Select the layer.

In the Layers panel, choose the layer with the spots or objects you want to remove.

2. Select the Spot Healing Brush tool.

Click the Spot Healing Brush tool in the Tools panel or just press the J key. In the options bar, you can adjust the size and hardness of the brush edge (harder creates more clearly defined edges). Keep the type setting at Content-Aware, which means the tool will sample pixels and match the texture, lighting, transparency, and shading of the sampled pixels to the pixels being healed. 

3. Click or drag.

Click on a spot or drag the brush over the object you want to remove.

Write on your layers.

If you’re making a postcard from your beach paradise, you may want to add the name of the place or a message.

Examples of different fonts available in Adobe Photoshop.

Add text in a variety of styles.

Insert and resize text. Choose a font from the thousands of free fonts that come with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. 

An image of roller skates. A text layer has been placed over the image and the text says "SKATE." The Warp tool has been used to bend the text.

Move, warp, and shape your words.

After adding text to an image, adjust its color, placement, and look — perhaps add a bit of bending or warping to the letters with the Warp tool.

How to add text.

Write what you want and then experiment with different fonts and styles.

1. Select the Type tool.

Click the tool in the toolbar or just press the T key.

2. Pick your spot.

Click on the image where you want to place the type. In the options bar at the top of Photoshop, you can choose whether you want the type to be horizontal or vertical, as well as the font, size, color, alignment, and any warp effects you want to add. 

3. Type.

Add your own text over the “Lorem ipsum” sample text, and edit.

4. Edit.

Highlight the text to make style changes. Use the Move tool to move the text exactly where you want it. 


Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Draw on your layers.

Paint a picture on your picture. Maybe you want to add a cartoon umbrella, or your beach photo looks a little too wonderful and you want to limit your viewers’ FOMO by drawing a shark in the water. Whatever your vision, Photoshop gives you the tools to realize it.

Add shapes to your design.

Use the Rectangle and Ellipse tools to draw those shapes, or use Pen tools to create more complicated shapes with anchor points and handles. 

Choose from a thousand brushes.

Paint or draw whatever you want on your image. Select a preset brush, brush tip, and shape, or create a unique brush tip from part of an image.

An illustration of flowers that has been painted using the Brush tool.

How to paint in Photoshop.

Whether you want to add shapes or draw freehand with the Brush tool, the steps are basically the same. 

1. Select the tool from the toolbar.

Click the tool in the toolbar (or press the B key for the Brush or the M key for the Rectangular Marquee tool).

2. Customize the tool in the options bar.

Choose your brush size and how fast you want the paint to flow, or the color that will fill your rectangle or ellipse.

3. Make your mark.

Paint, draw, or play with shapes. Try out different settings to see how they look.

Save your file.

To save a file, go to the File menu and select any of the Save commands: Save, Save As, or Save a Copy. You can save to cloud documents or save on your computer. You can also export your PSD to another file type, like JPEG, PNG, or PDF. In the top menu, click File › Export › Export As to export your document.

Make big changes in an instant with Neural Filters.

Neural Filters are smart filters that use the power of Adobe Sensei AI technology to make quick, automatic edits to images. Now you can make the kinds of edits that used to take hours for professional graphic designers in seconds.


To select a filter, click Choose Filter › Neural Filters from the top menu in Photoshop. Download the filter of your choice if it’s not already installed, then adjust its settings as you like. The following are just a few of the filters available.

An example of the Colorize filter used on an image of a plant's leaves.

Colorize black-and-white photos.

Turn black-and-white images into full color in a few clicks with the Colorize filter. Choose the colors you want and fine-tune the saturation with focus points.

An example of the Super Zoom feature used on a photo of a person's face.

Zoom in while staying sharp.

With Super Zoom, you can get close and personal without losing detail. Enhance facial features and fix fuzziness so your close-up stays clear.

An example of the Skin Smoothing filter used on a photo of a person's face.

Smooth skin.

Remove blemishes, tattoos, scars, and more with the Skin Smoothing filter. As you’re retouching, use the Smoothness and Blur sliders to get just the right look.

An example of the JPEG Artifacts Removal filter used on an image of a person.

Clean up your photos.

If you’ve converted a JPEG to PSD, you may notice fuzzy or pixelated areas. You can remove these artifacts of compression with the JPEG Artifacts Removal filter. Fine-tune with either a high, medium, or low level of blur.

Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

Try these step-by-step Photoshop tutorials.

Familiarize yourself with more tools and learn how to take your photo editing to the next level.

An example of the Quick Selection tool used on a photo of a person. The person is outlined with a dotted line.

Take your photos places.

Separate your subjects from their original backgrounds with the Quick Selection tool and place them somewhere completely different.

An image of a person's hand holding colorful balloons. The colors in half of the image have been adjusted.

Go deeper with color.

Adjust the colors in your photos to add vibrance, mute a distracting tone, or just make one element pop.

An image of a frog that has been stylized to achieve a painted look.

Stylize a photo.

Achieve a painted or airbrushed look by limiting the number of colors that appear across a photo or just a specific selection.

A composite image created using images of birds, ocean, sky, and clouds.

Combine images.

Combine two different photos to create a composite that is a work of art in its own right.

A photo of a ballerina that has been edited using a blur effect.

Add blur to an image.

Learn how to add a blur effect to a photo to focus attention or amplify a sense of motion. 

A photo of a person holding a camera. The photo has a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer added to create a duotone effect.

Create a duotone effect.

Give any high-contrast, black-and-white image a bold new look by adding a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer.

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