I used to think that using Photoshop made you a bad photographer, and that good photographers were those people who could take something directly out of a camera and have it be completely and utterly flawless.
And while that is probably something that we should all aspire to, the truth is that Photoshop (and its less-expensive cousins!) is a really useful tool for a photographer and there really is no reason that you should be ashamed to make your photos nicer using this tool. It won’t replace knowing how to use a camera, and an overexposed photo will still be crap no matter what, but Photoshop really can help you make better pictures.
But Photoshop is also a big, scary intimidating program, and it’s hard to know what the hell to do with it sometimes. So, here is a list of some things that I’ve learned by trial and error, that I wish someone had told me when I started playing with Photoshop.
(Also, caveat emptor — I’m a graduate student, not a Photoshop professional. Everything I do might be totally wrong.)
What tricks have you learned with your image editing software?