Adobe Photoshop is older than many of the designers on your marketing team – it will turn 29 before the year is out. As the global population has embraced the internet as their primary source of information, millennials and younger demographics in general have spent more and more time online. In 2014, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 spent an average of 27 hours and 36 minutes online each week. The marketing industry has certainly kept up with the shift in viewership – visual marketing and design is a central ingredient to promoting products and converting views into purchases online.
If you’re far from a Photoshop expert, do not despair! Photoshop is an essential tool for marketing, but you don’t have to be a professional designer to navigate the basic functions of this powerful software. Follow along for the top 10 uses of Photoshop that you can master in a few tries. Translate your eye for marketing into Photoshop prowess with these tips and tricks.
1. Enhance Your Images for Social Media
For marketers who work in the social media sphere, editing and resizing photos to fit various profile picture and banner photo parameters is a necessary skill. With Photoshop you can learn how to enhance photos for all major social media channels so your branding is consistent wherever you cultivate a social media presence.
Smart marketers know that the visual focus should be identical cross-channel for customers to recognize your brand. With this knowledge, you should also know that certain images work better on various platforms – a Facebook banner photo, for example, is very horizontal and houses text information very well, whereas a Twitter profile picture is very small, measuring 128 x 128 pixels with a maximum file size of 2 MB. Brush up on the image measurements and file sizes for the major social media platforms, then check out this beginner tutorial that shows you how to keep images sharp and crisp when resizing them for social media.
When you draw from Shutterstock’s vast selection of stock photos, you can edit and resize your images for every social media platform with the convenient Shutterstock Editor. No additional application needed – make quick and easy edits online to finalize a social media post in minutes.
2. Create Mobile-Friendly Images
Our first two tips should drive home an important principle: sizing and compression, as it applies to marketing, is paramount for success. We haven’t delved into what your images should look like yet, and for good reason: if your images create a clunky and non-responsive mobile experience you’re in for disaster. The majority of web traffic is now via smartphone. Catch up to the mobile-first mentality and ensure your images are optimized for mobile.
While some aspects of the mobile experience aren’t in your control as a marketer, like the server-side specifics of the web-hosting service your website utilizes, you can edit and export images in Photoshop to create as smooth of a mobile browsing experience as possible. As this quick guide at Marketing Partners asserts, there are some common sense choices you can make to optimize images. One example is choosing an image that is clear and not too busy, so it doesn’t lose its impact when sized down. Ultimately, your best tool will be compressing and exporting images via Photoshop. Howard Pinsky (we’ve featured him before) contributed to this great tutorial explaining how to export for mobile.
3. Add Texture to Flat Graphics
As a marketer, you may not be able to add layers and blend layers of effects on your images to create surreal dreamscapes or hyperdynamic photos. But there are many beginner tutorials online that enable you to add simple textures to flat images and graphics in order to make your web design stand out. While plenty of web design moving towards streamlined, minimalist simplicity, that doesn’t mean your images should look like they were created in Microsoft Word.
Add depth and texture to your images using tools at your disposal in Photoshop. There are a few basic methods of creating textured images within the application without relying on an expert’s skillset. For basic texture, work through this introductory texture guide via Envato Tuts+. If you’re feeling bold (and your branding is rustic), try your hand at this rust texture tutorial from Spoon Graphics.
4. Blur the Background
Images that work best for marketers draw the eye to a central focus, without cluttering the composition or including any distractions. One of the easiest methods of creating a dynamic image with a singular focus is to simply blur the background of an image, drawing your viewers’ attention exactly where you want it. With the power of Photoshop, you can blur the background and shift attention to the subject of an image with a variety of tools.
For most marketers, blurring doesn’t need to be overly fancy – sit down and familiarize yourself with the basic blurring techniques used by photographers and apply them to the photographs used on your website or social media page. This introductory guide to creating a Bokeh background blur is a great jumping off point. If you’d prefer to remove the background completely, you can’t go wrong with this step-by-step tutorial on Digital Arts.
5. Make Images Pop With Blend Modes
No one wants a dull image on their website. Brightening an image or upping the contrast in order to draw out the color will invariably make your images more compelling and keep readers on your website longer. But isn’t that image-editing process to make your photos more vibrant painstaking and time-consuming? Luckily for marketers with limited Photoshop experience, the answer is “not at all.”
There are several blend modes in Photoshop that empower you to make images bright and lively with minimal effort. In order to add light to your images, use the “Screen” blend mode to brighten it. There’s a handy guide on Photoshop Essentials that walks you through the process. As any marketer knows, most images that are high in contrast tend to play better online. For this effect, you’ll need to learn how to handle the “Overlay” blending mode. Work through Photoshop Essentials’ similar tutorial to bump up the contrast on your photos.
6. Text Wrap Seamlessly
Many brands add text to their images, but when you have little experience with photo editing software like Photoshop your text placement and style may come across as dated or cheap. Creating a spatial relationship between the prominent subjects in your marketing photos and the text included within is one direct way to elevate the visual presentation of your text.
Photoshop, with the use of displacement maps, not only allows you to wrap text around on image but on top of that image as well. There are many creative ways of displaying your text when you can confidently utilize some central Photoshop tools. For a comprehensive guide from Photoshop Cafe that covers every aspect of text wrapping in Photoshop, click here. Text effects are a large part of a marketer’s job – learn how to make the most of your images by incorporating text in intuitive ways.
7. Reflect Text for Your Website
One burgeoning trend in web page design is the incorporation of text with a reflect effect to create literal depth on a landing page. These types of effects won’t work well throughout a given web page, but if used sparingly (most often for headers or for categories) this effect can give your webpage a more dynamic feel. Marketers that focus solely on visual elements can expand their area of expertise by learning how to add text reflection in Photoshop.
Many Photoshop “tricks” are daunting and complicated, but creating reflective text is straightforward and simple. As this video tutorial from About.com demonstrates, you can master the basics of text reflection in under three minutes. From there, minimize the text reflection, only suggesting a full reflection rather than completely indulging. Housing a static, full reflection of your text evokes the late 90s, and not in a good way. Use your marketing eye to execute this effect properly.
8. Eliminate Distractions and Enlarge Photos with the Clone Tool
The clone tool in Photoshop is one of the most important tools for marketers, designers, and artists. Once you understand how to use the tool, you can accomplish multiple tasks in a few minutes. The clone tool copies a portion of your image to replicated elsewhere. The obvious use of this tool is to remove blemishes in photographs of people, but it can also be used like blurring the background – to get rid of distracting portions of the image that draw focus.
In addition, the clone tool can be used to make your base image larger. If you have the perfect marketing image for your social media page but it simply isn’t wide enough to use as your banner image, you can widen it without reducing the quality by cloning the background and effectively elongating it. For a beginner’s crash course on the clone tool, check out Phlearn’s helpful tutorial.
9. Streamline Your Email Marketing
What’s that? Photoshop can be used for email marketing? Absolutely! One great upside of familiarizing yourself with Photoshop is that you can utilize image templates to create compelling images and save a great deal of time. Once you know how, you can save a few varying email marketing templates on Photoshop and quickly reach your customers without composing marketing blasts from scratch.
To dive in, read this exhaustive step-by-step instructional guide from MailBakery. Adding Photoshop to your arsenal of workplace tools not only helps you create more interesting, compelling images – it can also help you accomplish more during the workday in less time. Email marketing is made easy when you can open a Photoshop image and customize it in moments.
10. Design Promotional T-Shirts
Photoshop is a versatile marketing tool. It’s not just for graphic designers – from the comfort of your own desk you can mock up promotional merchandise designs without consulting anyone on your team. The options and tools within Photoshop make t-shirt design fun and stress-free.
We know that, ultimately, you’ll just be designing a logo or image within photoshop and adding it to an image of a t-shirt. But learning how to do so helps create a contextualized image that requires no imagination from your managers or marketing department – they can see exactly what you’re trying to communicate. Review this video tutorial courtesy of Beyz Hitzugaya, or read a step-by-step guide from Medialoot.
Learn these basic Photoshop tricks and your marketing prowess will grow into a formidable force. Visual marketing is the new standard, and with these guides at your disposal you’ll lead the pack. As you explore the possibilities of Photoshop, download the Shutterstock plugin to quickly access our entire collection of images without exiting the application. You never know when you’ll need an image from Shutterstock, and with our plugin you’ll never get bogged down.