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Photoshop Lecture for Artists

The Art League Gallery became a classroom, briefly, on Tuesday for a lecture on Adobe Photoshop by Art League member John Burgess. John, who gave another lecture Wednesday on exhibition-quality prints for photographers, spelled out the basics of Photoshop and answered questions at the free lecture, part of The Art League’s FotoWeek DC events.

Among the topics covered were how to get photos properly sized and onto a CD for electronic submissions and how to maximize quality during an image’s trip from camera to printer. John’s tips included:

  • Purchase an external hard drive and save images on both your computer and this hard drive, to guard against hard drive failure.
  • Use an organizing program, such as Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom, Aperture, or iPhoto, to manage large numbers of photos.
  • To print for exhibition purposes, aim for a resolution of 240–360 pixels per inch. Check the recommendations for the printer and the paper you’re using.
  • Use the histogram on your camera and adjust exposure to avoid clipping of shadows or highlights in your image.
  • Avoid using the sRGB color space because it loses some color information.
Histograms tell you about your photo's lighting at a glance.

John gave attendees a crash course in terminology, explaining color models (RGB, CMYK, CIE Lab), color spaces or profiles, which specify how a device differs from the standard color spectrum, file types (.jpeg, .tiff, .psd, Raw), and explained how to use color profiles to produce accurate color in files and prints.

He also used a picture of his granddaughter to show how to make her “pop” against the background by adjusting the curves (under Image>Adjustments) and colorized a black-and-white photo of himself by painting with masks:

Need a Photoshop lesson? The Art League School offers a Photoshop workshop this March (details and registration here), a workshop on using Photoshop for pictures of artwork, also in March (details), and later this month, a workshop on Photoshop for painters (details).

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