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Entrepreneurs: Save Time and Money by Learning Photoshop Basics

By Townes Haas   |    April 13, 2015   |    9:25 AM

For most design work, you probably want to engage a professional graphic designer—no one wants to see an annual report or other vital documents look like they were cobbled together on a shoestring. But whether you are whipping up small items to use on your company's social media pages or simply want to express your intentions more clearly, it is a very good idea to invest some time in learning the basics of Adobe Photoshop. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

First of all, it's cheap, if you play your cards right.

It is true that for professionals, the software can cost upwards of six hundred dollars for all the bells and whistles, but you don't need to learn how to be a graphic designer; you just need to learn to tinker with your images every now and again. That means you can pick up a package like Photoshop Elements for less than a hundred bucks, or register with Creative Cloud as an individual and pay just ten bucks a month. Here's an even better idea, if you're cash-conscious—clear two or three days off of your calendar and take advantage of Adobe's thirty day free trial for Photoshop. In no time, you will be cropping and sharpening and filtering with the best of them, and you can use that base knowledge every now and then without a major investment.

Everyone wants to teach you how to use Photoshop. Really, everyone.

Even though Photoshop is the industry standard for manipulating and augmenting photographs, the truth is that its basic interface is pretty easy to figure out. Standard functions like cropping photos or adding text can be figured out by simply using the software's help function or utilizing Adobe's product support. But in the age of the Internet, information is often free and there are literally hundreds of tutorials out there for every single function that Photoshop offers, and some enterprising designers have even figured out innovative new ways to employ Photoshop's many features. Whether your learning style is geared more towards text instructions or video demonstrations, there are tons of ways for you to learn how to use Photoshop's more complex functions. It can even be entertaining from time to time. When you get done learning the basics at sites like “You Suck at Photoshop," you can even seek out funny educational courses like “Graphic Design for Entrepreneurs…Who Can't Draw."

Learning even a little Photoshop will help you communicate better.

The truth of the matter is that if you wanted to be a graphic designer, you would have become a graphic designer. But you wanted to run your own show. It's always possible that you might not have an artistic bone in your body, too. But learning to use Photoshop gives you a new vocabulary that you can use to communicate your ideas to a professional graphic designer. If you know the basics, you can also use Photoshop to draft mock-ups that better communicate the layout and mood that you have in mind. Knowing the technical names for digital manipulation processes and understanding how it all works will also improve your relationship with similarly creative types including graphic designers, website creators, printers, and publishers.

Learning to DIY like a boss saves time and money.

DIY (Do It Yourself) was an idea that came out of punk rock. It was the idea that anyone is capable of performing a task and champions the idea of seeking out that knowledge. It's an idea that should enable and energize you to learn to make your own tweaks to photos, documents and designs. Waiting for a freelance designer to make a small adjustment can be frustrating when it's more likely that you could put in the fix yourself.

Ultimately, investing in learning the basics of Photoshop not only adds to your roster of entrepreneurial skills but can even help augment your skill set by improving your communication skills, technical understanding, branding and strategy.

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