Photoshop is my go-to design program. There’s very little I can’t do with the program that is considered an industry standard.
I’ve been using Photoshop off and on since about 2003. That’s 16 years! Just barely over HALF of my life.
And guess what? I STILL don’t know everything Photoshop can do.
Not only does Photoshop occasionally get new features, but it was already packed with hidden gems to begin with. I’m always learning and discovering new techniques.
The Affair Begins…my first Photoshop Projects
Way back in high school, I was on the school paper as a sophomore and beyond. We used Photoshop regularly to touch up images, do “cutouts,” create ads, and make graphics for our stories.
I had joined Newslab, the class where we worked on the paper, because of my love of writing. Little did I know, I’d also discover my love of graphic design in the same place. And so my love affair began…and I began to split my time between writing and graphic design.
Working with Photoshop became a favorite part of the paper for me. I eventually became layout editor in my senior year, which basically meant I was in charge of making the paper look good and I LOVED it.
Quark and Photoshop became my two favorite computer programs and I learned everything I could while I was on the paper for three of my four high school years. It’s funny how small things stick with you.
One of my fondest little nuggets as layout editor came when one of my colleagues on the paper placed a circle of arrows in his story which was titled something like “Looking Forward.” However, the arrows were pointing counter-clockwise, so I told him he should flip the image.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because counter-clockwise tells our brains that it’s moving backward, while clockwise would tell us it’s moving forward,” I said.
His friend just looked at him and said, “She’s right, man.” He gave in and flipped the image.
A bit of pride bubbled up when I heard that. I was on to something…I’d been made layout editor for a reason. I knew my shit.
Photoshop After Graduation
After graduation, I wasn’t 100% positive about what I wanted to do with my life. I also came from a lower-middle class family and we didn’t have much money. So…I didn’t go to college. I wasn’t about to spend thousands of dollars and put myself into debt if I didn’t have a definitive direction.
Instead, I spent time trying to figure it out. Bills still had to be paid, though, so I worked and used my free time to explore.
My mom and I ended up purchasing a copy of Photoshop Elements 6 for our home computer. She wanted it for her photography and I wanted it for design. I think we spent about $120 on it. Which was a lot of money for us back then.
Anyway, I used that version of Photoshop to teach myself more about the tools and features. I used it off and on until I bought Photoshop Elements 11 in 2012.
I needed an upgrade because that’s when I became an author and virtual assistant. The program came in handy for all the little design projects I needed to do. I used it to design book covers, social media graphics, and my first PAID design work for clients.
Finally, about three years ago, I subscribed to Photoshop CC and my world exploded. THERE’S SO MANY MORE FEATURES! I had no idea what I’d been missing out on. When I downloaded that on to my computer, I was like a kid in a candy shop.
My Photoshop Skills Today
Once I got Photoshop CC, there was no looking back. Graphic Design became something I really loved doing and learning about. I started pulling off more complex designs, creating videos in Photoshop, even making GIF’s.
The pen tool, which I’d been mostly afraid of before two years ago, has become a go-to and allowed me to create custom shapes. It opened up a whole new world of logos and custom work for me.
No longer confined to stock images, I feel like I can really explore my creativity and create things that no one else can. Luckily, I’ve found some amazing clients that really appreciate the custom experience. They love that it’s not just a stock image that anyone can use. They love being the one and only owner of the finished product…and I love giving that to them.
Recently, I made a huge decision to set writing aside while I focus on design. I’m not gonna lie. It was a tough choice to make, but I’m really happy with it. The love affair has turned into a full-blown commitment.