Since the dawn of the digital era, Photoshop has risen to become a ubiquitous and efficient tool for editing photography. Like many software programs, the online resources are endless and intimidating, making the self-managed tutorial seem out of reach. Photographer and Photoshop Guru Paul Bartell has some guidance on getting into the program, and some advice from his own personal history that has led to professional and creative success. Great photoshop tips for photographers to take their work to the next level!

Paul Bartell Digital Photography Awards

Paul was named Photoshop Guru in 2009. It would be the first of many awards, including the Arizona Professional Photographers Association Photographer of the Year 10 years later in 2019. He has worked in digital art for fifteen years, most recently in quality control, customer service, and project management at high-end print shop Artisan Colour.

Digital Photography: A Two-Pronged Profession

While some aspiring photographers may hope to stay behind the camera, modern work in photography often requires technical proficiency with programs like Photoshop. To succeed professionally, or get the best results from amateur shots, some degree of familiarity with Photoshop is necessary.

Desert Wildflowers

© Paul Bartell

When Paul ran a portrait company with his wife, they were able to delegate work between the two of them. She was on the ground, snapping photos of weddings and portraits. He was behind the scenes, processing, and retouching digitally.

Though Paul has enjoyed much competitive success for his creative photography, his paid work has consisted largely of digital skills: magazine production, portrait processor, quality control and retouching high-end catalogs. While the demand for professional photographers is declining, the need for those with experience in Photoshop, such as graphic designers, is slowly increasing. Professionals with Photoshop skills like Paul are needed.

Despite a recent resurgence in the popularity of using film, Photoshop competence is still important to aspiring photographers. In fact, many photographers who have taken a step back to using film still find it necessary to scan their images into Photoshop for digital processing. Composition, lighting, and working with subjects may all be skills to capture in the moment, but the expectation of digital skills is real across the market.

Photoshop Tips for Photographers

The reasons to get involved in Photoshop are obvious, and the ways to do so are widespread:

  1. Sign up for an online group, like KelbyOne, which Paul has belonged to for years. These groups may come with a low subscription fee but offer extensive tutorials and resources.
  2. Ask questions online. So many resources and forums are available, such as Photoshop Gurus Community Forums or the Adobe Support Community, making it easy to ask those with more expertise for assistance.
  3. Attend the Photoshop World Conference, where the Guru awards are handed out.
  4. Learn about complimentary technical techniques, like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or advanced plug-ins for Photoshop.
  5. Find an in-person friend or tutor, like Paul, to show you around. Most people who have learned the ins and outs of Photoshop are happy to assist others in getting rolling.

2019 Through My Lens Video by Paul Bartell

With simple steps, you can dive into Photoshop today. Let’s face it – it’s necessary in digital photography. Plus, printing the work you create has never been easier. Start your custom print project now using the HD configurator and feel free to email our team at with any questions that you may have.