Photoshop Next Steps course


when is the Next course?


Please contact me if you would like to join a course.


I also teach Photoshop privately, one to one. 1:1 lessons can accelerate your learning of this fabulous, complex, vast program. Photoshop tuition is available for absolute beginners, just started beginners, improvers and intermediate users. I'm happy to teach a one-off lesson if there is something particular you would like to learn and I'm equally happy to teach a series of regular lessons. Lessons will be tailored to whichever version of Photoshop that you are using; CS6, CC, or Elements. Detailed handouts with screenshots are also included, as they are with my college courses.


You can download a sample handout in the following link:

Photoshop Workspace Handout


Please note that handouts have been written to support my teaching, both in a classroom and in 1:1 lessons. Handouts are not intended to be standalone, comprehensive instructions.



Introduction to the course


I teach Photoshop Beginners and Next Steps courses at North Herts College. I've been using Photoshop since 1992 (v2.5, the first version for Windows), to edit images in my photography business. This page is about course content on a Photoshop Next Steps course and has been created at the request of many students, to provide more information than is available on the college website.

Course content will vary, depending on students, skill level and what you wish to learn. I select subjects based on my experience of using Photoshop, student skills, and requested subjects. At the beginning of each course I have a discussion with students about what they would like to learn. Several students have have attended multiple Photoshop Next Steps courses, so we continue to explore new subjects. To give you an idea, the list below includes subjects that have all been taught on Photoshop Next Steps courses.



See below to see the original in the before/after version of this image.


All images copyright © Glen Smith




Course Requirements


To enrol on this course, you should;

have attended the Photoshop Beginners course and be competent with most of the subjects taught, OR


Be familiar with Photoshop basics and be able to work confidently with most of the following;

Layers, layer masks, making selections, adjusting Levels, Adjustment Layers, cloning, Quick Selection tool, Magic Wand tool, adding an image or part of an image to another image, add text to an image.


If you are new to several of these areas, you may be better taking the Photoshop Beginners course first. We will be using Layer Masks in every lesson, so it is helpful if you are familiar with them, but provided you are competent with most of the basics listed above, you should have no problem with this essential Photoshop tool.



Photoshop versions


On the course we use Photoshop CS6.

Students use various versions of Photoshop, including CS (various versions), CC and Elements (various versions). Many tasks on this course can be carried out in Elements, although there may be some tools that are only available in Photoshop. For most of these tasks, workarounds or alternatives are given. I will also suggest some additional software which will add many features to Elements.



related courses


For information about other courses, please see;


Photography Beginners

Photography Next Steps

Photoshop Beginners

Digital Painting in Photoshop



Previous Photoshop Next Steps course subjects have included;


General Photoshop Tools & techniques


Smart Objects and Smart Filters

Various filters

Layer Groups

Add texture via layer styles

Create a montage: blended montage, many images montage

Add extra content to an image


Record an Action

Batch Processing Actions

Add elements to an image


Edit RAW images

Excellent free plugin software - some may surprise you

Frequency Separation Retouching technique

Add text to follow a path

Use the Pen tool to make selections and create smooth curves

Create a Displacement Map

Create a blended montage

Restore old, damaged and faded photos



Making images more dramatic


Create dramatic black & white images

Add realistic reflections

Add realistic shadows

Add fog

Add rain

Add snow

Add fire



Digital Painting & art


Using a graphics tablet and pressure sensitive pen

Use and customise different brushes

Loading non-default brush sets

Create pencil sketch images

Use the Mixer Brush

Create and load new textures

Create a watercolour effect from an image

Create a pastel effect image

Hand paint over an original to produce a painting in watercolour or pastel style








Move the cursor over the images below, to compare before and after versions of each image.

Creating paintings from photos has been a particularly popular subject with students and we have created watercolour, pastel and pencil sketch images. Examples are shown below. This image has had the coastline changed and a yacht added.


The image of the egg shows text following a path around the egg. The path was created using the Pen tool (not available in Elements) and then the text was added to follow the path. This is a simple shape, but you can create complex paths and text can follow any path you create.


This image has had a boat added and been hand painted, over the original photos.



A variety of tools and techniques have been used to remove several unwanted areas, including; clone stamp, duplicate layers, levels adjustment layers, hue & saturation adjustment layers, spot healing brush, spot healing tool, lasso, feathering, marquee, layer masks, copy and paste selections, brush, crop, magic wand using tolerance & contiguous options, invert selection, layer opacity, paint bucket, transform, crop tool.

This image has had new elements added and been hand painted.


A scene in the Lake District, hand finished.


Waddesdon Manor, with perspective corrected, then hand painted watercolour.


A new background has been added and the image hand finished.


This image has had elements added and then hand finished.


These boats were reversed and added into the beach image, which was then hand finished.