In the world of photography, Photoshop is the industry standard in post production work—capapble of doing nearly anything to any given photo. Though the rabbit hole is extremely deep, there are a few simple steps you can take to spruce up your images quickly and efficiently.
One of the simplest ways to add a little razzle-dazzle to darkened images is to lighten an image and then sharpen in. Click on Images >Adjustments > Levels and adjust the sliders until you like the result. When you're finished, bring your image to life by selecting Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.
Have an awesome picture and an even wittier caption to share with the world? If you want it to look like most other lolcats, failboats, and Internet memes, create your text using the Impact font and then Stroke an outline (Layer > Layer Style > Stroke).
In some instances, you may want to hide the blinking selection outline while manipulating an image. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+H. Note that the selection is still active, you just can't see it. To bring it back into view, press Ctrl+H again.
An easy way to zoom in and out of an image is to hold Ctrl+Spacebar with your left hand, click the left mouse button with your right hand, and move the mouse left (zoom out) and right (zoom in).
If you plan to upload oodles of high resolution vacation pictures to Facebook, you should probably downsize them first. Open a photo and then click on Windows > Action. Now click on the down arrow, select New Action, and name it Batch Resize. Press the record button and then proceed to resize your pic, save the image, close it, and press the stop button. To use your new macro, go to File > Automate > Batch.
Photoshop's Grid feature (View > Show > Grid) is an invaluable tool for aligning objects, but sometimes the Grid blends in with your image. It's easy to change how it looks. Navigate to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grids, & Slices and fine tune to your liking.
Find a straight surface in your photo – like a tabletop – and use the Ruler tool to create a straight line. Now go to Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary and notice that the corrected angle is already filled in. Hit OK and watch as your photo is automagically straightened.
You can undo changes and step back in time by pressing Alt+Ctrl+Z up to 20 times by default. Not enough? Go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and choose any number from 1-1000. While you're in there, you can adjust how much RAM Photoshop is allowed to use.
Hold the spacebar to turn the cursor into a hand icon and use it to drag your image. Release the spacebar to continue working. This comes in ultra-handy when manipulating a large and/or zoomed in image.
This single tip has the potential to save you a ton of time. Rather than bring up the brush menu to make it bigger or smaller, use the left and right bracket keys. This also works with the Eraser tool.