For decades, Adobe Photoshop has been the golden standard for photo editing, graphics design, and digital art. Photoshop became an instant hit when Adobe released it in 1990, and it’s been the leader in its category for three decades and counting.
But it’s the year 2023. So if you’re thinking about buying a course and taking the time to learn Photoshop, it isn’t a surprise that the first question that comes to mind is whether or not this software is still worth learning.
A good question! And as with any other good question, the answer is, it depends.
If you want to learn to edit photos, design raster graphics, or create digital art, it’s definitely worth learning Photoshop. But if you just want to create images for your social media profiles and posts, there are other, easier-to-use tools out there instead.
When It’s Worth Learning Photoshop
For Editing Photos
If you are a photographer, you can take your photo editing skills—and, consequently, your photos—to the next level by learning Photoshop.
You can start with the lighter version of Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, a post-processing program designed specifically for photographers’ needs and workflow. It’s great for finishing touches like light and color correction.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with Lightroom and are comfortable working with it, you can move on to Photoshop. Photoshop, the bigger brother of Lightroom, lets you alter the look of your photos to a greater extent by removing objects, adding backgrounds or elements from other photos, and more.
For Designing Raster Graphics
If you want to become a graphic designer, then you definitely need to learn Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
Photoshop is for creating and editing raster images. Raster images are complex images broken down into pixels, like photos, photo collages and composites, and raster artwork.
Illustrator is for creating and editing vector images. Vector images are simple images consisting of points, lines, and curves rendered by mathematical formulas, like logos, icons, shapes, and vector artwork.
As a designer, you will sometimes need to work with Photoshop and Illustrator simultaneously, switching between the two programs to get your work done. For example, you can create a logo in Illustrator and then visualize it on business cards, T-shirts, and mugs in Photoshop so you can present it to your client or sell it as a template online.
For Creating Digital Art
Photoshop is also worth learning for digital artists. However, it’s important to come in with the right expectations and keep in mind that Photoshop’s user interface is not easy for beginners; you will have to go through a steep learning curve to learn how to get the most out of this software.
With Photoshop and a good drawing tablet by your hand, you can create sketches, blueprints, illustrations, and paintings like no other. You can then combine your artwork in ways limited only by your imagination, as well as export it to sell as templates or hand the rights over to customers.
For Having a Creative Outlet
Although you can make a living with Photoshop, you don’t necessarily have to do so if you want to learn it. Many people learn Photoshop as a hobby and use it as an outlet for creativity in their spare time.
But, hey, who knows? Maybe one day, with your future Photoshop skills, you will want to turn your passion into a profession!
When It Isn’t Worth Learning Photoshop
For Creating Social Media Graphics
Many years ago, you had to hire a designer or learn Photoshop if you wanted beautiful images for your social media profiles. (You know what I’m talking about; profile pictures, background covers, images for your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, posts, and so on.)
This is no longer the case today. Instead, you can learn Canva—a ridiculously easy-to-use graphics editing app that gives you access to thousands of highly customizable templates and millions of royalty-free stock photos—instead.
The same is true for creating images for your blog or website.
How Can You Learn Photoshop?
There are many ways to learn Photoshop, but by far the two most popular are to learn it yourself by following tutorials on websites and YouTube or signing up for an instructor-taught Photoshop course online.
Tutorials are free and easy to start; you just need to search for “Photoshop tutorials for beginners” on Google or YouTube. But they will only teach you the steps you need to take to create something specific and not necessarily give you the know-how you need to use Photoshop as a whole.
So if you’re the type of person who prefers to learn in a more structured way, you’re probably better off buying a course. The good news is that good courses are not hard to find, and they’re not expensive. You can start at Skillshare or Udemy.
- It’s worth learning Photoshop for photo editing, graphic design, and digital art.
- For creating blog post and social media images, consider learning Canva, a templated tool that helps you get the job done quickly, instead.
- There are two ways to get started: with tutorials or with a course. Look for tutorials if you like figuring things out on the fly; opt for a course if you prefer learning with structure.