Although I edit most of my photos almost entirely in Adobe Lightroom, I sometimes have to finish them off in Photoshop. It’s quite easy to jump from one programme to the other so both will easily fit into your workflow.
However, Photoshop is a very powerful application with lots of menus, buttons, and options, and people are often intimidated by it. Indeed, there are often many ways to apply the same edit and I’ve seen many photographers use different methods to apply the same effect. Newcomers are often put off by the sheer amount of options.
Because of this, Photoshop allows you to tailor the interface to your needs. Read on to see how I have set it up for my workflow.
Go to Window – Workspace and you will find a selection of premade workspaces for use in different editing scenarios. If you’re primarily a photographer, you’ll find the “Photography” workspace most suitable. I know I did initially.
After some time though, I realised that there were some menu items and tools that I never used and I wanted a way to hide these so as to simplify the workspace even more.
Here’s the solution. Photoshop allows you to create your own customised workspaces. Start by selecting Windows – Workspace – Create Workspace. Give a name so that you can easily recognise and pick it from the menu. Don’t worry if you get it wrong – you can always delete the workspace and create another new one.
My current workspace has the standard toolbar along the left, the main image area in the centre and various tabs along the right side. I only have the tabs that I use.
You’ll see the Histogram along the top – I also have the Navigator tab beside this – although this is used less often. If there’s a tab that you rarely or never use, then you can simply right click and it and select Close.
Directly below I have the Actions and Adjustments tabs and under them I have the Layers and Channels tabs. I’d use the layers tab a lot.
To the immediate left of these, I have a small toolbar containing some plugins that I sometimes use – you may not have these.
I have removed everything that I don’t use. If I do need to see something, like the Rulers, I can simply select View – Ruler and it will pop up.
This is my main workspace. You just go to Window – Workspace – New Workspace, give it a name and it will be what you see every time you start up Photoshop from now on.
However, I also go one step further and its this step that makes all the difference. See the screenshot below? Notice how some of the menu items are coloured green? These particular menu items are the ones I use the most and colouring like this makes them super easy to find. This helps to vastly speed up my workflow.
I have also removed some items from the main menu along the top that I never use. And it’s easy to do. To customise your menus, go to Edit – Menus. Starting with File, go down through them all and remove the ones that you will never use. Click on the eye to hide or unhide them. Don’t worry – you can always reinstate them again. Where it says None, click that and select a colour – this makes them easy to find when scrolling through the menus.
And if you do want to find a menu item that you’ve hidden, all you need to do it scroll to the bottom of the menu and select Show All Menu Items. You won’t have to come back to this settings dialogue to “Unhide” it.
This involves a bit of trial and error. You’ll need to click back and forth between this settings dialogue and the main Photoshop interface to see how a certain option works or if you need a particular item or not. To set up my Photoshop Workspace the way I wanted, initially took about one hour.
Next, go to Edit – Toolbar. Here, you can customise the toolbar on the left of the screen. Move tools you don’t use to the right-hand side of the setting dialogue by dragging them over. Again, this just simplifies your workspace and allows you to work more efficiently.
When you have Photoshop set up the way you want, don’t forget to save this workspace. You can have many workspaces depending on the type of work you are doing. I hope all of this will help you to get Photoshop working the way you want it to. If you found this helpful, feel free to share or leave a comment.