Photoshop Review

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Photoshop is great! Don’t be scared of it – trust me!

You can order Photoshop (PC or Mac) from the Adobe website – that’s where I got it! And, even better, you can download right from there, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your slanket! I have been using this for many years and it is absolutely indispensable in my workflow.

I have a FREE HDR Tutorial for Mac or HDR Tutorial for Windows here on that describes the step by step process. If you’d like to dive deeper, I also have video tutorials for Aurora HDR on a Mac and a separate one for using Photomatix Pro on Windows. Both tutorials show how I use the tools for a variety of situations… landscapes, sunrise/sunset, people, motion, etc.

How long does it take to learn?

You can start using Photoshop effectively in the first 15 minutes! For my HDR Tutorial, I really only need you to understand a few simple things like layers and masking. Photoshop has about 10 million OTHER things you can do too, and you will learn those over time. But, do not make the mistake that you have to understand everything in Photoshop to be able to use it. Believe me, I work with many Photoshop experts that still don’t know everything!

Is there an alternative?

Yes, you can use the vastly scaled down and cheaper Photoshop Elements (click to order from Adobe – PC or Mac). Now, Photoshop Elements still has layers and stuff, but I do not recommend it because it does not allow all the other plugins that I like to use. For example, if you check the Reviews section of the site, you will see I recommend many other plugins – and these won’t work with Elements. I think that you should be prepared for the future. Get started first just the regular Photoshop, and then later you can get the plugins and stuff.

Do you use other Adobe products?

Yes! I also use Adobe Lightroom to organize all my photos. It is a fantastic product, and I recommend it over using the default File Manager on your computer.


Look, Photoshop basically has no competition. They own the market, and that is for good reason. There indeed “free” alternatives out there, but I don’t think they have the expandability and pluggability of Photoshop. I use it — and if it is good enough for me, I hope it is good enough for you. I figure you know that I demand the best, and Photoshop falls squarely into that category!

Sample Images

Below are some sample images that Photoshop helped me to achieve:
The Glacially Still Morning Lake

Sunset Under the Pier

Feeling on top of the World in Tokyo  (And HAPPY NEW YEAR Flickr mates!)

Peaceful Disney in Resplendent Color

Grand Central on a Rainy Night During the Holidays

A View from the Ranch in Argentina and Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography

Stopping for Lunch at the Emerald Lake in the Andes (and a new photo-sharing thing)

I hope you enjoyed the Photoshop Review – let me know if you would like to know more information!

Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!

  • Farouk Baouya

    There are several versions of photoshop, which one do you suggest using with photomatix? Thanks for your time.

  • Farouk – Well, I always recommend the latest version — and just the “Basic” version of it. The extended stuff is usually a bit of a rip-off, unless you use those features.

  • I use CS4 now, but I am about to get CS5 as soon as it comes out. You are also in good shape if you get one version behind – that is one way to save money.

  • Logan

    I’m very interested to see if you keep using photomatix after the new HDR Pro feature in CS5… I can’t wait for the review!

  • AC

    Hi Trey,

    I just purchased your HDR book and trying out your instructions on the book. The Photomatrix instructions are very clear and easy to follow… However, the layer/masking directions for Photoshop isn’t exactly the same as mine (Elements 8). Do you have a more detail instructions on how to work the layering/masking? (the help link in Photoshop isn’t as helpful…)


  • billy

    Do you need the full photoshop?

  • No – the basic photoshop is all I recommend ! Unless you are a hard core graphics person

  • Bill

    There is no “basic” or “standard” Photoshop that I could find on the Adobe site. The closest thing I could find to basic was Photoshop Lightroom at $300. That’s just crazy! It may be worth it to a professional, but not to someone who’s just trying to make his snapshots better.

  • Hello, I’ve never created an HDR image but keen to learn. Only have photoshop cS3. I’ve tried to combine 3 photos using file-automate-merge to HDR but because my 3 (raw)photos are slightly different in size (not sure why), photoshop will not complete the process. Can you please comment on this and give any advice. Many thanks, Nancy

  • GiGi

    You should go to the menu and click “image”… scroll down, click “image size”. That way you can re-size your images to make sure they are all the same size!
    Cheers, GiGi

  • Hey have you seen Avatar already?It is AMAZING! Check out Inception PDF ebooks download here!

  • Thea

    I’m just starting to learn photography with a DSLR. Do you have a good book to help me get started (or have you written one?) for both photography and photoshop?

  • Jim

    Hi Trey,
    Have played with Photoshop and bit and want to get into it much more. I have CS3 extended. Would it be to my advantage to upgrade? I’ve been playing with the trial version of Photomatix. Will all the plugins for the software you recommend plug into CS3? Thanks, love the site.

  • paul martin

    Is it me or are your photos fantastic but unnatural or, as I am innocent in the ways of pixel, deliberately part of your (fantastic) style.

  • paul martin

    PS (am just trying again to see if you can get an icon that really is me)

  • paul martin

    yep even down to the eye circles – overworking as ever

  • Hey Trey,
    SO…maybe you can help me with this question? If not, maybe point me in a direction.
    Anyway, I’ve been learning Photoshop and adjustment layers and such, but I feel like I don’t have the “grasp” on it yet. When I take a photo and upload it into Photoshop, I’m just not sure where to start or what to do to accentuate and/or highlight parts of my photo. I guess what I need is a foundation to build upon that will help me to get the skills I need to simply start editing photos similar to the way you do. I don’t want to recreate your photos/style, I just want to know the skills (much like the ones you use) in order to start creating my own style.

    I hope all that made sense. My apologies for writing you the 8th Harry Potter on here. Thanks, again, for your incredible work.

  • Hi Jason,

    Sorry for the delay in responding to you here.  Trey just released a great Photoshop eBook that you might find interesting.  It’s over at

  • Avi

    Hey Trey,

    Hope you are having a good time. I had a question for you. I wanted to check which would be a better option the Adobe LR 4 or the Photoshop software since the price points are not much different. I want the Adobe LR4 but am not sure if all the plugins that you mention will work with LR4.

    It would be helpful if you have a post on the compatibility of these plugins to LR4

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  • arthur schwartz

    You can get a great Deal on Adobe CS6 Master Collection which includes Photoshop CS6 Extended and many other Adobe programs for only $151.00. It downloads directly from Adobe.

    Click on the below link to get it now:

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