Tips for using Photoshop at work: Beate Allerton interview

Photoshop at work

Ahead of the upcoming training course Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tool at work. This interview by Katie Dodson is with Beate Allerton, who runs a writing and creative business in Aberdeenshire.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop and when did you start using it regularly?

I work in Photoshop on a daily basis and I love using it, because it offers so many opportunities for creative expression. I started using it in 2007, a short while after setting out as a freelance writer. I noticed that most editors preferred writers to supply their own photos with their articles. Pitching an idea with photos definitely helped getting commissions, especially as my articles featured travel, cookery and crafts. Using Photoshop helped with editing and making the image look its best.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I am mostly self-taught in Photoshop skills. When learning to edit photos for my articles, I initially used a book for the basics and also attended a short course in digital editing at a local college. On acquiring more knowledge, I expanded my skills into digital art and design and most of those techniques were learned through experimentation and from YouTube tutorials. Whenever I identify a learning need, I tend to go online for advice and I particularly like YouTube as it suits the way I learn; I can follow along in Photoshop and pause any time I need. I subscribe to the Photoshop channel as well as a variety of other digital photography and editing channels, and always receive alerts when a new video has been posted. I also follow various threads and pages on Twitter and Facebook.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

You can make the subject of your photos stand out more, and therefore the photo more effective, by adding a touch of a background blur in Photoshop with the Gaussian blur filter. Usually this is done ‘in camera’ but not every photo turns out perfect, especially when dealing with food or travel photos.

This is more advice than a trick – always use the soft-proofing facility when submitting photos to magazines. When I started out I was horrified that my beautifully vibrant pictures turned out not so vibrant in print. At the time, I didn’t know about CMYK and other printer and paper settings. Although the original image on the monitor will never match the final print 100%, soft-proofing allows you to get the colours as close to the final output as possible. Also, make sure your photos are set to a resolution of 300dpi when submitting to magazines.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

My art/design/photography website is
My writing/photography website is
Here is a direct link to one of my food portfolios for Country Kitchen

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop?

Identify what you need to know, find out where you can learn what you need to know and then practice as much as you can; I have found that the best way is learning by doing and experimenting.

6) What do you use Photoshop for mainly?

Photo editing work, web design, digital art and surface design work.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:



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