Photography Tips #1- Using Brushes in Photoshop

Today is going to be a really simple little lesson on how to use brushes in photoshop. It will probably look overwhelming, but I promise you- it's super easy. I use photoshop CS, and I don't really know anything about the other programs, but I imagine that these steps are probably similar in any version of PS.

Just a note: click on any of the photos below to view them at a bigger size. Also, next week I'll do screenshots instead of taking pics with my camera, like a big ol' doofus. ;)

Also, when following tutorials online, I've found it helpful to keep the tutorial open and photoshop open at the same time and just do one step at a time, by toggling back and forth.

To begin with, you'll need to download some brushes. You can find free ones here:
Photoshop Brushes

The ones I'm using in this tutorial are:
Old Frame

You'll need to download them somewhere easily accessible (I usually just download them to my desktop). Extract them if they are in a zip folder.

Then open photoshop.

The first thing you're going to do is open a photo. I do this by clicking on File>Open.

Then you're going to click on your brush tool. It looks like a little paintbrush.
A new little toolbar will come up on the top. Click the down arrow. We'll need to "load" the brushes you downloaded earlier, so this is how we start that process.
This window will show up. As you can see, I already have some brushes loaded. It can get a little addicting. hehe
Click on the arrow on the top right side of the box. I like to go ahead and set the viewing size of all my loaded brushes to "large thumbnails" so that I can easily see which ones I'm looking for.

Click on "load brushes". A new window will open, and you'll need to go find your brushes that you downloaded and extracted earlier. I keep mine on my desktop. Your new brushes will come up in your thumbnail gallery of brushes. I'm going to use a couple of brushes on this photo, so I'm going to begin with a vintage photo frame brush. I select the one I want (usually I look at a few of them to see which one I like the best):
If you move your mouse over on top of your picture, the brush will show up. You can see mine below is way too small. Sometimes it's way too big and it won't even show up. Whatever shall we do?!

It's as easy as pushing that slider back and forth to get it to the appropriate size. :)

That looks about right. Sometimes this takes a little playing around with. Place your brush over your photo wherever you would like it. At this point, I remembered I had my opacity set lower yesterday for something else I was working with, so I slid it up to 100% at the top of the screen.

To set the color of the brush, click over on the top of these two little squares:A new window will come up. This is your color spectrum. I'm going to pick black for my brush, so I just click on the bottom right corner of this window. If you wanted to pick another color, like pink for example, just click on those colors on the right to bring up those options.
Click your brush over your photo. Basically, you just "stamped" an image on top of your photo.
I want to get rid of the extra space around this photo (the excess part of the photo), so I'm going to crop it out. Click on the marquee tool on the top left part of the toolbar.Trace the dotty-square (technical term, y'all!) around the part of the image you want to keep.
Click Image>Crop
Ta da!
Now, this image looks fine, but I want to add a little something more.

And since I'm addicted to flourishes right now, it sounds like a good idea to add one.

Click on your brush tool again.

Select which brush you want to add. I like this little corner flourish thing.
Change the size of the brush again.
Move it to where you want it on the photo.
Click it to "stamp" it onto your photo and voila! You're done! Just save your photo now! :)
If you have any questions or better ways to do this, please leave 'em in the comments and I'll answer them on my next post. :)

What would you like a tutorial on for next week?


  1. You are my photoshop hero!!!!!! I sooo need these tutorials because I am clueless in photoshop. Thanks girl!!!

  2. thanks V! you are so sweet to share your flourish trick!!!


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