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Basic Photoshop Tools

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Creating images is a huge part of content creation. Whether they be photos or graphics, images help tell a story for brands using social media, PR, email marketing, blog posts, and more.

Photoshop is one of the most used photo-editing software that can be used for most image creation needs, but it can also be a very intimidating program unless you understand some of the basics. Read below to learn the basics of the Photoshop toolbar and its functions. These tools will help you to create your next masterpiece.

Move Tool

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The move tool simply lets you move objects in a given layer around the Photoshop canvas. To use it, click anywhere on the canvas and drag. As you drag, the Photoshop layer will move with your mouse.

Quick Selection Tool

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There are two ways to use the Quick Selection Tool. One is to simply click on different areas of the image just like you would with the Magic Wand. The most common way is to click and drag over the area you need to select as if you were painting with a brush. As you drag, Photoshop does its best to figure out the object that you're trying to select, often with precise results. To remove an area from a selection temporarily, select the "Subtract from selection" option in the Options Bar. You’ll need to remember to switch it back to the "Add to selection" mode when you're done or you’ll lose the tracing that was completed.

Crop Tool

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The crop tool is used to (you guessed it!) crop your pictures. You can specify the exact size and constrain the crop tool to those proportions, or you can just crop to any size.

Paintbrush and Pencil

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The paintbrush is a tool that mimics a paintbrush and the pencil is a tool that mimics a pencil, naturally. The paintbrush; however, can be set to many different kinds of brushes. You can paint with a standard paintbrush and airbrush styles, or even paint with leaves and other shapes as well.

Eraser Tool

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The erase tool is almost identical to the paintbrush, except it erases instead of paints.

Type Tool

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The type tool will allow you to type horizontally. Tools hidden beneath the horizontal type tool will let you type vertically and also create horizontal and vertical text masks.

Try these basic Photoshop tools to get started creating your marketing images.

How To Increase Your Brand Awareness Using Instagram

As Facebook becomes more convoluted with ads, Candy Crush Saga requests and political debates, a steadily increasing number of social media users are flocking to Instagram for a simple photo-sharing experience where it is easy to meet new people and get a behind-the-scenes perspective from their favorite brands, celebrities athletes and more. I personally feel like most businesses can benefit from being active on Instagram especially clothing boutiques, furniture stores, restaurants and fitness trainers/gyms. Gaining a following here will, of course, take some time, clever strategy and effort but it is a great tool for reaching plenty of people in your area who would most likely be interested in the services or products of your business. Below are a few ways you can increase your brand awareness using Instagram:

  1. Rely on Hashtags for search - If you have created a hashtag that is synonymous with your brand, you should be doing a daily search of this hashtag to find those who are talking about your business. If they're talking about you or to you, talk back. Also, you can search for the hashtag that represents your city or cities nearby to find local people who may be interested in your brand. For my clients I typically search through profiles using the hashtags #CLT and #queencity. This brings up a huge list of IG users from different backgrounds with different interests. Sif through this list to decide which users you would like to create a relationship with or that you hope would follow you back in return. You can also search for industry-related hashtags to find people who are interested in the industry that your business belongs to. For example, if you own a restaurant or bakery, it would be wise to sporadically search the hashtag #cltfood to find posts from people who are into the Charlotte food scene and love it enough to post photos of what they're eating. (I'm totally guilty of this.)
  2. Be Active - This should go without saying as any business owner or marketer should know that if you dedicate your marketing plan to include certain social networks, you must continue to be active within these networks to see any growth or return. To stay top-of-mind with IG users, make it a habit to Like and comment photos of people in your area or whom you follow. Chances are once you remain active with these people, they will take notice and become more interested in your business or brand.
  3. Post Original Content - This is the fun part. With Instagram there is no limit to the opportunities of creativity to showcase your brand to people who have never heard of you before. Have fun with your brand and browse different IG accounts from larger brands that you feel like you can relate with to get a bit of content inspiration. A few suggestions for engaging content on IG would be to post funny photos of your staff, motivational quote photos, teaser photos introducing a new product, photos announcing a special discount or sale, photos of you and your staff at a charity event, etc.

There are many ways to portray your business' message with a little thought and creativity using Instagram. Employ an original, solid strategy for the photo-sharing mobile app and stick with it. You'll become more creative along the way in showcasing your brand and will soon gain a following of people who know enough about you to perhaps refer you or eventually purchase from you.

 

(Sidenote: I had followed the ShopRiffRaff boutique store on Instagram (isted below) for a few months without ever knowing where they were located. I wasn't sure if I ever intended on buying a dress from this boutique but felt like it couldn't hurt to be able to look at pictures of pretty dresses every now and then. A few days ago ShopRiffRaff posted a dress on Instagram that I fell in love with and within 3 minutes of seeing the photo, I walked to my computer and purchased the dress along with another top from their website. I still don't know where this boutique is located. Have I proven a point here yet?)

 

A few brands who do well with Instagram:

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