Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet

Photoshop for Beginners is a course held by Mark Cleghorn in conjunction with Calumet. Rebecca Bradley paid them a visit to review the course for ePHOTOzine readers.

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Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet: Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet
Mark Cleghorn

Introduction to Photoshop is part of a series of events run by Mark Cleghorn in conjunction with Calumet Photographic supplies. Mark Cleghorn is a professional photographer and is considered to be one of the most creative and influential portrait and wedding photographers practising and lecturing today. He has been awarded fellowships from the British Institute of Professional Photographers Master (BIPP), the Master Photographers Association (MPA) and the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). He has been running seminars for Calumet for over 13 years.

About the course
Introduction to Photoshop is a one-day course centred around the CS2 version of Adobe's imaging editing software Photoshop. The day is structured to give beginners and users of Photoshop the tips and tricks for CS2 to make life in front of the screen simpler and quicker. The seminars are held at various Calumet stores in major cities around the UK, such as Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Belfast and London, and last for roughly six hours. As a complete novice in Photoshop, I went to the course hoping to learn the basics of digital retouching along with an overview of the many functions the program has to offer.


Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet: Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet
Artist Val Allen was one of the 17
delegates on the Photoshop course.

Group members
The group comprised 16 other delegates aside from myself. The delegates included artist Val Allen who was hoping to learn how to mix her own artistic images with photographic images using Photoshop and expand on what she already knows about the program. Alan Dodd, a photographic shop and studio owner wanted to learn from a professional point of view how to make working life easier. John, recently retired, has a lot of images that he would like to restore and catalogue. His images were passed down from family over the years and may be of value. He says that photography is a long-standing hobby of his and that he's also considering taking a course with the RPS. Phil Portus, a retired geography teacher, wants to expand on his basic knowledge of Photoshop in order to get into freelance photography. He's especially interested in learning how to use layers and is also hoping to gain some ideas from the seminar. Owner of a photographic agency, Chris Conderson, was coming to the seminar from a commercial point of view, hoping to gain ideas on how to make money.

Diary of events
The course began with an introduction to Photoshop's preferences, and how to set these to get the best from the program. We then discussed which palettes are the best to have open when working in Photoshop, such as main tools, layers and history, and what these are used for. The rest of the morning was spent looking at Adobe Bridge, the file manager that is included with the Photoshop software. This involved a demonstration of how files can be organised, saved and deleted using various methods such as colour coding and star ratings. While this may be a valuable tool for improving workflow, I did not feel this was particularly relevant to the Photoshop course, and with so many aspects to cover in such a short space of time, too much time was used to cover this subject.


Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet: Photoshop for beginners - Mark Cleghorn and Calumet
Introduction to Photoshop course,
Manchester, 28th April 2007.


During the afternoon session, we moved on to re-touching images, with an introduction to tools such as Clone, Patch, Liquify and Erase to History. We then talked about how to change backgrounds, converting an image to black & white, adding motion blur and removing flash from eyes in order to improve images as much as possible post-production. Mark demonstrated how these tools could be useful in certain situations with examples throughout. I especially enjoyed this part of the course and learnt various useful tricks. One thing that did suprise me was the fact that there was no actual hands-on experience involved in the seminar, and I had expected there to be at least a small amount of practical work to the seminar. Had there been more of this I think the course would prove much more effective.

The course was entirely seminar based, with group members taking notes as opposed to working at a computer. The speed of delivery was quick-paced, sometimes too much so, and a lot of information was relayed to the group in the six hours that we were there. Having said that, Mark was very receptive to questions from the group and would spend time explaining any elements that delegates didn't understand. While aimed at beginners with no prior knowledge of Photoshop necessary, I found the course does assume some Photoshop knowledge, so it's helpful to have some previous understanding of image-editing software.


I personally enjoyed the digital re-touching element of the course, and would have preferred more time to be spent going over these elements as opposed to the concentration on Adobe Bridge. I did however gain a lot of useful tips from the course and gained an insight into certain elements of Photoshop that I hadn't previously understood. Course notes are supposed to be included with the course, allowing delegates to go over any details that they may have missed in the seminar. The notes however, were not available at the time of the course and we were advised to request them at the end of the following month. After speaking to the other group members, I found that there were mixed views about the course, most people found it useful and enjoyable, while others were annoyed that the course notes would not be available for at least a month.


Seminars cost £75 per day exclusive of VAT and including lunch. I attended the Manchester seminar but courses are also held in cities such as Bristol, Glasgow Birmingham, Belfast, Edinburgh and London. For information on future events at Calumet including workshops and seminars please click here.

Other courses offered include Practical Lighting for Portraiture, Digital Weddings and Album Design and Sensor Cleaning.

For more information on Mark Cleghorn and his work please visit

Calumet are the UK's leading retailer of photographic supplies that have been existence for almost 70 years and have 12 stores located around the country, as well as 19 on other locations around the world.

All images in this review were taken using the Canon EOS 400D

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