My Top 10 Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

An important part of running a successful commercial photography business is maximising your time and using it optimally. Reducing even just a small amount of time spent on repetitive tasks will soon add up and make a big difference to your business. When I first left university I temped in a banking call centre and we had to use a rather archaic software system (at least feels it now, was probably cutting edge 15 years ago!) where everything was navigated by keystrokes (no mouse interface) and so I got pretty good at remembering the combinations.


With modern software it is very often easy to forget that you can navigate and select things very quickly using the keyboard and many people rely solely on their mouse/pen tablet but using a combination of the two can often speed things up immensely. I have always been a fan of keyboard shortcuts and try to use them as much as possible when ascending the learning curve with new software. As such, I have always used photoshop keyboard shortcuts when editing my images and I thought it might be useful to share my top 10 photoshop keyboard shortcuts that I use on a regular basis. These are the shortcuts that I use most regularly and that I personally find most useful (btw I use a PC so I’ll be quoting PC shortcuts, they’re the same with a MAC just with different modifier key names – I’m not going to list them as everyone should know the equivalents by now!), hopefully there’ll be a few in there that you were not aware of and this list will help one or two people out in optimising their workflow. I highly recommend you spend some time assessing which tasks you repeat most regularly and see if you can save some time by learning the appropriate photoshop keyboard shortcuts.

Top 10 Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Tool Shortcuts

    So right away I’m cheating with this whole list thing and giving you a bunch of shortcuts wrapped up in one!  Rather than going over to the photoshop toolbar to select which tool I am going to use, for common tools I just use the relevant shortcut.  The ones that I use on a regular basis include B – Brush, Z – Zoom, J – Healing Brush, S – Clone Stamp, L– Lasso

  2. Layer Via Copy

    Hitting Ctrl & j creates a copy of the current selected layer as a new layer

  3. Zoom

    Holding Ctrl and using + (zoom in) or (zoom out) allows you to quickly adjust the view to zoom in and out without having to select the zoom tool. Ctrl and 0 (zero) sets the view to ‘fit on screen’ so you can quickly reset to see your full image

  4. Brush Size

    You can use the square bracket keys: [ & ]  to increase or decrease your brush size quickly while you are working.  Another bonus; if you hold Shift you can use the brackets to adjust the hardness/softness of the brush

  5. Opacity

    When you have the brush tool selected (press b!), you can use the top numeric keys (not the keypad keys) to set the opacity of the brush. If can press two digits for accuracy (e.g. 75) or just hit a single digit to jump to a multiple of ten (1=10, 2=20, 3=30 etc) – zero sets the opacity to 100%

  6. Save

    This one is a great one to get into the habit of using often and can save you a lot of headaches with lost work. By hitting Ctrl & s you can save the file you are working on, doing this regularly as you work will protect you from losing precious work should your computer crash (or you have a powercut!). As a bonus when you are finished working on an image hit Ctrl & s (save) followed by Ctrl & w (close), doesn’t seem like much but it’s a good habit to ensure you’ve saved your work and saves a few seconds (which all add up!) over clicking to close the file.

  7. Default colours

    I tend to use a lo of masking when editing, either as part of composite work or applying effects/filters to specific parts of an image and so setting the brush to black or white is a common task. When you have the brush (b) tool selected, pressing d sets your foreground (brush) colour to black and your background colour to white (default). If you want to quickly switch your brush colour between the foreground and background colours just hit x

  8. Fill

    I use the fill function fairly regularly (either for adding large areas to masks or for using content aware fill) and using Shift & Backspace is a really quick way to get get to the fill menu

  9. Inverted Mask

    When adding a mask to a layer, if you hold Alt as you click on the mask icon, the mask is applied inverted (black), this is really useful if you are wanting to only add (by painting with white) the effect/filter to a small part of an image. If you apply a mask and forget to hold down alt, just press Ctrl & i (while the mask is selected in the layers panel) to invert it from white to black

  10. Free Transform

    Pressing Ctrl & t activates the free transform function allowing you to resize, rotate and stretch your current layer/selection. As a little bonus, once you have free transform activated, if you right click within the free transform box you get a transform menu from which you can jump to the other transform tools.

Hopefully I have highlighted some useful Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts that some people will have found useful. One last tip before I sign off is that if you use a pen & tablet (such as a Wacom) you can customise the function buttons on the tablet and set your most used shortcuts (including multi-key shortcuts such as Ctrl & j) so you don’t even have to reach for your keyboard!

Published Work – Gorgeous Freaks Magazine

We were recently approached by alternative model – Frankie Lou to collaborate on a magazine cover shoot for alternative fashion magazine Gorgeous Freaks. We’re always up for a challenge and even though this was a little outside my usual comfort zone I thought this would be a great chance to try out some new ideas and maybe get some exposure through the magazine.

There was no real theme for the shoot so we had a chat about possible setups and looks and worked out three separate sets with the make-up artist (the fantastic Bambii Riiot). For the final set I went out on the scrounge and managed to borrow a motorbike from one of our neighbors and brought it into the studio!

Here are the tearsheets from the magazine that was published this month:

alternative fashion magazine cover
alternative fashion magazine
alternative fashion magazine

and here some of our favourite final images that were taken on the day (click to view fullscreen):

If you are interested in collaborating on a creative project or would like to discuss how we might be able to help your business create interesting advertising imagery, please contact us for a chat

Professional Property Photography – Staffordshire Windmill

We were recently contacted by AirBNB (whom we have worked with on a number of occasions previously) for a very special project to provide commercial photography for an amazing B&B location. AirBNB are a company that really value professional imagery and have been able to monitor the uplift of having professional photographs advertising rental properties and B&B businesses through their vast network of hosts and customers.

This particular B&B (hosted by the really friendly Kate & Chris) is located in a converted windmill deep in the countryside of rural Staffordshire. With fantastic views, unique architecture and stunning character, this property was a pleasure to photograph. The unusual shape of some of the rooms required some unorthodox shooting positions but overall the shoot was a realy enjoyable one (even with all those stairs!).

Here are some of the images we captured on the project:

For more images and information about staying at the windmill please head over to Kate & Chris’ page on AirBNB. If you are interested in marketing your property or business through cloverleaf images commercial photography services or want to have a free no-obligation chat about what we could do for you, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

Commercial Property Photography for Marathonbet

With the continually increasing use of the internet consumers and becoming more and more accustomed to evaluating businesses online before deciding to transact. This is true of businesses that transact physically (such as restaurants or salons) and online transacting businesses. One of the key methods for businesses to persuade potential customers to ‘convert’ is through Commercial Property Photography showing the premises/set-up as being one that they would like to visit or provides them with confidence that they are dealing with a professional company.

Traditionally betting shops are not seen as being the kinds of places you would consider being particularly inviting places and and not really the kinds of places that would be candidates for using images of the premises for positive marketing purposes. Marathonbet is one company that is bucking that trend and has taken pride in the modern, clean appearance of it’s current 3 locations in the UK. In fact, it is so proud of it’s newly refurbished locations that it has recently commissioned professional commercial photographers to provide images of the locations to be featured on the Marathonbet website.

Cloverleaf images were hired by the company to visit the Crewe location and to provide commercial property photography to show the retail shop at it’s best. Here are a few images from the shoot showing the great new location.

If you are interested in increasing customer confidence in the legitimacy of your business or want to show off your great location, please contact us for a free, no obligation chat about what professional commercial photography from cloverleaf images could do for your business.

Cheshire Automotive Photography – Land Rover Shoot

There are a number of different channels through which we get new clients for commercial and automotive photography but by far the most satisfying is when we are hired after being recommended by another of our clients. Last year we did some work for Auto Pro-Motorsports which they were really pleased with and as well as giving us a great testimonial, they had also personally recommended us to another motor industry service provider, Spectrum Motor Centre (SMC).

SMC were looking to expand their business and were setting up a specialist division customising and selling specialist Land Rovers. To support this they were looking for some stunning automotive photography of one of their show vehicles to use to promote the new business online and in print.

The brief for the shoot was to create one main image of the vehicle (and was to include a model standing beside it) and several other detail shots of the various custom features. Here are the finished shots that we produced as part of this commercial photography project:
Land Rover Defender

If you are interested in how professional commercial photography could help you promote your business or just want a chat about our approach and services please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

By Johnathan Clover