In this tutorial I talk about the way I space elements on my templates. I mention a couple different padding methods and shows some nice tips to get consistency with your paddings in Photoshop.
One of the most difficult aspects of designing when you first start is spacing. Some elements will be out of proportion and the padding between elements is also likely to fluctuate. The key thing to learn is to be consistent. Try to stick to certain paddings and margins and stick to it throughout the template. That way each element flows together without breaking the visual hierarchy of the design.
One way in which I like to do this is to use guides. You can add guides say 15px inside your template/column guides. This was its incredibly easy to see if the sides of elements are lining up. Other than that my favourite method is to create a box in photoshop. Fill it in with a bright color. In the select menu reduce the outline by 30px and fill in with white. In layer blending options then add another bright colour stroke, 15px wide and positioned inside. Set the opacity of the layer to 30% or so. You can then reposition and resize this rectangle and it will show you a 15px and a 30px padding marker. Generally speaking this is the padding I will use. I’m sure other people prefer 20/40, 10/20 or various other combinations.
To see these methods in action take a look at the screencast above. The key point in spacing is to be consistent. Consistency comes with experience, but to start out you should set up guides and really calculate the sizing and paddings of each element.
If you have any requests please let me know. Also if you followed the photoshop tutorials be sure to post some of your end results. Its always nice to hear from viewers.