In this course you'll find everything you need to get the best from your own pictures using this world class software.
Start at the Beginning
Starting with the basics, author Robin Nichols shows students how to get the best results using this fantastic photo editor. The processes learned here will enable newcomers to make significant improvements to their photos, quickly and easily.
Hands on Practice
As you progress through the class students will find their creative options broadening with such techniques as:
Once students are familiar with these hands-on exercises they have the opportunity to move up to some advanced editing techniques that will take their image making creativity to a totally new level:
This course also covers the practical aspects of photo editing and troubleshooting:
The problem with digital photography is simply that we all shoot too many photos and often find it hard to keep track of where they all go!
Elements Organizer is here to help file, categorise, sort, load, tag, find, backup and label your shots - whether you have one, or ten thousand. I have split the section on the Organizer into two parts - there's a lot in it to familiarise yourself with...
Don't get too excited - this is a mode that really just features advertising from Adobe - but it also includes some creative tips and tricks gleaned off a range of third-party websites.
It's a good place to start if you are after inspiration...
Confusingly there are more than six different ways to open a picture file into one of Elements' editing modes. Some menu-driven, others keyboard or button driven. You decide which works best for your working style...
This used to be a bit of an editing non-event but in recent versions (PSE v.13.0 - current) you'll find a range of impressive and quite sophisticated effects that can be applied to your files, quickly and easily...
This mode has developed and expanded significantly over the past few versions - it now provides a range of great one-button editing effects often producing exceptional visual results with little effort...
This is possibly the most important of all Elements [drop-down] menus because it's where you'll find all the good tonal-changing functions such as Levels, Hue & Saturation and Brightness/Contrast, as well as most of the auto 'fix-up filters, the fun Facial Features fix-up tool, sharpening, black-and-white conversions, and more...
Aside from the Enhance menu, the Tool Bar, located on the left-hand side of the main edit window, accommodates most of Elements' important editing tools. Click a tool icon and you'll see its corresponding tool options pop-up from the bottom of the screen.
TIP: Not sure what each symbol means? Hover over the tool icon to see the key descriptor plus its key shortcut (i.e. 'J' for the Healing Brush).
If you are serious about your photography, then you really need to shoot in the Camera RAW file format as this offers considerable tone and resolution advantages over the more commonly-used JPEG file format. Nearly all cameras these days can shoot both RAW and JPEGs, either solo, or, via a menu setting, both at the same time.
In this video I highlight how RAW files are edited in their own special Camera RAW window.
Elements' powerhouse panorama stitching utility works beautifully to produce flawless, wide screen panoramas. TIP: To shoot a panorama, it is best to choose Manual metering mode (so the image 'sections' do not change brightness between shots), set manual focus ('MF' - usually set on the lens) and shoot vertically, overlapping the frames by up to 20%. Keep the camera as level as possible, try shooting distant subjects to begin with, and do not use a wide-angle setting as the optical distortion created by wide lenses make it harder for Elements to stitch everything accurately. Finally shoot a picture of your left foot before you start the panorama, and another of your right foot at the finish - so, months, or years later, you will be able to see where your pano sections are: between your feet!
Using the same code as the panorama stitching function, Photomerge Faces can be used to copy and paste someone's face from one picture to another. Sounds unbelievable - but this magic process actually works very well! TIP: When shooting portraits of people, make sure you snap off three or four shots in quick succession so you have the (different) expressions for later face 'surgery' if required.
Ever wanted to take snaps at a popular tourist or beauty spot, but felt that there were always too many people hanging about in the scene?
Photomerge Scene Cleaner literally removes folks and other mobile distractions with the twirl of a pen tool.
TIP: The trick is to remember to shoot several snaps of the same scene, preferably using a tripod, when you are actually there...
The Canvas Size feature is like adding a backing board to a photo - increase the canvas size and you get a picture framing matte or photo border effect. Cheapest picture framing you will ever experience.
This one of the most important of all Elements techniques - use the Image Size feature to literally add, or subtract, pixels from your files thus enabling faster web uploads, or to make your files larger (by adding pixels).
Although Elements is a very powerful editing tool, its colour management options are somewhat limited and one area where Photoshop CC proves to be far superior. Here are some thoughts on simple settings and screen calibration.
Although it is entirely possible to shoot in black-and-white (set this via your camera's shooting menu), Elements offers some great ways to convert colour shots into glorious black-and-white.
Although you might consider the Quick Edit Mode to be somewhat inferior to the Guided and Expert Edit Modes (which it is), Quick Edit now houses some great, Instagam-type filter 'looks' that are fast and easy to use and visually very effective.
Elements has dozens of special effects filters in its creative arsenal - learn how to use the Filter Gallery to test out these effects on your own shots. TIP: Filter EFX also work well on selected parts of an image too.
You can use the confusing Canvas Size feature to add a border to your shots but as Elements features so many scaleable graphics, adding a 'real' picture frame, as opposed to a border, is a good option. There are dozens to choose from...
This is another great semi-automated process to make a tryptich effect (i.e. splitting a picture into three panels) from a single photo.
Learn how easy it is to use the Orton filter Effect to add a glorious softness to your portraits...
Here, Adobe has wrapped several quite sophisticated retouching processes into one easy-to-achieve Guided Edit feature to produce impressively flattering portrait effects.
The programmers at Adobe have included this neat feature on PSE 15 - something that in previous versions might take an hour to perfect, is now possible in minutes. It's called the Painterly effect and converts a photo into a brushed-on canvas effect in a few swipes of the mouse. Good job Adobe!
A simple and quick way to get your image or images out of Elements and onto the computer's desktop. Note: This is for PC versions of Elements only...
Make your friends and family smile when the frown and frown when they smile! Your family portraits will never look the same - but unlike the Liquefy filter - which can produce drastically bad results, this is intuitive, effective and great fun to use.
Elements comes packed with a great range of project-based features - making a simple digital photo book is one you'll find under the Create menu.
Multimedia - get your favourite .MP3 tunes out and add them to your best snaps to make simple, but effective slideshows.I have included a sample slideshow to give an idea of the kind of quality to expect...
The Gradient tool is very sophisticated but it often gets overlooked in tutorials and demonstrations - which is crazy because it is so effective for darkening skies, and adding tremendous visual impact to selected shots.
Another feature in Elements that has filtered across from Adobe Photoshop CC - you can literally download a (pre)recorded set of processes, called an Action (recorded first by a third-party using Photoshop), import it into Elements and play it on your own pictures.
Actions are especially good for automatically changing multiple files in one process. (Note: Most work quite well but be aware that, because they are recorded in Photoshop CC, some Actions rely on tools or features that are not in Elements - so they might not work.).
Originally used in Photoshop as a way to change the size and shape of body parts, predominantly in the fashion business, the free-form Liquefy distortion filter can be very useful for bending the (visual) truth a bit. Or a lot. Use it to lose, or gain a few pounds, add a quizzical expression, increase a smile or reduce the size of someone's nose - you get the idea...
Elements has a good text editor - in this lesson learn how the Type Tool works.
Use this tutorial as a way to perfect your typography, line-up and design skills by creating your first printable business card.
A Photoshop Elements selection allows you to isolate an action, such as a brightness and contrast increase, to one part of the file, rather than adding it globally. Learning selections will help you to expand your creative repertoire significantly.
The Magic Wand is probably one of the best selection tools - use it to select objects based on their colour values, enabling you to then change only a part of your image file.
A selection (line) is thin - only one pixel wide so sometimes selections appear too precise or sharp - use the Feathering function to soften that selection edge (to make it appear fuzzy), and therefore produce a more seamless-looking result.
Learn how to save all that selection work you have made - inside the file itself, as a Photoshop (.psd) format file type. This means that, if you want to come back to the file and work on the same selection, you can re-load that original selection back into the image with ease...
If Feathering is not modifying your selection edges enough, the Refine Edge feature is your next stop.
To fine tune your selection skills, try selecting and copying a black-and-white logo into one of your own images to make an advertising slogan...
Like a few others involved in the industry, I’m in the enviable position of being able to combine my life’s passion, photography, with my job. And, even though I spend too much time in front of a computer, it remains one of the best occupations in the world…
Born in the UK, I’ve spent the past 31 years in Sydney. I began work in Australia as a cameraman in the audio-visual business, then as a freelance photographer. In the nineties I worked as a contributing freelance writer for several photo publications, then as a full-time magazine editor for more than eight years. In 2000 I started my own publishing business producing Australia’s best-selling specialist digital photo techniques publication: Better Digital Camera magazine.With this I aggressively pursued the goal of producing clear, well-illustrated information written in simple English and continued to develop this plain-speaking style in another specialist magazine, Better Photoshop Techniques.
Nowadays I mostly teach and run specialist photo tours to photo-centric locations such as Africa, Japan, Bali, Iceland and Cuba. When not travelling I run photo workshops, teach digital photography, video and post-production classes online and in face-to-face classes locally through Sydney University.