Photoshop Elements Menu: Beginners
Photoshop Elements is powerful.
It does just about everything a photographer needs to do—so there's a lot to learn.
This menu is a step-by-step path through Photoshop Elements for beginners.
Taking a Class?
Read the article below if you're taking a class with me.
Get a Mouse
If you're using a laptop without a mouse, get a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel.
A mouse makes using certain Photoshop Elements tools far easier to use.
Windows & Mac
The Windows and Mac versions of Photoshop Elements are 99.9% the same.
Mac Users Press Cmd
The tutorials have many commands, such as Save:
Ctrl + s.
If you're using a Mac, press the Command (Apple key) when you see Ctrl.
Cmd + s.
Print It Out
The best way to use a tutorial is to print it out, or have it displayed on a second computer.
Check the Boxes
Many of the tutorials have check boxes.
Check them as you go along to avoid missing a step.
Skip Quick Fix
Quick Fix is for casual users of Photoshop Elements.
The tutorial below takes you through:
1) Opening Photoshop Elements.
2) Opening a photograph.
3) Making a Background copy.
4) Using a Levels adjustment layer.
Levels can vastly improve a photograph with a few seconds work
5) Saving your edited photograph.
6) Closing Photoshop Elements.
The above tutorial suggests you place some of your photographs on a flash drive.
You can also place them in a folder on your Desktop.
• Open the photographs from the flash drive or folder.
• Edit the photographs.
• Save them back to the flash drive or folder.
Why do the above?
Opening and saving files is complicated when using Picasa, iPhoto, and other organizing programs.
Wait until you're familiar with Photoshop Elements before learning how to open from—and save to—other programs.
Step 2: Navigation
The Navigation article below is about using the Zoom tool and more.
Practice using the navigation tools until you don't have to think about what to do.
Come back and read more.
Step 3: Shortcuts
If you like to use keyboard shortcuts, go to the article below.
Step 4: Tools
The tool panel is located on the left side of your screen.
There are more tools than what you see displayed.
The article below shows you all of the tools.
Refer to it when you can't find a tool.
Step 5: Box #s
When using Photoshop Elements, you'll encounter lots of boxes with numbers inside.
There are several ways to change the values in those boxes.
Step 6: Brushes
You use brushes to "paint" editing on to your photograph.
Read the first section, Brush Basics, in the article below.
Practice the brush basics until you don't have to think about what to do.
Here's the entire Brushes menu.
Step 7: Troubleshooting
When there's a problem with Photoshop Elements, it's usually because the wrong layer is active (highlighted).
Read the first troubleshooting topic below.
Return to the article when you need other solutions.
Step 8: Best Practices
Read this compilation of ways to edit more smoothly.
Step 9: Bigger & Smaller
You can make your camera-phone photographs bigger—and your regular photographs smaller for e-mails.
Step 10: Crop Tool
You can recompose your framing with the Crop tool.
There are other tools for cropping.
Step 11: Straighten Tool
You can straighten a crooked horizon line with the Straighten tool.
Step 12: Burning &
You used a Levels adjustment layer, in Step One, to change the exposure and contrast of the entire photograph.
You burn and dodge to change the exposure in part of your photograph.
Burning is darkening.
Dodging is lightening.
Use the method below.
There are other methods, as well.
Step 13: Opening & Saving
Now is the time to learn how to open and save files to—and from—your organizing program.
Step 14: How to Edit
This article helps you to know what needs to be done to a photograph.
Step 15: Layers
You've been using layers, such as the Background copy layer and the Levels adjustment layer.
It's time to learn more about layers.
You'll want to refer back to the articles below, as it takes a while to understand layers.
There's lots more to learn, too.
Step 16: Levels
You've been using Levels adjustment layers.
There's more to learn about them.
Step 17: Spot Healing
You use the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove facial defects, litter on a sidewalk, dust on old photographs, and the like
Step 18: Cloning
Cloning is where you sample part of your photograph, and paste it on to another part.
Step 19: Selection Tools
A selection is drawn on your photograph with one of the selection tools.
Then, whatever happens next only happens inside the selected area.
You can copy the selected area to a new layer, can edit the selected area with an adjustment layer, and so forth.
Step 20: Retouching
There are many retouching tutorials below.
Retouching here, refers to the face.
Many of the retouching techniques are useful for other subjects
Step 21: Sharpening
Digital photographs are made from square blocks of color called pixels.
Each pixel has four corners.
The millions of corners in a photograph are jutting into other pixels, causing the photograph to look slightly out-of-focus.
You have to sharpen your photograph.
There's more about sharpening here.
Step 22: Workflow
Workflow is the order that you perform tasks with Photoshop Elements.
Read the article below and adapt it for your own needs.
Step 23: Organizing
You can use the Organizer in Photoshop Elements to organize your photographs.
There's a lot more on the Photoshop Elements menu.