What is Photoshop Elements?

Let's take a moment to get to know a little more about the software and how it can help you with your day to day image editing.

Adobe Photoshop Elements is a great option for those who want an extensive toolset that can take
on most of their image editing needs, without the requirement of highly advanced features such as you would find in Photoshop CC.

It is also a great choice for those who only need one click solutions to their image editing needs, or perhaps want to start to learn how to take on the more involved techniques and tools that Elements has to offer. Another big plus point in its favour is that it is one of the very few remaining Adobe products that can be purchased outright, without the need for subscription.

A Worthy Alternative

There was a time when, in certain quarters, Elements was considered a dumbed-down version of Photoshop with a limited toolset, that was only meant for beginners with no aspirations to advance to the more technically advanced techniques seen in Photoshop. However, recent versions of Elements have shown that it is a worthy standalone alternative to using Photoshop.

It is a focused image editor and cataloging application that is more than capable of taking on any image editing task you care to send its way. In its current form, Adobe Photoshop Elements is comprised of two main components. One is the image editing module of the software where you can touch up your photos or even manipulate and transform them beyond recognition. The Edit section is broken down into three sections. The first is the Quick Edit mode, then comes the Guided Mode section and finally there is the Expert mode.

Make the Most of Modules

Each module has its own set of tools and preset options that can quickly get the job done. Quick Edit, as the name suggests, contains the basic editing tools such as colour correction, cropping, quick selection, spot healing, sharpening and lighting fixes. You can also apply some oneclick presets such as Smart Fix, Exposure and Lighting.

Helping Hand

The Guided module is also fairly self-explanatory. Here you can make any number of popular image adjustments to your photos, with guided step-by-step tutorials, such as altering brightness and contrast, resizing photos, rotating and straightening your images and adding vignettes. It also has a number of specialised and fun options for restoring old photos, creating your own frames and replacing backgrounds.

More Advanced Options

Finally comes the Expert mode. This has more of the feel of its big brother, Photoshop to it. It has a toolbar ranged down the left hand side of the workspace and on the right is the layers panel that behaves much in the same way as Photoshop’s layers palette. Here you also have access to a number of photo colour presets such as Faded Photo, Glow and Monotone Colour.

There are also a number of filters for more artistic effects such as coloured pencils, watercolours, distortion effects and sketch filters. You can also add Bevels, Patterns, Strokes, Photographic Effects and much more by accessing the icons in the lower right of the taskbar at the bottom of your workspace.

Expert mode is the most hands-on of the three modes you can employ and gives you access to all the tools, so you can apply all your own advanced edits to your photos.

Getting Organised

The second main component of the latest Adobe Photoshop Elements is the Elements 2019 Organiser. At its heart, this is a cataloguing and photo organising program that lets you import, sort, tag and rate your photos. If you wish, you can create albums and use names, locations, date, time and GPS data to sort them. The program can even employ face recognition to find and sort photos of people and tag them much as you would in Facebook.

Indeed, you can actually import your list of Facebook friends as an aid to tagging the people in your photos. If it detects a similar name being entered as a tag, it will display those existing names similar enough as a match to be an option for tagging. The two components of Photoshop Elements and Elements Organiser are separate programs, which can be a bit of nuisance if you need to keep switching between them but you have at your disposal a set of powerful editing tools that will keep beginner and expert happy.

It is best to consider the Editor module as your digital darkroom and design studio and to think of Elements Organiser as your library, where you keep all your media items such as photos and videos.

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Mark Frost

Mark started work as a commercial artist during the good old days of Letraset, spray mount and having to process your photos at a local chemist. Having discovered his passion for photography, Photoshop and the wonders of digital image manipulation, he has not looked back. He is well on his way to owning more cameras than he’s had hot dinners.

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