If you want to apply a change to an entire area of your digital photo, you can use a filter in your image editor. Almost all filters in image-editing software (if that software supports filters, of course) have the same basic format:


Select the layer to which you want to apply the filter.

This figure shows a selected layer in Photoshop Elements. You can apply filters only to the active layer. If your photo has only one layer, this is a moot point.


If you want, limit the filter’s effects to a selection.

Use one of the various selection tools before you apply the filter, like in this figure. If you don’t make a selection before you apply a filter, the filter is applied to the entire active layer.


Make sure the filter you want to use works with your image’s file type.

If your file type doesn’t support a certain filter, the filter command is probably dimmed, as shown in this figure.

Some filters have no options to bother with and are applied the instant you select the command. The downside? You have no control over the effects, although you can select a section of your image beforehand.