Find Your Bearings in Elements’ Guided Mode

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Guided mode is a marvelous editing feature in Photoshop Elements, and the 2018 release has several new elements. To access Guided mode, click the Guided tab near the top of the Photo Editor workspace.

The Guided Edit mode is not a new feature in Elements, but you do find a completely new user interface when you click Guided at the top of the Photo Editor window. Guided Edit mode, as the name implies, is a guided process for performing various editing tasks. When you open the Guided panel, you find a new view for the various categories of Guided Edits. Click one of the items in the top row where you see Basics selected here. The various edits are grouped together in different categories as you see when you click a category item at the top of the Guided window.

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Click the Guided tab to open the Guided Photo Edit panel.

Not all editing tasks are contained in the Guided panel, but what you have available is an impressive list of many tasks you perform often.

Elements 2018 offers four new items in Guided Edit mode:

  • Water Color Effect: This Guided Edit enables you to apply a watercolor effect to your photos and provides options for choosing different texture effects and text effects.
  • Background Changer: You can now quickly and easily change backgrounds in your photos. The best images to use are those where you can easily select foreground subjects and then change the background to textures, landscape images, or gradients; perform transformations; or add any other type of background you want.
  • Double Exposure: We used this Guided Edit on the cover of this book. You can take two images and easily superimpose one image on the other to create a double exposure.
  • Shape Overlay: Use this new Guided Edit to apply some creative shapes on your images and apply effects to give your photos a different touch. You first select a shape to take advantage of an assortment of different shapes. You then use the main subject of the photo and place it in the shape.

The best way to discover what results you can achieve is to open photos and apply various edits using the Guided panel. Some of the more complicated options, such as creating Out of Bounds effects, offer you a link to online video tutorials to help you further simplify the process.

Some items, such as Picture Stack, require using multiple images. Load up the Photo Bin with photos and apply the effects to multiple images.

You have effects that can help improve images that might otherwise be uninteresting photos. Experiment with the Lomo effect (which is similar to cross-processing film), Old Fashioned Photo effect, Saturated Film effect, and Depth of Field effect. For a new creative experience, use the Puzzle effect that was introduced in Elements 12 or some of the Guided Edits that were added in Elements 13, such as the Noir effect.

Getting the brightness, contrast, and color right in your photos is critical. The Lighten and Darken Guided Edit helps you correct brightness problems in highlight and shadows, as you can see here.

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The Lighten and Darken Guided Edit helps you adjust for proper brightness.