Photoshop Elements 2020 For Dummies book cover

Photoshop Elements 2020 For Dummies

By: Barbara Obermeier and Ted Padova Published: 11-12-2019

Go beyond one-click filters with Photoshop Elements 2020

Photoshop Elements offers the tools to make quick, simple fixes to photos or to turn your images into completely different pieces of art. Digital imaging pros Barbara Obermeier and Ted Padova walk you step-by-step through the tools that help you take control of this powerful software. 

Discover simple one-click fixes that repair the most basic photo problems then dive into creative editing and adding artistic touches. You'll also find tips on shooting better photos and managing common photo projects.

  • Apply instant edits to your digital images
  • Improve lighting and add some color pops
  • Discover artistic filters that push your creativity
  • Create a frame-worthy print

This fun guide is here to provide help to photographers and designers who prefer the latest version of the lighter, less-expensive version of Photoshop.


Articles From Photoshop Elements 2020 For Dummies

4 results
4 results
How to Add Images to an Album in Photoshop Elements

Article / Updated 03-05-2020

Albums offer another way to organize your images in Photoshop Elements. You can use albums to store photos that meet a specific set of criteria. For example, you might use your tags and star ratings to easily find all the five-star photos of your family. Or use your Events and Places tags to find all the photos you took at a conference in Paris. However, the photos you put in an album don’t need to be tagged or starred. When you need a folder for a special stash of digital photos, the Organizer’s albums feature is there for you. How to create an album With albums and star ratings, you can further break down a collection into groups that you might want to mark for printing, sharing, or onscreen slideshows. To create an album, follow these steps: 1. Sort photos in the Media Browser to determine what photos you want to include in a new album. In our example, we clicked the third star to sort photos ranked with three or more stars. 2. Click the plus (+) icon next to Albums at the top of the left panel, as shown. From the drop-down list, choose New Album. 3. Name the new album. In the Panel Bin, you see the Add New Album panel. Type a name for the album in the Album Name text box in the New Album panel on the right side of the Organizer window, as shown. If you didn’t sort files in Step 1, you can do so now or simply pick and choose which photos to add to the new album from photos appearing in your catalog. 4. Drag photos from the Media Browser to the Content tab in the Add New Album panel, as shown. If photos are sorted and you want to include all photos in the Media Browser, press Ctrl+A/Command  +A to select all the photos or choose Edit --> Select All. After the files are selected, drag them to the Content pane in the Add New Album panel. If you don’t have files sorted, click one or more photos and drag them to the Content pane. Repeat dragging photos until you have all photos you want to include in your new album. 5. Click Done at the bottom of the panel. Your new album now appears listed in the Albums category on the Import panel. That’s it! Your new album is created, and the photos you dragged to the album are added to it. You can display all the photos within a given album in the Media Browser by clicking the album name in the Albums panel. Creating multiple albums uses only a fraction of the computer memory that would be required if you wanted to duplicate photos for multiple purposes, such as printing, web hosting, sharing, and so on. Use albums for temporary work You can add an album for temporary work and then delete the album when you no longer need it. For instance, you may want to explore some of the creation and sharing items in the Create and Share panels. Before you peruse the options, create an album and add photos to it. Then proceed to use the sharing feature that interests you. When you finish, right-click to open a contextual menu and choose Delete . Edit an album After creating an album, you may want to change the album name, add more photos to an album, delete some photos from an album, change the album category, or make some other kind of edit. Your first step in performing any kind of edit to an album is to look at the left side of the Organizer. In the Import panel, you see a list of albums under the Albums category. To edit an album, right-click the album name and choose Edit. After clicking Edit, the album appears in the Panel Bin on the right side of the Organizer. Drag images from the Media Bowser to the album. You can also drag images from the Media Browser to an album name to add photos to an album. To delete photos from an album, right-click an album name and choose Edit from a context menu. When the album opens as a panel on the right, select a photo and click the Trash icon at the bottom of the panel. Note that you cannot drag a photo to the Trash icon. You must select a photo and click the Trash icon. Other commands are available in the context menu you open from an album name in the Import panel. You can rename an album, delete an album, explore some export options, share an album, and add more media to your album. If you want to use the context menu commands, you must close the Add New Album panel in the Panel Bin. While this panel is open, you cannot open a context menu on an album name. Click either Done or Cancel to close the Add New Album panel in the Panel Bin. More about sharing your albums An album is a starting point for many exciting things you can do with a collection of photos. Albums help you assemble a collection of photos that can be viewed on many devices and shared with others. Later in this book, we explore many ways you can share your albums with friends, family, and even the world, if you like: Host albums online for others to view your photos. Save the albums to a file on your hard drive. Organize an album for sharing photos with others. View albums as slideshows.

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How to Get Color Output Right in Photoshop Elements

Article / Updated 03-05-2020

In Photoshop Elements, when it comes to color, the challenge isn’t understanding color theory or definitions, but rather matching the RGB color you see on your computer monitor as closely as possible to your output. Output can be a printout from a color printer or a screen view on a web page. We say match “as closely as possible” because you can’t expect to achieve an exact match. You have far too many printer and monitor variables to deal with. However, if you properly manage color, you can get a very close match. To match color between your monitor and your output, you need to first calibrate your monitor and then choose a color workspace profile. In the following sections, you can find all the details. Color the easy way If you’re interested in sharing photos only onscreen (that is, on your own website or on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so on) and you plan to leave the printing to others, you don’t need to bother with color correction and going through a maze of steps to get the color perfected. Your only consideration for onscreen viewing is your overall monitor brightness. If your monitor displays images darker or lighter than other computers viewing your images, you need to follow the upcoming sections and understand how to adjust your overall monitor brightness. Calibrate your monitor Your monitor needs to be calibrated to adjust the gamma and brightness; correct any color tints or colorcasts; and generally get your monitor to display, as precisely as possible, accurate colors on your output. You can choose among a few tools to adjust monitor brightness. These tools range from a low-cost hardware device that sells for less than $100 to expensive calibration equipment of $3,000 or more. Gamma is the brightness of midlevel tones in an image. In technical terms, gamma is a parameter that describes the shape of the transfer function for one or more stages in an imaging pipeline. We skip the costly high-end devices and software utilities that don’t do you any good and suggest that you make, at the very least, one valuable purchase for creating a monitor profile: a hardware profiling system. On the low end, some affordable devices go a long way toward helping you adjust your monitor brightness and color balance. The Pantone Huey calibration tool costs around $75. The newest Datacolor Spyder (Spyder5) costs $140. These are hardware tools to help you create monitor profiles for working with color. The best way to find a device that works for you is to search the Internet for hardware descriptions, dealers, and costs. On LCD/LED monitors, you need to adjust the hardware controls to bring your monitor into a match for overall brightness with your photo prints. Be certain to run many test prints and match your prints against your monitor view to make the two as similar as possible. You have a lot to focus on when calibrating monitors and getting the color right on your monitor and your output. Choose a color workspace After you adjust your monitor color by using a hardware profiling system, your next step is to choose your color workspace. In Elements, you have a choice between two workspace colors: either sRGB or Adobe RGB (1998). You access your color workspace settings by choosing Edit --> Color Settings. The Color Settings dialog box opens, as shown. The Color Settings dialog box gives you these options: No Color Management: This choice turns off all color management. Don’t choose this option for any work you do in Elements. When using No Color Management, you need to work with files that have color profiles embedded in the photos. You most likely won’t use these types of photos. Always Optimize Colors for Computer Screens: Selecting this radio button sets your workspace to sRGB. sRGB color is used quite often for viewing images on your monitor, but this workspace often results in the best choice for color printing, too. Many color printers can output all the colors you can see in the sRGB workspace. Always Optimize for Printing: Selecting this option sets your color workspace to Adobe RGB (1998). The color in this workspace represents the best color you can see on newer monitors, as well as many of the newer inkjet printers. As a default, this is your best choice. Allow Me to Choose: When you select this option, Elements prompts you for a profile assignment when you open images that contain no profile. This setting is handy if you work back and forth between screen and print images. Understand how profiles work You probably created a monitor color profile when you calibrated your monitor. You probably also selected a color profile when you opened the Color Settings dialog box and selected your workspace color. When you start your computer, your monitor color profile kicks in and adjusts your overall monitor brightness and corrects for any colorcasts. When you open a photo in Elements, color is converted automatically from your monitor color space to your workspace color. At print time, you use another color profile to output your photos to your desktop color printer. Color is then converted from your workspace color to your printer’s color space. Each of these color profiles, and using each one properly, determine whether you can get good color output.

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Tips for Working with Flash Photography

Article / Updated 03-05-2020

A little knowledge about taking better pictures will go a long way toward easing your workload in Photoshop Elements. If you take care in shooting and preparing the lighting for your pictures and using flash, the amount of time you spend in Elements can be greatly reduced — and you end up with much better pictures! Most people think that the primary function of a flash unit is for indoors and night shots. However, flash photography for serious amateurs and professionals should be more often used in well-lit rooms and outdoor daylight. Flash units can be used as fill lights and, because they’re easily transportable, you can take them along in your camera bag when shooting outdoors. Flash units and equipment Here are some items to consider when you’re purchasing equipment for flash photography: Speedlights, which are also known as external flashes (used for on camera and off camera): DSLR and mirrorless camera owners should purchase a good flash unit. Many flash units, from both your camera manufacturer and an abundant number of third parties, are available. The top of the line Canon 600EX-RT II, costs more than $500. The transmitter to trigger the flash (ST-E3-RT) costs $285. Therefore, buying a single flash and trigger from Canon will cost you more than $750. A much better solution is to buy a third-party product. Our recommendation is the Godox V860II, which you can purchase for $179 as of this writing. Add a trigger for $69 and your total cost is $248. This flash will do everything the Canon 600EX-RTII will do (TTL, High speed sync, zoom head, and variable flash power). You gain a huge benefit when purchasing a Godox speedlight. It’s one of the very few units that support a rechargeable battery. The battery will last through a complete wedding shoot. Most other flashes rely on AA batteries, and to shoot a wedding, event, or full-day shoot, you could go through 12, 16, or 20 AA batteries. Diffusers: Look for a low-cost diffuser that fits on the head of your flash unit. A diffuser can help you soften the light from a flash and use it as a nice fill light. You can also create some DIY (do it yourself) diffusers with artboard, black duct tape, and translucent cloth. Umbrellas: Umbrellas are very inexpensive. They’re easy to store and carry around and are excellent sources for diffusing light. If you can afford only one diffuser and flash, choose a shoot-through umbrella. A shoot-though umbrella with a removable black cover will cost you $33 at Flash unit soft boxes: Just as you can use soft boxes for diffusing lights with LEDs and strobes, you can purchase a soft box for your flash for less than $10. Flash gels: If you want to get creative with your photos, you can purchase an array of different colored gels to put over your flash. You can buy a set of 15 to 20 different colored gels for around $10. Radio and remote flash triggers: When you want to use your flash off camera, you need a trigger or transmitter that sits on your camera’s hot shoe. The trigger is used to fire a flash off camera. Flash transmitters offering through-the-lens (TTL) metering can be quite expensive ($200 to $300 for a brand name). You can buy third-party TTL transmitters for around $69. Non-TTL transmitters require you to set your camera manually and don’t use your camera’s meter. These units are inexpensive — you can purchase a non-TTL transmitter for less than $20. TTL Cables: TTL stands for “through the lens.” It’s a way to set up your flash for automatic exposures. You can use the cables for both automatic and manual exposures. You need to purchase these cables for your specific camera. They range in price from $9 for 3 foot cables to around $35 for 30 foot cables. Flash as a fill light Using a flash outdoors in daylight is referred to as daylight fill-in flash photography. Portraits, nature shots, macro photography, and more can benefit from a flash fill while shooting outdoors. In the figure, we added a fill flash. This shot was taken under midday sun. Notice the absence of harsh shadows even in bright sunlight.

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Tips for Composing Better Photos

Article / Updated 03-04-2020

Before working with Photoshop Elements 2020, you need to take photographs that are interesting and well composed. Some of these tips overlap and contain common concepts, but they’re all free; they don’t require any extra money or equipment. Find a focal point for your photos One of the most important tools for properly composing a photo is establishing a focal point — a main point of interest. The eye wants to be drawn to a subject. Keep these tips in mind to help find your focal point: Pick your subject and then get close to it. Include something of interest in scenic shots. When it’s appropriate, try to include an element in the foreground, middle ground, or background to add depth and a sense of scale. Use the rule of thirds when taking pictures When you’re composing your shot, mentally divide your frame into vertical and horizontal thirds and position your most important visual element at any intersecting point. When you’re shooting landscapes, remember that a low horizon creates a dreamy and spacious feeling and that a high horizon gives an earthy and intimate feeling. For close-up portraits, try putting the face or eyes of a person at one of those points. Cut the clutter in your photos Here are some ways you can cut the clutter from your background: Try to fill the frame with your subject. Shoot at a different angle. Move around your subject. Move your subject. Use background elements to enhance your subject. Use space around a subject to evoke a certain mood. If you’re stuck with a distracting background, use a wider aperture (such as f/4). Frame your shots when taking pictures When it’s appropriate, use foreground elements to frame your subject. Frames lead you into a photograph. You can use tree branches, windows, archways, and doorways, as shown. Your framing elements don’t always have to be sharply focused. Sometimes, if they’re too sharp, they distract from the focal point. Employ contrast when taking pictures Just remember, “Light on dark, dark on light.” A light subject has more impact and emphasis if it’s shot against a dark background, and vice versa, as shown. Keep in mind, however, that contrast needs to be used carefully. Sometimes it can be distracting, especially if the high-contrast elements aren’t your main point of interest. Experiment with Viewpoints Not much in the world looks fascinating when photographed from a height of 5 to 6 feet off the ground. Try to break out of this common mode by taking photos from another vantage point. Experiment with taking a photo from above the subject (bird’s-eye view) or below it (worm’s-eye view). A different angle may provide a more interesting image. Use leading lines when taking pictures Leading lines are lines that lead the eye into the picture and, hopefully, to a point of interest. The best leading lines enter the image from the lower-left corner. Roads, walls, fences, rivers, shadows, skyscrapers, and bridges provide natural leading lines, especially in scenic or landscape photos. The photo shown here of the Great Wall of China is an example of curved leading lines. Use light in your photos Here are a few tips about light: The best light is in early morning and later afternoon. Avoid taking portraits at midday. Overcast days can be great for photographing, especially portraits. Backlighting can produce dramatic results. Ensure that the brightest light source isn’t directed into the lens to avoid lens flare. Use a flash in low light. For portraits, especially, positioning your flash so that the light comes from above at a 30- to 45-degree angle gives better depth and eliminates the risk of red eye. Get creative. Look for interesting patterns and effects created by the light. Give direction in your photos Don’t be afraid to play photo stylist: Get someone to help direct. Give directions about where you want people to stand, look, lie down, and so on (see Figure 18-6). Designate the location. Arrange people around props, such as trees or cars. Use a variety of poses. Try to get people to relax. Consider direction of movement when taking photos When the subject is capable of movement, such as a car, a person, or an animal, make sure that you leave more space in front of the subject than behind it, as shown. Likewise, if a person is looking out onto a vista, make sure that you include that vista.

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