PSE 101 (Why & How)
After you’ve pressed the shutter your job as a photographer is only half done. I don’t show people my images straight from the camera because they are incomplete.
Why do most photos benefit from editing?
- because your camera is not as smart as manufactures want you to believe
- because you’re human and don’t notice everything when you press the shutter
- because of physical limitations of your subject and the situation
What we can fix (know your tool):
- Light (levels, contrast
- Color (hue, saturation and temperature)
- Content transformations (crop & level, perspective distortions etc)
- Retouching (cloning, removing & adding elements, portraits)
- Effects (sharpening, filters and creative)
What we can’t fix:
- out of focus images
- motion blur (subject & camera shake)
- quality of light (direction, hardness)
- lost data
- blown highlights
- absolutely black shadows
- clipped color channels
- cannot polish a turd - you can make a bad image mediocre but you can’t make it great and who wants to make mediocre images?.
What to use PSE for:
- to fully visualize your vision
- to flatter your subject
- to compensate for weaknesses in your equipment and the laws of physics.
PS v PSE
- A viewer won’t be able to tell if you used PS or PSE to edit your pictures
- People who tell you that you have to use PS and that PSE is an amateur tool that produces amateur results either have never serious tried using PSE or have not tried using a recent version.
- The time you invest learning PSE is not lost if you upgrade to PS and/or lightroom later
- Price ($700 v $100)
- Features (more is not necessarily better)
- CMYK and LAB color modes
- ability to work with 32-bit images
- Layer masks and layer comps
- Adjustment layers for color balance, curves and selective color
- Advanced text formatting, including putting text on a path
- Automatic red-eye removal
- Dedicated B&W tool
- Cookie cutter tool, background templates and artwork
- Photo Organizer
- Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
- if your pictures look like CGI you’ve gone too far.
- Your viewer should not notice that your picture has been edited
- ‘too subtle’ beats ‘too dramatic’ every time.
PSE is two tools in one:
- Organizer - like Lightroom
- Editor - like PS
- Always maintain a backup - PSE organizer can help you with this.
- Version sets help you maintain versions of an image.
- Albums & stacks help isolate groups of images.
- Star rating system helps find the images you want to edit.
- Never save over the top of an original file - always save a copy - PSE tries to help you with this but you can loose your original file if you’re not careful.
- If you’re using the organizer don’t move images in your OS file manager - always move them withing PSE so it doesn’t loose track of them.
- The UI can be a little over-whelming at first - it’s infinitely adjustable and you can loose things when you’re starting out - reset panels is your friend.
- Quick Edit may be a little less intimidating but as soon as you can stand it get into full edit mode.
- There is no one way to do anything - try all suggestions then adopt your favorite.
- If you think you will ever edit an image again save it in a non-destructive, uncompressed format (PSD, layered-Tiff, etc) - disk space is cheap
- Learn to edit in a non-destructive way.
- white balance
- noise reduction (optional)
- retouching, image transformations etc. (specific to subject)
- artistic effects (filters, B&W, vignette etc.)
Built in Help:
- Help > Video Tutorials > Photoshop Elements
- Same content is available at http://tv.adobe.com under the “Learn Photoshop Elements 9” Channel
- While there check out the “Photoshop Elements 9 How To’s” channel
- Help > Key Concepts
- Guided Edits
If you’re totally new to editing one of these is a good place to start - you don’t need both:
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Classroom in a Book - Adobe
- Photoshop Elements 9 Digital Classroom, (Book and Video Training) - AGI
If you know your way around PSE a little:
- The Photoshop Elements 9 Book for Digital Photographers - Scott Kelby
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 9: Maximum Performance: Unleash the hidden performance of Elements - Mark Galer
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for Photographers - Philip Andrews