While Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements have many of the same features, those features are not located in the same places within each program. This makes it difficult for someone editing in Elements to follow along with a CS tutorial and, let’s face it, there’s not a lot of Elements tutorials out there. Today we have CMpro Melissa Gibson, who edits solely in Photoshop Elements, on the blog to share with us her typical editing steps.
editing in photoshop elements
by Melissa Gibson
First off, let me tell you that I am more than likely the odd ball of the CMpros. Why? Well, for starters I shoot in jpeg. I’ll just go ahead and admit that right off the bat. However, shooting in jpeg forces me to get the shot right in camera. There is no room for goof ups and I love that. It’s good for me.
Jpeg pushes me to get the shot right the first time and it works for well for me. I have to admit, that I am often looking for shortcuts in life. I believe that if I shot in RAW, I would get lazy with my shooting and just feel as if I could “fix it later” while editing. I don’t want to feel as if I have an out in editing. With my personality, I need to know that I have one chance to get the correct exposure, white balance, and so on. That way, I don’t take the easy road and edit it all later. I am, of course, not saying that RAW is wrong and jpeg is right or vice versa. This is just what works for me.
Second, I’ll say that several people have tried to convince me to switch to a more “professional” editing software. My husband, for one, has offered to purchase CS whatever the latest number is several times and I’ve turned down the offer. I know, I know, that sounds crazy, but I have found that I really love Elements. For the way in which I edit there is really nothing that I CAN’T do in PSE. Also, I will admit to using an action on the final step of my images. Please know, however, that actions will not fix any mistakes that you may have made in camera. In fact, an action will most likely make your image muddy and yucky and down right gross unless you have a near perfect image to start with. The actions that I love best are made by Annie of Paint the Moon and Sarah of My Four Hens. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, please (pretty please!) do not use an action in an attempt to correct any problems that you have with an image that is SOOC. It will look unnatural and very much actioned. (There is a new word for you!)
Now, on with the way I edit my jpegs in PSE.
This is my six year old, Allison. This image is SOOC and very green; however, Allison is pretty anti-camera so I was a bit pleased that she gave me a real smile right away. The sun was setting camera right and the light was fairly warm; however, this is the second shot I took of her and I was still getting my Kelvin white balance to the correct setting. I loved the shot, though, because it isn’t often that she’s willing to let me photograph her.
I like my images to have a light vignette. I burned the edges at the bottom just a tad using the burn tool at 25%. Again, I use a big, wide brush so that I can simply sweep the brush across evenly.
Now that I have my image looking the way I like, I run the action to give it a slightly hazy look. I use an action from Paint the Moon called Hush Now. I very rarely use it at 100%, however. I lower the opacity depending on the feel of the session or image. Notice in the layers palette, I have selected “Quiet Mist”. That way I can erase the misty part of the action off of any part of the image. I simply select the eraser tool and adjust the opacity to taste in order to remove the action from her eyes. Once everything looks good to me, I flatten the image and save for print.
Finally, I’m ready to prepare this image for my blog, Facebook, the CM forum or the CMpro Daily. I use a free resize/sharpen for web action from the Olive Juice Shoppe and adjust the sharpening to taste. Then, I flatten and save!
And that’s it! With this image, I had to do a few more steps than I usually do because it was a tad green to begin with, but my edits are fairly quick, easy and simple. I love editing in Elements and I think this “little brother” editing software is very underrated. It really packs a punch and works well for me. I hope this was helpful and gives you a bit of encouragement if you shoot in jpeg and edit in PSE. If you ever have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m happy to help you out!
Thank you for sharing your steps with us Melissa! Do you use Photoshop Elements? Please share with us your favorite Elements tool in the comments section below.
Melissa Gibson, Georgia
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Melissa is a former teacher and happy hobbyist living just south of Atlanta. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has three little girls. Melissa dove in head first with photography when her second child was born. She is often found lying on the ground with camera in hand in order to get a kid’s-eye-view of the world as capturing the lives of her family is something that she is passionate about. Some of her most favorite things are music, blogging, sushi, and Instagram. And of course, like everyone else, long walks on the beach. She is a prime girl shooting a Nikon d700.