Are you brand new to Photoshop Elements 11, and don’t know where to start? Are you a casual photographer looking to add pro-quality effects to your photos? Do you want to create and share stunning pictures that are worth a thousand likes? If you answered “yes” to even one of those questions, then this post is just for you.
In this post, we’ll learn how to get started with using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, how to use it with Elements Organizer, and how to create stunning photographs almost effortlessly.
Installing Photoshop Elements
To begin with, let’s talk a bit about installing Photoshop Elements – see this step-by-step guide to help you with the installation process. If you run into any issues, or you’re looking for assistance, you can reach out for help on the Photoshop Elements forums.
When you install Photoshop Elements, Elements Organizer is installed by default. On launching Photoshop Elements 11, you see a screen like this:
Click Organizer to import, find, and organize your media (photos and videos) or click Photo Editor to edit your photos.
Using the Organizer
The Organizer workspace provides a new, simple, and clean interface. You can easily import photos, add folders, and share them in a few clicks.
Easy importing of photos
The Import options are now easier to discover. You can import your media (photos and videos) directly from your camera or card reader, scanner, files and folders, or from Adobe Revel.
While importing your photos, you can let Photoshop Elements automatically suggest photo stacks. Stacks of visually similar photos are then intelligently created. I find this feature especially useful when you capture photos in the burst-mode setting on your camera, and want to eliminate duplicate photos.
Simplified sorting and viewing of photos
Photoshop Elements provides you four very intuitive ways of sorting and viewing your media:
Media The Media tab groups files based on whether they are photos, videos, audio files, PDFs, and so on.
Places The Places tab displays photos on a map based on where they were taken. Integration with Google maps lets you tag photos with places where the photos were taken. For more information, see this article.
People The People tab groups photos based on who’s featuring in them using facial recognition. This is one of my favorite features – Once you’ve identified the face of a person in a photo, and if you have Facebook connected to your Photoshop Elements, you can add the Facebook name of the person. A photo stack is then created for the identified person. See this article for a detailed explanation.
Events The Events tab lets you view photos based on events. For example, you can create a stack of photos taken at a vacation, or a party, or any other event. For more information, see this article.
The powerful search capabilities in Elements Organizer lets you quickly search for photos or videos based on keywords, people, places, and events. For a better understanding of the ways of sorting and viewing your photos, watch this video.
Sharing photos on the Web
You can post your photos to Facebook, share them via email, or share them in other interactive ways from the Organizer. For an overview of the different ways you can share your photos, see this video. We also have some helpful tutorials to help you learn more.
Using the Photo Editor
There’s lots to talk about here, but I’ll focus only on the three main modes of editing, and point you to good resources from where you can learn and understand more. Before getting into the details, you can check out this video for a quick overview of all the features in Photoshop Elements 11.
To open Photo Editor from the Organizer workspace, you simply click the Editor button on the Elements Organizer taskbar.
The revamped UI is noticeably clean, simple, and intuitive.
The interface is very easy to navigate and has three basic modes of editing:
Quick If you are new to image editing and want to make just basic edits, without being overwhelmed by the several editing options, use the Quick editing mode. This mode is best suited for fixing the sharpness, exposure, colors, and so on.
Guided If you’d like to explore more complex image editing and want some guidance with using it, use the Guided editing mode. The Guided editing mode provides you step-by-step assistance in creating the perfect portrait, adding depth of field, and such. Check out this article for more information.
Expert Use the Expert editing mode if you are well versed with image editing, and want to jump straight into using all the available editing tools.
To learn more about editing your photos, check out some helpful articles at this page.
Want to learn more?
The Photoshop Elements Getting Started page is a great place to start with. Here, you’ll find a good collection of articles and tutorials to get you started with Photoshop Elements.
You should also check out the Learn Photoshop Elements 11 channel on Adobe TV for a good collection of video tutorials selected by experts at Adobe.
I’d also recommend that you visit the Photoshop Elements blog that has good nuggets of information to help you be more effective in using Photoshop Elements.