Most people fall into one of two categories – they are either photographers or they aren’t. I am one of those rare people who would really like to be a photographer, but is a bit lacking in the know-how department. (Yes, I am always on the search for a good hands-on photography class to take.) When Josh was little, I invested in a DSLR camera and a few years back finally ventured off of the automatic mode. As much as I’ve tried to learn about ISO, aperture, and F stops, my photo shoots are still a session of trial and error. Most consist of taking a shot, looking at it, and making adjustments based on what I see on the view finder.
While this is fine when I’m taking a picture of a product or food (assuming it’s not ice cream!), it doesn’t work quite as well when when I am shooting a live subject, especially one with short patience for posing for photos. While I happen to think that Josh is the perfect subject of any picture, he absolutely hates having his picture taken. Out of 100 shots, there may only be one where he has an authentic expression on his face and if that one is over or under exposed, I am out of luck.
A number of years ago, a former student of mine offered me a copy of Photoshop as she was switching to a Mac and wouldn’t be using it anymore. I happily accepted and quickly realized I was in over my head. I played with it a bit, but never really mastered it to the point of using it for more than putting together my media kit.
When I was recently offered the chance to review Photoshop Elements 14 (as well as Premier Elements 14 which is for video), I jumped on the chance to my hand at it. I liked the idea that Elements offered more guided edits so I wouldn’t be left floundering on my own. When I received the program, I immediately started hunting around for tutorials and I didn’t have to look very far at all. As soon as I opened Photoshop Elements, I found lots of helpful information and links under the eLive tab.
Beyond that, I could choose from the Basic, Guided, or Expert tabs to decide how much help I wanted with my editing. Most of the time, I elected to use the Guided tab. I had taken some pictures of Josh and wanted some help making them look their best.
This picture had a great expression, but was a bit over exposed and washed out. I used the Guided tab to make some adjustments until I got it looking just the way I wanted.
The next shot I worked on was pretty good exposure wise, but I was wanting the background to be more blurred than it would up coming out in my actual shot. I had spent so much time making sure the light was perfect, I neglected to adjust the aperture to make the subject pop.
Luckily, I was able to use the Depth of Field adjustment, easily select the parts of the photo I wanted in focus, and blur the rest. I was thrilled with how the final product came out.
I know that no editing program can make up for poor photography, so I will keep learning as I go and hopefully improving my techniques behind the lens. But until I perfect my technique, I’m thankful to have Photoshop Elements to help me get my photos looking the way I want.
(I still need to work through some tutorials before tackling the video editor!)
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.