I am not a photographer. Every day I stumble across amazing photos on blogs, Pinterest, and even Facebook and think “I wish my pictures looked that nice!” Cameras baffle me. I have tried reading up on how to take better photos, but once camera dialogue is turned on (aperture, exposure, white balance) my brain just turns off. You might as well be speaking in a foreign language because I just don’t get it. I am a mom, and as all moms know, we like to take pictures. If you were to tour my home you would not find one painting in my house. I like to decorate my walls with photos of my children, family and friends. Photos help me relive some of my most favorite life events or just put a smile on my face as I pass by my loved ones each day. While they make me happy, I also look at those photos and wish they looked a little more professional, instead of looking like I just picked up the camera, pressed the button, and hoped for the best (which I did). There are plenty of photo editing programs available to help you touch up your pictures, but I have never really gotten the desired look I have been going after when using them. I knew there had to be something better out there to help me edit my photos, but also didn’t break the bank.
I recently acquired Adobe Photoshop & Premier Elements 11 from Staples. After I placed my order, I started searching tutorials on how it worked. Then I started to panic. I was reading about new words- layers, adjustments, brushes, actions. What does all of that mean?! Maybe I am in over my head? Seriously, if I can’t figure out how to operate a camera, what business do I have trying to figure out something like Photoshop? I ended up just shutting all those tutorials down and waited for my shipment to arrive, figuring I would just wing it once it came. My husband just rolled his eyes and expressed how little his faith was with that plan. Within a few days my PE 11 arrived, and to my relief, winging it was going to be simpler than I thought!
The first thing I was impressed with was the photo organizer. You load all of your photos into the organizer, then it sorts them. You can tag them by people, places and events, and each photo is placed in it’s own folder. So many times I have wanted to find a picture and spent a ton of time wading through all of my photos looking for the right one. I love the people tagger because it narrows down the amount of photos I need to search through. If I want to find a picture of my daughter, I just click on the “Mariah” folder and voila! There are all of her photos, conveniently grouped into one place for easy access!
|Click on the person you would like to see photos of...|
|Voila! They are all grouped together in one folder!|
The photo editor has 3 different options to work with. This was really exciting for me since I am a beginner. I was able to tweak my photos, all while getting the feel of how the program runs in Quick mode. The Quick option lets you work on simple steps like adjusting color, balance, and levels. The guided lets you play a little more, walking you through more advanced steps with quick click tutorials.
The Expert Mode is the most advanced, and where you will get the best results with your photo editing skills. Here the possibilities are endless on what you can do with your photos! You can add textures and layers, backgrounds and actions to get professional quality pictures!
I have only been playing with Photoshop Elements 11 for about a week, and am still quite the amateur, but I have been having so much fun touching up my photos and seeing the results the program can give me with a few easy steps. Here is my first attempt at fixing a photo. With just adding a simple action, I think the photo looks like a professional quality picture!
In this photo, I wanted to attempt editing out unwanted elements. Using the clone stamp tool I was able to edit out the box of sidewalk chalk and grass, clean the street up a little, then with another simple action, I added a vignette border. Super easy, and I love how the finished photo turned out!
My 13 year old daughter even tried her hand at it. She thought it would be funny to turn her sister into a comic book character and came up with this number:
I think Photoshop is a great program for kids to learn! My daughter is already learning programs like Power Point for her in school presentations, and I think learning how to use Photoshop would only add to the overall appeal of her projects!
With Photoshop & Premier Elements 11 you also have the ability to work with video! You can turn your home movies into adventures, adding in special effects, adding in still photos, and even working with your own soundtrack. Since I have only had the program for a little over a week, I have not had the opportunity to really dig into that option, but it is definitely something I plan on exploring soon! I am sure it will be just as fun creating spectacular home movies as it is to create beautiful and fun photos!
Overall, I am loving the Adobe Photoshop & Premier Elements 11 software. I think it is a great tool for people who want a great program to spruce up their photos. The price point also can’t be beat! You can purchase your own copy at Staples for $149.99, which I think is an amazing deal! I would never be able to fit the full Photoshop software into my budget, but the PE 11 has a lot of the same features and the ability to help you to turn snapshots into works of art all for the fraction of the cost of the full version! When you order from Staples, not only are you going to get a fair deal, you are also going to get their excellent customer service. I wasn’t home for delivery and they took the time to personally call me to let me know the next delivery date and how it was being shipped, and left me a number to call for any questions or issues. To me, that is fabulous customer service!
Using Adobe Photoshop & Premier Elements 11 and ordering from Staples = That Was Easy!