Photography,  Technology

Editing Memories with Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 #HPFamilyTime

In the past few years, I’ve developed a love for photography. I consider myself still a “beginner” since there’s so much to learn. I am basically learning as I go through books, blogs and online courses. One of my focuses this year is to learn how to edit my photos and take them to the next level…from drab to fab I like to say! My goal feels more attainable now that I own Adobe Photoshop Elements 12. It has all the tools I need to create memorable photos.

HP Canada and Adobe Canada provided me with an ENVY Recline 23 TouchSmart All-in-One and Adobe Photoshop Elements 12, respectively, before the holidays. This was my first time using Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 though. I wish I had tried it sooner because it’s a fantastic way to edit photos and I’m loving the results.

At first I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to use Photoshop Elements 12. I wondered if I would be able to jump right in and start editing or was there a big learning curve I had to tackle first. I’m happy to report I was able to dive right in from the very start. Photoshop Elements 12 can be used by all types of users from beginners to advanced. I really appreciate that they they created three modes to edit photos in and didn’t forget about us beginners who need a little extra help at the start!

If you’re looking for a quick fix and don’t want to spend a lot of time editing photos, Quick Edits is the way to go. In this mode you can adjust automatically (or manually) the main fixes in a photo like exposure, colour, sharpness, etc.

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This mode, to me, is great when you’re in a rush and just want to cover the basic edits in a photo.

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Guided Edits where have you been all my life? I seriously love this mode! I spend the majority of my time editing my photos in Guided Edits for a few reasons. First off, you can do a lot more here than you can in Quick Edits. Step-by-step instructions for each option explain how to achieve the desired result with that particular option. It’s so nice to not have to search through a Help section and have all the information I need right in front of me.

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See what I mean about options? This list scrolls down too! I couldn’t get it all in on my screenshot.

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I did venture into Expert mode a few times during my editing and it’s not that scary! I had fun exploring and testing out the tools there to see what each one did. I definitely need more practise though before I completely stop using Guided Edits. I’ve used the Levels to fix white balance as well as adjusting color curves in Expert.

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Here’s a closer view of Expert edits. You can also use the drop down list on the menu bar when you’re editing. I’ve tried it both ways.

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Another cool thing I noticed was the ability to change between Quick, Guided and Expert while editing. I noticed myself toggling back and forth between the modes trying out different effects.

Did you know that you can have mobile access to your photos? Not only do I save the photos to the computer to later share on Facebook with family and friends, but I can also access them with Elements Mobile Albums. They are powered by Adobe Revel and allow you to view, share and even edit photos right on your smartphone, tablet and other desktop devices. Very cool!

I’ve been going through some of our holiday photos and editing them in Photoshop Elements 12. Some of them I plan to print on my Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One printer and later frame and others I have shared on my personal Facebook page and emailed to my family and friends. These are memories that I will always cherish.

I wanted to first share a before and after photo of my daughter, Bridget. This photo was taken on a digital camera (not a DSLR) and you can see it has the dreaded red eye.

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In Guided Edits, I was able to brighten the photo, correct the skin tone, enhance the colours and sharpen. I also used Perfect Portrait to get rid of the red eye with a click of a mouse. Then I played with the depth of field and blurred out the background making Bridget the main focus of the photograph. See the red spot on her pants? I used the Spot Healing tool to easily get rid of it.

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In this photo of my oldest daughter, Olivia, I went into Perfect Portraits in Guided Edits and added a “Diffuse Glow”. It added a softened effect to the picture that I thought was really pretty and different.

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Another effect in Guided Edits is the Old Fashioned Photo effect. I selected the Newsprint effect for this photo of Olivia posing with one of her Christmas presents.

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Here’s a photo of Bridget and her cousin, Avery, opening up presents. I used the Depth of Field to add a blur to the background. It’s really easy to do in Photoshop Elements 12. All that’s involved is selecting the portion of the photo you want to keep in focus and the rest will blur out. It gives the look of a photo taken on a DSLR camera with an inexpensive camera. You can even adjust the blur to make it more or less in focus. I also added the Vignette effect to this photo to further highlight the main subject, my daughter!

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Then there’s Pop Art! I used this effect in Guided Edits and though it was pretty cool. It took less than a minute to make this and I bet this would be a cool photo to print out and put in a frame.

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Bridget received a Cabbage Patch Doll for Christmas. I remember when they first came out in the 80’s and I just had to have one. I made the background quite blurry in this photo with the Depth of Field tool and kept Bridget and the doll as the main point of focus.

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You can also edit images from your smartphone! This photo was taken in the fall of my daughter, Olivia, on my smartphone. It’s one of my very favourite pictures of her and I wasn’t sure what I could do with it since I thought it was so nice already! I ended up tweaking the brightness and brightening her eyes in Perfect Portraits. Then I used my well-loved depth of field tool to blur the background and fell in love with the results. I can’t believe this was a picture I took on my phone! Photoshop Elements 12 is amazing.

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As a blogger, I take photos almost everyday. I love recipe posts and photographing food, but my photos SOTC (straight out of the camera) aren’t the greatest. Editing is a MUST! I wanted to share a photo I took with my Canon Rebel DSLR and how I edited it in Photoshop Elements 12.

Here’s the before….it’s so dark and doesn’t look very appetizing.

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And the after! I did quite a few edits on the photo including cropping, adjusting the white balance in Levels, brightening, sharpening and adjusting the Color Curves in Expert mode. I think it looks way better now and something I’d be able to share in a blog post.

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There’s a few other cool new features and tools that I wanted to mention including:

Content-Aware Move: With this exclusive Adobe technology, you can easily move objects within a photo and automatically fill in the empty spaces.

Pet Eye Correction: The solution to solve the issue of a flash reflection in an animals’ eyes.

Auto Smart Tone: An exclusive intelligent software that learns your editing preferences so it’s a one-click adjustment based on your past choices. The software improves the more you use it.

Restore Old Photo: A guided edit that allows you to restore damaged or old photos.

Straighten Tool: This tool now fills in missing edges by using the Content-Aware technology.

Share to Twitter: Ability to tweet out a photo to your followers.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 is affordable at $99.99 USD  and upgrade pricing of $79.99 USD on www.adobe.com. You can also purchase it as a bundle that includes Photoshop Elements 12 and Premiere Elements 12 for $149.99 USD with upgrade pricing of $119.99. Photoshop Elements 12 is also found in Canadian retail stores including Staples and Best Buy and retails for $129.99.

Learn more about the ENVY Recline 23 TouchSmart All-in-One and Adobe Photoshop Elements 12. If you have a passion for photography or want to improve your current photographs, Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 is the perfect solution. It’s easy to use and has lots of fun ways you can customize your images. Most of all, it’s fun!

HP and Adobe products mentioned in this post were supplied by HP Canada and Adobe Canada.

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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