Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual
provides the best possible guidance to scrapbookers, photographers at every level, budding graphic artists--anyone who wants to get the most out of the latest Elements upgrade. Author Barbara Brundages Top 10 Elements Tips
1. Always back up your photos as soon as you get them out of your camera. You can use the Organizer's backup or disc-burning feature (File->Backup Catalog to CD, DVD or Hard Drive) for this, or you can use your computer's built-in disc-burning utility. For really important photos (wedding and baby pix, for example), it's not a bad idea to burn a disc and keep that someplace else, like your safe deposit box or with a friend or relative. Then, no matter what happens, you won't have to worry about losing your photos.
2. Never, ever work on your original photo. If you use the Organizer, good news: Elements already has your back. It creates version sets, which allow you to save different states of your image as you edit. You can create as many different versions of a photo as you like and go back to any one of them at any time. And if youre working with RAW files you can't alter your original (only the conversion settings). If you don't use the Organizer, make a copy of the picture (File->Duplicate) and work on that. This way you can always start over again if you get a better idea later on.
3. Sharing photos with the Organizer. There are all kinds of fun, creative ways to share your photos in Elements 6, and the Organizer makes it super easy to explore them all. Try a slideshow with music and commentary, or upload your photos to EasyShare or one of the other online services to create mugs, bags, and other cool gift items with your photos on them.
4. Don't scorn the auto buttons. If you've never tried these one-click fixes--Auto Levels or Auto Color, for example--give em a try. Each version of Elements gets a little smarter and you may find that you like the results you get from one of these easy-to-use fixes.
5. Panoramas for everyone. You don't need to feel wistful anymore about the fact that your point and shoot camera's lens doesn't have a true wide-angle setting. Take a series of photos with, ideally, about a 30% overlap and Elements' Photomerge will automatically stitch them together into a panorama wider than you could have captured with the widest lens. (If you've tried Photomerge in previous editions of Elements, the Photomerge in Elements 6 is a whole new thing--totally automated and it does terrific blending to eliminate visible seams between images.)
6. Batch processing with RAW. If you shoot RAW format photos, now you can apply the same settings to multiple pictures at once. Just open all the RAW files you want to work on, and then click to select each of their thumbnail-sized photos. Elements will then apply any edits you've made to the current photo to all the pictures you've just selected.
7. Crop creatively. Unless you plan to print on standard photo paper, don't feel compelled to crop your photos to standard photo paper sizes and shapes. Use cropping to emphasize the best parts of your photo if you plan to use the image for the Web or to print at home.
8. Take credit, quickly. You can put copyright info on your photos by using the Watermark feature in the Process Multiple Files dialog box (File->Process Multiple Files), or you can create a custom brush: just type what you want (the copyright symbol is Alt+0169 in Windows, Option+G on a Mac), then select your type and go to Edit->Define Brush. Save your brush and from now on you've got a one-click copyright notice.
9. Black and white are beautiful. The Convert to Black and White feature in Elements does a great job, especially if you use the sliders to tweak your adjustments, but you can create even more dramatic black and white photos by using the Dodge and Burn tools to selectively enhance contrast after converting.
10. The very best way to learn Elements is to dive right in. Open a photo and try all sorts of different things. Nobody, even great Photoshop gurus, knows exactly what will happen to any given photo when you combine different filters and effects. Experiment, and you'll quickly see why Elements is so addicting. You can do all sorts of amazing things you never knew you could!