Photo Editing Basics in Photoshop Elements


One of the best gifts my husband ever gave me is my Photoshop Elements 11 (oh… and my iPad – thanks honey).

As an amateur photography enthusiast, it is an essential tool and so easy to use. It can take your dark, underexposed photos and give them a refreshing ‘natural’ glow, or convert colour to black and white, crop out unwanted background and just so much more. So much that even I haven’t uncovered probably 90% of what it is capable of yet.

However I am going to share with you my go to technique for quick photo edits which makes a massive difference overall. Because lets face it, how many of you end up with photos like the one below often? I know I do.


Start by opening up your photos in Photoshop Elements. I use Photoshop Elements 11 which isn’t the latest but it is recent and similar to the couple of versions before and after. There may be a few subtle differences in how it looks though.

With the photo you wish to edit on the active screen, go to the Expert editing screen – you will find the 3 tabs at the top – Quick, Guided and Expert. Expert should be the 3rd tab.

Your screen should look something like below.

Go to the side menu where there is a thumbnail of your photo in PSE 11, this is on the right.

Right mouse click on this and choose duplicate layer. You can rename this to anything you like however I went with the auto names.

Do this twice. You will now have 3 ‘layers’ to work with, as below.


Click on your top layer so it is highlighted like above, then click on the dropdown menu above this where it is labelled ‘Normal’.

Scroll down and choose ‘Screen’. Your main image will become brighter.




Click on the second duplicated copy of your image at the right.

Repeat as above, however this time select ‘Soft Light’.

There will now be darker shades added to your photo.


Now it is up to your individual preferences on how light or dark you want your image to be, so each of your new layers highlighted one at a time, you can adjust the Opacity.

You will see the percentage box next to the drop down box you selected earlier on the right above your layers.

As you will see below I adjusted my soft light to be quite a low opacity percentage as the photo was very over exposed. I left my screen at 100%. The levels will depend on the exposure of your original photograph and your individual preferences.


And below is the edited end result – not a perfect edit but a very quick and simple way to improve a photograph when you are short on time or have only a basic knowledge of Photoshop capabilities.


And another before and after:


Big difference with little technical skill required!

What are your favourite quick tips for photo editing?










Record Baby Milestones With a Photo

As I was creating my daughter’s first year album, each month I started creating a ‘right now’ insert with current habits, skills, developments and milestones. Unfortunately I forgot to save some of them digitally but here are a couple of them.



DSC_0559_edited-1DSC_0226 DSC_0526_edited-1

They would make a fantastic mini album for grandparents or god parents. I simply added the text using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11. Quick and easy.

I actually regret not continuing on every month for her 2nd year. Not sure I will remember all the finer details for the past 7 months but I might go back and try if I get some spare time soon. Either way, I will try and do the same for future babies too as it’s a nice little snap shot of your baby/child at that moment in time.

Did you record the monthly milestones in any special way?


Weekly Photo Challenge – Contrasts


Such a strong cultural contrast between the wonderful city sights of Vietnam and back home here in Australia.



Weekly Photo Challenge – Between



Weekly Photo Challenge – Extra, Extra


 For this weeks photo prompt of course I initially thought of travel photographs as I often do when I am joining in the photo challenges. But I stopped.

For this prompt I decided closer to home was the better choice.

Images that capture emotion and joy are the something extra I love most. Like the photo above of my daughter at her first birthday and my mum in the background. I love that photo!


Cutting the first birthday cake.


Admiring the finer details of the Christmas tree.


It’s these details that put the extra, extra into life!

Or simply a moment of happiness captured.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Room

After an unexpected twist of events, we have just returned home from our local Emergency Department due to our daughter breaking out in a rash while out at the shops. With freak outs that it could be measles or similar, we took her to get checked out quickly.

The doctors said it is viral and related to the temperature she had Thursday night, but they had no serious concerns and ruled out measles (and she is immunised). They sent a swab for testing though just as a precaution but we are otherwise just to keep a close eye on her for any changes. Thankfully she is still her cheerful self and only slightly ‘off’ this past couple of days.

Poor little bubba!

So while she naps in my lap right now, I figure I would do a quick post for this weeks photo prompt – room.

With a house as cluttered as mine can be, I had no intention of sharing rooms inside my house, but this photo from Vietnam inside the Reunification Palace is kinda cool!


Weekly Photo Challenge – Split-Second Story

The weekly photo challenges are always the perfect time to share a few more of our recent holiday snaps from Vietnam. These next couple are iPhoneography pics (a fancy way of saying I took them on my iPhone) and have been put through Instagram with my favourite filter Valencia. But I love the little bits of story they tell from our holiday.

As we were walking along the street on our way to the Ho Chi Minh City War Remnants Museum, a local coconut salesman handed my husband his ‘cart’ to try. Hubby said it was extremely heavy, especially considering he towers over the average Vietnamese local. Impressive!



The powerlines in Vietnam are cause for concern… wouldn’t want to be an electrician!



In transit… flying is hard work!



Love this weeks photo theme. Looking forward to checking out a few photos other bloggers share this week too 🙂