Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements


Lesson Info

Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix

Let's go to our photo bin and go back to this image of the Capitol Building and we're gonna talk about some adjustments that we can do to this. So in the workspace over here I'm gonna click on the adjustments tab or button and that's gonna bring me over here where I have six options for different ways that I can adjust this image. At the very top of the list we have something called Smart Fix. So if I go ahead and click on that I get this little slider. Now the beauty of this quick edit workspace is that you just aren't gonna be overwhelmed with options, which is, is really refreshing. So it's very simple in these edits. So at any time if you think I need more more nuance than that, then hang in there until we get to expert mode. But for right now this is really a handy place to be. So the way that this works is you have three options for applying a Smart Fix. A smart fix is sort of defined as a general I don't know, it's like the miracle cream for your pictures. So it's gonna do a num...

ber of things it's gonna attempt to adjust the color and the exposure all at once. It's kind of a magic Abracadabra option. And we have three ways we can apply it. We can take the slider and drag it from zero, which means there's no Smart Fix applied, all the way to a hundred. Which means full powered miracle cream right there. So we can click this at any point in between. As I do that you'll notice that this little box is jumping around on this grid of images. So if I click here this position on the slider corresponds to this box in this grid. So you can also just click your way through this grid and as you move towards this bottom right corner the adjustments become progressively more intense. I think that this, this full throttle adjustment is pretty is pretty good actually. So I could click that and then you know I'd be happy with this. Or if we go back to where we started you can also just click Auto and then let Photoshop decide and let's see where did it run? It ran the Auto fix and came up with this as a result. You can tell that you've applied some sort of edit to an image by seeing this little icon that gets overlayed on top of the preview. You'll see this also in the organizer as well and that little icon indicates that something has been done to that image so it has somehow been modified beyond the original that you started with. O.K. so that's a look at Smart Fix. Let's undo that we'll get back to our un-retouched image. Let's talk about exposure a little bit. Again, that same concept we have a slider. This takes us from zero, which means there's been no adjustment to the exposure. If we drag the slider to the left we can move up to four stops of less exposure. So that's gonna make our image darker. When we talk about stops we're talking about measurements of light. So we can take this four, four stops down. It's kinda like stops are just a way that we measure light the way you might measure sugar by the cup when you're baking a cake. In photography, we measure light by the f-stop it's called. So exposure, when we change exposure that's what we're changing. And our range here is gonna go from minus four to plus four, which is gonna be this really bright clearly too much of an adjustment. (clearing throat) So again we can use the slider up there or we can click any of these little buttons. This icon that you see overlayed right here, this represents where we started. So this is, it basically means there's no adjustment applied. So if we click here it's kind of like home base again. So returning to home base there. There is not an Auto option for this. So if you're looking for that you're gonna be better off with the Smart Fix and the Auto option. Let's talk about lighting and how is that different than exposure. 'Cause they are really related. In lighting though you see a similar thing, but with one crucial difference. We have these tabs up here for being able to target shadows, midtones, or highlights of our image. (clearing throat) Just like it sounds the shadows are going to make adjustments to the darker portions of the image. The midtones will target the largest part of the image usually depending on what you shot of course and how you shot it. But often times the most data's gonna be found in the midtones. (clearing throat) So this will target the midtones and if you need to target the highlights more specifically you can click highlights. Now there's obviously gonna be some overlap any time you're targeting one or the other. It's not like there's a fine line in the sand that gets drawn. But it just basically tells Photoshop where to focus the attention. So you can target any one of these and adjust them separately. So maybe we adjust the shadows right here and then we could adjust the midtones separately. And you'll notice as I clicked over to midtones that all these little thumbnails they updated because they're all dynamic. So they're showing you that with your current adjustments. It says that if you click here this is how your image would look. And we can go to highlights then and do it yet again. It's specifically on the highlights, but that is ending up with some not so great results. So I'd go ahead and skip that. We also have the option to do what's called Auto Levels. So levels refers to this right here, this icon that you see. This is called your histogram. And I think we can pull this up. If I go to the Enhance menu and I choose Adjust Lighting, and I click Levels we can have a quick little lesson about what is really happening in our images, for those of you who like all this extra info. This is what's happening when you adjust anything relating to the tone of your image. So whether you are adjusting the exposure over here, or you're in this Lighting button, behind the scenes this is what Adobe is doing to your picture. So if you've ever bumped into this graphic before um (laughing) You might have thought, Oh no, what have I done? And one place that you may have seen this is on the back of your camera, right? If that looks familiar that may be where you've seen it. So if you've ever been playing around and you bumped the like the info button when you're playing back your photos this may have popped up and you may have panicked and quickly shut your camera off and restarted it, or re-turned it back on just to clear this. But you don't have to clear it. You don't have to turn off your camera to get rid of it either. But if you do bump into this on your camera it's not a bad thing. It's just giving you information about what is in your photo and what you're looking at. So all this is, is a graph of the light in your photo. The luminosity values or brightness values in your photo. So your picture's gonna range from dark on one side, that's what's represented over here, to bright on this side. So all the way dark would mean that you have a zero value for brightness. (clearing throat) So something would appear black. Like if you took a picture with the lens cap on. Your whole your whole picture would be over here. Just black. K. If you took a picture um, with like a long shutter speed on a bright sunny day and um, or you took a picture of a polar bear in a blizzard (laughing) on an ice cap you'd have a lot of information over here in the bright area. And as you can see like I mentioned the bulk of the information is here in the middle. So this little slider represents that. And this graph represents the pixels in our image, and where they fall on this scale of darkness to light. So you can see that the most of our pixels are some place here in the middle. So when we adjust our lighting and we target the shadows, the midtones, or the highlights, we are doing this. We're dragging these sliders and moving, moving these sliders around. And that is how elements is adjusting our photo. So we're re-distributing this information. So just to show you that's what's happening when you adjust your, your lighting. And that's what this little icon means. It's called the histogram and you don't have to be afraid of it. It's just a graph of information, that helps you evaluate your image and what you're looking at. So we have the Auto Levels if you aren't sure what to do you can try clicking that and let Photoshop do whatever it thinks needs to happen. There's also a button right here for Auto Contrast. So you can try that as well. And I guess Photoshop thinks I did a decent job 'cause it's not changing it too much.

We all have hundreds of images on our smartphones and cameras that we never do anything with. Adobe Photoshop Elements is the perfect tool for beginners to use for organizing and editing those images. Khara Plicanic will show you the practical ways to use this software by using step-by-step projects you can follow along with at home. You’ll get hands-on practice at making selections and working with layers, doing simple retouching, and adding text to your images.

You’ll also learn: 

• Basic adjustments to color and adding contrast to photos 
• Understanding resolution and image resizing and how to use the crop tool 
• Simple retouching and image compositing

No Photoshop Elements class would be complete without shedding light on file saving and organizing your images for a complete workflow! By the time you’re finished with this class, you’ll be creating beautiful images to share with your family and friends.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5.1


Class Introduction
Understand How Elements Works
Importing Images
Workspace Basics: Organizer
Workspace Basics: Editor
Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix
Color Adjustments in Quick Fix
Apply Black & White Filters
Sharpen an Image
Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye
Straighten an Image in Quick Fix
Explanation of Photoshop Elements
Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
Guided Edit Overview
Guided Edit: Tilt Shift
Ways to Save Files
Layers & Simple Selections
Combine Images with Layers
How to Use Layer Styles
Make Selections with Layers
Make Selection with Lasso
Compositing with Multiple Images
Refine Edge Selection on Image
Use Refine Edge on Images
Create Gradient in Image
Gradient Map Differences
Options for Saving
Brushes Overview
Creatively Use Brushes
How to Change Brush Settings
Use Shape Tool with Brushes
Work with Multiple Shape Layers
Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool
How to Load Brushes into Elements
Add Layer Style to Image
Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template
Retouching Overview
How to Use Content-Aware Fill
How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool
Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes
Remove Frown Lines with Retouching
How to Remove Tattoos
Remove a Gap in Teeth
How to Whiten Teeth
Adjust Facial Features
Working with Type Overview
Match Type for Image
How to Manipulate Type Layers
Create Postcard with Type
Add Type on a Path
Organizing Images in Elements
Add Keywords to Images
Smart Tags Overview
Using Albums in Elements
Places Workspace Overview
Use Event Tags on Images
Timeline for Image Organization
Recommended Workflow


  • Just watching this class live. It's my first class with Khara; she is a wonderful teacher, moving at a steady speed but always being careful to let us know what she's doing in the moment. I would classify myself as intermediate in terms of PSE but I've learned lots of little things that will make further use even easier and more fun. I really appreciated her descriptions of the difference between PS and PSE and her encouragement in using Photoshop Elements and all that it can do.
  • I have only been able to watch portions of this class but every single part that I have watched has been technically clear and inspiring to me. Based on this experience and the thorough, 58 item list of lessons, I will surely be buying this class soon! Thank you Khara and Creativelive for making a class on this topic and making it be super!!
  • Great course. You can tell she knows the programme inside out.