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Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 Tips For Beginner And Student Photographers

Holly Constantine shares her top tips for using Photoshop Elements 12 as a beginner or student photographer.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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Being either a beginner or student photographer can be difficult when regularly faced with people that assume you are a Photoshop genius. What people don’t realize is that in many cases, this just isn’t true.

Photoshop, in the eyes of both beginners and students, can be an incredibly daunting thing, but with instructions on how to use the software as well as top tips for the beginning of the editing process, it can appear a lot less frightening.

I, myself, was a novice when using Photoshop software, but at the beginning of my first year of university, I was offered the chance to attend a number of free Photoshop tutorials. In this two-part series, I will share with you the top tips that I learnt within these sessions whilst explaining the very first steps that both beginner and student photographers should undertake when starting the editing process.

Using the newly released Adobe Photoshop 12 software (including the Adobe Elements 12 Organiser and Photoshop Elements 12 Editor), I plan on showing you the main need-to-know editing tools that you should use on all images before moving on to the more specific editing of your photographs.

(Please note that although these examples use Adobe Photoshop Elements 12, a majority of these techniques can be used on earlier versions of the software, with slight changes in the instructions.)

Adobe Elements 12 Organiser
Adobe Elements 12 Organiser is similar to that of the Adobe Bridge software and can therefore be seen as a good viewing and organizational tool for your photographs.

To import your images in which you wish to edit, simply go to “File” then “Get Photos and Videos”. A drop-down menu will appear which will allow you to choose where to collect your images. Once you have chosen from this drop-down menu, simply find and highlight all of the images you wish to include, then press “Get Media”.

Get photos and videos

This will import all of your selected images into the general “Media” folder.

To view your recently imported photographs, simply click on the new folder that has been created under the “My Folders” section towards the right of the workspace.


You can also choose the order in which you view your images by clicking on the “Sort By” drop-down menu, whilst also being able to make you images larger be either using the “Zoom” scroll bar at the bottom of the workspace, or by double clicking on a singular image. This will not only make images easier to find, but also enable you to see them in greater detail. 

Sort by


You can also rotate your image in the Adobe Elements 12 Organiser software, by either 90 degrees left or right. To do this, you simply click on the desired photo then chose “Edit” from the menu bar at the top, then either “Rotate 90 degrees Left” or “Rotate 90 degrees Right”.


One of the main organizational factors that I find useful with this particular software is the fact that you can not only rate your images from “No Rating” to “5 Stars”, but you can also tag your photographs with keywords, people, places, and/or events. You will then have the option to view the collection of images from a particular star rating, whilst also being able to search for a specific photograph using the tags that you labeled them with.


Ratings 2

One area that Adobe Elements 12 Organiser also offers is the “Instant Fix” menu. This menu includes aspects that you can select such as contrast, colour, and levels, enabling the computer to automatically change these settings to its ‘correct’ level within your photographs. However, it is advised that you do not use these options as you can create the sought after effect manually in Photoshop Elements 12 Editor later in the process.
Instant fix

After this basic organization, you can then choose to open a variety of images in the sister software, Photoshop Elements 12 Editor, by clicking on the “Editor” button found at the bottom of the workspace.

Editor button

Random Top Tips:
Before moving on to more in-depth explanations as to how to use the Photoshop Elements 12 Editor software, here are some more general Top Tips that I learnt within these Photoshop tutorials.
  • A JPEG file is a condensed version of an image meaning that valuable information such as colour and contrast have been compressed, decreasing the information quality.
  • If you shoot in RAW file formats, however, when converted to a TIFF file, the image still contains the valuable information.
  • It has therefore been suggested that shooting in “RAW” or “TIFF and JPEG” will enhance the quality of your images – just make sure to place these two file types in different folders when organising your images!
  • However, most types of Photoshop (including Photoshop Elements 12 Editor) cannot work with RAW files, meaning that you will have to convert these files into either DNGs or TIFFs (DNG is a file format made specifically for Adobe but a TIFF file is more universal) before starting the editing procedure. (Please see below in the Camera RAW section within “Photoshop Elements 12 Editor”).
Check out Part 2 of Adobe Photoshop 12: Top Tips for Beginner and Student Photographers, which continues to explain the beginning of the editing process using the Photoshop Elements 12 Editor software.

For more information on Holly and her photography, take a look at her blog

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