Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Photoshop Elements 7 for Dummy Beginners

As I've mentioned before, I've been taking pictures of all kinds for as long as I can remember.
My mom gave me my first "big time" film camera, the Canon Rebel, one Christmas many moons ago, replaced it with the digital version a few Christmases later and then upgraded me to a Canon Rebel XTi, Christmas 2007.
Thanks, Mom!

Um, Mom, the next Canon Rebel upgrade is called the T2i

I'm a hands on learner.  I learn best by trial and error.  Sometimes error after error after error :)
My photography has certainly progressed during the time that I've been actually taking pictures and publishing them in family books each year.  I can look back to the first family book I produced and almost cringe at some of the things I would do differently today that I simply didn't know then. 
Sounds like life, doesn't it?

I've never been a Photoshopper for a very simple reason.
I believe that a great photo starts out with a great photo. Period.
Somewhere along the line I picked up that mantra and have been preaching it ever since.
I also know some folks who photoshop the mess out of their photos...changing colors...painting on different backgrounds, etc....so much that you can tell the photo is photoshopped. Bleh!

Photoshop is like make-up to me.
What's underneath is the most impotant thing.
Photoshop should be used to enhance photos...not change them.

When I started blogging in January, I was introduced to some photo bloggers who do just that.
I'm blown away with PW's actions that turn great photos into pieces of art.  The ethereal feel of Country Girl's photos and the way her actions make me want to reach out and touch her Border Collie George are what made me go back and think about Photoshop again.

The final kicker for me was in January when my oldest was in the Junior Miss scholarship program.
I took an incredible picture of my firstborn on stage.
Problem was there was another pesky child standing in the background.  How dare she???
My friend Rebecca who runs our journalism program at school took the picture and completely removed the extraneous teenager from the photo.  Holy Smokes!!!!!!!

Since then I've been on a search...books, websites, blogs, anything and everything about Photoshop Elements.  I've skimmed etc. looking for that magic potion that would help me figure all this out.

This is a friend of mine's child, Sophie.
Don't you just love the name??
I took this picture at the dance recital a week or so ago.
I think it's a pretty good picture; you have to know this child...she is very serious.
How bout those curls??
They're natural.

Notice also the pesky little precious darling in the background.
She's someone's baby, I know, but I'd rather this be a picture of Sophie.
Here's what I was able to do with Photoshop:

No more pesky random kid!
Yay, me!!

Sophie's mom happens to be one of my firstborn's favorite teachers, so I showed this picture to my firstborn.
She said, "Mom, it's on a black background; how easy was that?"

Well, excuse me!!
I'm still proud!!

Here's another cute shot of Sophie with yet another extraneous on stage kid.

I used the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop Elements 7.

Little Sophie in all her glory!

With the Clone Stamp tool, you are really "cloning" an area to copy and then "stamping" that area over the part of the photograph that you want gone...kinda like painting the kid (or whatever) out.  Obviously, as my firstborn was quick to point out, this task is easier when there's a simple background and would be much more tedious in a busier background.
I'm in no way ready to teach anyone else how to do this, but I will say that there are some fabulous tutorials on YouTube of all places.  I found these tutorials to be much more beginner friendly than any other resource that I could find.

I have tons of pictures to play with now that I've learned how to do this one thing with Photoshop Elements 7!
Next I want to learn how to change backgrounds and apply all those nifty actions the blogger professionals show off all the time.

1 comment:

  1. I have Elements too and know nothing about how to use it. All I want to do is learn how to make a collage and I still can't figure it out. Drat.