10 tips for Photoshop Elements beginners

06. Cropping

Cropping an image using the Crop tool options

"Use the Crop tool to delete unused space," David Alvarez advises. "If you check along the bottom toolbar, you can select the Rule of Thirds option to activate a useful set of composition guidelines that will verify the correct placement of the elements in your scene."

07. Unity

Making sure all the elements of your image are linked within your composition

"The concept of unity, or unifying an image, simply means that all parts of your composition must be somehow linked, or part of the same visual group," says Christopher Peters.

"You should keep this concept in mind when composing your images. In order to unify your image, you need to make sure to keep an order within your composition and that you don't let any objects stray out of it."

08. Performance tweaks

Raise Photoshop Elements' default History States to 200 to get greater flexibility

Simon Roberts says: "Raising Photoshop Elements' History panel to 200 can be a life-saver. This also means you have 200 'Undos' at your disposal.

"This is especially useful at the beginning when you don't feel too confident about the decisions you're making.

"To change the History settings, go to Edit>Preferences>Performance. I recommend changing your History States to a minimum of 100 – I always use 200, but this can vary depending on your machine."

09. Flipping the image

Flipping the image to highlight problems

Eric Spray says: "A good trick to help give you a fresh eye on your painting is to flip the canvas horizontally.

"With traditional media, you have to go old school and hold up a mirror to see the flip, but with Photoshop Elements it's super convenient to be able to work on the painting from both orientations."

10. Refining the image

The final image after everything has been refined

"You might still have lots of areas where the photo textures and sharp outlines are too dominant," says Benita Winckler

"Check out these lovely tools to help you get better results – don't overuse them, though. The one that looks like a finger is the Smudge tool (R). The Clone Stamp (S) allows you to clone and stamp parts of your image elsewhere in the scene.

"To use the Clone Stamp tool, hit Alt+click to define the source point for the cloning, then you can stamp away. The source area will be stamped to the new area."

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