Chapter 7. Basic Image Retouching

You may be perfectly happy using Elements only in Quick Fix mode. That’s fine, as long as you understand that you’ve hardly scratched the surface of what the program can do. And sooner or later, you’ll probably run across a photo where your best Quick Fix efforts just aren’t enough. Or maybe you’re simply curious what else Elements has under its hood. That’s when you finally get to put all your image-selecting and layering skills to good use.

Elements gives you loads of ways to fix photos beyond the limited options in Quick Fix. This chapter guides you through fixing basic exposure problems, shows you various ways of sharpening photos, and (most importantly) explains how to improve the colors in your images. You’ll also learn how to use the amazing Smart Brush tool that lets you apply many common fixes by just brushing over the problem area.

To get the most out of Elements, you need to understand a little about how your camera, computer, and printer think about color. Along with resolution (Changing the Size of an Image), color is one of the most important concepts in Elements. After all, almost all the adjustments that image-editing programs make involve changing the color of pixels. So quite a bit of this chapter is about understanding how Elements—and by extension, you—can manipulate images’ color.


Most of Elements’ advanced-fix dialog boxes have a Preview checkbox that lets you watch what’s happening as you adjust the settings. It’s a good idea ...

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