Sunday, December 20, 2009

Photoshop Elements 8 - even I can use it

It's no secret that I'm a lousy photographer. That is, unless you really enjoy looking at my finger or the blur from a camera that's moved. Yes, that's me. It's funny, but I have a tendency to blame the camera for taking a bad picture. I've had 3 point and shoot cameras in the past four years and each one was as "bad" as the one before. Just this week I went shopping for a DSLR. Yes, THAT will make me a better photographer (or at least get a clearer picture of my finger in front of the lense).

I'm just not technically inclined. Software (installing AND using) scares the Versace pants off of me (good thing I wear nice lingerie...LOL). Combine the two and normally I'd be running with my tail between my legs. So WHY did I agree to review the newest Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and Premiere Elements 8?

This was to be my CHALLENGE.

  1. The Goal - to take a photo and make it look "artistic."
  2. The Background - see above (if I go on anymore I'll just depress myself)
  3. The Equipment - a Kodak EasyShare C913 (lent the Olympus to Broad "A" of The Review Broads) and Adobe Photoshop Elements 8
  4. The Scene - chasing the dog around the mansion trying to get him to stop so I can take a picture while Mr. S. is yelling "What the hell are you doing to the poor dog?" at me.
  5. The Challenge - create something beautiful (ok, so I'm being a little broad - just trying to cover my bases)

I installed the Photoshop Elements 8 software. It was actually easy. The only thing I had to do was insert the discs and click "next" - oh and I had to register my Adobe ID. That was nice and easy, just the way I like it.

Reboot my computer and I'm ready to go. Now, I'm BAD about reading directions...I believe in the Ready, Shoot, Aim approach to life and well... I got SCARED.

Organizing was easy (it's actually totally painless), it synced with the pictures that I had stored in my computer and uploaded them, then it allowed me to REALLY get organized and now all of my photos can be tagged and grouped together the way that I like. It even AUTO ANALYZES your photos to make things easier for you to find. PLUS - it will run a people recognition scan (so it knows my ugly mug from my dog's).

Next, I took this picture of my dog on the sofa (BAD DOG), but I wanted to make it into something a little artsy for Mr. S (because he collects stupid cute bull terrier toys and pictures). I pull it up in the "Edit" mode and  I look at all of the little icons and stuff and once again - I was ready to shut it down. Lots of icons mean technical overload for me. I need words and arrows that say things like "to make it pretty click here."

What's that I see? There are two words that I saw on the page...they said "Edit GUIDED." So, I let the software Guide me through editing the photo and GUESS what? I got EXACTLY the outcome that I wanted and Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 virtually held my hand as I created my "masterpiece."

Okay, so maybe I'm no Harry Callahan (my favorite photographer), but I actually ended up with a finished product that I'm proud of. I wanted something that looked like a painted portrait of Clem and that's what I got.

For those of you who'd like to see what it's like, Adobe offers a Free Trial on their website.

Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements 8 is available for both MAC as well as PC and includes 20 GB of online storage as well as the ability to SHARE your photos and videos with your friends and family.

Now I have a goal. I'm determined to learn to use Photoshop and Premiere Elements 8 (premiere is for editing videos) without it holding my hand. I know a lot of my readers will have tips and tricks for me and I welcome any help via e-mail.

In retrospect this has been both the most rewarding as well as difficult review that I've done on both Champagne Living as well as The Review Broads (it's always hard to step out of your comfort level). I was pleasantly surprised that even a hack novice like me could use this software. Which brings me to the revelation that this would make a WONDERFUL holiday gift for
  • Bloggers- because we ALWAYS need great visuals in our posts 
  • Photography Buffs - this software in their hands would be AMAZING
  • Families - then EVERYONE would look good in the family photos 
  • Those who want a new camera to get better photos, but don't want to spend the $$$. - this will make anything look good. 
  • Etc.  

If you hurry you can purchase Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 8 from with a $30 REBATE for $88.99. This rebate comes directly from Adobe, so you can use it WHEREVER you purchase your Adobe (if you'd rather run out today and pick it up at Best Buy or another retail store). Photoshop and Premiere Elements 8 is also available just about anywhere they sell software as well as directly from Adobe.

Thank you to Adobe for supplying this software for this review (and trusting that I'd be able to use it). I was in no way compensated for this post and all opinions are strictly my own.


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GrammyMouse said...

looks like something I can actually use???
you did say it held your hand right???
Oh I know Harry Callahan... isn't he the one that shoots with a 44 magnum?? Yea, good ol' dirty Harry (aka Clint E.) He shoots on target!

okay, now when do you let me borrow this??

Oh and ho, ho, ho
Faythe @GMT

Trish said...

OK, this may sound funny, but I learned how to use it by going to youtube and doing a search for how to do digital scrapbooking with PSE. There were TONS of videos that helped me learn about shadowing, and how to do all sorts of fun stuff. The more I played around with it, the more I learned.

Then I became introduced to actions where I literally click a button, and it makes all sorts of nice pretty changes to my pictures. I usually have to adjust some things here and there, but once I got the hang of it it was super easy! I love the actions at

Zippy said...

Thanks Trish...I'm going to try that. I'm REALLY bad with anything technical.

Faythe - LOL - not THAT Harry Callahan. You're too funny.

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