There is a secret that great writers know. While there is certainly a talent in just getting some coherent words down on paper (or screen), the real skill comes in the editing. Once the first draft is done, it’s time to go back, play around with words and ideas, shift things around, fix grammar and punctuation. It’s time to polish your writing until it shines. Photography is similar in that regard. Sure, the very best photographers in the world may be able to capture a shot that cannot be enhanced due to its perfection. But for the rest of us, some good photo editing software is a must. When Best Buy gave me the chance to try Adobe Elements 14, I was pretty excited. I have experience using both Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, but it has been awhile.
The Adobe Elements software is really created for more casual photographers and videographers. It’s meant for those who want to be able to do some hardcore editing at times, but often just want a quick solution to making our images clear, cropped, and beautiful. As a blogger, I am constantly editing images. And, although I enjoy the process, it’s not my focus. I need good results without spending a lot of time on it. As a huge bonus, the Elements software helps you organize your images. It tags faces with some amazing accuracy and allows you to filter by person, event (date), and place. This is a great option for people like me who are sitting on a large library of images and videos that we need to access regularly.
Often when I’m out and about, I have one chance to catch a perfect photo. With the unpredictability of crowds, moving objects, and weather, I just have a moment to frame and capture a photo. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always lead to the best quality images. That’s where the photo editing comes into play. Adobe Elements gives you tools for cleaning up pictures that are blurry or hazy. I can’t wait to go back and fix some images that would have been perfect except for a bit of blur. You can also remove the effects of a shaky hand from your video.
Although basic editing features are essential to my work, I really enjoy exploring the more creative aspects as well. In the picture above, I applied three different effects to the same image of the Mayflower II. At first, I was just excited about making it look like an old photo to capture the historical nature of the site. But I couldn’t choose a favorite and I thought you might like to see them all as well. Adobe Photoshop Elements can quickly create a collage of your images, too. I am forever trying to create collages, so I know I’ll use this feature a lot.
This is one of LadyBug in one of our favorite spots in Freeport, ME. It was a gray and cloudy day and she was far enough away that everything just seemed muted. This is a neon chalk effect and I love how it captures all of the color and details while being playful and fun. It got me thinking about the possibility of illustrating a children’s book using actual photos, but with a filter on them.
I struggled a bit more with Adobe Premiere Elements than with Adobe Photoshop Elements. There is a steeper learning curve, even with all of the “Guided” tutorials that Adobe provides to help you learn new techniques. In this case, I gathered some of my favorite photos from our trip to Mexico, added them to a the video timeline, and used the “Create” and “Video Movie” option. It automatically adds title sequences, music, and special effects like panning and zooming. The problem is that I couldn’t get it to export. It kept crashing and I never did figure out the culprit. I ended up editing out the animated titles and a few other extras and it finally exported. It’s just as well, as I didn’t love the title sequences. Anyway, this is a feature I need to play around with more. I can do pretty basic video editing without any problem, but the more advanced features are still hazy…
Adobe Elements 14 retails for $149.99 at Best Buy. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do, so I’m looking forward to checking it out more. What I really like most about it is that you can really get some in-depth, nitty gritty editing done, or you can just click a preset button and get some quick effects. For someone like me, there are fun things to play around with, but I can also up my editing game.
Disclosure: We received a copy of Adobe Elements 14 for free. There was no additional compensation and the opinions in this post are my own.