Over the last several months, I have been trying to improve my photo editing skills. I was gifted Photoshop Elements 7 some time ago, but I had always been very intimidated by it. A few months ago, I decided it was time to finally figure the darn thing out.

So, I turned to Pinterest and YouTube to educate myself.

And I thought I would share it with all of you!

This postcard that I did last fall was done in a mix between Photoshop Elements, Picnik and Picasa. I didn't know enough about each program to do all things in one, so I moved back and forth.

Then, I moved on to this postcard, still done in all three formats, but a little better. I was still moving back and forth between the three programs.

But, after reading up a bunch and practicing, I was able to make this postcard completely in Photoshop Elements 7.

(these were made up to hand out at event I was at)

It took me SO much less time.

(Please pardon the “smudge”, I was just removing my phone number. Not that I don’t want you guys calling me, just seems kind of silly to put it out there on the web!)

So, how did I get from three programs to one?

No, I am not going to do a tutorial, that would be a waste of your time since my technical skills are very much in the developmental stage.

But, I will share with you what I used, where I got it, and what tutorials I watched to figure stuff out.

The first step that got me started was this set of tutorials.

Lesson #1

Lesson #2

Lesson #3

Lesson #4

Lesson #5

Lesson #6

Lesson #7

Lesson #8

Lesson #9

Lesson #10

Lesson #11

Lesson #12


By watching these, bit by bit, I was able to get more familiar with the functionality of Elements and more confident to try things, like the postcard above. These are all about digital scrapbooking which is great. But, even if you are not likely to do digital scrapbooking, these skills can be applied to many other uses. One of the greatest tips I learned was “group with previous” which allows you to place an image inside a shape or a frame.

Over the weekend, I went through and found some templates to work with to try out some more techniques. Since I had so many fun pictures from Christmas, I thought I would use those to demonstrate some of the things that can be done. And in the process, share some of our Christmas memories.

The first two templates below, I found here. They are a little more complicated, just an extra step, but they came with this tutorial that helped me figure it out after a few tries. These templates are a PNG file, which I have now figured out means that there is no background, so you can lay them right over another image as I did below on digital paper found here.

I also found the tag and the bow at Pugley Pixel. This was a new find for me this weekend and I spent hours there. Her freebie options are endless and I am planning to go back and purchase some items as I am more familiar with using the techniques.


The digital images were all found at Pugley Pixel and the template comes from the same as above.


These next two templates were much easier to lay photos in and then I layered them on top of a digital paper and added the velvet ribbon and text. All were found at Pugley Pixel.


This picture was done the same as above except that the pictures I wanted to use didn’t match up to the shapes very well – they left a blank space (template can be found here). So, I added some green squares to fill in the space and added text.

The picture below, I created from scratch (sounds like I am making cookies!). I really wanted to use these three pictures from our visit to NH, but they were all very horizontal images and I didn’t want to squash them down. I started with a background paper, resized it to fit my blog and then drew in a rectangle in the shape I wanted. I copied it two times, spread them out, layered in the photos and added the text and tape. (The digital paper and the tape were also found at Pugley Pixel).

Don’t get stressed out, I know that this probably does not make a whole lot of sense. But, if you watch the tutorials above, it will make a whole lot more sense!

Now What?

So, now that you read this, what are you going to do with it?

I wouldn’t normally use such graphic backgrounds on my blog, but these were just for fun. But these templates are a great way to make an impact with your images or to group together images of the same theme or idea. You can use them to make marketing materials – either to print or digitally. You can start to develop some of your own graphics for your blog. The options are endless.

I still use Picasa tons – for adding simple text, for lighting or brightening a picture, for a quick crop. And I still use Picnik to add fun seasonal graphics like Bailey’s picture found here. But now I have the confidence to use that software instead of just looking at it and the desire to keep learning more!

Please feel free to leave a comment if something doesn’t make any sense at all or if you need more information.

I will be sharing at some of the link parties found here.

And here...


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

And, as always, thanks for reading!

January 05, 2012 — Laura Putnam