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Photoshop Elements 11 Arrives

By Kelly  |  September 24th, 2012

It’s that time of year, my friends! The leaves are changing, the air is turning cooler, and a new version of Photoshop Elements has made its debut.

Photoshop Elements 11, which is available for Windows and the Mac, marks a significant departure from recent versions. Adobe has spent the past year—longer, in fact—completely redesigning the program’s interface to make it more approachable. There’s also a very welcome improvement to the program’s compositing tools, an interesting selection of new guided edits and filters, and several new options for viewing your image library in the Organizer. Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest changes. (To see many of these new features in action, be sure to check out the video collection in our Elements 11 Learning Center.)
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September Photo Challenge: Water

By Kelly  |  September 6th, 2012

To kids, water is nothing short of magical. You can drink it, swim in it, even walk on it if it gets cold enough. Shine a light through it at just the right angle and you’ll see a rainbow. Perhaps most amazing of all, the stuff might fall from the sky at any moment.


“Water” by Damien Weidner (Flickr)

This versatility also makes water a great source of inspiration for photographers. It can flow through a scene in a dreamy haze or freeze mid-splash so each drop gleams like a little jewel. It clings to webs, turns distant mountains white, and provides a beautiful resting spot for a setting sun. Catch it at the right angle and it’ll even reflect our own world back at us.

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September/October issue update

By Rick LePage  |  August 27th, 2012

The September/October 2012 issue of Photoshop Elements Techniques has left the printer and should be winging its way around the US and far-flung reaches of the globe. Subscribers in the US should receive their issues by September 6, and in Canada by September 14. Worldwide mailing should completed by September 22.

The PDF of the issue for all print and digital subscribers will be available for download from our Magazine page on Saturday, September 1.

Once you receive your issue, don’t forget to check out our Extras/Downloads page to find the sample files for five of the tutorials in the magazine. You can also find all of the website links mentioned in the issue from our September/October Linked List page.

If you haven’t received your issue (or any issue, for that matter) by its estimated mailing deadline for your area, drop us a note via our Contact Us page. Include your name, address, and which issue you’re missing, and we’ll put a replacement copy in the mail right away.

P.E.T. website refreshed!

By Tom  |  August 20th, 2012

If you tried to log in on Saturday or Sunday, you probably saw a “Website down for maintenance” notice on the home page. We’re sorry about the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience as we fine tune the last details.
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Portrait Photo Challenge: Top Picks

By Kelly  |  August 15th, 2012

Thank you to all the photographers who participated in our June Photo Challenge—as well as to all the patient friends and loved-ones who agreed to sit still long enough for the shutter to snap. We saw many wonderful and creative interpretations of what makes a portrait. Here are the finalists who stood out to our judges.
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August Photo Challenge: Landscapes

By Kelly  |  August 6th, 2012

Icelandic landscape 13

“Icelandic landscape 13″ by shchukin, on Flickr

Many of our recent challenges have focused on practicing our close-up skills, so it’s nice to take a step back every now and then to look at the big picture.

This month, get out and celebrate the natural world with a great landscape photo. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be in an exotic land to get  great landscape shots. With a little creativity, you can often find interesting spots fairly close to home: a playground at dusk, a local running trail in the morning light, even a long, straight stretch of road can make for a compelling shot.
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Architecture Photo Challenge: Top Picks

By Kelly  |  July 26th, 2012

Our May Photo Challenge gave us glimpses of many interesting homes, buildings, architectural details, and engineering wonders. Here are the images that stood out to our panel of judges.
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July Photo Challenge: Food

By Kelly  |  June 30th, 2012

Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler by Back to the Cutting Board, on Flickr

I admit to being the type of person who buys cookbooks based solely on how pretty the photos are. A beautifully executed shot of blackberry cobbler covered in ice cream? That’s not just fruit and sugar, my friends. To me, that is the joy of summer and family vacations gone-by wrapped up in a single mouthwatering image.

For the month of July, see if you can capture your own beautiful food shots. Keep in mind that you don’t have to personally cook the food that you photograph. Bring your camera to the local farmer’s market, bakery, or ice cream store to find your own inspiration. Or consider this your excuse to track down the perfect summer cocktail. You can call it research.

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Animals Photo Challenge: Top Picks

By Kelly  |  June 18th, 2012

When we decided to dedicate the April Photo Challenge to our furry and feathered friends, we had no idea just how much of the animal kingdom we’d get to see. In addition to many wonderful and humorous shots of dogs and cats, we were also treated to wrinkled elephants, lazy lions, curious cows, mesmerizing jellyfish, and much more. It was truly a treat judging this month’s entries. Kudos to everyone who participated!

Here are the images that got the top votes from our judges.
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June Photo Challenge: Portrait

By Kelly  |  June 7th, 2012

"workstation" by striatic

"workstation" by striatic

As a photographer, I find that one of the hardest things to do is capture a really great portrait. For one thing, we humans aren’t great at sitting still. We blink. We fidget. We look in the wrong direction. Heck, I’m lucky if I can even keep my son in the same room as the camera.

Perhaps this is why I’m so drawn to successful portraits—images that really seem to capture the spirit and personality of the person being photographed. I know how much work likely went into getting that deceptively simple shot.

This month, try to capture an interesting portrait of someone in your life. It can be a family member, a friend, your favorite barista—even yourself.

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Close-Up Photo Challenge: Top Picks

By Kelly  |  May 24th, 2012

The March Photo Challenge let us get up close and personal with some stunning flowers, bugs, textures, and rain drops. It was a great collection, and we definitely had a tough time narrowing down our winners. Many of our top picks stood out not only for their composition and selective focus, but also for the interesting story or intimate feelings they suggested to us.

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May Photo Challenge: Architecture

By Kelly  |  May 9th, 2012

I know that we are very behind on posting winners to our March Photo Challenge. I promise it hasn’t been forgotten! As Rick mentioned the most recent newsletter, I’ve been on a bit of an adventure the last few weeks. Specifically, I’ve been busy moving my family from our beloved, foggy San Francisco Bay all the way to New York City. (I’m just hoping that my sanity got packed away in one of the many unmarked boxes waiting for me.) But we will have the March winners posted soon, with April winners quickly following. Thank you all for being patient.

Now on to May! The theme for this month’s Photo Challenge is Architecture. Take a closer look at the buildings, homes, and other structures around you this month. Try to see them in a new way. In particular, keep an eye out for interesting angles, repeating patterns, and unusual perspectives.

* by Peter Writer (PeterWriter) on

*, by Peter Writer (

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May/June issue & April Editor’s Note online

By Rick LePage  |  April 30th, 2012

The May/June issue is in the mails, winging its way around the world. US subscribers should receive their copies by May 10, Canadian subscribers by May 15, and delivery worldwide should be complete by May 22. The extras for the magazine have been posted, as has the full PDF; you can find those files and the magazine’s link list on the May/June 2012 issue page.

The cover photo for May/June is from subscriber Dan DellaChiesa. Congrats, Dan, on a lovely shot!

This past week, we also sent out the April Letter from the Editor email, which includes notes about our new email notifications system–check out the “Get PET Site Updates” box on the bottom right side of this window–and the magazine mailing schedule for the rest of 2012.

If you have your email preferences set so that you don’t want email from us, you can find the April edition on our From the Editor home page. If you didn’t get the email, check to make sure that it didn’t get trapped in your junk folder, or double-check to make sure that we have your correct email address on file, by logging into the site and clicking on the Profile link next to your username above.

April Photo Challenge: Animals

By Kelly  |  April 3rd, 2012

For many of us, our pets hold a special place in the family—at times ranking a few notches higher even than some of the two-legged members. I remember many mornings as a child waking up to find my dog snuggled under the covers with me, her head resting on my pillow a few inches from mine.

hello, kitty

Hello, kitty by bloomgal, on Flickr

For the month of April, your challenge is to capture a good photo of the furry, feathered, or scaly members of your household. Don’t have an animal friend at home? Take this as an opportunity to visit a local zoo, aquarium, or dog park—or to simply take a long walk with your eyes open to the tiny creatures all around us.

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Home Photo Challenge: Top Picks

By Kelly  |  March 21st, 2012

We received many wonderful (and humorous) interpretations of “Home” this month—including a former ocean-dweller’s home, dogs anxiously waiting at home, an ice fisher’s home away from home, and a little bear in need of a home. Thank you all for sharing a little glimpse into your lives and your imaginations. Here are the winners of this month’s photo challenge.
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March Photo Challenge: Close-Up

By Kelly  |  March 6th, 2012

Don’t get me wrong: I love a sweeping landscape shot as much as the next person. But there’s something beautifully intimate about a photo taken from a few inches away. Perhaps it’s because our instinct for personal space means we typically crave a buffer of a couple of feet—especially in Western cultures—so photos taken from within this “comfort zone” feel very personal to us.  Getting close is also a great way to focus on interesting details that many of us overlook.

Crystal Forest

Crystal Forest by Monteregina on Flickr

For March, try to examine the world around you from a new perspective. Whether it’s a flower, a bug, or a line of freshly sharpened pencils, see what details stand out to you once you get in close. This is also a great opportunity to practice playing with abstract shapes and colors to create an interesting composition.

When thinking about your shot, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You don’t have to have an DSLR with an expensive Macro lens to take great close-up shots. In fact, most compact cameras offer a Macro mode that will let you focus from a very short distance.
  • When shooting up close, sharpness matters. I recommend using a tripod if you have one. If you don’t, try to find a way to brace the camera to make it more stable.
  • If your camera lets you manually control focus, turn this feature on. This will let you be more precise about which part of your object is in focus.

Need a little inspiration? Check out this Flickr collection tagged with keyword “close-up” or Web Design Ledger’s “40 Amazing Examples of Macro Photography.”

The Details

Any subscriber can participate in the monthly P.E.T. Photo Challenge. In addition to photographs, you can also submit collages or other images you’ve created in Photoshop Elements. Submissions must follow a few simple guidelines:

  • You must take the photo within the challenge month (after all, there’s not much challenge in digging through your library to find an old photo).
  • You must own the rights to any image you submit. (If you use third-party frames or embellishments, please make sure this usage is allowed under the sale terms.)
  • You are encouraged to interpret the theme creatively, but keep in mind that photos that seem entirely unrelated may get overlooked.

You can submit your entries to either the P.E.T. Gallery or Elements Village Gallery. When uploading your image to the Elements Village Gallery, please enter the phrase “Photo-Challenge” exactly as shown (without the quotes) in the Keywords field. For the P.E.T. Gallery, please enter “Photo-Challenge” in the Caption field when uploading the photo.

When the month is over, we’ll showcase our favorite entries on the website. A few entries may also be featured in the magazine. (You can see the top picks for all of our past photo challenges.)

Good Luck!

Black & White Photo Challenge: Top Picks

By Kelly  |  February 22nd, 2012

Wow. Our January Photo Challenge ended up being as much of a challenge for our judges as it was for you. With so many wonderful black-and-white images submitted, it was tough to narrow down the list to a mere 10.  Kudos to everyone who participated this month. While we’ve singled out our favorites here, I encourage you to take a stroll through the PET Gallery and Elements Village Gallery for many more wonderful and inspiring examples.

Congratulations to all of our Top Picks! I think each of our finalists makes great use of the black-and-white format—with a strong contrast in tones, excellent composition, and a simplicity that beautifully showcases the photo’s subject.

Don’t forget that our February Photo Challenge is still going on. The theme is “Home.” All submissions need to be in by March 1st.

Read more »

February Letter from the Editor

By Rick LePage  |  February 15th, 2012

The February edition of our monthly Letter from the Editor email was sent out today, and should be winging its way to subscribers’ In Boxes over the next day or so. I’m sorry we were so late this month; we have been juggling way too many things, and the newsletter was a casualty of that.

If you don’t receive the email by the end of the week, and think that you should have, here are three things to check:

  • Is it in your Junk or Spam mailbox? We’d like to think that our newsletter is chock full of good stuff, but sadly, some mail programs or filters might not agree.
  • Do we have your correct email address? Every time we send a newsletter, about 10 percent of the emails “bounce,” or are undeliverable, due to a bad or incomplete email address. You can check this (and change it) it by logging in and clicking the Profile link above, next to your username.
  • Have you set your email preferences so that you don’t want to get email from us? If so, you can either read the email via the Letter to the Editor home page, or you can check the “I’d like to receive occasional information from Photoshop Elements Techniques” box on the Profile page.

If you’re wondering about the magazine, the March/April 2012 edition is now at the printer, and will start mailing to subscribers at the end of February. US subscribers should receive their copy by March 9; Canadian subscribers by March 16; and all worldwide delivery should be completed by March 25. The “second mailing” of the January/February issue went out last week to recent (late December and January) subscribers, and delivery should be complete by the end of next week. (If you didn’t get your issue, send us a note via our Contact Us page and we’ll take care of you.)

February Photo Challenge: Home

By Kelly  |  February 2nd, 2012

We just started going through all of the entries from January’s Black & White Photo Challenge and we’re excited to see that so many of you participated! I hope you had fun (and got in some good practice with black-and-white conversions). We’ll announce the winners—and the lucky recipients of Matt’s book—in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, we’re turning our focus for the February Photo Challenge to our most intimate space: our homes.

For many of us, our homes are an extension of ourselves. But with that familiarity, comes a form of blindness. Because we know our homes so well, we often don’t truly see what’s around us—including the everyday beauty of simple objects and treasured spaces.

My son adopted this moving box as his home shortly after we moved last year.

Read more »

Take the Challenge, Win a Prize!

By Kelly  |  January 22nd, 2012

If you’ve been contemplating entering the January Photo Challenge—and I hope you are—it’s time to get cracking. There are just a few days left to capture and submit your best black-and-white image.

To help get you motivated, we’ve got a special treat for you this month. Each of our Top Picks for the January Photo Challenge will receive a free copy of The Photoshop Elements 10 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski. This great book offers step-by-step tutorials for the most common photo-editing tasks. And Scott and Matt aren’t just wonderful teachers, they are also skilled photographers. This is a great addition to any photographer’s bookshelf.

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Learn Elements Today!

Learn Elements Today DVD boxIf you’re looking for the quickest way to get up to speed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 (or earlier versions, both Windows and Mac), check out our "Learn Elements Today" training course DVD. Our gurus will help you use Elements to take your photos from good to Great!

Who Are We?

We are Photo One Media, a small company based in lovely Portland, Oregon. Our passion is helping people create, enhance, and share photos; designing cards, calendars, books and scrapbooks; and getting the most out of your digital camera.

Photo Elements Techniques is a magazine and website devoted to helping folks get the most out of Adobe Photoshop Elements. Subscribers get six feature-packed issues per year, with weekly tutorial videos and more on this site. If you would like to see the magazine for yourself, you can get two free sample issues.

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