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Elements Before and After – Waterfall

By Matt Kloskowski  ·  September 27th, 2013

Learn the tricks of the trade as Matt edits a waterfall photo, from start to finish, using Camera Raw and the Photoshop Elements Editor.


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27 Replies to Elements Before and After – Waterfall:

  1. marilyn

    September 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Most enlightening movie! You managed to include so many techniques in this video, it was amazing….I was particularly interested in your comment that we should all be using Camera Raw editing even if we were using jpg photos…which I am. I will certainly give that a try as I didn’t know it was available for jpg. Your movies are always of the highest quality and truly appreciated…thank you!

  2. Clueless

    September 27, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Maybe in 5 years….

    • Dale

      September 27, 2013 at 10:59 am

      There’s a new feature in Version 12 that allows the editing of JPG files in Camera Raw. Works great.

      • marilyn

        September 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm

        Works in PSE 11….just figured it out and edited my first jpg file in Camera Raw!

    • Jim

      September 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      “Maybe in 5 years…” I assume you are talking about using the Raw panel/controls on a jpg file. Or maybe not. At any rate, PSE 11 can certainly use the Raw panel/controls on a jpg file. It’s just not exactly the same way as 12 does it (which I don’t plan on updating to…yet, anyway).

      There was a tut about this maybe in the last 30 days, I think. Anyway, the way to do it is to simply use the “File->Open” command in Elements (command-O, control(?)-O). In the nav window that appears, below the list of files, are two drop-down lists:
      1. “Enable:” Which you can leave or restrict to several different image formats,
      2. “Format:” This is the one that is most important.

      In the “Format:” menu is a list of basically the same thing you would see in the “Enable:” list except for the very important addition of RAW! Yep, that’s the one to select! Now select the image(s) you want click the ‘Open’ bottom and the image(s) will open in that Raw panel/dialog window/controls.

      Now, you can use that 5 years for something else! ;-)

  3. Alan

    September 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Very interesting. I’m gonna have to watch this one again. And again, and again, and . . . . My poor feeble brain can’t remember much anymore. Thanks so much for posting this.

  4. Michael

    September 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Very helpfull, I also visited Christine falls with a camera club a couple of weeks ago. I just put Elements 11 and Lightroom on my computer and I am not skilled in their use. I have been using CS6 and now CS6CC but find that my camera club members I want to learn PET,and to a lessor degree Lightroom. The cheat sheet is really helpful.

  5. Irene

    September 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    It just happens I have to edit a waterfall photo! This tutorial arrived at the right time. The problem I have is too much brightness at the top. I thought this picture was hopelessly bad but now, I know I can fix it.
    Thank you.

  6. Johnnie

    September 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    GREAT Video ! As usual Matt does a fantastic job of combining so many useful techniques in each of his videos.

  7. Cheryl

    September 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I have a waterfall photo that must be edited but I have PSE9. Do I need to upgrade to PSE11 in order to follow along with your video? It seems to me that as soon as I upgrade, a new upgrade comes on the market i.e.: you mentioned PSE12 which you aren’t ready to install. Any suggestions will be helpful as I’m anxious to start creating my waterfall art quilt.

  8. Doris

    September 28, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Found this to be a great video. Enjoyed watching the workflow. I was wondering how you were going to manage the water in the bottom right corner. Have shot RAW for a long time now. Would never go back to jpgs. Enjoy the control of my digital negative. Plan to dig out some shots I took of a few waterfalls a couple of years ago and give this a shot. Thank you..

    • Stephen

      September 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Cheryl,
      you do not have to upgrade to follows Matt’s tutorial. You can do evrything he taught in the video even in PSE 6. Yes, you can open a JPG file in your elements 9 by using the File> Open As command, then selecting Camera Raw in the Open As drop-down menu.

  9. Whitney

    September 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    That you for another great video! It took me so long to learn how to use PSE; you make it look so easy.

  10. Kevin

    September 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Having just taken this waterfall when I was in Seattle, it is like having a personal guide of what to do with it. Great shot, and thanks for the tip of how to get the soft water look with a digital camera. I never had problems with getting it on film, but digital has challenged me in this regard.

  11. Charles

    September 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Can you open a JPG file in Camera Raw from the Organizer??

  12. Dennis

    October 1, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Fantastic! I have been using the RAW converter for some time and did not know how to properly use the Balck and White sliders. Use of gradiant tool and cutting out part of picture for darkening is a real revelation. I have tried the Burn tool but was never satisfied with the result.

  13. Gary

    October 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I’m converted. I’ve been using PSE 9 Editor for all of my fixes. After watching this video and a couple of your other ones that referred to using the raw converter for jpegs, I’ve been using it on my latest batch of jpegs and have found it to be really much faster than the Editor. And the proprietary sliders (clarity and vibrance) do things that the Editor can’t even come close to. And , finally, sharpening has become a valuable and useful feature for me .I need to only use the Editor for layer type fixes. Which raises this question

    Is it possible to apply the raw converter changes to a pic using a layer mask? That would be over the top convenient for when needing to change only part of a pic.


    Do you know if PSE 12 has made it possible to open a jpeg from the organizer directly into camera raw without first having to go to the Editor to find and open the file with “open as” ? That’s the only downside that I see with raw.

  14. Cheri'

    November 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Great tutorial, thank you! However, I have a dumb question – which brush is being used to remove the unwanted stuff from the photo? I understand that the spot healing brush is being used, but with what type of brush (i.e. hard round, soft round, etc)?

    • Diana K

      November 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Cheri,

      Except in rare circumstances, I always use a soft-edged brush.



      • Cheri'

        November 22, 2013 at 6:28 am

        Thank you very much! I’ve tried several different brushes, but it seems like you can always tell where I tried to remove things such as a phone wire line. I’ll go give it another try. :) Thank you again for your assistance, it is very much appreciated!

  15. Ken

    February 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks . Love the vignette. Robyn

  16. Ken

    March 1, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Is there any way to get the photo so I can do it step by step from the cheatsheet. The video moves a bit too fast for these old eyes.

  17. Mylene

    April 6, 2014 at 12:49 am


  18. Cora

    May 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I really enjoyed watching your video. Thanks!

    I was wondering if you need to save your edits every few minutes? In previous versions you could click on history to go back to certain stages you liked.

  19. Alfred

    August 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you Matt, good to hear you give your reasons for the changes and the methods you use, great stuff, I have yet to get into the use of the raw methods, so I shall have to replay this video and try to catch on to its use..who zsays you cant teach an old dog new tricks ? Ben

  20. Dennis

    February 13, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Very good video.

  21. Bob

    May 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Let’s face it the most critical viewers of photos are photographers. Non-photographers (who mostly are our clients) don’t know the difference between a photo that has been edited with PSE with one layer or ten layers of editing. That is fact. And even between photographers what may be the perfect picture (edited) to one photographer may be far from perfect to another photographer.

    As an example I would have edited the waterfall photo completely differently. The emphasis on the tutorial was brightness, shading, sharpness, blending,layers, etc., However, to me there is too much to look at in this scene. I would have zoomed in on more interesting parts of the photo and worked on composition much more which can be obtained by simple zoom and crop tools. Add some brightness/contrast changes and you end up with a more interesting (to me) photo. Everyone sees/imagines a typical bridge with a waterfall and even in different light conditions. However, it is more interesting to see detail that one may have never seen in real life. For example during one part of the tutorial Matt zoomed in on the water, rocks, twigs, sand on the stream bed, etc. This was interesting and if composed properly would have produced a more interesting photo. Changing lighting, sharpening, shadows, layers, etc. on the photo you still end up with a typical waterfall scene……very ho-hum. Why are macro photos so interesting? Because they show the viewer detail and compositions that they never saw before. The most important parts of good photos are composition and lighting. The other stuff which today’s editors seem to overload us with is secondary. Just my viewpoint.

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