We unveil tips and tricks for speeding up common photo editing tasks over multiple platforms.
What is an Action?
An Action is an automated series of edits applied to an image. When you add photo effects in Elements, you are essentially running an Action. There is a dedicated panel found in Window>Actions.
Use built-in options.
This is the Actions panel, where you will find some built-in Actions. These are categorised by what they do: some have practical applications and some have more fun effects. Click on the folders to see them.
Run an Action.
To see what an Action does, open a photo in the main window and click on the Action that you are interested in. Next, hit the Play button in the top-right of the panel. The Action will run and you will see the effect.
View the steps.
See how they work by expanding the Action to view the steps involved. Do this by clicking on the arrow next to the Action title. You will then see a list of everything that takes place and the settings used.
Find more Actions.
There are a limited number of Actions built into Elements, but luckily there are thousands more to download. The Adobe website has some, or you can do a search. Many of these are free, but some will cost you.
Create your own.
Photoshop CS users can create their own Actions. Hit the Record button to capture all settings and tools applied to an image, and when you are done press the Stop button. You can then save it as an Action.
Load new Actions.
When you find an Action that you want to use, you need to download it and save it to your computer. In the Actions panel, hit the top-right drop-down menu and select Load Action, then browse to the one you want.
Run loaded Actions.
Any Actions that you load will appear in the Actions panel. You select them in the same way as the built-in Actions and run them to apply the effect. This gives you loads of options to customise your snaps quickly.
Reset the panel.
You can choose to reset your Actions at any time, which clears all of the loaded Actions and reverts to just the built-in ones. This means you can experiment as much as you like without clogging up your Actions panel.Use Lightroom preset effects.
Find the Presets.
Presets in Lightroom are essentially the same as Actions in Elements. Open your image in Lightroom, then go to the Develop window. Presets are found on the left-hand side of the main window.
A handy feature of the Presets that you can’t do with Actions is being able to hover over them to see a preview of the effect before you apply it, meaning you can experiment before committing.
Apply and edit.
Click on a Preset to apply it to your image. You can also edit the effect using the tools in the right-hand window. As with Actions, you can download new Presets from the web.Batch edit in Elements.
Process multiple files.
Open Elements and go to File>Process Multiple Files. This will let you batch edit a folder of photos in one go. You can’t make major edits, but you can apply automatic corrections, rename files and resize them.
Select the destination.
Select the source folder where the images you want to edit are kept, and a destination to save your edited images to. If you tick Same as Source, then your original files will be overwritten.Name the files.
You might want to give all your files a consistent title. You can enter a name for them and then they will be numbered as well, so you would have MyFilel, MyFile2, etc. This can be useful for organising your pictures.
Select the image size.
You can resize all your images in one go by entering a new resolution or size. By default, the size of the image is constrained to prevent distortion, but you can turn this off. You can also save them as a different file type.Apply quick fixes.
The Quick Fix box lets you apply automatics edits to all your images at once. Just tick the check boxes for the edits that you wish to run. Auto Levels and Auto Contrast are the most commonly used here.
Add a copyright.
Finally, you can add a watermark to your photos by choosing the text, position and font. When you are happy with your edits, hit OK and they will be made. The files will be saved to your chosen destination.Fast fixes with Snapseed.
Open your image.
Click the camera icon in the top-left of the window to select a photo from your Library. You can also choose to take a photo. This will then open in Snapseed. You will see all of the edits down the left-hand side.
Opt for Automatic for a quick edit. Pick Color Correction or Contrast Correction by swiping up and down, and left and right to alter the effect. Hit the bottom-right arrow to apply and the bottom-left one to cancel.
For more in-depth edits, select from a range of tools including Selective Adjust, which lets you edit just part of your image. There is a handy help menu (the question mark in the top-left) to show you the controls.Special effects
If you want to get creative, you can add loads of effects, such as Black & White, Vintage (shown here), Drama, Grunge, Tilt-Shift, Retrolux and Frames. Any changes can be undone if you don’t like them.
Share your snaps.
When complete, use the Share icon in the top-right of the window and you will see many options, including Google+, Twitter, Email and Facebook. You can also use the Save option to keep your edited version.