Simple Photo Editing in Three Easy Steps


I’ve been asked before how I edit my photos and the answer is that first off, I like to keep things simple.  I try to take all of my photos in natural light whenever possible (it just saves so much time on editing later on, and its really tough to fake good lighting.)  But sometimes, no matter how carefully I plan, they still need a little extra work.  Today, as part of my series with Adobe Photoshop Elements, I wanted to show you three (very easy) things I do in Photoshop Elements to make my photos a bit more beautiful.  I know editing can feel intimidating at times, but I promise… it’s not very hard.  One of the things I love about Elements is it makes it so easy for you.. it’s hard to screw up!


Begin by opening up your original image in PS Elements.

This photo doesn’t look terrible but it’s a little bit dark.  We’ll start with lightening the photo.  You’ll want to start out in the “Quick” section.  Click on “Levels.”


I personally really love the Levels pre-sets tool, shown above.  I’ve messed around with Levels in regular Photoshop and am okay at it, but the pre-sets are much easier to navigate and use vs. doing it on your own.  The way I see it is that Elements takes a little of the work out of it for you, making lightening your photos a piece of cake.  I usually use one of the first six pre-sets, depending how dark the photo is.  Once you’ve found your ideal level, click the “Expert” tab.


OK.  See that unsightly dark purple mark at the top of the photo?  We’re going to get rid of it.  Start by clicking the “Clone Stamp” tool in your sidebar.  (I circled it above and it looks like a stamp.)


Use your parentheses keys to make the stamp tool big enough (you want it to easily cover up what you are trying to remove.

In order to use the tool, you have to show it what you want to replace the thing you are removing with.  Option-click (or right click if you are on a PC) near the thing that you are trying to remove.  Once you’ve selected the background area, you can begin using the tool by clicking over the area you want to get rid of.  I generally option-click and then click a few times to ensure that it properly blends in.

You can also use this tool to remove things from the background of your photos, or even removing a whole person from your photo… it takes a little bit of time to master it but you can get really creative.


See?  That spot is now totally gone!


The third tool that we will use is my favorite as its just SO smart!  It’s the Spot Healing Brush and it looks like the bandaid.  See that little flaw on the bracelet that I circled above?  Just select the Spot Healing Brush, and use your mouse to draw on the flaw.  The tool senses what is around the flaw, and magically just removes it.  [You can also use this tool on pimples + skin imperfections, or lint particles on outfits, etc.]


All gone!


Wasn’t that easy?  Stay tuned for more tutorials in the coming months… in the meantime, I’d love to hear any questions you have / things you’d like to learn… I’ll try to incorporate ’em into my next tutorial.

This post was brought to you by Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Thanks for these tips!! I’m such a rookie when it comes to photoshop so the are very much appreciated! 🙂 Btw. I recently stumbled upon your sister’s shop! Her pillows are amazing!! I just had to do a post on her pieces! 🙂
    xo Andrea

    7.1.13 Reply
  2. great tips, definitely usefull xx

    Justine | BRIGHTON DREAM

    7.1.13 Reply
  3. Wow, hugely helpful. I never use the levels (editing more in picmonkey) so this is awesome. need to test this out. Thanks!

    7.1.13 Reply
  4. Love this tutorial! I can’t wait to learn more 🙂

    7.1.13 Reply
  5. Sara Miller- Style For The Seasons:

    Great tutorial! I edit photos with Elements every day but I feel like I am always learning new things– thanks!!

    7.1.13 Reply
  6. Such a big help… you should be a teacher 🙂 thanks, Grace!

    7.1.13 Reply
  7. Hooray for Photoshop tips!!

    7.1.13 Reply
  8. Thanks for the tips Grace… these will definitely come in handy!

    Chelsea & The City

    7.1.13 Reply
  9. YAY YAY YAY! I JUST bought PS Elements and haven’t really played around with it much. I do most of my editing in iphoto and then resize with picmonkey. It really would be nice to just do it all in one program! I’m REALLY looking forward to more tutorials! =)

    XOXO, Jenn
    The Stylish Housewife

    7.1.13 Reply
  10. Awesome tutorial. Thanks! This beats having to read an entire book. Please do more posts like this. 🙂

    7.1.13 Reply
  11. Hey Grace! Quick question: what version of Elements are you using? I’m having a hard time finding the expert thing in mine, and not sure if it’s user error or if I don’t have that feature in my version?

    7.1.13 Reply
    • Debbie Skelton:

      Elements 11 Editor has three editing options shown at thd top of the page: Quick, Guided, Expert.

      7.2.13 Reply
    • Grace Atwood:

      I use Photoshop Elements 11! What version do you have?

      7.2.13 Reply
  12. I used to work for a photographer and would get so intimidated when he needed help with photoshop!!! I will definitely need to look into Elements! Thanks for the tips! xo

    7.2.13 Reply
  13. Great tips!! 🙂

    7.3.13 Reply
  14. I can’t wait to own Photoshop and Elements, however until I can muster up the savings for it, I’ve really enjoyed using “Pixelmator” for Mac. Not quite as intuitive, but has a lot of the same features and gets the job done. 🙂

    7.6.13 Reply
  15. Nice. I’m glad I’m not the only one who photoshops out the scratches and glue globs.

    7.8.13 Reply
  16. Wonderful tips! Very good to follow for beginners.

    10.14.13 Reply