Picture perfect

If you've got a shedload of digital photos from your holiday but they're far from perfect for your photo album, fear not. Using software you can touch these up so they look professional and make you look good at the same time. While Adobe Photoshop is the photo-editing package for professionals, Photoshop Elements 6 is great for novices. It's easy-to-use and packs a fantastic punch – here we show you how to get to grips with the basics.

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By  Windows staff Published  September 15, 2008

3. Sharpen, Lighting

In the Quick tab, again you'll see the most popular modifications you can make to your photo.

If you're in a rush, rattle through these options - labelled General Fixes (including Red Eye Fix), Lighting (contrast etc.), Color (saturation, hue) and Sharpen - for the best results. But in devoting more time to each, you'll have much better results.

Depending on the quality of your camera and the environment in which you took the photograph, you might want to sharpen (or un-sharpen) your image.

Go to Enhance>Adjust Sharpness, and in the resultant window, you can change the amount to sharpen (by percentage) and the radius of the sharpening effect.

In addition, if the photo has a noticeable motion blur, you can select Motion Blur from the Remove drag-down box. Other options include Remove Gaussian Blur or Remove Lens Blur.

When it comes to lighting, go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels to open a powerful tool for editing tones and colours.

You'll see a graph displaying the colour output for each channel. The three input values along the X-axis correspond to the shadow values (left), middle tones (middle) and highlight values (right).

If you adjust the middle tones, you won't affect the photo's overall shadow and highlights. This is also a great way to bring warmth to the photo, as if set in the glow of the sun.

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