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

5. Changing the background & horizons

One of the most fun things to do is change the background of the photo - this isn't as difficult as it sounds. You'll need to have both the foreground and background images open in Photoshop Elements.

Using the Quick Selection Tool click on the foreground image and drag the selection area around the object or person you wish to crop.

It's likely what you'll have is a selection of everything around the person/object, as opposed to the object itself. In this case, go to Select>Inverse to inverse the selection area. Once you are happy with this, simply drag the selection area into your background image.

If you've done this right, you should now be looking at yourself with an entirely new background. But the scale probably isn't right. Go to Image>Resize>Scale, and drag the corner of the newly pasted selection area to the right size relative to the image.

When dealing with nature photos, another neat trick is the Straighten Tool, which works particularly well with horizons. Click on the tool from the left-hand bar, and drag a line that follows the horizon (or any part of the photo that you want to set as the horizontal line).

Once you release the line, the photograph will automatically be corrected.

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