The basi cs
Light retouching and adjustments
Once you’ve got an image open in the app, the programs on test fall into two broad categories: the Photoshop-like ones that expect you to choose from a toolbar and menus, and the Lightroom-like ones that supply sliders or a list of presets. PS Elements (in Expert mode), Pixelmator and GIMP fall into the former, so you’ll need to know that, for instance, Levels is the adjustment to go for to brighten up a photo. Elements can be put into Guided mode for a bit more userfriendliness, but these three apps are at the more advanced end of the scale. iPhoto offers Quick Fixes, one-click adjustments that attempt to correct problems such as red eyes or crooked horizons, Effects to add filters or vignettes, and Adjust to alter an image’s colours with sliders. PhotoDirector works in a similar way, with Adjustment having sliders and Edit the filter effects; while AfterShot drops you straight into a vast array of sliders on its right-hand side, with Presets at the bottom filling the role of one-click filters.
Photoshop Elements opens raw images in Adobe Camera Raw.