Photomerge and Recompose
One of my favorite new tools in Photoshop Elements 9 is the Photomerge Style Match tool. This simple interface allows you to select any photo (including a few provided by Adobe) and use that as a “style template” for other images. Simply drag and drop the images that you want to edit and BAM! The color, contrast, saturation and even the exposure of your image is changed to match the image you selected.
The style match isn’t always perfect at the default settings, but I was amazed how often the Photomerge Style Match tool made it easy to replicate the “look” of another photo simply by dragging and dropping the photos into place. These are the type of edits that would typically take quite a while, but you can now do them in a few seconds.
Photomerge Panorama now features enhanced blending capabilities (again, thanks to the “content aware” functionality within Elements 9) to fill in jagged edges as it automatically stitches together multiple horizontal or vertical photos. In short, it’s easier than ever to make panoramic scenes even if you didn’t take your photos perfectly side by side using a tripod.
Photomerge will automatically stitch your photos together in a panorama and the “Clean Edges” dialog box will open asking you if you would like to automatically fill in the missing content in your panorama. Where previously you would have had to crop down to a smaller photo, now Photoshop Elements 9 analyzes the new panorama and fills in the missing content for you.
Along the same lines of complex photo editing made easy, the Recompose tool lets you change the size of a picture without changing the proportions of the key subjects. Why would you want to do this? Well, if you have a photo with several people in it, but they are standing too far apart, the Recompose tool will shrink the space between them without seriously distorting the people in the photo. If the default settings don’t work exactly right then you can “paint” over the subjects you want to protect before you use the tool.
If you found any of these edits difficult, or want to learn about other photo editing methods, the “Guided Edit” mode gives you an easy introduction to image editing with step-by-step text instructions and videos. You can learn about using layer masks to apply effects to only a small portion of your photo, make “out of bounds” photos with objects that jump out of the edge of the photo, or learn to combine multiple photos to make an HDR image.