Precise Local Changes with Layers & Masks

It's relatively easy to make changes to our pictures overall. But some photos need adjustments to specific areas without affecting the image as a whole. Using layers and masks in photo editing software like Photoshop Elements lets you precisely apply changes to only those areas that need them.

In this photo of fireweed and burned tree trunks, the bright yellow wood where the bark had fallen off distracts from the plants. Using adjustment layers, I darkened and desaturated the color. Using layer masks limited the effects only to those areas, leaving the rest of the image untouched.

Image before adjustments to tree trunks

Image after specific local changes to the tree trunks

Becoming proficient with adjustment layers and masks in Photoshop Elements opens up another layer of creative control and finesse. You can learn these and other layer techniques in my Photo Editing - Layers & Masks course beginning November 6 at the Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register.