5 One-Click Tricks with Photoshop Elements

Real Estate Broker/Owner with New Paradigm Partners LLC EB #1326335

We do all our own photography, and one of the reasons we can is because we use Photoshop to process all of our photos. I'd be the first to admit that the Photoshop learning curve is steep. I was fortunate enough to start off with it way back on version 1.0, but I still only use a very small fraction of its capabilities, and really, for what we do, the full version of Photoshop is massive overkill, plus it's hugely expensive.

However, several years ago, I also began using Photoshop Elements, a much less expensive and leaner version (Amazon currently has it for around $70), and I've found it to be much simpler to use, while still having a lot of the amazing power of the full version.

Here are some examples of simple tricks that can save photos:

Dumpster    No Dumpster


Here we were dealing with a big dumpster in the driveway. I could have pushed it out of the way, except it was heavy and I'm essentially lazy - so I made it go away with Photoshop's spot healing tool, which uses "content-aware fill". You wouldn't believe what "content-aware fill" will do in the full version, but in Elements, it's great for dumpsters and trash cans, extension cords in the formal living room, competitor's real estate signs, etc. And it is a one-click fix...usually.


   No Tilt

I have a recurring problem making sure the camera is straight. Photoshop has a couple of nice ways to custom rotate a photo to correct that. It's more a two-click deal though - you have to crop out the empty corners, but that also is really easy.


   Bad Color

Interior lighting is always a challenge. I really don't like bright light sources, like ceiling lights, in the photos, because they tend to distract, so I shoot in natural light, with a flash, when I can. If the picture is too dark, a simple slider tool lets me adjust brightness in shadows and highlights separately as well as contrast.

Bad Color

    Good Color


Whenever I use a flash, there is a danger that the color balance will be off. Sometimes it's subtle, as in the example above, and sometimes it's way, way off. Either way, color correction is simple - there is an auto-correct option, an eye dropper tool, or a simple slider tool for hue, saturation and lightness adjustments. They're all pretty easy to use.


And finally, I like my pictures to be sharp. But when you take photos in high resolution, and have to post them in a much more practical size, you're going to lose sharpness as a matter of course. So after I re-size the photos to be internet-friendly, it's a one-click auto-sharpen, and they look much better.

The examples above are just a small fraction of the tools available in Elements. It's packed full of useful stuff, along with a ton of filters, special effects generators, and sophisticated text tools, and is a ton of fun to fool around with.

I'm sure there are other photo editing tools out there that are similar, but I'm really happy with Photoshop Elements. I think that with a couple of hours of going through the basic tutorials, you'd be happy too.

Posted by
Mary & Dick

Mary & Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC
2601 S. Lemay Ave. #41
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Data Source: IRES MLS


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Brad Rachielles
CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453 - Upland, CA


I'm also using photoshop elements (had the big program years ago) and wish I had had the ability to explain all of this so well. Many think that "Photoshopping" R.E. photos means unethical alterations. Certainly removing anything that is a material fact (phone poles, power lines etc.) is not right, but bringing the visual back to the way it really is as opposed to the way that the camera and it's failings wants to portray it is just restoration of facts. Very nice job.

Feb 26, 2013 07:19 AM #20
Richard Arnold
Keller Williams Realty East Valley - Tempe, AZ
Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix

I have old-fashioned Photoshop on my desktop at home for big projects.  In the RE office I use PS Elements on my laptop. My team lists REOs and the reports require many more photos than most agents are likely to shoot for advertising.  I shoot like a mad-crazy fashion photographer, then batch-process them to be uploaded.

Thank the heavens!!  I use the tools to clean up pics for the MLS.  It's amazing the difference a little contrast/brightness/color saturation can make.

Feb 26, 2013 07:29 AM #21
Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Dick I'm not a pro at photoshop but I do play around with it when I've got time.  Great ideas for folks like me - thanks! And bookmarked for reference!

Feb 26, 2013 07:58 AM #22
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Everyone and thanks for your comments (except for you, dipa). I have looked at Picasa and a few other free photo editors, and would agree that they do things that are similar to the examples that I presented above (although none of them can easily make a dumpster disappear). They work fine for the easy stuff.

However, I found on occasion a quality issue with most of these - adjusting brightness, color balance and sharpness gave me images with increased graininess, and I didn't like the result. Besides, Elements has so many more tools than those shown above that I personally think it's worth the small investment.

But whichever way you choose to go, getting the most out of your photos really helps in presenting your properties at their best.

Feb 26, 2013 08:16 AM #23
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Crap, I am using Photoshop Elements 9 and I don't have a content aware tool. But I will share my favorite trick:

Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows and Highlights


Feb 26, 2013 08:37 AM #24
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Dick - Thank you for sharing detailed information about five one click tricks with Photoshop elements

Feb 26, 2013 09:26 AM #25
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Dick you always have such great information to share with us.

Feb 26, 2013 09:37 AM #26
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Thanks for these great tips.  I don't have photoshop, but have use some other photo editing tools. 

Feb 26, 2013 10:44 AM #27
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-966-3200 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Dick:  thanks for posting.  I'm not aware of the content aware fill tool, but will go see my version has it.

Feb 26, 2013 11:18 AM #28
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTORĀ®

I have Photoshop but it takes entirely too long to load. I can open up Picnik, make that dumpster disappear and be on to my next photo before Photoshop will finish loading. I rarely use Photoshop anymore. Nothing against it. The others are just quicker. Great tips!!

Feb 26, 2013 11:38 AM #29
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

I think that staightening is really a big part of making the photos look more professional. Great post!

Feb 26, 2013 11:45 AM #30
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

To best of my knowledge, Photoshop Elements is a free app on Droid (and perhaps on iPhone, too.) Not sure how far can it go - never tried it.

As far as desktop photoshop equivalent is concerned, I prefer Ashampoo Photo Commander and there was a post about InPaint as well as WebInPaint for making object disappear.

By no means I want to say Photoshop is not useful - these are all great one (or two) click tricks. It just takes a while to load and there are inexpensive alternates available.

Feb 26, 2013 01:34 PM #31
Wika Hutchinson
Eugene, OR

Great post Dick. I love photoshop and it's amazing how we can manipulate pictures using the program. I don't have the element version but I heard it's a great basic photo editing tool especially the newest version.

Feb 26, 2013 02:52 PM #32
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Mary and Dick - Photoshop is complicated.  I like the idea of Elements and may need to check into it.

Feb 26, 2013 03:10 PM #33
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hey Dick -- good stuff - thanks for sharing and for doing the research and legwork.   

Feb 26, 2013 03:13 PM #34
The Temple Team
THE TEMPLE TEAM - Mooresville, NC
Specializing in Lake Norman/Charlotte/Charleston

WOW!! Good Advice!! Especially on the "Elements" version ... it's good to know that it's just as good (almost) and saves money too! Thanks for sharing ....

Feb 26, 2013 10:02 PM #35
Ridhi Raheja
Movement Mortgage (Illinois) - Naperville, IL
FHA, 203k, VA, Jumbo, PreApproval, Jumbo Home Loan

The wonders of today's technology is that it can easily transforms things in few clicks. Great post Dick! 

Feb 26, 2013 11:45 PM #36
Fred Sed
Fred Sed Group ~ Your Premier Southern California Realtors - Irvine, CA
Your Orange County Realtor, Why? Because Fred Sed

Thanks Dick! I've been using Picasa for basic editing. I might break out Photoshop and try some of those tricks next time.

Feb 27, 2013 12:05 AM #37
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Good tips for improving a photograph.  It's great that the picture, while enhanced, still accurately portrays the room.  Sometimes people can get carried away with Photoshop.  

Feb 27, 2013 03:30 AM #38
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Thanks Dick.  I am rather new to photoshop elements, but I can see I better start playing with it.  Thanks for the incentive.

Feb 27, 2013 03:35 AM #39
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Dick Greenberg

Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate
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