Photoshop Elements 8 For Dummies

Posted: 20-June-2012

Mac Guild Grade Publisher: Wiley


Reviewer: Hank Simon $29.99

Photoshop Elements 8 For Dummies

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova
October 12, 2009 Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 0470529679 / 978-0470529676
US $ 29.99

What the Book is About

Photoshop Elements 8 For Dummies is a good reference book for Photoshop Elements 8. The organization and details are clearly laid out, following with the standard Dummies books format. It's easy to read, providing a simpler presentation of ideas than some of the other training books. It gives a comprehensive overview of most of the functions and capabilities in Elements and it provides steps for using some of the functions. It's a good desk reference that is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Because of that, I was a little disappointed.

Elements 8 is very complex and I look to the Dummies books to help me unravel complexity. However, Photoshop Elements 8 For Dummies does not have enough hand holding exercises for the novice user. If you are experienced with photo editing tools, when you know what you want to do, and want to find out how to do it with Elements, this book will help. However, you are new at fixing photos and you're not sure where to begin, then this book is a bit more advanced than you want. It does help, but it required a lot more knowledge, which I had to find in other books.

Target Audience

This book is geared for users who already understand photo editing with tools similar to Photoshop and Elements. I wonder why someone with that much experience would buy this Dummies book, though. Maybe as a reference book for an experienced photo editor who is new to Elements.

What to Expect

The book follows the standard Dummies format, but it is not a book for beginners. The layout is good, with good guidance, good tips, good hints, and it's very easy to find something that you're looking for. The tools are well described. There's a full chapter on Layers, a key feature of Photoshop and Elements. In addition, the example step-by-step discussions are straightforward, but I expect many more in a Dummies book.

There is plenty of discussion on the various approaches to editing a photograph, but I didn't find a simple discussion for isolating the sky through tree branches, then just changing the color of the sky. The different tools and approaches are presented, but I feel that there is a simple way to accomplish the color adjustment without adjusting the color of the branches, also. I'm still learning and maybe I'm not yet at the level of a Dummy.


The Authors have done a good job of condensing all of the complexities of Elements into one book, offering a number of representative examples of the power of Elements. No other book provides the reference capability that this Dummies book does. And, that's saying a lot considering how extensive the toolset is in Elements 8. Although a novice will appreciate the organization, I believe that this book is more appropriate for the more experienced user.

Mac Guild Grade

B (Really Good)

I didn't give a lower grade, because the information is well-organized and presented well.

I didn't give a higher grade, because I think that most people expect to use a Dummies book to learn how to use software. With a tool as powerful as Photoshop Elements 8, one book cannot easily cover it all. As a book, I think it rates an A, but novice buyers should realize that they'll need to buy other books in addition to this one to understand Elements. This is an great book for an expert, but I usually buy a Dummies book as a standalone how-to book to help me move from novice to expert status.

Final Words

I'm impressed with the power of Elements, and perhaps fairly overwhelmed. As an amateur and occasional photographer, I was hoping that this book would help me move up the learning curve faster, walking me through the basics of what I need. I was probably hoping for too much, so I'm looking at other books, also.