With the New Year almost here, it seemed a good time to look at how quickly and easily you can make a photo calendar using Photoshop Elements.
With Elements, you can create a beautiful, professional-looking wall calendar that lets you showcase your favorite photos throughout the year. And you can print your calendar right at home using your personal inkjet printer.
The method we'll be walking through here for selecting the photos to be included in your calendar will be a three-step process. First, you'll select the individual images. Then you'll create an album from those photos. Putting your calendar photos in a separate album allows you to change their order, something you can't do directly within the Organizer's Media Browser. Finally, you can sort and reorder the photos to your liking.
I personally like using these steps when creating calendars or really any project in Elements because I find that grouping my photos together and then reordering them before actually diving into the project is easier in the long run and helps me to visually plan it all out. Plus having your project photos grouped all together makes it easier to redo if something happens along the way.
That said, you don't really have to do all three of these steps. You can just select your photos and then launch the calendar project, reordering the images on the fly once in the calendar workspace. It's your choice.
If you'd like to dive right into the calendar making workspace, without grouping your images and resorting beforehand, jump to Creating Your Calendar
Either way, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when selecting images for your calendar.
Start by opening the Elements Organizer. There, scroll through the photos in the Elements Media Browser and, as you scroll, select the images that you want to include.
When selecting the images, keep these tips in mind:
With the photos selected, we'll create an album of those photos.
To do this, go into the Albums panel by clicking on Albums at the top of the far left panel.
Then create a new album by clicking on the green plus sign to the right of the Albums panel and choose to make a new album.
This opens a column panel along the right side of the interface. There you will see the photos that you have selected shown at the bottom of the column. At the top, you can name your album. I'll name mine All-Stars Calendar.
Then click OK to create and name the album.
The new album will appear in the Album panel along the left side of the workspace.
By the way, you can edit the photos that are contained in an album:
With the calendar photos grouped together into an album, they can now be rearranged and reordered so that they appear in the calendar in that order.
To change the order of the photos, select the album by clicking on its name in the Album panel. Change the Sort by field to Album Order.
Then just click and drag the photo thumbnails around to rearrange them, being sure to put the photo that you want on the cover of the calendar first.
Now we're ready to create our calendar.
With your photos selected, click on Create on the right side of the Organizer workspace and choose Photo Calendar from the drop down menu.
This will launch the Calendar workspace where you can choose the settings for your project.
You can set the starting date for your calendar at the top of the dialog box. I'll set mine to January, 2016.
With Autofill with Selected Images checked, Elements will use your selected photos to fill in the pages of your calendar.
You can choose a theme from those listed in the center column of the dialog box.
You can scroll down and click on each theme to see a preview of that design. You'll notice that some of the themes show a triangular blue mark on the top right corner. The blue mark means that the theme files have not yet been downloaded to your computer. You can use these themes, but you'll need an internet connection and a minute or two for the files to download.
For my example, I'll choose the Designer Modern theme.
After clicking OK, Elements will download any necessary files and then build your calendar. When the process is complete, the calendar will open in the Calendar workspace.
There you'll find an abbreviated toolbar along the left side, the Photo Bin or the Tool Options along the bottom and the pages of the calendar displayed on the right.
At this point, you have created your initial calendar. Elements has taken the photos that you selected and filled in the pages of your calendar and you can see those pages laid out in the Calendar workspace.
Now, let's look at how to edit and customize the calendar.
If you don't like the order of your calendar photos, you can rearrange them.
Let's look at how I would change the photo on the title page of my calendar. By the way, I'm not going to actually make this change since I like the cover photo as it is. But here's the process.
First, select the title page by clicking on its thumbnail in the Pages column on the right side of the workspace. This will bring that page up in the center area where it can be edited.
You have a couple of options when replacing the photos on your calendar pages.
You can choose from among the images that were originally selected when the calendar was created. To do this, click on the down-facing arrow at the top of the Photo Bin and choose Show Files selected in Organizer. (If the Photo Bin isn't visible, click on the Photo Bin button in the task bar to open it.)
Or you can select a replacement photo from among the images in any album that you have created in the Elements Organizer. To do this, click on the down-facing arrow at the top of the Photo Bin and choose the name of the album in the drop down menu. In the screen shot below, you can see that I have three albums to choose from: All-Stars Calendar, Botanical Gardens, and Sports.
Once you have the set of photos that you want to choose from selected in the Photo Bin, scroll through them using the scrollbar found on the far right. When you find the image that you want to use, click on that photo and drag it up on top of the existing photo. Release the mouse button and the old photo will be replaced with the new one.
You can also replace the photo on your calendar page with one from your computer's hard drive. To do this, right-click on the photo, (or if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the photo frame), and then choose Replace Photo from the drop down menu.
This will open a dialog box where you can choose an image from anywhere on your hard drive.
Once you have located the photo you want, click Open and the new photo will be added to your calendar page.
After you replace one or more of the photos in your calendar, you will probably want to resize and possibly reposition the added images.
To do that, select the Move tool from the toolbar on the left of the interface.
To resize, reposition or rotate a photo and the frame that it is sitting in, click once on the photo to select it. A dotted bounding box will appear around the image.
When you're done, click the green check mark to accept the changes.
To resize, reposition or rotate a photo inside its frame, double click on the photo to select it. Again, a bounding box will appear around the photo along with bar with a circular slider just above the image.
In the screen shot below, I've reduced the image size so that it no longer fills the frame. I can use Fit Frame to Photo to resize the frame to match the size of the image.
When you're done, click the green check mark to accept the changes.
You can edit any of the text on your calendar. You can change the font style, color and size and you can reposition the words on the pages.
We'll look at how this is done by editing the sample text on the title page of the All-Stars calendar I've been working on.
First I'll select the title page by clicking on its thumbnail in the Pages column on the right side of the workspace.
And then I'll select the Horizontal Type tool from the toolbar on the left side of the calendar workspace.
The first line of text is Title Here. I want to change that to The Miller Family 2016 All-Stars. To make this change, I'll click on the sample text and then drag across the line to select all of it. Then I'll type my text.
I also want to change the font and make the type a little bigger.
Again, I'll drag across the line of text to select it. Then I'll go to the Type tool options in the Tool Options bar at the bottom of the workspace. There, I'll change my font to Gill Sans Bold and my font size to 36 pt.
I like that. I'll click on the green checkmark to accept my changes.
Once I click on the green checkmark, I'm automatically switched to the Move tool with the text box still selected. So to move the text box, I can click on it and drag so that the text is more centered on my page.
There's also a second line of sample text that says Your Text Here. I don't really need this line of text so I'd like to delete it. To do that, select the Horizontal Type tool and click inside the second line of text to select it. Switch to the Move tool and then hit the Delete key or the Backspace.
Elements will ask you to confirm the deletion.
Click Yes to at the prompt to delete the line of text.
By the way, you can use these same methods to add and edit lines of text to any page of the calendar. To do that, just select the Horizontal Type tool and click where you want the text to be added. Then just start typing.
Each of the themes comes with a additional backgrounds, frames, and graphic elements that you can use to change the look of your calendar.
To use these additional assets, click on the Graphics button found on the right side of the lower tool bar. This will open the Graphics panel along the column on the right of the calendar workspace. There you will see listed the additional graphics that come with the your particular theme.
To use any of these graphics, click on the thumbnail in the Graphics panel and drag and drop the element onto your page.
For example, in the screenshot below, I've dragged a new background onto the cover page for my calendar. After the new background was dragged and dropped onto the page, Element placed it behind the photo, frame and text, giving the page an entirely new look.
And, in addition, to give the page a bit of sparkle, I've also added some a few other elements to the layout. I did this by dragging and dropping the graphic elements from the Graphics panel and then moving them around and resizing. I've also changed the color of the text to a darker black to help it stand out more (using the color option in the tool options for the Horizontal Type tool.
By the way, as you are adding design pieces to your pages, keep in mind that these elements are being added on different layers. And that means that you can control what's on top of what. So as you add pieces, you can change it's place in the layering order by right-clicking (or if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, holding down the Ctrl key while clicking) on the element and choosing from the options in the drop down menu.
For example, when working on my calendar page above, I wanted to keep the type layer at the top so that the text wouldn't be hidden behind any other element. To do this, I right-clicked on the type layer and choose Bring to Front from the menu.
Now that I look at my calendar cover with the added graphics, I think I would like to delete the frame from around the photo and leave just the graphics.
To remove the frame from around a photo on any of your calendar pages, first select the Move tool from the toolbar. Click inside the photo and then right-click (or, if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking) and choose Clear Frame from the drop down menu.
There is no longer a frame around the photo.
I've added graphic elements to the cover page for the calendar I'm creating and I've removed the frame from the around the photo there so that the added graphics stand out more.
But, without the frame, the photo looks a little flat against the background. I can fix this by adding a layer style to the photo.
Layer styles are visual effects–things like drop shadows, strokes and bevels–that you can add to the elements on individual layers and that are editable and non-destructive. Drop shadows are probably the most used of these effects because a drop shadow can instant add depth and interest to a graphic layout.
Working with Layer Styles would typically requirement that you move to the Advanced workspace. But there's a way to add and edit layer styles right here in the Basic calendar workspace.
To do this, select the select the Move tool from the toolbar and then click inside the photo and then right-click (or, if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking). Choose Edit Layer Style from the drop down menu.
To add a drop shadow, check the box next to Drop Shadow. The settings box will open. Enter settings that work for your photo, being sure to check the box new to Preview so that you can see the effects of the settings changes as you make them.
For my calendar cover, I'll use the following settings for the photo drop shadow:
And my calendar cover now looks like this:
Finally, let's look at how to change the page layout by working through the process on my All-Stars Calendar.
All the pages of my calendar currently have a single photo and that photo is in the landscape orientation (they're wider than they are tall). I want to change one of the page layouts to instead use two portrait oriented photos.
To move to the page we'll be editing, first bring up the Pages panel by clicking on the Pages button in the toolbar at the bottom of the interface. Then scroll down the panel and click on the page layout for May, 2016.
To change the layout of the page, open the Layout panel by clicking on the Layout button in the toolbar at the bottom of the workspace. The Layout panel will open in a column along the right side of the interface. There, you'll find a collection of layouts, arranged by number of photos. We're looking for a 2-photo layout, so we'll scroll down to that section.
I'll select the layout with the two portrait-oriented photos. To replace the layout on the page with this new layout, I'll click and drag the new one from the Layout panel on top of this calendar page, and drop it there. The layout changes.
Now all that's left to do is to add two photos from the Photo Bin. We saw how to do this above.
After adding in the new photos, my calendar page looks like this:
When you are customizing your calendar–replacing photos, resizing, and repositioning, adding and editing graphics elements–you can sometimes get stuck.
In those times, don't forget about Undo. You can always choose Edit>Undo or use the keyboard shortcuts Command-Z on a Mac/Ctrl-Z on a PC once or even multiple times to undo your steps and redo.
As you work and make changes to your calendar, it's a good idea to save your project.
To save your calendar, select File>Save from the top menu bar. If it's the first time you've saved your calendar, you'll be able to give your project a name and select a location where the file will be saved.
The Save As dialog box looks a little different on a PC (the screen shot above is from a Mac), but the features are the same.
By default, the calendar will be saved to the Photo Project Format (PSE). This format includes all of the photos, layouts, graphics and settings used in your calendar. For that reason, it's important to use this format if you want to be able to re-edit your calendar at a later date.
You also have the option to save your calendar to a different format. To do that, choose File>Save As and choose a different format such as PDF. Be warned that the PDF that you'll create would be quite large, probably too large to send via email.
You can also decide to export the calendar to a JPEG, TIFF or PDF using the File>Export command.
Once you'll typed in a name and navigated to where the project will be saved, click on the Save button. It may take a minute or two to save the files, especially the first time.
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We've seen how managing the ISO setting allows you to control the amount of grain that shows in your photos. But it does more than that. Understanding and working with the ISO setting gives us added flexibility in terms of setting the other two exposure settings–aperture and shutter speed.
The bottom line is that ISO is an important and useful tool, and one that you will want to be comfortable with if you are looking to take creative control of your exposure.