How to use Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop is the tool of choice for professional photographers the world over. Its toolset gives experts total control over their pictures, enabling them to tweak and edit their shots to perfection.
That kind of power doesn't come cheap though, plus the app takes a long time to master. That's where Photoshop Express comes in. This fantastic Windows app is like a cross between Photoshop and Instagram, with simple but effective tools to help you correct common flaws, plus it has an array of fun filters for a touch of vintage flair.
There are a few paid-for options, but the majority of its tools and features are free. It's easy to use, with a simple interface ideal for mice and fingertips alike.
1. Pick a pic
You can add a picture from your hard drive, the camera of your Windows device, or Revel – Adobe's image backup and sharing service.
Here, we're going for an image from our Pictures library. Select your photo, then click 'Open image'. You'll now be presented with the editing screen.
If you can't see the tool icons, click your photo once to make them visible.
2. Compose and crop
Select the 'Crop' icon at the bottom left and handles will appear at each corner of your picture. While cropping snaps, bear in mind the rule of thirds to help create more dramatic-looking images.
You can also use the Crop tool to rotate your image – ideal if you've snapped your picture with a phone held at a jaunty angle.
3. Changed your mind?
Once you've finished cropping and straightening, click the 'Back' arrow at the top left to return to the main editing screen.
If you change your mind about any of the edits you've made, simply tap the 'Undo' arrow at the top right; none of the changes you're making will become permanent until you save the picture at the end.
4. Compare and contrast
Select the 'Correct' tool and three tabs will appear – Contrast, Exposure and White Balance. Select 'Contrast' to adjust contrast, clarity and vibrance.
Contrast is the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of your image, clarity makes the midtones in your image lighter or darker (resulting in a softer or 'harder' effect), and vibrance is colour saturation.
5. Decent exposure
Selecting the Exposure tab will reveal three sliders – Exposure, Highlights and Shadows. These aim to replicate the effect of more or less light hitting the sensor in your camera.
It can be a useful way to brighten up a picture taken on a dull day, but it can never restore a part of the picture that's in total darkness. The same is true of overexposure, where the highlights are white.
6. Balancing act
Indoor lighting is rarely white, and different types of lighting can tint your photos. For example, an incandescent lightbulb gives off warmer (more orange) light than a fluorescent bulb.
The 'White balance' tab can help counteract this effect. The Temperature slider makes images more orange (warm) or blue (cold), and the Tint slider shifts it towards purple or green.
The final corrective action you can take is red-eye repair. This eliminates the effect produced when light from a camera flash reflects off the eyeball. Select this option, then click the centre of each eye to fix it.
If all those sliders and options sound like too much effort, you can simply click 'Auto fix' and the app will attempt to create a good balance of light, shade and saturation.
8. New looks
Instagram is best known for its retro-style image filters, which are a great way to liven up your shots. Photoshop Express has a similar selection of options, known as 'Looks'. There are lots of free Looks, plus an array of premium ones that can only be previewed (not applied) unless you're willing to pay.
If you like the paid-for options, click the shopping cart icon to buy it.
9. Share and enjoy
Click and hold the 'View original' button at the bottom left to see the differences your edits have made to your photo. Once you're happy, select 'Share/save' and choose whether you'd like to save it to your PC, or share it on Facebook or Revel.
If you choose Facebook, you can then enter a caption and share your polished snap with the world.
10 Next, please!
If you'd prefer to store your picture locally, just choose a location, enter a filename and click 'Save'. The editor will close and you'll be ready to start perfecting another picture!
Congratulations, you now know how to make your favourite snaps look amazing, and share them with your family and friends – all with only a few taps or clicks!