• Advantages of Editing with an Adjustment Layer in Photoshop or PSE

    When you are working in Photoshop or Elements, you can make a number of edits using an Adjustment Layer.

    With a photo or document open, click the Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers panel. It looks like a circle which is half shaded and half white. You can find it at the bottom of the Layers panel in PS and at the top of the Layers panel in Elements.
    A menu will populate from which you can choose adjustments such as levels, photo filters, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation and more.

    Choosing an adjustment creates a new layer above the image layer instead of directly editing the original image. This is the best practice because you can use this layer to tweak the adjustment three ways:

    Adjust the opacity of the adjustment layer: Select the adjustment layer, then move the opacity slider at the top right corner of the Layers panel. This reduces the strength of the adjustment layer to your liking.

    Use the Adjustment Layer Mask to selectively apply the effect: Click the layer mask to select it. Press D, (In Elements, press D then press X) on your keyboard before getting the Brush tool to set the Foreground color to black. Check to make sure the Foreground color chip on the left is set to black. Select a round brush (with or without feathering) and drag the cursor around the document in the place where you want to hide the effect. This is a great way to create a black and white image with an area of selective coloring or recolor portions of digital paper or embellishments.

    Change the Adjustment: Double-click the adjustment icon on the left side of the adjustment layer to go back and edit the adjustment at any point. Use the reset button to revert to the original or delete the adjustment layer to remove it completely.

    Making a habit of using Adjustment layers rather than directly editing an image is a good practice that allows you to take full advantage of Photoshop's editing capabilities.