What’s the Deal with the Guided Panel in Photoshop Elements 12?

What’s Up With the Guided Panel in Photoshop Elements 12? I’ll tell you.

One of the main differences between the Quick and the Guided modes is that it allows you more adjustments, style, and effects options—more complicated options, but Photoshop Elements will guide you by the hand through the learning curve. It’s the middle ground between the Quick and Expert modes. So, it’s time to start strapping up your big boy pants (pull-ups, not quite BIG boy pants, but getting there).

Difference between the Quick panel and the Guided panel

Please note the left side tool bar: the tools are gone—in case you didn’t notice. You’ve only got the hand tool and the magnifying glass left.  The juicy stuff is on the right side panel. You will have the capability of doing everything you did in the Quick panel—and then some—but with the ability to customize a bit more.

I’m not going to get into all the nitty-gritty with most of these tools because they are self-explanatory. As in, there is literally a written description on each of these adjustments, elucidating the tools involved and how to use them. Step. By. Step.

We’ll save the specialized instructions for the more involved adjustments, like Perfect Portrait, and Recompose.

how to use the adjustments in the guided mode is just follow the written instructions

The first section on the right side is “Touchups”. And that’s where you will find tools with the same abilities as in the Adjustments panel back in the Quick mode. Some of them are just named a little differently, for whatever reason. This is how you tweak and adjust your photo.

Then below that section we have the Effects options. Note: you don’t have to go to the bottom of the screen and click on Adjustments, or Effects, or Graphics while in Guided mode. That was just a Quick mode thing, so as not to confuse us with too many things on our screen at the same time.

Use the depth of field tool in the guided panel to give the effect of lower aperture shots

One of my favorite effects is Depth of Field, this gives your photo the lower aperture effect, even if you don’t have a camera capable of lowering your aperture, or manually focusing. Other popular ones are the Orton Effect, High Key, and Old Fashioned.

If, after applying the effect, you decide you want the effect to be even more pronounced, then click the button again. Every time you click it, the heavier the effect results.

Then there’s the fun stuff. If you want to get creative and give your photo a puzzle look, or do a reflection type thing, or even make your subject actually pop out of the photo, this is where you go. Photo Play.

Get familiar with these adjustments and effects, because this is how you will learn to use your software to the fullest. So when you are in the Expert mode next time, you will know exactly how to do whatever takes your fancy.

4. Guided Mode Featured Image

I’m a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I’ve also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.