Whether you are just starting out with Photoshop Elements or looking to expand your horizons, there are books out there that will help you learn new things and understand how to apply your skills to new areas. Elements has been out long enough now to have quite a few books devoted just to its capabilities, but it shares enough features with the full version of Photoshop that many books have large sections that can be directly applied to Elements. In those cases where there is not a one-to-one correspondence, there are often work-arounds that are apparent if you have a good understanding of Element's tools and capabilities.

The selection of books reviewed here is not meant to be comprehensive, but it should give you a start in thinking about what you might want to buy or look for at your local library. Amazon has reviews for many of these books, too, and you should check out what others think there and on the Adobe or Yahoo forums.
Books for Those Just Starting Out
Idea Kit
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 Idea Kit
by Lisa Matthews
If you got Elements bundled with a scanner or camera, this short book and CD is a great source for ideas about things you can do with your new software. The book presents a series of projects and templates for the projects are included on the CD. Clearly written and the templates are very helpful. There is an edition available for each version of Elements.
One-Click WOW
Adobe Photoshop Elements One-Click WOW!
by Jack Davis & Linnea Dayton
This short book and CD provide a useful set of tools to produce frames, textures, gradient and type effects. Great for someone just starting out who would like to produce some of those fancy looks that Photoshop experts seem to have at their fingertips -- but who wants to do it with a minimum of fuss. Very useful and well written. The section explaining how layer styles work is particularly clear and helpful. Note: There are multiple editions of this book. The 'Recipes' for in the 1.0 book work on Elements 1.0 but not Elements 2.0 -- but all the effects work just fine. I believe this is true for the most recent versions of Elements as well.
Books for Further Guidance
Elements Solutions
Photoshop Elements Solutions
by Mikkel Aalund
Aalund's book is task oriented -- each chapter in the main part of the book takes a particular task and the problems associated with it and shows you how to use Elements to achieve the desired result. After a helpful introduction (including a great section on organizing your workflow), tasks such as improving portraits, getting useful product shots and making composites are addressed in separate chapters. Good use of integrated color photographs to illustrate the text.
Photographic Effects
Traditional Photographic Effects with Adobe Photoshop
by Michelle Perkins & Paul Grant
If you are interested in duplicating effects that you used to work with in a film-based darkroom, this book shows you how to achieve them in Photoshop. Although oriented to Elements' big brother, almost all the material is directly applicable to Elements. Covers topics such as sepia toning, vignettes, hand coloring, simulating neutral density filter effects, eliminating red-eye and other retouching techniques.
Fifty Cool Ways
50 Ways to Create Cool Pictures
by Dave Huss
A readable and thoughtfully put together book that is more than the '50 Hot Tips!!!' that the title suggests. Walks you through ways to achieve a variety of tasks with Elements. The section on composing shots is particularly valuable and the treatment of color correction in conjunction with selection techniques is nice, too. The section on photo retouching provides a helpful initial guide to possible approaches and is accompanied by thoughtful recommendations on what you might want to do and why.
Digital Photography
The Photoshop Elements Book for Digital Photographers
by Scott Kelby
Once you get past Kelby's breezy style, you will find an helpful guide to what Elements can do for your digital photos.There are chapters on cropping and resizing, color correction, selection techniques and retouching. Nicely integrated pictures and screen-shots to show you what's going on.
Books on Special Topics
Cheating with Photoshop
How to cheat in Photoshop
by Steve Caplin
A great book on how to combine existing photos with simulated materials you create in Photoshop into realistic illustrations. Although aimed at Element's more expensive sibling, almost all the techniques presented here can be achieved in Elements once you have added the capability of layer masking (see Lynch's book below, also available as freeware from other sources). Sections are devoted to selecting, masking, composition, using light and shadow to integrate different pieces into a whole, and creating metallic, stone, wood and paper textures. Especially helpful for those who have great ideas for images they want to make quickly but don't want to spend the time to create everything from scratch. There is a third edition of this book aimed at Photoshop CS2.

Photoshop Compositing
by John Lund

Co-written with Pamela Pfiffner, Photoshop Compositing covers a lot of the same ground as Caplin's book, but comes at it from a different perspective: Lund's background is photography while Caplin's is graphic design. Lund shoots a good deal of his raw material and uses models photographed in his studio for some of his images. He also relies on decades of images he has taken and digitized for backgrounds and visual effects. Where Caplin might manufacture a 'wood' surface in Photoshop, Lund pulls out examples from his library and finds an appropriate image. Lund's method can be adapted by anyone with a digital camera (or film camera plus scanner) to generate their own image elements. Not all of us, however, will have access to animal trainers when we need a shot of a tiger or longhorn steer. One interesting aspect of Lund's narrative is his approach to marketing his images to advertising firms, stock libraries and greeting card companies.

40 Digital Photo Retouching Techniques
by Zack Lee

This is a reasonably priced book that covers not just retouching but also some of the basics of Photoshop Elements. Color illustrations of both image and layer stacks increase its appeal. The CD that comes with the book has all the image files that you need to duplicate the steps spelled out in each chapter. Lee's approach to retouching differs from much of the canonical advice you see in other books and magazine articles, although the end result is much the same. It's useful to know a variety of methods, because each image is a little different. I have one reservation about the book: Lee under-uses layers, doing much of his manipulation on the original layer -- this can limit your flexibility, particularly if you want to back out of a particular modification. Interesting sections on simulating make-up, creating fog and using the panorama function to create a web banner. Also one of the clearest explanations of how to use the sponge tool.
Lighting Techniques

Creative Photoshop Lighting Techniques
by Barry Huggins

As the title implies, this book is all about light. After a brief introduction to light in images in general, the remainder of the book is devoted to tutorials covering the whole gamut of lighting problems in Photoshop. Areas explored include the quality of light, weather related phenomena, shadows, reflections and special effects. The book is well illustrated and the tutorials are clear. Although for individual problems there may be better explanations, this book gathers together a whole set of lighting situations and addresses them competently. Aimed at Photoshop, but most tutorials are readily adapted to Elements.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
by Katrin Eismann
The best book on photo retouching I've run across. Thoughtfully treats each of the many aspects of restoring and retouching pictures in helpful detail with many integrated photos. Worth reading though several times and then keeping handy as you work. There are several editions.
Books with a Tutorial Approach
Image Effects
Photoshop 7 Image Effects
by Dong Mi Kim, Kwang Woo Baek & Kyung In Jang
This book and CD combination presents an extensive series of tutorials that walk you through the steps to achieve particular image effects. If you always wondered how to achieve some particularly nifty effect in Photoshop, this is a great place to start. The techniques you learn on the specific image effects spelled out here will also generalize to other material. As with many books in the area, most of the techniques used here are achievable in Elements with the help of an added layer mask tool. Lavishly illustrated and with all the files you need for the tutorials on the disk.
Type Effects
Photoshop 7 Type Effects
by Dong MI Kim, Kwang Woo Baek & Kyung In Jang
This book and CD present an extensive series of tutorials that walk you through the steps to achieve particular effects with type. If you always wondered how to achieve some particularly nifty type effect in Photoshop, this is a great place to start. The techniques you learn on the specific effects spelled out here will also generalize to other material. As with many books in the area, most of the techniques used here are achievable in Elements with the help of an added layer mask tool. Like its companion volume on image effects, the book is lavishly illustrated and all the files you need for the tutorials are on the disk.
Books for Advanced Understanding
HIdden Power
The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2
by Richard Lynch
Possibly the best book on Elements currently available. There are new editions for more recent versions of Elements. If you want to understand how the software works and how to use it effectively, this is the book to go to after you have a basic familiarity with the program. Included is a CD with a set of tools that greatly extend Elements capabilities, including color separations, curves and layer masks. Additional tools that integrate with those provided here are available on Lynch's website. Indispensable.
All Images © by Original Owners; Other Images & Site © 2003-2006 R. E. Warren