I downloaded Photoshop Elements to see what the difference is between elements and photoshop.
Not much, surprisingly. If you only want basic editing it is ideal. My real reason for checking it out was to see what recommendations they made regarding saving files without losing the integrity of the original. I am sorry to say that my banging on about ever decreasing file sizes and quality is not covered. So if you did not read my blog of a couple of days ago here it is again. When you first open an image in any image editing program make sure you ahve a back-up in the original state as shot or scanned or whatever. Picasa, Elements and Photoshop all will save over your original mostly without warning. If you use photoshop save your file-before you work on it-as a PSD file or TIF (if you have a recent version that save layers). Then if you are editing the picture you only need to save it without "saving as".
The next phase of editing, I think, should be to make a duplicate layer to work on. This done by clicking on "Layers" in the tool bar and clicking on "Duplicate Layer".
In Photoshop there are many different ways of achieveing the same result. If I tell you to do something a particular way it is because I know it works. There may, of course, be quicker ways of doing the smae thing - but so what.
Specifically with Adobe Elements and Photoshop your next step might be to make some colour correction and brightness/contrast correction. There are tools that will do just that. In elements you can have the programme do it for you at the click of a button. In Photoshop if you go to the top toolbar and click on "image", "Adjustments", "Levels" you are presented with a slider control thatallows you to adjust shodow detail, mid-tones and highlight detail. Firstly all three colours can be adjusted (RGB), then if you click on the RGB box the drop-down menu will allow you to select any of the three colours. In the colours section moving the left hand (shadow deatail) slider towards the centre will cause the colour to intensify for the colour you select ie Red will be redder etc. If you move the right hand (highlight) slider towards the centre you will go towards the complimentary of the colour (the photographic opposite). The compimentary to Red is Cyan or Blue -Green for some other English speaking countries. It is worth while taking some time and experimenting with these effects as colour problems are a regular feature of photography as the colour of daylight and artificial light varies dramatically. Once you have achieved a result close the box and thats it - unless you change your mind. If you have followed these instructions to the letter you will be able to go back by clicking on the "History" tab and reverting to a previously saved version. A better way would have been to click on "Layer" again and this time clicking on "New Adjustment Layer" in the drop-down and selecting Levels, corves or whatever you want. Having made sure that the layer you are editing is highlighted. If you use this approach the adjustment layer allows you back in to change what you have done. If you want to apply your corrections to the layer immediately below the the adjustment layer be sure to tick the box that says "Use previous layer to create a clipping mask".