The 40 Photo Masks of PSE—Are You Using Them?


by Jen White

(Scroll down to download PNG versions of my top seven PSE photo masks.)

Did you know you have gold mine of photo masks waiting for you in your Custom Shape Picker? In fact, the current version of Photoshop Elements comes packed with FORTY of them! And, guess what? They are not even ugly! They are beautiful.

Today I’ll share with you seven of my favorite PSE photo masks along with a few tips to help you get thinking outside the box. Here we go. . . .

Don’t take the shape at face value. It can be rotated, stretched, sliced up, or even combined with other shapes. Your imagination is your only limit. The masks below are Crop Shape 1 and Crop Shape 25. Psst—Don’t get hung up on the name. A Crop Shape is the same thing as a photo mask.

sample of several masks

Photo masks are traditionally used for photos. Once you have the shape in place, simply place your photo above it and clip it down. This works best with a photo that is not already cropped in close. This is Crop Shape 36 with my hunk and me at Epcot.

sample of using a mask with a photo

Consider using Crop Shapes with papers from your stash. These make lovely anchoring backgrounds for placing behind your photos. This is Crop Shape 21 with a paper from Krystal Hartley’s Mother Is a Verb. I duplicated the original shape, rotated it, and then moved it beside the original one to make an extra long mask.

sample of using a mask with paper

TIP: Remember that photo masks like these require that no layer style be added. They fall into the Things Requiring No Shadow category. Not sure about shadows? Check out my Design Disaster post.

Here are a few more from Elements’ fabulous photo mask collection. These are Crop Shape 12, Crop Shape 20, and Crop Shape 26.
other masks from PSE
So next time you go looking for a photo mask in your stash, try pulling out one of the 40 provided for you in Photoshop Elements.


Photoshop Users
Because these awesome photo masks are not in your Custom Shape Picker, I have made my top seven favorites into PNG files for you. Enjoy! Download Crop Shape PNGs.


42 Responses to “ The 40 Photo Masks of PSE—Are You Using Them? ”

  1. Jan on October 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    When downloading crop shapes online, look for .csh files. Then load them into PSE.

  2. Jeanne on May 7, 2013 at 4:12 am

    I just added Aphrodite slim stylistic and ending yesterday for four$13.60 each. they are on sale for a couple more weeks if I remember correctly.

  3. Barb M. on May 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Great article, Jen! Thanks for all the tips!

  4. Annette on May 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks Jen, I love the Crop Shape Masks. I can see I will be using those frequently.

  5. Shaunna on May 3, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Thanks for the great masks. I have PSE11 and am just learning

  6. Lucie on May 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks Jen for the photoshop masks. Digital scrapper does their best to make everyone happy!

  7. Grandyathome on May 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I followed your directions in the Custom Shape Tool, but I do not have those mask types. Would I need to reload the PSE 11?
    Seems I am missing some of the Graphics too, at least access to them.

    • Jen White on May 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Judi, When you open the Custom Shape Picker, click on the drop down menu and choose All Elements Shapes. You should then see the Crop Shapes further down the list. 😀

      • Sandi Dunbar on May 31, 2013 at 9:32 pm

        Thank you, Jen. I was having the same problem. I didn’t even notice the down arrow beside “default.”

  8. KFM on May 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you Jen for the Crop Shapes. Since I have been attempting to learn PSCS6 I forgot about the things available in PSE.

  9. Priscilla on May 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    So nice to find these, thanks to you! Coincidentally, earlier today I was browsing the Graphics selections (PSE10>Window>Content>Graphics and came across a number of masks there too, under Frames (in Graphics)!

    Suddenly I’ve got lots of Masks to use! Thanks again!

  10. Mary Turner on May 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks Jen, for including something for us Photoshop users. We would have felt like step-children!

    • Jen White on May 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Haha. Awe, Mary. Even if you were a step-child, we’d make sure you were fully loved! 😀 xoxo

  11. Mary Turner on May 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks Jen for including something for us Photoshop users!

  12. Cindy B. on May 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I had no idea all that was available in my Photoshop Elements 10. Thanks for telling us about it.

  13. Margie on May 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks so much for this great tip!

  14. Mary on May 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Great job Jen. :O)

  15. teri on May 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t have version 11 – still using version 9 so was bummed thinking I was going to miss out on these. Just checked and version 9 has them also. I loved the idea of using papers with them for background elements. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Lisa on May 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks so much for the masks for PS users! Who would have figured that PSE 11 has some features and goodies over PS?! I’m still searching tutorials to find manual ways to get the same effects as the Guided Edits. So now I want PSE 11 as well. lol

    Could you share what the font is for “Photo Masks” in the header? So pretty. I would guess it’s a paid one, but doesn’t hurt to ask. 🙂

    • Linda Sattgast on May 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      It’s Aphrodite Slim Text, and yes, it’s a paid font, but it’s quite affordable—somewhere in the range of $17 to $19, I believe.

  17. Julie (MaggieMae) on May 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Oh, wow! I had no idea there were there!!! Thanks so much!

  18. Cindy on May 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you! I had no idea I had these goodies right at my fingertips already. Great ideas for using them.

  19. Jeanne on May 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

    I’m so new at this, I never thought about using a photo mask with paper, what a concept 🙂 Love your tuts, Jen, I always learn something new or to look at something in a new way AND you always make me laugh!

  20. Windi on May 3, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I better upgrade quickly!! Thank you!!

    • Jen White on May 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Windi, I know Adobe is having a $30 off sale on PSE11 right now. So you might want to check that out. 😀

  21. 2x2collection on May 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Love these blogs. Just when I think I’m comfortable with PSE and have a pretty good handle on what I’m doing, you remind me I’ve touched the tip of the iceberg. Really enjoying all these new discoveries. Thanks for keeping us learning!

  22. Shirl/Grambie on May 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Thank you for the reminder. With so many things going on within PSE 11, I often forget about the additional goodies within this program. I particularly love to use these mask for papers. I will definitely use a mask within a layout for this month. 🙂

  23. pattya on May 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Thank-you, Jen–these will be so fun to use!

  24. Barbara on May 3, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you!

  25. cheryl on May 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Thank You for the photoshop masks!

  26. RuthAnn on May 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Thanks Jen. These will be useful. I don’t have PSE11. Maybe I should check it out. Use PS mostly.

  27. Sharron on May 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Thanks for reminding me. I forget they’re there.

  28. Barbara Albrecht on May 3, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for the heads up about the great “masks” available in PSE 11! I really need to check them all out. I don’t use the custom shapes much…not sure why. But…I’ll be using these…thanks for the tip!!!

  29. Thejage on May 3, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Thanks so much, Jen, for I had no idea that PSE11 had so many –

  30. Doris on May 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Great tutorial Jen! Thanks.

  31. Bev on May 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

    That’s a great lesson for us, and not just for scrapbooking: make use of what we have before going out and buying more! Like the email I recently got showing how to cut a spade with a handle out of a plastic milk carton! Thanks Jen!

  32. Doris on May 3, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Great tut Jen!

  33. Terri on May 3, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Thanks Jen!! I love learning all these great new ideas. What a great resource you are.

  34. Margot on May 3, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Hi Jen,

    This is the first I knew of the Custom Shape Picker. Where do I find this tool?

    • Jen White on May 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Margot. First get the Custom Shape tool. It is nested with the Rectangle tool. Then in the Tool Options, you will see the Custom Shape Picker. 😀 Hope that helps!

  35. tropicalhelen on May 3, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Thanks Jen. Seems we should explore our software a bit more

  36. Margret on May 3, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Thank you Jen.

    I will use this mask for my many times fore my scraps.

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