I know when I started creating layouts, I tended not to shadow enough because, let's face it, putting gray around the edges of something just felt weird somehow, LOL! So I began looking through the gallery to see the pages that really jumped out at me -- and it was the ones that had great shadows to go with a great composition.
The next question was how to do it well? I found lots of great tutorials on designer blogs, but it still came down to my preference for angle at 120 degrees, and trying to make the shadow look as realistic as possible. So instead of clicking to open the effects palette for each layer and tinkering for awhile, and then copying and pasting to another similar layer. I started saving the shadows I was creating as styles -- one click and done! They are still editable to be just want I want it to look like, but most of the hard work is done.
So I have two sets, Set 1 gives basic, everyday shadows to the elements we use most. Set 2 gives shadows for that more "raised off the page" look. Available at theStudio and Digidesignresort.
Now, for those of you using Photoshop Elements, loading styles, patterns, shapes, etc. can be a big pain. But I created an easy solution for you to use the styles without having to figure where or how to load it, or rebuild the database, or create metadata.
Simply open the psd file labled, StyleStack, and follow these directions which are included in the folder. You'll select the shadow you want, right click the layer to copy the layer style, go to your page, select the layer with your element, then right click to paste that shadow style. Done!