Welcome to the forum.
The first question I would ask is what size are your still images? For Premiere Elements in a standard definition project, they should be around 1000 x 750 pixels. If they are much larger, and there are lots of them, Premiere Elements can have difficulty processing them.
This may be my problem........each pic is around 2600x3300
pixels.....professional pics that we obtained permission to
use...........and we have 140 of them.............any easy way to convert
the pics already in the project instead of taking them all out, resizing all
of them individually and putting them back in?
I don't know of a good way to resize photos once they are in Premiere Elements melparis. If you have Photoshop though, you can process and resize all the photos in one go and then bring those photos into Premiere Elements.
Let us know how things go.