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Photoshop Elements vs full version of Photoshop

Dan Mays , Oct 28, 2011; 02:59 p.m.

I have Lightroom 3 (just got it). I was wondering if Elements is a sufficient addition or if I need the full version of Photoshop. I will mostly be working on portraits and second shooter at weddings.


David Haas , Oct 28, 2011; 03:18 p.m.

Dan -

Lightroom does many of the same things that PSE and PS do - for the basics it is more than sufficient.

If you want to get into advanced fixes then PSE will handle about 60-70% of what anyone needs. PS is the full blown tool.


Josh Root , Oct 28, 2011; 03:36 p.m.

Elements is, in my opinion, one of the best bargains out there. It does most all of what a photographer would want at a extremely reasonable price (compared to full PS). I have both and I use both. But I suggest Elements to people all the time.

JC Uknz , Oct 28, 2011; 03:38 p.m.

You can and should also consider Paint Shop Pro as your 'sophisticated' editor but at a price closer to PSE. On the other hand if you are heading for the professional world [ as a second camera worker ] going with Adobe is better, particularly if you can work the 'student' trick to reduce the price..

Wouter Willemse , Oct 28, 2011; 04:29 p.m.

I'd get started with Lightroom - you may find that you hardly ever need Photoshop Elements. If so, you could consider settle the exceptional cases that need heavier editing with a free decent tool such as paint.net or similar.
But otherwise, yes, Elements is great value for money, and for many people full Photoshop is just overkill.

JDM von Weinberg , Oct 28, 2011; 05:26 p.m.

And for some people, full Photoshop is just the ticket. If you are a student or faculty member, you can get the whole thing for not much more than the regular price for the simpler programs. Check 'academic discounts' or some such.

It is practically my home these days. Not the least of the advantages of Elements is that much of what you learn there is transferable to the full package when you're ready for it.

William Clark , Oct 28, 2011; 06:06 p.m.

Agree with Josh. Elements does a lot, especially considering cost as compared to Photoshop.

Photoshop is about layers and blending. For me, there was/is still a learning curve albeit quite steep at the beginning. I need Photoshop; however, as I'm trying to get close to retirement, Elements will make sense rather than an upgrade to the latest PS..
Two recommendations, if you opt for Photoshop, realize that most every solution has several paths that could be used to achieve the desired results. Also consider add on programs, usually called actions that can assist you with getting results with Photoshop. Once you get the hang of it try writing actions that will help you process files with Photoshop. Here is a spot to check out:

I also took a five day class with Eddie Tapp. You can take a peek at his stuff here on the net.
Hope this helps you.

Alan Klein , Oct 28, 2011; 06:08 p.m.

There are portraiture programs out there that you might find more useful than Elements or PS since that's what your doing.

barry goldberg , Oct 28, 2011; 06:13 p.m.

To reiterate what others have said, here is my setup.

I use Lightroom extensively. I use it for both workflow management and for minor edits. I also have Photoshop Elements and I use it once it a while when I need more extensive editing. I probably process 1k-2k pictures a month all through Lightroom. I might open Elements once or twice per month.

For most people, I believe that this is the perfect setup. Also like William said, the learning curve on Elements is very short while the learning curve on Photoshop is quite long.

Look for specials that combine Lightroom and Elements. Also if you have a child in your household, you may be eligible for a student discount.

Benjamin Johnson , Oct 29, 2011; 04:35 p.m.

I can't imagine a world without Photoshop. I've been using it for at least 10 years now. It's rare that I publish anything without using it. I messed with Elements a few years ago because someone hired me to teach it to them. I found it intuitive, but very basic. You might outgrow Elements, but keep in mind, even though the things you can accomplish are similar, the interfaces are very different. You might want to find an old copy (hurry though) of CS4, now that CS5 is in stores. It will still be more than elements, but Adobe lets you upgrade usually up to two versions for just a few bucks.

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