Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements: Which One Is Right for You?

by Guest Author on November 2, 2010

in Photography, Software

If you’re in the market for an image editing software, chances are you’re choosing between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

Both are excellent software for manipulating digital photographs and images. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the ways the two software are different. Hopefully, after reading this, you can make an informed decision.

Keep in mind Adobe’s intentions when you consider each one. In their website, Adobe says that Photoshop CS5 (the latest version) is ideal for “professional photographers, serious amateur photographers, graphic designers, web designers.”

Unfortunately, Adobe doesn’t tell us whom Photoshop Elements is ideal for. It does say you can “get creative,” “enhance your photos,” “share and protect all your memories” with Elements.

This hints at a more consumer-level (rather than professional) user who manages images for personal use.

With this in mind, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements differ in three main areas: price, ease of use, and features. Let’s go over each one.

1. Price

Adobe Photoshop costs a whopping $699, while Photoshop Elements is $99.

For many, the price will dictate their choice. Keep in mind, some professionals use Elements even for their work. They use workarounds such as add-ons and other tools to get Elements to do what they need to accomplish. But more on that later.

2. Ease of Use

With Photoshop geared towards professional image users, you can expect it to be more difficult to use. Elements has a more intuitive, more user-friendly interface.

However, if you’re already familiar with photo editing software, such as earlier versions of Photoshop, then this won’t be much of an issue.

3. Features

As you might have guessed, the differences in price and ease of use stem from differences in features. Photoshop has functionalities which Elements doesn’t have… and vice versa.

For example, Photoshop has more robust features for manipulating the finer details of a digital image. Here are just some features in Photoshop, which aren’t in Elements:

  • CMYK and LAB color modes
  • Ability to work with 16-bit and 32-bit images
  • Layer masks and layer comps
  • Adjustment layers for color balance, curves and selective color
  • Advanced text formatting, including putting text on a path

But don’t ditch Elements yet. It also has features you won’t find in Photoshop, such as:

  • Automatic red-eye removal
  • Cookie cutter tool, background templates and artwork
  • Photo Organizer, which lets you tag photos and later find them quickly through tags. Photo Organizer also lets you share your photos by creating online galleries, slideshows, photo books and more.

As mentioned earlier, many Elements users find they can do with Elements a lot of the things Photoshop can do. Some of the functionalities are there but need to be “unlocked.”

Add-ons and tools for Photoshop Elements are developed by users of both software. Some are free, while others you need to pay for. These will enhance Elements to be able to do more of the things Photoshop can do.

Whichever software you choose, you have to know how to use it in order to achieve the images you want.

If you decide that Photoshop is for you, check out Learn Photoshop Now. Its video tutorials is like looking over the shoulder of a seasoned Photoshop user.

Should you go with Elements, Learn Elements Now will help you master the software in a short time.

Photoshop or Photoshop Elements? Both are powerful software for perfecting your digital images. Choose the one that best meets your needs within the resources you have.

Related articles you might find interesting:

Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com November 3, 2010 at 02:22

I’m always under the impression that the “Element” on Adobe products is meant for beginners – so many of the stuffs are automated and not as powerful as the Pro (non-Element)

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Ron November 3, 2010 at 02:57

First of all, thanks for this article stating out the difference of the two. I am kinda agreeing with what Michael said, elements products are more like geared towards to beginners and those who just use some basic photoshop commands and tools.
Ron recently posted… Online Games Dominated By Girls

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Joe Le Merou November 3, 2010 at 12:20

Actually Apple Elements has a lot for himself.
It’s really a ‘mini’ Photoshop and except if you’re a serious graphist or photographer, i’m pretty sure you can be very satisfied with Elements.
So i would say Elements is not only for beginners but also for every amateur who is not ready to invest the huge Photoshop fee.
Joe Le Merou recently posted… Birds in a cage in Malang’s Market

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Shane November 8, 2010 at 17:42

I’ve always used Photoshop since I was at school and all the way through being a student. I read somewhere that Adobe don’t really mind students etc using pirated versions of the software as they know that when they get jobs their employer will need to use a licensed version of the software.

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Rob McCance November 10, 2010 at 03:15

I’ve used Photoshop since v6 and know where everything is and how to quickly do everything I need. So for me, I’ll just stick with that.
Rob McCance recently posted… Neighborhood Choices

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Shane Ryans November 15, 2010 at 03:20

I am a big fan of photoshop. I don’t think I would be happy to take a step down. I like the ability to work in layers and other aspects that elements won’t let me do. I think it is good for the average user, but I couldn’t dumb down what I know and love and be ok with it.

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Dave Likes December 4, 2010 at 19:29

I used Photoshop Elements for almost 10 years as a professional photographer. It is a very powerful program. Recently I switched to Photoshop CS5. I’ve written a blog post on the switch over and why.

L. David Likes Photography

See my post link below:
http://ldavidlikes.com/photoshop-elements-versus-photoshop-which-for-the-professional/

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Khalilur Rahman April 16, 2011 at 18:28

This is the site where basic learner can enjoy some great feature of photoshop, graphics and web elements designing. Discussed step by step, given lots of example with text and picture, example logos, edited images, facebook tutorials etc.

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