Photoshop or Photoshop Elements?

Whether taken by a professional photographer or a point-and-shoot beginner, most photos can use some help once they are on your computer. Photoshop and Photoshop Elements are the standard for image enhancement, but you might be wondering which of the two programs is the right choice for you.

Photoshop is the choice for professionals who are processing a number of images on a regular basis. It is powerful, complex, and it comes with a pretty hefty price-tag. For many people, however, Photoshop is too powerful, and too complex. Most users would never need Photoshop's full-range of features. Photoshop Elements is much more affordable, and is now robust enough to do many of the same things that Photoshop does.

Still not entirely sure which Photoshop to buy?

Photoshop: $700-$1000

  • Very robust, and powerful 
  • Professional standard in the industry 
  • Capable of repeating the same set of adjustments to multiple photos (i.e., actions) 
  • Steeper learning curve 

Photoshop Elements: $80

  • Robust, and does much of what Photoshop can do
  • Very straight-forward, and user friendly 
  • Includes a vast amount of help along the way - for example: auto settings for image enhancement
  • NOT capable of repeating the same set of adjustments to multiple photos with the push of a button (via actions) 

Bottom Line

If you are a blogger: Photoshop Elements will probably be all you need. Save your money and buy this version!

If you are a photographer: buy Photoshop Elements if you're a hobby photographer. If you will be taking photos for clients who pay you money, invest in Photoshop.

If you are a graphic designer: you should have the Adobe Creative Suite, since you'll need both Illustrator and Photoshop, and probably a couple of the other programs as well. Illustrator should be your primary design tool, and Photoshop will be your secondary design tool.

How can I get a Photoshop discount?

The most common discount for Photoshop is Adobe's educational discount. Visit Adobe to learn all the details of how to claim your discount: Currently, this brings down the price of Photoshop to $249, but educational pricing changes occasionally.

Hopefully this gives you a great idea of which program is right for you. My Photoshop class covers the basics of using Photoshop for your blog, and demonstrates both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

Post by Mike Loveland. Image, Nicole Hill Gerulat from Nicole's Classes.