Photoshop VS Photoshop Elements — Which Should You Choose?

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As a web developer you would think that I would revel in working in Photoshop. I don’t. In fact, it must be admitted that I actively detest it and almost always hand off image manipulation tasks to team members. To my way of thinking it is always best to “Do What You Love and Outsource the Rest!”. So when an message from Kimberly Bohannon of (Go For Your Dream) landed in my email box a few minutes ago I got very excited and wanted to share the article here with you.

If you have been struggling with, or wanting to learn more about Photoshop this article will be very helpful to you.


“Which Program Should I Buy… Photoshop or Photoshop Elements?” Which One Is Right for You?

by Kimberly Bohannon

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

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 CS4 (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. Learn Elements Now

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. The video tutorials are 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.


About the Author:

Denise Griffitts is a nationally recognized Virtual Assistance Industry Expert, Online Business Manager, VA Coach and Mentor. She owns and operates a highly successful multi-VA firm and a web development company.


  1. Photoshop Handbook  June 9, 2011

    I know it’s a little off topic but I stumbled across your blog and was just wondering if you could tell me what theme it’s using? It’s really awesome! If you’d be so kind as to perhaps let me know by replying to one of my posts or sending an email to my address I’d really appreciate it!

  2. Denise Griffitts  June 9, 2011

    I used a theme from Elegant Themes for this blog. They have some wonderful themes that you can use straight out of the box or heavily customize. And they are extremely reasonably priced. This is my affiliate link by the way.

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