There are many software packages and editing programs out there. But how do you know which one is for you? One option is to try them all and see how you get on.
But no one wants to do that. It’s lengthy and expensive.
That’s why we’ve done it for you. In this article, we look at Adobe Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop CC, so you can choose between them without any hassle.
What Is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop, as I’m pretty sure you know, is an image editor. Photographers all around the world use it to create very beautiful edits of their work.
We have also heard the term ‘Photoshopped’, meaning an image with excessive manipulation. This program surpasses itself.
It is a daunting program to use from the get-go, and I know this from personal experience. There is a steep learning curve. Once you’re past that, though, the world’s your photography oyster.
What Is Photoshop Elements?
Most of you are probably sitting there wondering what Photoshop Elements even is.
Photoshop Elements is a program you have never heard of. Originally, Elements was packaged alongside Photoshop 6.
It was purposely packaged for photographers, as opposed to Photoshop, which was never marketed solely for photographic usage.
In terms of features, PSE has similar tools to other editing software packages, albeit simplified.
Comparison 1 – Target Audience
When it comes to Adobe Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop CC, the first area we need to look at is the target audience each was created for.
Photoshop CC 2018
Photoshop can be a very complicated program. From opening it up the first time, you are awash with toolbars and other areas that you are unsure of their purpose.
Many areas come across as working with drawing and other graphics workflows. All of the main settings (compared to Lightroom) are hidden away. It isn’t obvious what you can use immediately.
Photoshop is used by all sorts of visual professionals. Those who use PS include graphic designers, advertisers, web designers and video editors. Because of this, there need to be many tools for all workflows.
Photoshop is not easy to use. For those who need to make only a few changes to their images, Photoshop is overkill.
Imagine having a drag racing car that you only use to drive to the corner shop.
Photoshop Elements 2019
Photoshop Elements, however, does things a little more simply. This means that it is still attractive for those who work in visual fields, yet, ones who don’t need all of the bells and whistles that Photoshop has.
Beginners will, therefore, go for PSE rather than PS. It allows for a faster process and turnover. The benefit with this system is that if you know Photoshop inside out (enough to know what you’re doing), you’ll feel at home using PSE.
Comparison 2 – User Interface
Photoshop CC 2018
Everything in Photoshop is accessible from one window. You can open image tabs, which allow to move between images with ease. It also helps when you want to combine images or elements from them.
Compared to Photoshop Elements or Lightroom, the one window option works very well. There is no confusion with options or tools that are only possible in certain areas.
The other great thing is that Photoshop is completely user customisable. You are free to change any keyboard shortcuts alongside different workspaces.
Workspaces are a great way to help single out the tools that you need, depending on your purpose.
By clicking on the Workspace tab in the upper right-hand area of the interface, you can select between 3D, motion and Photography, et al.
Photoshop Elements 2019
Photoshop Elements has a different approach. With this interface, there are three layouts available to you. As I said, those who use Photoshop will find Elements easy to use.
The three layouts possible are Quick Edit Mode, Guided Edit Mode and Expert Edit Mode. These are great if you don’t need the complexity of the Expert Edit mode.
Quick Edit Mode – This layout will only give you a few simple tools. It is the simplest edit mode, used for quick and minor actions.
You will find tools such as Red Eye Removal, Whiten Teeth Tool (what?!), Spot Healing Brush and the Crop Tool.
These, apart from basic settings adjustments such as Exposure, Levels and Color might be all you need.
Five minutes here will leave you with an image or two, whereas it would take four or five times longer to do the same things in Photoshop.
Guided Edit Mode – This layout is somewhat different to the Quick Edit Mode. The side panel tools that offered you the simple settings are gone, leaving the hand and zoom tools behind.
This layout is for specific corrections and effects. By using the Touch Ups and Effect settings, you can create old-fashioned images or use vignettes.
Adding a sepia tone to an image here would take a few minutes of tweaking. The same editing in Photoshop, but the method is a little more complicated and less obvious.
Expert Edit Mode – The Expert Edit mode lets you take full control over every element of your post-processing workflow. The effects on the left have been drastically improved.
Some of these tools are the same as what you would find in the Quick Edit Mode. they will also be familiar if you have worked with Photoshop before.
The tools you see here are divided into three areas. ‘View’, ‘Select’, ‘Enhance’, ‘Draw’, ‘Modify’. If you are looking for color settings, you’ll find them at the bottom.
As the name suggests, this area is for those photographers who know what they are doing. There is less guidance as you would find in the ‘Guided Edit Mode’.
Comparison 3 – Pricing
If you are an avid user of Adobe products, you might be confused with their recent updates. A year or two ago, Adobe changed the majority of their programs to a Creative Cloud subscription process.
Photoshop CC 2018
If you still use Photoshop CS6, and feel like its finally time for an update, then you need to pay per month. The benefit here is there are many more updates, at no extra cost.
These can be difficult to keep up with, especially if you like to use tutorial videos. They might be giving you processes that have moved, changed or no longer exist.
The Creative Cloud has its benefits, but the big plus for Photoshop Elements is that it isn’t part of it. This might mean fewer updates, but a one-off cost is better than a monthly plan.
Right now, if you wanted to download and use Adobe Photoshop CC, you need to pay a minimum of $9.99 a month. This will give you one option the Photography Plan.
This does come with both versions of Lightroom, and 20gb of cloud storage. You can opt for more storage, at an extra cost of $10 per month.
Photoshop Elements 2019
Photoshop Elements comes at a one-off cost of $99.99 for a full-license, not including tax. Upgrades come at $79.99, but I’m unsure how often the updates will be.
The huge benefit here is that, after a year, PSE will still cost you $100. Photoshop will set you back $119.88. After ten years, depending on your computer system, having PSE will save you over $1000.
In terms of drawbacks, you’ll need to pay for those updates. This is great if you only need a few different adjustments and tools.
For both programs, there are downloadable trials allowing you to try them for 30 days. This allows you to get a better idea of what are the possibilities.
Depending on what you want to achieve with your images will help determine which program suits you and your work better.
Both programs allow you to use tools and adjustments on your images. Photoshop sometimes feels like you need a manual to know how to operate it. Thankfully, Elements is a little more basic and easier to use.
Saying that, there is so much more you can do with your images when opened in Photoshop. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes a great platform.
It allows you to create images beyond your wildest dreams. The possibilities are there for when you might need them, yet Elements feels limited and constricting.
The price might be a big factor when it comes to your choice in program. Adobe Photoshop Elements is much cheaper over a longer period of time.
At 10 months in, they both cost the same. But after that, Elements is basically free, if you don’t mind not updating the program.
For me, Elements is a little too basic. I like Photoshop, and I can’t imagine downgrading to a simpler product, due to the amount of time and effort I put into learning how the platform operates.
Sometimes I don’t make very complicated edits, but knowing I can make Photoshop worth having.
Elements is more for the photographer who likes to photograph their family and friends.
Photoshop is better suited for the landscape photographer who combines layers, masks and other in-depth filters and processes.