Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CS

The newcomer to photo editing and computer art may find the array of options before them boggling. There are many photo editing programs out there, each claiming to be the best for your needs. Choosing between them without being able to try them all seems impossible. One of the biggest questions facing beginners is whether to choose the full version of Adobe Photoshop – the industry standard for photo editing, or to go with the sleeker, less expensive Photoshop Elements.

The full version can be tempting. After all, that’s what the professionals use. This high-end, high-functionality program comes, however, with an equally hefty price tag. Many users end up buying the full version of Photoshop because it is widely reputed to be the best program available. Unfortunately, they do so without knowing what it means to be the best. Many of Photoshop’s high-power, professional tools are not useful to the beginner They can be equally useless to someone who is only interested in adjusting a few snapshots, or perhaps creating some web page graphics. These features, which can be incredibly worthwhile to a trained user who needs to meet publication industry standards, can even get in the way of the average user. A confusing array of menus and options with arcane names presents itself, without extensive explanation of what these features do. Even the manual can be difficult to understand and navigate.

If you do not expect to be using Photoshop professionally, or are new to the world of photo editing, the reduced version, Photoshop Elements, may be more what you need. Photoshop retails for over $500, while Elements can be found for a much more reasonable $99. Photoshop Elements contains the features needed to remove speckling and damage from images, create professional looking graphics, and create attractive special effects in your photos. Elements also allows for the creation of artistic effects, color and lighting adjustment, and layer effects. Unless you regularly use custom printing separations and high-end color management, the wide array of professional features you pay for when buying the full version of Photoshop will go unused. Photoshop Elements is much easier for the beginner to learn, as well. If you have purchased Photoshop Elements and feel constrained by its limitations, it is easy to upgrade to the full version through the Adobe website.

While the full version of Adobe Photoshop is a powerful professional tool, the beginning user will be better served by the purchase of Photoshop Elements. This scaled down version of the industry standard photo editing program is easier to use and learn, and is available for a much more reasonable price. This makes it possible to get into the world of photo editing and computer art without spending a bundle, and still allows the user to own a powerful and effective program. When used in home or small-scale professional use, Photoshop Elements is the better choice for the beginning user.