Comparing Lightroom vs Elements, I paid attention to their photo management features, major drawbacks and usability. What are they capable of and who may use them: professionals or amateurs?
In this post, you will discover the main differences between Photoshop Elements and Lightroom and also get an answer to one of the main questions “What software to use and when do I need it”.
Adobe Lightroom CC will be the best choice for all color settings adjustment: white balance, HSL, exposure, gradients, histograms, tone curves, point filters, black and white conversion, vignetting and more.
Due to the fact that Lightroom is on the market for more than a decade, there is a fairly extensive base of both paid and free Lightroom tutorials, books, forums, videos and even courses. This makes it suitable for professionals and beginners.
Comparing Photoshop Elements versus Lightroom, the latter, as all other software belonging to Creative Cloud, has several privileges over its opponent. I am talking about cloud storage up to 10TB, stock photos, Adobe Portfolio and close integration with other products.
Convenient and advanced photo management. Although Photoshop Elements offers file organization, it is only available at a basic level. In this case, Lightroom CC is more advanced, as it allows to use star ratings, color labels, AI location search and even sorting by model’s face. In Lightroom, you may also create collections that help you sort files by different topics.
Batch processing using the quick development panel. With the help of this panel, you can edit batches of RAW files by applying filters or other changes in the form of white balance correction to all shots simultaneously.
Creative adjustment tools. The adjustment brush, gradient filter and vignette, post-cropping are some of the best creative adjustment tools available in Lightroom. With these tools, I correct the most common mistakes without affecting the quality of the images. You can darken or lighten the sky, add a smooth transition, eliminate or create a vignette, adjust certain areas of the image, apply Dodge and Burn, sharpen or soften.
Convenient work with masks. The “Mask Range” selection tool may use either brightness or color to refine the selection you made by applying a graduated filter, radial filter or adjustment brush. It expands or reduces the selected area, depending on the lighting or color. This works effectively for cases where you have, let’s say, a very dark group of objects and you wish to change the background, make it brighter or vice versa, darkened and blurred.
Panorama merge. With this feature, it is possible to create a panorama as a RAW or DNG file that is located near the RAW files you have used to make the picture. I can’t but mention Fill Edges – a new option of the recently released Lightroom v9. It uses content-dependent technology to automatically fill the uneven edges of your panorama.
No picture retouching tools. Unlike PS Elements, it can only perform basic adjustments with the help of stain removal and adjustment brushes. They are effective for eliminating red-eye effect, teeth whitening, removing unnecessary elements from the shot or cleaning skin from black spots.
Only for photos. While PS Elements offers many creative tools for making logos or web design, Lightroom is only meant for working with photos – you can’t create a blank canvas and draw on it.
Speaking of the picture editor, you will get 3 modes – Quick, Guided and Expert. If the Quick mode generally offers the most common tools with the ability to adjust the intensity (resembling a mobile application), the Expert mode is already an advanced version of the picture editor. Here you will find almost everything that is present in the older version of Photoshop, including actions, combo layers, customizable stamps and more.
Smart healing brush. This tool is present in the older version of Photoshop, but the developers took it a step further and added it to PS Elements. With the help of this brush, you can select any part of the shot to make it disappear.
Actions for fast picture editing. This function records the sequence of steps in Photoshop and then lets you automate the process. It means that all you have to do is press a button and the specified adjustments will be made automatically.
Advanced layers. Layers in PS Elements are available in the Expert mode and work according to the same principle as in the older version. After applying the mask to the layer, you may use the gradient tools or the brush. Thus, you will be able to adjust only certain parts of the shot.
For beginners and experts. It is possible to whiten teeth, eliminate blemishes, flyaway hair, unnecessary elements, neutralize eye bags. Besides, you can perform advanced picture retouching with such powerful tools as spot healing brush, patch tool and clone stamp. All of them make picture retouching a productive and fast process.
Automatic coloring with AI. With the help of Adobe Sensei AI technology, Elements automatically turns black and white pictures into colored ones. This feature may be used for old family photos.
No cloud storage. Unlike Lightroom and Photoshop, you won't get cloud storage from Adobe if you buy Photoshop Elements.
You can’t log in without Internet access. Even though users call PS Elements a standalone software, you have to use Adobe ID to log in (after completely shutting down the PC), which is not always convenient.
Comparing Adobe Lightroom vs Elements in the price category, I would like to immediately note the leader is PS Elements. In fact, you can’t buy Lightroom once and for all, as it is possible with Elements. The minimum monthly payment for Lightroom will be $9.99, while Photoshop Elements 2020 is available for $69.99 and is updated once a year or two.
It is true that Lightroom is meant for professionals, and Elements is better suited for newbies and hobbyists, who don’t make a living from photography. Photoshop Elements or Lightroom has the same basic functions: organization, system catalogs, tools for printing and demonstrating works. Although PS Elements does all this at a basic level.
If you are a person, who takes or processes hundreds to thousands of pictures, particularly in RAW format, Lightroom is exactly what you need. When editing images in Lightroom, you go through all the processes: organizing, processing, preparing for printing or online demonstrations.
Batch editing of RAW files with the ability to apply advanced user settings, non-destructive editing that helps return to any stage of the process, even a hundred steps back – these are some of the strengths of the picture editor, which are absent in PS.
As for Photoshop Elements, it offers many features similar to Lightroom ones, Camera RAW, which helps perform advanced color correction and even an organizer for basic file management. In addition, you can prepare files for printing, create photo books, slideshows. For more advanced picture editing, you will find layers that are borrowed from Photoshop.
But once you start working more deeply with the files, you will find yourself thinking about the lack of more serious tools for managing and sorting images. That’s why I recommend using PS Elements for novice photographers and retouchers.
No matter which program you choose: Photoshop Elements or Lightroom, these freebies will significantly reduce the time spent on improving pictures.
This preset will remove faded green and yellow tones from the shot, giving it contrast and coolness, leaving the colors natural. I recommend applying this preset only to studio shots of any genre.
Fashion shots are always in trend, so our retouchers have created this free matte preset. It will pull the shot out of the shadows, add a light matte shade, without losing the natural look of the colors.
This free action will be especially helpful for winter photos. Apply it to shots taken on a clear day to simulate and add falling snow. Besides, the action adds a halo to the background, so I wouldn’t recommend using it for portrait shots.
Not only fashion but landscape photos as well always attract people’s attention, so I have added this free colorful action. It increases contrast, making colors more vivid and saturated. For a more accurate effect, it is recommended to apply the action to shots taken in not too bright daylight.
Add this free overlay in the form of frosty drawings to the shot to make it more appealing and achieve the “coolness” effect. I recommend applying the overlay to street and portrait photography taken in daylight.