Your photos may look fantastic, but Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Elements may make them better. Like Photoshop, these two programs can help you correct and enhance images. Before you choose one of these applications to help you perfect photos, explore their features to discover the app that’s right for you.
Photoshop is such a popular image enhancement tool that it’s also a verb. When people say a digital artist “photoshopped” an image, they mean that the artist used Photoshop to change the way it looks. Some experts refer to Elements as a stripped down version of Photoshop. The Elements user interface is simpler than Photoshop's and designed to make it easier for amateurs to tweak images. Elements has an expert mode that enables power users to view more advanced image correction controls. For example, you can work with blending modes, layers and layer masks similar to the way you do in Photoshop. You can also add text to images and paint over them in Expert mode. Elements is a powerful image enhancement tool, but it does not have a Pen tool, Curves or some other useful controls found in Photoshop.
Adobe designed Lightroom as a powerful tool for performing high quality photographic post-processing. Loaded with advanced tools such as selective adjustment brushes and noise reduction technology, it lacks the simpler user interface found in Elements. Like Elements, Lightroom has file management tools that help you organize and catalog photographs. Although Lightroom doesn’t have the layer support you find in Elements and Photoshop, you’ll still benefit from Lightroom’s ability to perform non-destructive processing; the program does not alter your original image, so you can undo changes you’ve made to a photo easily.
Professional photographers often work with RAW files that digital cameras create. A RAW file is a high quality, uncompressed image files that contain all pixel information that digital cameras capture. Lightroom helps you work with a large number of RAW files efficiently. In fact, you can correct and enhance them the same way you manipulate JPEGs. Elements, on the other hand, is a good tool to use when you only need to perform limited RAW file processing. It’s more suited for correcting and enhancing JPEGs quickly.
Lightroom and Elements have additional features you may find essential. Elements, for instance, enables you to share photos online. Lightroom helps you create photo books you can upload and print online. Like Photoshop, Lightroom and Elements have a healing brush that corrects flaws in photos. If you like video slide shows, you can use Lightroom to create them by combining video clips, music and still images.
LIghtroom costs more than Elements, but both programs are less expensive than Photoshop. If you are an average computer user who simply wants to make photos more appealing, Elements may be all you need to tweak photos to perfection. On the other hand, if you are a professional photographer or you're looking to use the best image processing tool, Lightroom is a good choice.