Difference between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements 

In the realm of digital imagery, Adobe stands as a colossus. It offers a suite of software that caters to every level of creative endeavor. Among its crown jewels are Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Each program is designed to fulfill the diverse needs of photo correcting enthusiasts and professionals alike. The difference between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements often sparks curiosity among utilizers. At first glance, they share a lineage but cater to distinct audiences with varying needs and skill levels. This article dives deep into comparing these powerful instruments. It will also shed light on their functionalities, ease of use, and which one might suit your creative journey best.

Table of Contents

Key Difference Between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

Below is a table that highlights the key difference between the two software. It focuses on aspects such as usability, instruments, features, and pricing.

Feature Photoshop Photoshop Elements
Target Audience Professionals and advanced users in graphic design, photography, and digital art. Hobbyists, beginners, and those requiring simpler photo correcting tasks.
Complexity High, with a steep learning curve due to evolved elements. Lower, more user-friendly interface designed for easier navigation.
Tools and Elements Extensive toolset for in-depth editing, 3D drawing, sophisticated compositions, and animation. Supports advanced photo manipulation, layering, and retouching. Streamlined toolset focused on basic to intermittently edit photo. Includes automated options for quick fixes, guided edits, and simpler layer management.
Price Subscription-based, with monthly or annual payment plans. Part of Adobe Creative Cloud. Single purchase, offering a more cost-effective solution for utilizers not requiring professional-grade features.
Workspace Customization Highly customizable interface allowing for workspace adjustments based on project needs. Simplified workspaces (Quick, Guided, Expert) tailored to support utilizers of all skill levels without overwhelming options.
File Support Broad file format support including PSD, PSB, and all standard picture formats; evolved options for 3D files and edit video. Covers essential picture formats suitable for personal use, but may lack support for more professional file types like PSD extensions.
Creative Control Offers complete creative freedom with manual adjustments and precise capabilities to edit. Prioritizes ease of use, with some automatic features and guided edits reducing the need for manual adjustments.
Integration and Plugins Extensive support for third-party plugins and integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Limited plugin support and integration focused on enhancing basic correcting tasks rather than professional workflows.

Pricing: Photoshop Elements vs. Photoshop

Free Photoshop Download for Editing Software

Understanding the pricing models is crucial for both beginners and professionals. It helps in making an informed decision based on your budget and needs.

Initial Cost and Subscription Model

Difference between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements: Which one to use?


Choosing the right software between the two can significantly impact your digital creative process to edit pictures. While both hail from the Adobe family and share some core functionalities, they are designed for distinct audiences with different needs and skill levels.

Here’s a breakdown of the key differences to help you decide which software is best suited for you.

Target Audience and Usage

The former is the industry standard for professional photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists. It offers an extensive array of instruments and elements for complex image manipulation, graphic design, 3D modeling, and even video editing. It is designed to meet these professional requirements, if your work demands the highest level of detail, precision, and flexibility.

Tailoring Photoshop Elements for hobbyists, beginners, and those needing a simpler interface for basic to intermediate image correcting tasks. It focuses on ease of use, offering quick fixes, automatic adjustments, and guided edits to help users achieve desired results without a steep learning curve. It is perfect for personal projects, images enhancements, and utilizers who want to gradually improve their editing skills.

Qualities and Capabilities

The former boasts a vast toolkit that includes evolved layering techniques, blending modes, masks, filters, and a wide range of customization options. It supports extensive file formats, provides detailed color management settings, and integrates seamlessly with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Its capabilities are essential for professional-grade image edits, creative compositions, and design tasks.

Photoshop Elements simplifies the process to edit with fewer instruments and a more guided experience. While it includes many of the original’s core correcting instruments, it lacks some of the professional elements such as CMYK support, evolved layer manipulation, and extensive filter options. However, it compensates by offering unique features like the AI-powered Adobe Sensei for automatic enhancements and creative effects.

Which one to use?

Deciding between the two ultimately depends on your specific needs, budget, and level of expertise. If you’re a professional or aspire to work at a professional level, investing hours and resources into Photoshop will pay off with its evolved capabilities and flexibility. On the other hand, if you’re new to images correcting or your needs are more aligned with straightforward enhancements and creative projects, Photoshop Elements offers a cost-effective, user-friendly alternative that can produce impressive results.

Photoshop Elements simplifies the process to edit with fewer instruments and a more guided experience. While it includes many of the original’s core correcting instruments, it lacks some of the professional elements such as CMYK support, evolved layer manipulation, and extensive filter options. However, it compensates by offering unique features like the AI-powered Adobe Sensei for automatic enhancements and creative effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

One person using Adobe Photoshop's detailed interface and another using the simpler Photoshop Elements interface.

Is Photoshop Elements the same as regular Photoshop?

No, it is not the same as regular Photoshop. It is a simplified version, designed primarily for snap enthusiasts and beginners who seek an accessible entry point into image correcting without the complexity and cost associated with the full version of the program.

Is Photoshop Elements good enough?

Yes, it is good enough for many utilizers, especially hobbyists and beginners. It offers a wide range of correcting instruments and elements that meet the needs of most non-professional correcting tasks, including picture enhancements, creative effects, and basic graphic design tasks.

What are the benefits of Photoshop Elements?

Its benefits include its user-friendly interface, affordable one-time purchase price, and a comprehensive set of correcting instruments that cater to beginners and intermediate users. It also provides automated correcting options and guided edits, making complex correcting tasks more accessible.

Is Photoshop Elements easy to use for beginners?

Yes! Its interface is more straightforward than the main program, and it includes guided edits that provide step-by-step instructions for various correcting tasks. These elements help beginners learn and apply editing techniques more easily.

Wrapping Up

Reflecting on my journey with images correcting, transitioning from a novice to someone comfortably navigating the vast landscapes of Adobe’s offerings, I vividly remember my initial foray into Photoshop Elements. It was a daunting yet exhilarating experience. Starting with simple tasks like adjusting lighting and moving on to more complex edits like layer masking, it was my steadfast companion, easing me into the world of digital creativity with its guided edits and intuitive design. It laid the groundwork for my understanding and appreciation of picture editing, making the eventual transition to Photoshop’s more sophisticated environment a natural progression rather than a steep learning curve.

As I honed my skills, the need for more evolved instruments and elements became apparent, guiding me towards Photoshop and its unparalleled capabilities. Yet, I often find myself returning to Elements for quick edits or when guiding friends who are just beginning their picture editing journeys. 

For those inspired to embark on or further their image editing journey, I cannot stress enough the value of comprehensive learning resources. Fully leveraging Photoshop and Lightroom‘s capabilities requires a depth and breadth of knowledge that cannot be understated. It is here that our meticulously crafted courses come into play. Whether you’re just starting with Photoshop or looking to master Lightroom, our courses are designed to elevate your skills, guiding you through every tool, feature, and technique to unleash your creative potential. Embark on this journey with us, and transform your visions into stunning digital artistry.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

Read more about: Photo Editing with Lightroom and Photoshop