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Using Adobe Photoshop Elements to Work with Digital Photos

Adobe Photoshop Elements is a powerful junior version of the full Photoshop program. Elements has most of the functionality, but it lacks some of the standard Photoshop features that the average photographer might be able to get along without. This figure shows the Photoshop Elements user interface.

Photoshop Elements gives you many image-editing abilities.
Photoshop Elements gives you many image-editing abilities.

Here are Elements’ positive qualities:

  • Affordable: A price tag of $100 puts Elements within the reach of anyone.

  • Feature-packed: Most of the standard selection, retouching, and painting tools from Photoshop are available in Elements. You may never miss the more advanced Photoshop features.

  • Similar to Photoshop: Elements makes a good introduction to Photoshop for people who plan to upgrade someday. You make filters, most kinds of selections, and basic tonal and color corrections in much the same way in both applications.

Here’s the bad news about Elements:

  • Elements can be a bit daunting. The similarity to Photoshop works against you if you’re a total image-editing neophyte because the menus and palettes bear more similarity to Photoshop than they do to less ambitious programs.

  • Adobe favors Windows over Macs. Adobe tends to introduce new features for Elements in its Windows version first, with the Macintosh upgrade following months later. Some features are available only in the Windows edition.

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