Elizabeth Halford Photography {the blog} » photography in plain English

Help! Photoshop, Elements or Lightroom?

Q. “I am a mom just looking to take better pictures of my boys, I would like to get a better editing program than Picasa but I am not sure what to get! Should I go with Photoshop Elements, Photoshop or Lightroom? What would you suggest for starting out?”

A. Well first I guess I’d tell you that the Photoshop programs are vastly different from Lightroom. In Photoshop, you open a photo, edit it and save. In LR, you import images into the program which means you can come and go, open and close the program, and your photos remain as you left them without the need to save. When you’re finished with them once and for all, you then export them out of Lightroom and into whatever folder you want to keep your edited photos in. Very important for us busy moms who don’t always get one session edited at once. Also, you can use LR to sort your photos, edit them, batch edit them and so much more. If you don’t have PS, you can edit your images entirely in LR without ever using another program. And if you want to work with layers {exe for textures}, you can just get Elements cheaply for that purpose. And don’t forget that if you’re a student, a teacher or you volunteer for a charitable organisation (like a church) and you might use the program to benefit the organisation, you can buy the programs from the Adobe Education store for a fraction of the price.

So if Lightroom is so great, why ever get Photoshop? Well, I moved to PS because I wanted to take advantage of the actions I was seeing from artists like Florabella, MCP Actions or Totally Rad. Also, I personally love the editing process to take as long as possible because it’s my favourite part of the photography process so I personally prefer Photoshop for editing, Lightroom for organising and a little colour or white balance correcting first.

  • EBPitcher

    I’d mention to your readers that Lightroom is very similar in concept to Picasa. I like to think of it as Picasa on steriods. I realize that’s kind of simplistic, but having used Picasa for years, I easily picked up LR where I struggled with PSE to get the layers concept. I think your recommendation is right on.

    Can you tell me more about getting an ED discount for my church volunteer services? How do I go about that? Thanks!

  • Melissa

    Thank you!! I downloaded the 30day trial of PS5 and I think it is just way way beyond me. I’m going to d/l the Lightroom trial and see if I can pick it up better. I’m glad to hear that it’s similar to Picasa, I totally get Picasa :)

    Thanks again for your suggestions! And I am a student for the moment, for fall session, so now is going to be the time for me to buy it!

  • http://LeGrandLifeImages.com Cindy

    I recently purchased LR3 for $89 directly from Adobe using my son’t 4th grade report card to get a student discount. Previously I used PSE8. Both are great programs. The windows versrion of PSE8 also comes with an organizer (the Mac version does not). Since purchasing LR3, I find I hardly ever use PSE8 unless I to do a lot of processing on an image or I am creating a layout (for scrapbook, etc.) If you are a scrapbooker, you may eventually want to go the digital route and PSE8 is great for that without the huge learning curve of PS5.

  • http://www.texanmama.com Texan Mama

    I’ve just downloaded the trial version of PSE8 and may I say? no. no no no. I don’t want to spend another 10 hours learning this program just so that I can only be marginally good at it!

    I may try Lightroom, but I have to say that I really love my Picnik. I know, it’s not really “professional” but it does the tweaks I need and I’m always happy with it!

  • http://None Jill Borden

    Thanks. :-)
    Appreciate the help.

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