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Regardless of your level of interest in digital photography, there is a requirement to organize your images and, often, the desire to adjust or enhance your photos digitally.
You know you’ve made it in an industry when the name of your product is transformed into a verb, but Photoshop, officially the Photoshop Creative Cloud, today, is an extremely capable and intricate software program that is not suitable for every photographer. Because the needs of photographers vary, Adobe has three primary solutions that cover image editing and file organization for every photographer, from the snapshot hobbyist to the top professionals.
The three software systems have core functionality that overlaps, but each has some unique features that make them more suitable to one customer over another. Here is an informative graphic and information to help make your buying decision easier.
Arguably the world’s most comprehensive image-editing software and now available through an annual subscription, bundled with Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Creative Cloud has every tool and function you can imagine for any image-editing task. Not only for photographers, Photoshop CC is known for its capabilities in the graphic design realm with a full arsenal of tools for print, Web, and interactive designers. Unique to Photoshop CC are image-editing tools for dodging and burning, time-lapse photo editing, layer masks, and intricate retouching tools. Adobe Bridge is Photoshop’s image organizational and browsing program that runs separate to the main program.
Photoshop Lightroom, available as part of the Photoshop CC or as a stand-alone system, was once described to me as, “Photoshop designed for photographers.”
What Lightroom gives up in photo editing capabilities, it gains in its powerful organizational tools, as the file-management system is fully integrated into the photo-editing program. Lightroom allows for bulk processing of images, cataloging, keywording, rating of images, and more on the organizational level. In the latest version, you can even catalog or search your images using integrated facial recognition software. For image editing, Lightroom provides a full set of tools that can do a lot of what Photoshop does, but it is not entirely suitable for precision retouching or graphic design. Lightroom also has instruments in place to help share your images on the Web, through email, in a slideshow, or you can even design a photo book right in the program.
The Photoshop CC and Lightroom programs are not only immensely powerful, but fairly complicated, and their operation can be intimidating to a lot of photographers. For those looking for the path of least complexity, Adobe Photoshop Elements might be a great solution for basic photo editing and organizational work.
Targeted at photo enthusiasts and those looking to simply get their digital images collected and organized, the easy-to-use Photoshop Elements interface has a surprising amount of Photoshop CC’s image-editing tool kit available to the more casual photographer.
Elements shares some useful features with its more comprehensive siblings, like integrated file organization, slideshow production, image resizing, cropping, and rotation, panoramic merge, spot healing, and B&W conversion and creative filters. It also features Facebook integration and unique tools, such as Photomerge Group Shot that allows you to combine faces and bodies from a series of images easily to create a perfect group photo.