One of the questions i get asked a lot is what software do i use & what do i recommend for post processing? Well i use Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop CS4, great products but not the cheapest & not the best option for many aspiring photographers or individuals looking for something a little more basic. Well Adobe also has Elements, a much more basic software package that retails at $100 (as opposed to the $100’s photoshop goes for). Well having never used Elements myself it’s hard to truly recommend it as a cheaper alternative software package but recently i came across an article in Photo Life highlighting the pros of Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 which i wanted to share with you.
Firstly Elements 9 does come with basic cataloging system (similar to Adobe Bridge & Lightroom) which if working on a Mac can be linked into your iPhoto libraries. It allows for the creation of albums using keywords & rankings as well as basic colour & tonal adjustments outside of the main editor though they’re automated so for more customization opening the editor is required. There is also a Raw-file convertor that whilst it lacks the range of controls as CS4 it does again include the basic panel for colour & tonal corrections.
Newly introduced to Elements are layer masks which allow for precision control over specific areas & the curves tool though it only allows for work in RGB (& not the individual channels) & is limited to 3 control points. In comparison to CS4 this looks limiting but in reality it’s enough to get the job done well.
As well as the above introductions Elements now comes with adjustment layers that work pretty much the same as in CS4 (you are required to work in 8-bit mode & they have less layer types to choose from), allowing you to make non-destructive changes to an image & have greater interactivity with the adjustment tool. This is something i use constantly within CS4 so i can tweak the various layers at any given time looking to get that perfect image & should i choose i can simple delete a layer returning to the original unaltered image.
Elements 9 also comes with “smart fill” allowing for the removal of distracting elements from an image & patching the void seamlessly (though you shouldn’t require this if you got the composition right in the camera) as well as applying it to stitched panoramas.
Lastly Elements comes with “Guided Edits” to help you with your post processing. Perfect for those looking to learn about the various tools available, basic editing techniques & some more advanced processes all with step-by-step instructions.
Overall Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 is putting itself out there as the perfect package for those looking to do more than simple push a button & see the results. It requires interaction from you the photographer without throwing out too much technical stuff & seems like a great starter package. Not to mention the wonderful price! As i said i have yet to use it so any feedback from those who use this software would be gratefully appreciated.