There is little doubt that Adobe Photoshop is the industry leader in photo editing software. There are other options, but Photoshop has long been the standard for this type of software and it is still the most popular in use.
This software does not come cheap however, and currently, a brand new professional edition of Photoshop CS5 will cost over $1000AU. There are other versions, but a fully optioned edition will be expensive.
If you edit photos for a living, or need the software for occupational purposes, then this is money well spent. This program offers everything you will need.
If you are an amateur photographer not willing to outlay such and exorbitant amount of money on such software, there is a much cheaper alternative.
Photoshop Elements is a watered down version of Photoshop. Having said that though, it offers an incredible range of features from basic photo editing such as contrast, levels and colour saturation, right up to layer masks, photo merge and HDR options. (Layer masks, merge and HDR are all available in the latest edition of Photoshop Elements). The latest basic edition of Elements will cost you about $80AU brand new and the fully featured option will be about $119AU.
Apart from the editing, Elements also enables you to share your photos on social sites such as Facebook. You can do this directly from the Organizer, an option in Elements, and this will automatically size and optimise your photos for uploading onto such sites.
The layers option has been a major feature of the Photoshop software. It is now incorporated into the Elements software and allows you to “layer” photos and adjust certain areas of each, including the transparency, to produce your desired image. It is a powerful tool and, once mastered, a very useful one.
Elements offers a panorama option so you can stitch photos together to create a panoramic view. Photos can be either horizontal or vertical and the software allows for the ‘blending’ of the photos to ensure seamless stitching.
Another useful tool is the spot healing brush, which can help eliminate unwanted objects from you photos. For example, if you happen to have an electricity pole sticking out of the top of your friends head in an otherwise nice photo, it can be removed easily using this brush.
Special photo effects are no problem with Elements either, and the software lets you create some exceptional images with Guided Edits, quickly and simply.
Elements has a number of excellent and useful tools such as those mentioned, and they are easy to master. If you just need to make such adjustments and levels, contrast, saturation and remove a little of that digital noise creeping into the dark spots, then Elements is ideal for this also. You can use the auto features, which make these adjustments for you at a click of the mouse, or you can have absolute control over all aspects.
Photoshop CS5 is undoubtedly the king of photo editing software. There are a few disadvantages though; not the least of which are the price and the steep learning curve. Photoshop Elements offers a much cheaper option which is easier to master with a number of guided tools to allow you to get the most out of your images.