Gearing Up: Choosing the Right Photoshop

We get a lot of questions about Photoshop. Which is natural, considering that the word “Photoshop” can mean many different things to many different people.

The question is: What version of Photoshop is right for me?

Not only is the full version of Photoshop already in its sixth iteration, but now photographers have to make the choice between Elements, Lightroom, and good old regular Photoshop.

I spoke with Sonnie from our sales staff about the different versions of Photoshop. He laid out who should be interested in each version.

Photoshop Elements 10, $99.99


Photoshop Elements is the most basic version of Photoshop, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful editing tool in it’s own right. It’s interface is intuitive and immediately easy to grasp. Importing photos from memory card to software is conveniently managed, allowing you to quickly organize your photos and making it easier to search your personal catalog for the photos you want. Quick fixes that enhance the photo can be done with one click of the mouse, and effects, text, and graphics, among other embellishments, are readily available. This way, you can turn personalized photos into homemade gifts, including photo books, scrapbook pages, greeting cards, and calendars. For the social photographer, Elements makes it easy to share your photography and videography on Facebook, YouTube, your personal blog, and more. Plus, it’s the least expensive Adobe photo-editing software, so you won’t be breaking the bank to edit your work.

Sonnie recommends Elements to entry-level to intermediate photographers who want to catalog photos easily, make basic edits, and share their photos on social media.

Lightroom 4, $149.99


Many pro photographers swear by Lightroom thanks to its amazingly intuitive workflow organization and the ability to edit large batches of photos at once. So say you took a bunch of photos in the same location, taking photos with the same exposure settings. Lightroom allows you to batch your photos to edit things like white balance, color temperature, and exposure all at the same time, not to mention using its noise-reduction and sharpening tools. The ability to bring out the details in dark shadows and bright highlights, create photo books, group images by location (and automatically display location data from GPS-enabled cameras and smartphones), and edit and extract still images from video, makes Lightroom 4 a necessary tool to most serious photographers.

Sonnie recommends Lightroom to photographers ranging from the enthusiast to the pro who want to speed up their workflow.

Photoshop CS6, $649.99 (PC, Mac)

Photoshop CS6
Photoshop CS6

Yes, Photoshop CS6 has a fairly large price tag. But that’s because it’s the ultimate photo editing software that gives you unparalleled control over your photography. Besides all the “boring” stuff like white balance, color correction, exposure adjustments, and everything else, Photoshop lets you do things like remove entire people from photos, use design tools and filters to create unique effects, crop, clone, and straighten your images. Even with background save and auto-recovery, Photoshop CS6 is blazing fast thanks to its Mercury Graphics Engine. Basically, this is the ultimate photo editing tool.

Sonnie recommends Photoshop CS6 for enthusiasts and professionals, or for anyone else who wants to be able to edit their images with very few limits.

Of course there are a variety of photo editing software choices out there. Check out our entire software selection and feel free to call the store at 866-940-3686 if you have any questions!

Midwest Photo

11 thoughts on “Gearing Up: Choosing the Right Photoshop

  1. Good summary article on what each software does. I work in education and find the educational discounts very attractive pricing. You can get 70 – 80 % off on Photoshop as an educational discount. This applies to students, faculty and staff. If you are in education, you can save substantial amounts.


  2. Explaination didn’t go far enough. I’ve heard of people using both Elements & Lightroom ( instead of the very pricey CS6) but don’t understand why you need both. What does one do that the other does not do? That’s the info I feel would be helpful. Thanks.


    1. Hi Allen, Elements lets you add text and create picture products (e.g. holiday cards), while Lightroom gives you more control over changes you would want to make to the exposure, including many of the sliders and features that Photoshop has that Elements just doesn’t have. Someone would probably want both Lightroom and Elements to first perfect the exposure, color, and contrast in their photos in Lightroom, and then they’d bring the photo into Elements to add text and “special effects,” and to create greeting/holiday cards, things like that. I hope this clarifies some things!


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