Should I recommend PS Elements 14 to a novice?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by catmurphy, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. catmurphy

    catmurphy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    A friend has an OMD EM1 and feels the need to post-process his photos. Right now he just accepts his jpg images. He hasn't tried using OLY Viewer3 and thinks he'd like to get Lightroom. For a novice, I don't think either LR or Viewer3 are good options. I learned on PS Elements ages ago and moved to PS. Is it still a serious product or has too much fluff been added?

    If anyone has some thoughts on on the subject, I'd appreciate it.

  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I disagree, I feel LR is probably the easier of the two Adobe programs mentioned for a newcomer, at least with which to grow. Granted my Elements is a tad older but I found it to be a very wide gulf between the absolute novice tools and anything beyond that, and the novice end of things left me wanting a lot of effects that are buried in text menus rather than graphically built in like Lightroom.

    Why doesn't your friend just try the cloud version subscription just to get their feet wet and decide what they like?
    • Agree Agree x 4
  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
  4. catmurphy

    catmurphy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    The consensus, although small, is to use a real tool, that being Lightroom.
  5. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2015
    LR for sure. Great organization tools and easy to grown into the editing tools. Simple things are super quick and some more powerful stuff if you need it. Keeps all your files sorted with easily reversible edits. That said I haven't used Elements, only regular PS.

    LR/PS cloud is great for me, though I know some hate the subscription model.
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I have the standalone LR6, which I prefer to the subscription model.

    I'm also very interested to see what On1's RAW processing software looks like; it's right around the corner now. Of course initially it could be buggy, but I feel like On1 Effects handles micro four thirds files better than LR in many ways. It may just be due to my familiarity with Effects, but I really like the colors and detail that it easily draws out as a LR plugin.
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Your friend wants to use some pro software and here you are telling him he's not smart enough to figure it out. Every LR expert was a novice at one point. Have some confidence in your friend!

    If you want to be helpful, you might mention that Adobe offers 30 day trials of all their software (as do DxO, Corel, ACDSee) so he might as well try them all out before dropping the cash on a license.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. catmurphy

    catmurphy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    I didn't use LR until after I'd gotten used to PS, so it seemed obtuse to me. But before subscription days, it was much better priced.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
  9. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    He may try this, DxO OpticsPro 9 Elite for free:

    There were no selective/masked editing so it was quite limited in this regard but to start it is not so bad. If it is the 9.1 version it supports the E-M1.
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I have used Photoshop for over a decade, since ~PS5. But I didn't really use it for Photography, more digital manipulation, 3D compositing, and graphics work. But once I started getting into photography in a more serious way after picking up my GX1, I got Lightroom, and couldn't imagine doing what I do in LR in PS.

    I still use PS for tricky panorama merges, nightscape photography, tricky HDR situations that are better suited to composited layers, and detailed cloning work when that's necessary. But for day-to-day import, review, and the minor edits required to make general sets of photos look great? Lightroom is miles ahead. Being able to work on one RAW and then easily propagate those develop settings to the other shots and then tweak as necessary is a huge timesaver.

    I have Lightroom 6, PS Elements 14, and Photoshop CS4. Definitely prefer CS4 to Elements, but that's because I'm accustomed to the interface and probably have much more demanding requirements than the average photo editor.
  11. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I started with PS Elements years ago as well and think LR is easier for the basics. Elements is less expensive though if that's an issue. If they do go Lr with cloud be sure to have them go through a site offering a discount.
  12. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    A contrarian POV here. I think Paint Shop Pro X8 would be a better choice for a newbie.

    Believe it or not, I think it offers an excellent raw development tool. I even wrote an article on how to use the PSPX6 version of their Camera Raw Lab utility HERE. That being said, I still use ACDSee, but you can do some quality work with the thing, I think. It is not something a beginner should ignore. It is superior to PS Elements, I think, in every way from the organizer to the superior 16 bit color depth editing support.

    But that's not why I suggest it. Basically, it offers TWO different user interfaces for the editor. A simplified one for the beginner and the more advanced version, and you can bounce back and forth between the two without any cost to your editing efforts. And if you haven't looked at the video tutorials Corel offers as training, lately, I think you'll be surprised. The level of hand holding for PSP is really pretty good.

    My problem with promoting the more advanced tools like Lightroom, ACDSee Pro/Ultimate, or DXO is we are throwing a beginning swimmer into the deep end of the pool and saying "sink or swim". Even the tutorials for these tools assume a certain level of background knowledge and skill level. I think PSP X8 or PS Elements is a MUCH better choice for the beginner.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I disagree. LR has a lot of presets that a lot of people must enjoy because I could not see them putting them their if they were not being used. The presets make it very easy for people to create pleasing images and as they gain more experience they can start messing with the sliders and such. I could spend 30 minutes teaching someone very basic things in LR that would keep your casual novice happy until they decided they wanted more control. Besides the photo editing, LR is a great organizational tool for photos and that aspect is pretty simple for basic use. I admit that I am pretty anal about photo organization and my keyword system is pretty insane, but it took a lot of work to backdate all of that. If I had a tool like LR from the beginning it would have saved me 100's of hours in back keywording photographs. But, I can type in dog, heron, water, boat, blue and it brings up every photo in my archive that matches all of those.

    Start them on a program that they can grow into, not one they will grow out of.
  14. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    I went from no knowledge in photo editing straight into lightroom. It is extremely intuitive. You move a slider and something in the picture happens. After trying out every slider and going to each extreme with it you roughly know what to do. I watched a bunch of tutorials when getting the finer details (when and why to use local adjustments) and later on figured some things out on my own (the HSL panel), but really lightroom is just a bunch of sliders that do what they say they do. It's really not hard, and certainly easier than messing with photoshop elements which (only experienced version 9 though) I found a UI mess, that never did what I wanted it to do.

    Edit: Wanted to add as well, that other similar pieces of software will also work, as most are built around the same idea of manipulating sliders. My girlfriend just bought ACDSee because it was so much cheaper (60% off or something) than lightroom. She is quite happy with it.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. I started out using PSE as a photo organizer. I started to play with the 30 day free LR and LR and PSE don't play well together. I quit using PSE and I pnly use LR now.
  16. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think a lot depends on whether or not he is going to continue shooting JPEGs or if he is going to shoot RAW and on how he wants to deal with his files and his edits.

    PS and PS Elements are pixel editors. They do not do RAW conversion. For RAW conversion they use a plugin called Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom uses exactly the same processing engine as Adobe Camera Raw. Apart from some interface differences Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw are identical so when it comes to processing images there really is no difference between initial processing at the RAW conversion stage between using Lightroom, PS Elements, or the full PS. If you're going to suggest to your friend that he does his JPEG processing using the Adobe Camera Raw plugin of PS Elements, there will also be no real difference between PS Elements and Lightroom apart from the interface. What Lightroom will do, however, is give him file management capability as well.

    PS and PS elements are pixel editors. They are "destructive" in that they change the original image unless you save your edits as a separate file. They can also do things that Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw can't do, but at the basic processing end of things the odds are that there probably isn't anything your friend is going to want to do to his images that can't be done in Lightroom/ACR. Lightroom/ACR are also non destructive which means that they don't change the original file and they store their editing changes separately so he can always go back to his original file and start over again, even years later. If you don't save your editing changes in PS/PS Elements as a separate file, the original file gets overwritten and you can never go back to the original unless you have saved a backup copy of the original unedited file.

    When it comes to learning how to use the applications, if you're going to learn to use PS Elements and you're going to use Adobe Camera Raw for the basic processing stages then there's a 2 part learning process. You need to learn Adobe Camera Raw and then you need to learn how to use the pixel editing skills required by PS Elements. If your friend doesn't need or want to do anything with his images other than what he can do in Adobe Camera Raw then there is going to be no difference between learning to use Lightroom and learning to use PS Elements. You can't buy or acquire Adobe Camera Raw without buying either PS or PS elements but you can buy Lightroom on its own. You can also get Lightroom on a subscription basis for around $10 a month and that gives you the full version of PS as well. Depending on how your friend wants to buy whatever application he buys, my recommendation would be to either buy the standalone version of Lightroom or to buy the LR/PS subscription bundle. I would opt for the subscription bundle because it gives access to slightly more editing options in Lightroom/ACR than the stand alone does and more regular new feature updates. It's quite possible that your friend will find he never needs to use anything other than Lightroom unless he really wants to start doing some really serious processing of his images and if he is going to want to do that on a regular basis then he's going to be shooting RAW and he will be using LR or ACR for all of his initial processing anyway.

    So that's my recommendation and my reasons for it.

    I would not recommend Olympus Viewer 3. It's slow and quite limited in what you can do in processing ability compared to Lightroom/ACR or PS/PS Elements. It does let you shoot RAW and quickly and easily duplicate the in camera JPEG options available in the camera's menus and settings, something no other software does, but if that's what you want to do with processing software there's no reason not to shoot RAW and just process the JPEGs in some other software application when necessary.

    You said "I learned on PS Elements ages ago and moved to PS. Is it still a serious product or has too much fluff been added?" PS Elements has always been a cut-back version of PS which offered ACR plus the basic pixel edit elements of the full PS program. That's still the case but as PS has had new features added over the years, there's been some movement of some of those features to PS Elements. It's still a cut-back version of PS but it offers more features now than it did "ages ago". It's still a "serious product" but depending on your view of what features are good to have and what features have no value whatsoever you may think that "too much fluff has been added". The thing is, however, that any fluff that has been added to PS Elements has also been added to PS. There is nothing in PS Elements which is not in the full version of PS. The difference between PS Elements and PS is that PS contains some features which are not in PS Elements. Any "fluff" in PS Elements is fluff that came from and is present in PS as well.

    There are other options available besides LR/PS Elements/PS and Olympus Viewer 3. What options there are available depends on whether your friend uses a PC or a Mac because not all applications are available for both platforms.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    In my opinion, based on close to 30 years of experience, if you want to learn to process images, any version of PS is not the place to start... they are not photographer friendly... they can do great image manipulation... but they are not or ever have been designed as being primarily a photographers tool

    Lightroom is probably the best way to go, though Capture One and perhaps Darktable are alternatives.

    LR handles not only the management of your images, but also presents the important controls of image manipulation in a way that offers instant feedback, and a learnable logic.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. catmurphy

    catmurphy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    I appreciate all the input. Not really sure how committed my friend is to enhancing his photos. Next time he asks, I will convey your opinions as well as suggest other products like PaintShop Pro.
  19. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    I would suggest Faststone Image Viewer. Easy to learn GUI and free. Probably plenty powerful for most needs ... at least until the user figures out what they want in an editor.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. djtaylor7

    djtaylor7 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2013
    Nelson, NZ
    Probably comes down to how much your friend wants to spend, and if he wants to start working with RAW files. I have for many years used PaintShop Pro for image manipulation, and find it gives me cropping and basic adjustment of jpgs. Not so good for doing selective tweaks to areas of the photo.

    Sent from my Lenovo TAB 2 A10-70F using Mu-43 app