An Alternative To Using Lightroom with Photoshop

Hey everyone. Yesterday, I wrote a post on my personal blog ( about how I think the new version of Photoshop Elements (version 11) is really the best version of Elements yet. From teaching the Lightroom seminars I teach, I’ve learned that most Lightroom users don’t really want to jump into Photoshop. And when they do, they have a very simple list of things they want to do. Maybe some more selective adjustments with Levels, Hue/Saturation, Layers, masks, etc… Or maybe they want to quickly remove a telephone wire or some portrait retouching. And maybe they even want to make selections of parts of their photos and adjust, move, composite or whatever.

Well, Elements let’s you do all of those things. These days, it’s hard for me to point most of those folks to the full version of Photoshop anymore. Elements has almost the same retouching tools that the full version of Photoshop has (it’s got most of the ones that I use at least). And it’s got many of the same adjustments. Plus, layers and masks are the same. And finally, Elements 11 added the same Refine Edge technology that Photoshop CS5/CS6 have. And best of all, you can jump in to Elements directly from Lightroom so you can still use the two together.

Now, there’s definitely more stuff for Camera Raw in Photoshop CS5/CS6. In fact, ACR in Photoshop CS6 is the same as the Develop module in Lightroom 4. Which is exactly why (if you were a Lightroom / Elements user) I wouldn’t worry about it. You already have all the Camera Raw stuff here, so you’re probably not doing the raw editing work in ACR anyway.

Some one on my blog wrote a comment that I thought was perfect. He called Lightroom and Elements the “$250 digital darkroom”. I couldn’t agree more. For $250 you can have everything you need to professionally edit your photos. Here’s the link to the Elements website. They have a 30-day trial so I’d suggest giving it a try if you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to Photoshop. Have fun!