Photo editing software

Photoshop vs. Photoshop Elements: What’s the Difference?

Struggling to decide between Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements? We break down the pros and cons of each to help make the decision easier.

Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements: Which one is right for you?

Both are fantastic image editing programs for Mac and Windows. However, both are designed with very different users in mind.

Adobe Photoshop Elements is the simpler of the two software programs, perfect for those who want to get their editing toes wet before deciding to dive into the world of professional editing.

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Adobe Photoshop is a more advanced program used by professionals and advanced hobbyists for complex image editing and manipulation.

In this article, we’ll take a look at their similarities and differences to help you choose which is the best option for your needs.

What is Photoshop CC?

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Photoshop CC is a powerful image editing software developed by Adobe.

It’s part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription-based service, which provides users with access to a variety of software applications and services, including Photoshop CC.

Photoshop allows users to create and manipulate digital images, graphics, and other visual content.

It provides a wide range of tools and features, including layers, masks, filters, and a variety of selection tools. It also offers advanced features such as 3D imaging and video editing capabilities.

One of the key benefits of Photoshop CC is that it allows users to work with non-destructive editing techniques, which means that the original image remains intact while modifications are made to a copy of the image.

This allows users to experiment and make changes without permanently altering the original image.

Photoshop is widely used by professionals in various fields, including graphic design, web design, photography, and computer-generated digital art – in fact, it’s our pick as the best digital art software.

It has become an industry standard for image editing and is considered to be one of the most powerful and versatile image editing software available.

Check the latest price of Photoshop in your currency here >>

What is Photoshop Elements?

Photoshop comparison

Photoshop Elements is a simplified version of Adobe Photoshop, aimed at home users and hobbyists who want to edit and enhance their digital images without the complexity of the full version of Photoshop.

Photoshop Elements provides a range of basic and advanced editing tools for working with digital photos and images, including colour correction, image cropping and resizing, removing unwanted objects, and adding creative effects such as filters, frames, and text.

It also includes a range of automated features, such as Auto Smart Tone, which automatically adjusts the brightness, contrast, and colour balance of an image.

Photoshop Elements also includes a range of Guided Edits, which provide step-by-step instructions and tutorials for achieving various editing effects, such as creating a double exposure or adding a motion blur effect.

While Photoshop Elements doesn’t have all the advanced features of Photoshop, it’s still a powerful tool for editing digital photos and creating digital art.

It’s also more affordable and easier to learn and use than Photoshop, making it a popular choice for hobbyists and beginners.

Check the latest price of Photoshop Elements in your currency here >>

Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements: Key Differences

released photoshop elements

Which software program you choose for editing tasks will depend on the amount of work you need to complete, the quality, and the depth of detail you need to achieve.


Photoshop Elements has many of the same tools as Photoshop.

In quick mode, Photoshop Elements offers Zoom, Hand, Quick Selection, Eye, Whiten Teeth, Straighten, Type, Spot Healing Brush, Crop, and Move.

With these tools, there are many editing options for the newbie image editor who wants to dabble and experiment with photo editing.

Some of the editing options include move and scale, single click selection, easily swap backgrounds, remove distractions, extend backgrounds, and facial touch-ups.

Photoshop Elements has plugins that are designed to be easy to learn and use.

Photoshop offers all of the above tools and much more.

Using Photoshop you can add fill and adjustment layers without permanently altering your image.

Photoshop has more plugins that offer more in terms of editing capabilities and versatility.

The editing capabilities of Photoshop take you down to a single pixel, so you can have complete control and can edit exactly as you want to.

Ease of Use

Photoshop Elements is a simpler, easier-to-use version of Photoshop and a great stepping stone into the world of photo editing.

Photoshop Elements is a photo processing software with a photo editor, effects, and layers.

Photoshop Elements is ideal for the beginner who is delving for the first time and doesn’t want to commit too much time to learn how to complete complex editing tasks.


Adobe Photoshop is a manual editing software program capable of complex image manipulation and editing tasks.

Photoshop is used by professional photo editors, artists, and graphic designers.

Time has to be spent learning how to use Photoshop’s many features.


Photoshop is designed for professional use and is compatible with a wider range of file formats.

Photoshop Elements, while still compatible with many file formats, is designed primarily for home users and hobbyists.


Today Adobe is offering Photoshop Elements for a one-time fee of around $145.

Unlike other Adobe software editing programs, this is a one-off payment, not a monthly subscription.

Adobe Photoshop is available for a cost of approximately $29.99 a month.

Photoshop is a monthly subscription and is not available as a one-off purchase.

Check the latest pricing in your currency here >>

What about Alternatives to Photoshop and Elements?

Although there are several decent alternatives to Adobe Photoshop available in 2023, the one we recommend is called Luminar Neo.

Fortunately, Neo is much easier to use than Photoshop (and even easier than Photoshop Elements!)

You can even do complex editing tasks in a couple of clicks, like fixing blemished on skin, adding new skies to photos and more.

Best of all, you can buy Luminar outright, without having to enter into any subscription plan like you do with Photoshop.

Check out the latest Luminar pricing in your currency here >>


Is Photoshop Elements the same as Photoshop?

Although Photoshop Elements is a similar software program to Photoshop it is not the same.

Photoshop Elements offers some of the same features, but it is not capable of completing complex editing tasks like Adobe Photoshop.

Do professional photographers use Photoshop Elements?

Typically no, a professional photographer will not use Photoshop Elements.

A professional photographer will normally opt for Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

What are some features in Photoshop that aren’t in Photoshop Elements?

There is much you will be surprised to know that even as a less advanced editing software Photoshop Elements is still capable of, such as editing camera raw files.

But some things are not possible using Photoshop Elements, such as using smart objects, some actions, the Pen Tool, and advanced color management.

Another amazing feature available in Photoshop but not in Photoshop Elements is the ability to work in 3D.

Adobe Photoshop vs Adobe Photoshop Elements: Final Words

Which one you chose is totally up to you.

Maybe today, you want to have fun, and tomorrow you’ll be so addicted to digital photography editing you’ll want to sign up for more.

One way to sum up Photoshop Elements Vs Photoshop is to make a comparison.

Photoshop Elements is akin to a primary school art class. You can have fun, keep it simple, and get great results.

Whereas in contrast, Photoshop is for those who want to study under a master or at university to become an expert.

Ultimately, the choice between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements comes down to your needs and budget.

If you are a professional or advanced user, need access to advanced features, and can afford the subscription fee, then Photoshop CC is the better choice.

If you are a beginner or hobbyist and don’t need access to advanced features, then Photoshop Elements may be a more suitable and cost-effective option.

Shotkit Writer & Photoshop Expert

Judyth is an experienced studio photographer and glass artist. When she isn’t Photoshopping comedians into the bellies of sharks, you can find her cooking delicious treats for her guests.

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