Elements VS Light Room


TPF Noob!
Jan 15, 2012
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Howdy Everyone,

Need your input. Please tell me what you prefer Photoshop Elements or Light Room or any other one you prefer. Please tell me why you prefer it. In the near future I will be getting one. I have a iMac so keep that in mind.

Love and Prayers

You don't say if you shoot Nikon or Canon. If you shoot Nikon you can download Nikon's free browser. Its called Nikon View NX2. Marvin
They are not really a case of one or the other, they are two totally separate packages.

Elements - a stripped down version of photoshop and is aimed at being an editing program. It allows you to process shots from RAW, has limited batch features and also allows selective editing over your photos. It's also compatible with many 3rd party photoshop plugins (both free and commercial).

Lightroom - is primarily aimed at being a batch RAW processing software approach with added library and organisation features. It only has limited power to allow selective editing and fewer advanced editing modes.

Lightroom is intended to compliment an editing software package (like elements) whilst itself providing a software option to help organise and access large volumes of photos. Its editing interface is enough to allow many to quickly do most of the work they need to on many shots in lightroom itself but once you want to do more you've got to have elements or CS5 or another dedicated editing package.

Starting out I'd go for elements - you get more power to edit and more access to features; whilst you won't have the large volume of photos to really warrant getting lightroom.
You don't say if you shoot Nikon or Canon. If you shoot Nikon you can download Nikon's free browser. Its called Nikon View NX2. Marvin

I shoot with a Sony a200. I am a complete noob.
Thank you Overread. As stated b4, I am a complete noob and willing to learn. Thank you so much for your input
I agree with Overread, but I'll add that while Lightroom isn't really a true 'image editing' software like Photoshop or Elements, it does 90% of what a typical hobbyist photographer might need to do.

Another difference, which isn't really apparent on the surface, is that Lightroom edits parametrically, while Photoshop/Elements are pixel editors. In other words, when you edit an image in PS/PSE, you are editing/changing the pixels in the image. The files are like any other typical document file. You open a file, you edit it, if you save it, you are overwriting the file with the new. If you 'save as' you are creating a copy. Pretty straight forward.
But with Lightroom, you are only editing the parameters. Nothing you actually do to the image in LR is touching the original image. The edits/changes you make are stored into a 'sidecar file'. It's only when you 'export' images that the software applies the edits and spits out a copy with all the changes made.
Lightroom is a developing and cataloging program. It's power lies most in it's cataloging features. It's raw developer is a bit more in depth and includes some more professional aimed features than that included in Elements. Lightroom is not a pixel editing program. You cannot work in layers and you cannot change the pixels in the image.
Elements is a bit of all of that and a pixel based editing program. If you can only purchase 1, elements has more to offer than LR does.
Lightroom is a developing and cataloging program. It's power lies most in it's cataloging features.
I would somewhat disagree with that.
Yes, Lightroom is great for organizing and cataloging your photos...but that is not nearly it's best feature.
It's actually a very good image editing program, provided you don't have to make precise/localized edits. Although, the ability to use layers in PS/Elements, is where their power lies and if you need to do layer based editing, then LR isn't the tool for that.

Many photographers, who have been using PS for years and years...found that after moving to LR, they use PS less and less. Each new version of LR has added more and more image editing tools.

Of course, it really depends on the type of shooting & editing you do. I've been watching a tutorial from some really great landscape photographers and the workflow for one of them, was entirely in LR, except that he moved to Photoshop to soft proof, then back to LR for printing. Now that LR4 will have soft proofing built-in, Photoshop probably won't be in his regular workflow at all.

But as someone mentioned above, it shouldn't really be an 'and or' type of situation. LR doesn't replace a program like PS/elements (not totally) and PS/Elements can probably do just about anything that LR can do...just not as slick and easy.
Lightroom4 Beta is free for open use until it's finalized... Download and use until then by all means!!!
Elements is free to try too, use it.

Be careful with Lightroom because it is so addictive; it does tons more than everyone mentioned including the epic print module with templates and pre-canned web html/flash galleries
The Raw editing feature of Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3's Develope module are the same application - Adobe Camera Raw 6 (ACR 6). However, there are some very minor differences.
Elements 10 has a very de-featured version of Camera Raw (ACR 6).

Elements is consumer grade and includes an image organizer, the truncated ACR, and a de-featured version of Photoshop.
CS5 is the professional grade and includes Bridge, a dedicated image browser tightly integrated with Photroshop, Camera Raw, and Photoshop.

Lightroom was invented, and is still intended, as a suppliment to the professional grade of Photoshop. However, many opt to use Elements and Lightroom, or just Lightroom.

ACR 7 (CS 6 Camera Raw/Lightroom 4) will be officially released in a few months. As mentioned ACR 7 in the Lightroom 4 Beta is currently available as a free download.
I strongly believe that most photographers will be doing themselves a favour if they use Lightroom as the basis for their photo software collection. Like Mike mentioned, the big advantage in Lightroom is that any editing within Lightroom is done completely non-destructively. Your original photos lie on your hard drive in the exact same state as when they were brought into Lightroom. Lightroom just applies a "recipe" of instructions in terms of what you have done to the photo (exposure, saturation, cropping, etc) and presents the photo to you with that "recipe" applied. On top of that, Lightroom is pretty fantastic to manage a growing collection of images.

In my experience, at least 90%+ of my images never need to leave Lightroom for further processing Photoshop. By keeping the majority of my work in Lightroom, I really optimize my time.

I hope that helps you out.

Best regards,

Just a note, but you can do non-destructive editing in elements as well, you just have to jump through a tiny number of more hoops.

This involves a 2 stage approach.

1) When editing copy the base layer and only work on that layer and above, this preserves a base layer as the shot came out of the camera/out of the RAW processor with which you can revert back to if needed during the editing process.

2) When saving always use "Save As" and save into a separate folder from the original. This allows you to preserve your original file untouched and unchanged. Note you can also save as a PSD or TIFF file first, this will give you a much larger file size, but with the bonus that all the layers (including your untouched base layer from step 1) are saved. Chances are if you use the latter method you will have to save twice - once as the layer preserving file and once again as a JPEG for general use and uploading to the net.
I would get a 30 day free trial of each consecutively to see what fits you best. I prefer Photoshop CS4 currently and Bridge, my best friend prefers Lightroom 3. We often shoot together, but both have different editing styles. I use lightroom for my ebay stuff though, its quicker to add a couple adjustments and export to jpg in bulk than it is in photoshop for my computer.
Lightroom is so easy.
Elements can do things Lightroom can't

If I had to get just one and I was a noob...I would get Elements...and you don't need the latest version either. I assume you will be shooting jpegs not raw.

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