The Vancouver Photography Meetup Group Message Board General Discussion › Elements, Express, Lightroom - opinions?

Elements, Express, Lightroom - opinions?

Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 615
I've recently considered the differences between Elements, Express and Lightroom. Has anybody got an opinion and/ or good feedback on these - particularly from a beginner point of view?

Thanks!
Russ K.
user 3929906
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 392
Lightroom's great strength and design purpose is: rapid batch processing - something the Photoshop variants don't do so well. If you create large quantities of pictures that need simple, global tweaking - particularly common tweaks (like white balance, or batch resizing) that would be applied to many pictures in the same way, Lightroom is great at that. It's not so great for creative controls - the Photoshop family is better designed for that job.

Both Lightroom and Photoshop have Adobe's famously wacky user interfaces, which almost certainly will confuse and infuriate newbies. I find Lightroom horribly modal, which makes features sometimes hard to discover. Photoshop is a power tool, with lots and lots of fiddly, but useful features. Plenty of people get infuriated with the fiddliness.

cheers,
Russ
Mike D.
md_photo
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 4
I'd agree with Russ for the most part. I actually use both Lightroom and Photoshop (the full version - Extended) for the majority of my shots.

Lightroom is great as a place to view your entire catalogue quickly, and make overall adjustments like Exposure, White Balance, etc to single or multiple images (especially to RAW images). But it won't let you do too much fine-tuning or more specialized tweaks, or at least it makes some of those things harder or more time consuming to do. That's where I turn to Photoshop - I export out a PSD from Lightroom and make more adjustments, taking advantage of all of Photoshop's vast feature set. That being said, I've used Photoshop heavily for over 15 years, so I know it well and love it.

For more of a beginner, and especially if you plan on taking a fair amount of shots, I'd recommend Lightroom. Then if you find yourself wanting more control a while down the road, you can always add some version of Photoshop to your arsenal.

Hope that helps!
Mike
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 617
Hi Russ and Mike,

I'm a little confused. As a beginner thinking about options, there seems to be use of terminology that I don't understand. Maybe if I list my understanding and the terms, it might clarify (at least for me) what we're talking about:

1. Express - this is an Adobe Photoshop service that one can use to "tweak" a single photo by using an app provided by Adobe, or uploading the photo to the Adobe site where changes to the photo can be applied and then downloaded again.

2. Elements - this is a Adobe Photoshop product targeted at "hobbyists" that offers only a fraction of capability of the premier Photoshop CS, at a fraction of the price.

3. Lightroom - this is an Adobe Photoshop product intended to help manage large quantities of photos and allow for "easy" post-production work (supporting RAW and .JPEG formats).

4. Photoshop - refers to either the Adobe Photoshop CS product, and sometimes refers to the family of Photoshop products (which includes Lightroom, Elements and the Express service).

With the terms clarified, I think I understand what you guys are talking about (when you say Photoshop, you mean the main product, Photoshop CS or Photoshop CS Extended (Mike's reference). Thanks for your input, Russ and Mike! I get it now!

I wonder if any members have used Express - or uses Elements - and can comment on effectiveness and/ or drawbacks? Good experiences or bad?

Thank you!!!
Russ K.
user 3929906
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 393
As I understand it, Express is a cloud-based subscription service offering a few simple tools. Otherwise, I think you've got it. BTW - Lightroom can handle PSD's (Photoshop format), too - with a couple of very technical exceptions.

cheers,
Russ
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 618
Thanks Russ!

With yours and Mike's generous info about Photoshop (CS) and Lightroom, I think I have a better idea of a few of the differences. I'm hoping that someone with experience with Elements will chime in and give an opinion or ideas of the benefits and drawbacks of that option.

Thanks again!
Angela R
Miradora
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 110
I have Photoshop CS6 but I do all of my my basic editing in Lightroom. Since the price has dropped IMO it is the best bargain on the market, especially if you shoot a lot of RAW images. There's a learning curve but the editing controls are pretty intuitive and there are plenty of free tutorials on line. Once I got the hang of it, it was the beginning of a lasting love affair. love struck
I've never used Elements but I've heard a lot of good things about it and it is very popular. I think for a beginner and for the price you can't go wrong with it either. There's also a plethora of tutorials on line for PS Elements.

Reviews:

Elements 11

http://graphicssoft.a...­


Lightroom 4

http://graphicssoft.a...­
Mike D.
md_photo
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 5
It seems that Elements has an "Organizer" with keyword tagging and albums, which may give it some of the functionality of Lightroom. I haven't used it, so I don't really know how well it works.

I'd suggest that you download trial versions of both and give them a test drive - there should be free 30 day trials of all Adobe products on their site.

Mike
David B.
user 10187480
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 8
I've used Photoshop Elements for many years, updating to a new version every 3 generations or so. There are often discounts available so it is much less expensive than the full Photoshop. I have never run into a situation where I felt some other tool was needed. Mostly I use the various exposure compensation tools -- e.g. the shadows and highlights corrections that I at least try out for almost every shot. Sometimes the "sharpening" tools are useful if not overused. The real key is to learn the various fairly powerful methods of selecting part of a photo so that you can a apply a useful change just to that part.

I shoot in RAW -- much more information is stored in the RAW file than you might imagine and it takes some postprocessing to see which part of that information you'll use in the final JPEG. I use the clone and "healing" tools to touch up minor defects, remove wires from architectural shots, etc. I also use the clone tool to put together better group photos by moving heads and bodies around -- great for opening the eyes of the guy who blinked, etc.

Elements does not handle batch corrections, but there is a free program from Nikon (VIEW NX) with an even stranger interface than Photoshop that will handle batch corrections if your camera settings were not appropriate for the situation. (Probably Canon offers a similar program). I find it saves time in the long run to be careful with those settings in the first place but it is useful to be able to make a global correction after the fact. One advantage of using VIEW NX is that it saves any changes in the Nikon RAW format. I generally first view my RAW photos in VIEW NX, delete the blurry ones and uninteresting compositions, and then open the photo in Elements and do any further processing and conversion to JPEG there. (You can set up a command in VIEW NX to take you directly to Elements when you're ready). When I've processed a "roll" this way, I open and save the files in iPhoto.

I haven't used Lightroom but I have seen it demonstrated and it looks like a useful tool for exposure corrections. It doesn't have all the capabilities of Elements for transforming the image. If you are a Mac user and not planning on elaborate post-processing, the tools built into the iPhoto editor are often more than adequate. If you prefer the Adobe Organizer, it now comes bundled with Elements for a nominal extra charge (Adobe Premiere Elements). I got the latest version for Mac (Elements 11) with the Organizer for about $100.
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 622
Wow, thanks Angela Mike and David for providing so much good info!!!

Has anyone used Express? I've heard that it's free and has just enough tools for corrective adjustments needed on the fly...

Thanks again!
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