Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
Steve Cohan
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Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
11 months ago

I bought an iMac about 2 years ago, used it for one week and never have used it since. I upgraded the Snow Leopard yesterday so that I could use it for Facetime. While doing this I noticed how much better the display is in comparison to my Windows based system. As a result I would like to use the Mac for post processing. What is the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. Adobe is offering specials on both. Or, do you have another recommendation?

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Sonyshine
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

Be very careful of Adobe - they are heading towards online subscription based products. LR and PE may be safe for now....

Apple's own  Aperture is very good too.

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realgeek
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

Lightroom is the product that Adobe made for photographers.  It's awesome, and I highly recommend it.  Very roughly speaking, it's like Adobe Camera RAW plus an organizing database program.

The main thing that it lacks that Photoshop offers is pixel-level editing.  That is, the ability to add or remove objects, or make composites.  It has a very limited ability to remove blemishes, like dust spots or pimples, but that's it.  But it can do, amazingly well, almost everything else a photographer would want to do.

And, if you can wait until Lightroom 5 comes out, you will see that the ability to heal and clone will grow substantially.  You will have a more robust ability to remove objects from a photo -- but not really the ability to add them or make composites.

There's no reason you shouldn't be able to wait, because you can download now -- for free -- the Lightroom 5 beta.  And, based on past practices, it should remain free until shortly after Lightroom 5 comes out.  So you can test it out for free now and buy it later, rather than buy version 4 now and have to upgrade later.

If you end up loving it, as many do, you're golden.  If you don't like it, or feel too limited, then you'll know your answer: Photoshop elements will be your choice.

On the other hand, you can buy Pixelmator for the Mac for $15 right now on the App Store.  It's not as good as Photoshop Elements, but it's a similar/competing product.  And for $15, it's a steal.  So ... Lightroom 5 + Pixemator ... sounds like a good solution.  At least until you feel you need to upgrade to Photoshop proper.

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havoc315
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

There is a lot of overlap in their abilities, but they are designed to handle different tasks.

If you want a program for great photo organization, for adjusting RAW files, and applying batch edits, Lightroom is great.

If you want to work with individual shots at the pixel level, adding "special effects" etc--- Photoshop Elements is the way to go.

Both programs *can* adjust exposure, edit RAW files, etc.  But those features are better laid out in Lightroom.

Both programs can do basic cropping, red-eye reduction, spot removals.

You can do some level of skin softening, etc, on Lightroom.  But those types of adjustments can get much more detailed in Photoshop Elements.

If you like to work with layers, graphics, etc.. then Elements.

Personally, for what I do, I prefer Lightroom.  It covers 98% of my editing needs, but I do have some other task-specific software as well.  I have a Portrait software plug-in, I have Photomatix for HDR.  But 98% of my post-processing is done in Lightroom.

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Wally626
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

Steve Cohan wrote:

I bought an iMac about 2 years ago, used it for one week and never have used it since. I upgraded the Snow Leopard yesterday so that I could use it for Facetime. While doing this I noticed how much better the display is in comparison to my Windows based system. As a result I would like to use the Mac for post processing. What is the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. Adobe is offering specials on both. Or, do you have another recommendation?

Aperture is Apple's competitor to Lightroom. I would choose it first on the Mac. Elements is a consumer version of Photoshop and may be worth purchasing if you want to do more elaborate manipulation of images but 99% of what I need to do to images can be done by Aperture and I assume Lightroom. You do your RAW conversions when the images are imported the program works as an image catalogue and it allows you to do many manipulations of color balance, noise, spot removal, exposure adjustments, etc. It also accepts pug-ins like Topaz for higher levels of noise reduction or other types of things. All the adjustments done in Aperture (or Lightroom) are fully reversible and not sensitive to in what order they are applied to the image. Of course you can also do all the cropping, straightening and printing steps, using a local printer or printing on-line as well as making books.

Lightroom costs more but it can also do a few things Aperture does not. These things may or may not be important to you.

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shadowfax123
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

Apple's own Aperture is a very inexpensive way for the photo development process.  It has a very small learning curve.  Additionally, it supports plugin apps (e.g. filters) from major software developers such as NIK and Tiffen.  After using it exclusively for over a year now, I prefer it over Adobe's Lightroom.  Anyway, Adobe is moving toward CC apps.

Best,

Christopher

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sanmaj
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

I agree. Take a look at Aperture. Like a lot of people right now I am moving away from Adobe products because of their Cloud Computing strategy. Besides, I think Aperture is better than Lightroom. As mentioned, many major plug-in products can be used on Aperture e.g. NIK, Topaz, OnOne, Portraiture, Portrait Professional and PT Lens and others. Aperture does have a couple of drawbacks though 1) weak noise control 2) no resident lens correction and 3) need to be able to access more than 1 other standard application (as Lightroom can) in their "Edit In" menue. Assuming Apple is going to stay  in the photography editing business I have no doubt that future updates will address these shortcomings. I use Aperture in combination with Photo Ninja (RAW processing) and this makes for a really dynamite combination. I am able to do more than 97% of my editing work with this combination without using Photoshop or other Adobe products.

My only other cautionary note is that none of us really know what the future will be like given this push by some companies to move their products to cloud computing. What any of us feel comfortable with now may be thrown into a "cocked hat" if this move continues and grows. It's a very unsettling time for the amateur photographer. I say this not because the current products aren't good but because no one (software companies) will say where they stand or where they are going long-term.

Good luck to you in your decision making process

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Robert Peters
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Lightroom, without any reservations unless you
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

need layers.

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Steve Cohan
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Thank all of you and I now have direction. I tried to
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

install Beta Lightroom 5. It will not load on my current operating system. I just upgraded to Snow Leopard 10.7.0 and for some reason the Apple rep did not sell me Snow Leopard. Yes, my system supports Snow Leopard. Ok, no big deal for another $19.99. That's downloading as I write. I have never been a fan of any Photoshop products and have always used Paint Shop Pro. I am not one of those guys who really gets into post processing. In fact I started with Paint Shop Pro when it was shareware, developed by a couple guys in their garage. I'll look at the Beta Lightroom 5. If it doesn't feel good, I'll purchase the Aperture. I operated a computer company for about 25 years and always believed in using software that was develped by the developer of your operating system. That's why I believe that Aperture might be a better bet for me. Again, I want to thank all of you for your input.

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plantdoc
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

In the PC world, an excellent combo is Lightroom and Elements. Most work is done in Lightroom but Elements is needed for pixel editing, such as removing the offending light pole or similar edits. Much cheaper than full photoshop. The pay the rent or lose it moves of Adobe are unsettling but so far these products are not impacted.

Greg

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Steven Wandy
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to realgeek, 11 months ago

realgeek wrote:

On the other hand, you can buy Pixelmator for the Mac for $15 right now on the App Store.  It's not as good as Photoshop Elements, but it's a similar/competing product.  And for $15, it's a steal.  So ... Lightroom 5 + Pixemator ... sounds like a good solution.  At least until you feel you need to upgrade to Photoshop proper.

This was going to be my suggestion - though I pair Pixelmator with Apple Aperture. I have PSE10 still on my iMac but have not used it since I decided to try Pixelmator. For what I do - outside of Aperture - Pixelmator is perfect. Probably will never bother upgrading PS Elements again.

As far as Lightroom vs Aperture - I loved LR when I was running a Windows machine. Since switching to a Mac, I like Aperture better. They both have their plus and minus points - you can find many threads and web pages discussing this ad nauseum. What I liked better about Aperture was (1) the way it is integrated into the Apple software seems better and (2) the way it handles file structure and it's libraries. But those are both personal preferences. As was stated, you can get a demo of LR. Don't believe there is a demo of Aperture available, but I might be wrong.

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Tom_N
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Steven Wandy, 11 months ago

Steven Wandy wrote:

Don't believe there is a demo of Aperture available, but I might be wrong.

There used to be one.  No more.  It must have gone away around the same time that Apple put the program up on the Mac App Store.

Apple - The trial version of Aperture is no longer available

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TeleView
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Re: Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements for MAC
In reply to Tom_N, 11 months ago

I have Adobe CS-6, which is now the last Photoshop being sold without requiring annual fees.

It is very powerful, but is essentially a pro version of Elements. As others have said, it allows layering of images, and other things, including even desktop publishing prowess. There is also an extended version which cost about an extra 50%.

Lightroom is very different, and is much much easier to use. Its great for photographs, and for printing. Also the Lightroom V4, works on both your Mac, and on Windows.

Hence, I recommend Lightroom.

However ...

I own LR 4, and also Aperture. And I found LR 4's learning curve fairly tough. But worst, I did not like its filing system.

With the mac, you already get iPhoto for free. And Aperture can use iPhoto's photo libraries.

I have now gone to Aperture, because its just much easier - for me - to use.

If printing what you see and getting it out of your printer, that's a tough ask. iPhoto and Aperture are the easiest ways to get that. But even Aperture will take some learning.

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Thank all of you and I now have direction. I tried to
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

Steve Cohan wrote:

install Beta Lightroom 5. It will not load on my current operating system. I just upgraded to Snow Leopard 10.7.0 and for some reason the Apple rep did not sell me Snow Leopard. Yes, my system supports Snow Leopard. Ok, no big deal for another $19.99. That's downloading as I write. I have never been a fan of any Photoshop products and have always used Paint Shop Pro. I am not one of those guys who really gets into post processing. In fact I started with Paint Shop Pro when it was shareware, developed by a couple guys in their garage. I'll look at the Beta Lightroom 5. If it doesn't feel good, I'll purchase the Aperture. I operated a computer company for about 25 years and always believed in using software that was develped by the developer of your operating system. That's why I believe that Aperture might be a better bet for me. Again, I want to thank all of you for your input.

I agree with you there, to some extent, I agree that Apple's product as a whole, the hardware and OS designed to work together is a better solution.

However, they haven't always got it right (who has?), and there are often bugs in their software, although I personally don't think they're worse than anything else, just below expectations.

You really need to ask yourself what you need from your photo editing though. If, like me, you do very little post processing, then you won’t need Photoshop (my Elements 8 is now sitting on a shelf unused). If you don't shoot many photos, or have 'pro' requirements, then you don't really need LightRoom either, or perhaps even Aperture.

For a light user, iPhoto could actually work well enough, but for a bit more of a photo enthusiast Aperture is definitely better.

If you don't want a full image editor, such as Elements, Pixelmator or Acorn etc., then Aperture coupled with some basic plugins can be quite powerful - I have the set of Topaz Plugins here, and Adjust 5 can do a very good job in rescuing a dull photo (for example).

Basically, how much do your photos mean to you, and how much are you prepared to spend on it? You can do it from free, right up to thousands.

-- hide signature --

Andy Hewitt
Using Olympus E-420 and Apple Mac Mini '09.

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Conchita
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Re: Thank all of you and I now have direction. I tried to
In reply to Steve Cohan, 11 months ago

Just FYI, 10.7 is lion. 10.6 is snow leopard. Just mentioning to avoid confusion in any future posts you may make. 10.8 is mountain lion.

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