Photoshop Elements 2018
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Photoshop Elements 2018

$99 | Adobe | Amazon

At some point, any digital photographer who is serious about their images is going to have to step away from the limited software that comes with their camera and move to a more powerful editing solution. Adobe Photoshop Elements is hands-down the best value in photo editing software.

It offers 95% of what beginning (and many expert) photographers would use Photoshop for, while introducing them to the Adobe ecosystem and learning techniques that will transfer over to other, more in-depth, programs such as full Photoshop or Illustrator. If the photographer in your life enjoys shooting video as well, the combined Adobe Photoshop/Premier Elements package is just $50 more.

Another option that is similarly priced would be a year of Photoshop CC/Lightroom CC subscription for $120. This gives the full-powered version of Photoshop as well as the organizational abilities of Lightroom, though at the loss of a single purchase over an ongoing subscription.