Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle The Grand Tour Prize Draw Learn more Shop Women's Shop Men's

on 11 January 2013
I recently had nearly two years where I was too busy selling a house and moving countries to do any photographic processing, although I still took photos. When I finally had the time, I found that raw photos from my two new cameras were not supported, by either my Photoshop CS2 or Elements 5; I therefore needed an upgrade. CS5 was out, because of price and the fact that it contains a lot I would never use. I also needed to sort and reduce over three years of photos (7,000 +). I originally bought Elements 5 when I was teaching Photoshop to a beginner's class, none of whom would shell out the £500 or so needed to buy the full version. I only used Elements 5 to check that what I was teaching would work, and I wasn't very familiar with its full potential.

As part of my research I downloaded the trial version of Elements 10. I also read as many "How to do it" books as I could lay my hands on and tracked the development of the program since edition 5. I was aware of the criticisms in this forum, and others, about a near fatal bug in the Lasso Tool of Elements 10 but decided to look at it anyway. In the end I rejected 10, waited and eventually bought Elements 11.

Here are my conclusions for what they are worth.


1. If you don't have any image enhancement software or you have a very basic program, such as Picassa or one of the bundled programs you may have found on a disc with your camera, then buying Elements 11 is a no-brainer. It is worth buying for the Organiser alone and in the Edit module, it lets you do most things that you might want to do, as you develop your photographic skills and interest.

2. If you want one-click general enhancements then it does these as well as, if not better than, other one-click programs.

3. If you want to do more and better, you can tweak the basic one-click settings and stop when satisfied. knowing that all moves are reversible
4. If you need more than that, then there are guided edits, which both achieve good results and teach you to handle some of the important Photoshop tools, in a non-threatening way. If you want to know more, there are tutorials on Adobe TV and countless ones on the Youtube. If you are just beginning I found some good stuff on [...] (Complete with written notes).

5. If you want a good range of Photoshop tools and capabilities then it offers 80% of those and 95% of those that matter (IMHO), and most of those left out are not critical. Much of what is left out is of more interest to pro photographers, designers, graphic artists and the like. If that is you, then you want its big brother CS6. Also there is a very comprehensive set of creation tools that allow you to make photo-books, calendars etc, if you are into that sort of thing.

6. If you already have an earlier version of Elements then, even up to Elements 7 it is worth considering the change, for the enhancements in the Editor, the Recompose tool and the Quick Selection Brush (better than the former "Magic Selection Brush" I think) tools alone. These will cut your workload in half and are fun to use. You do need plenty of memory to use the Recompose Tool, otherwise it is painfully slow, but it is quite simply fantastic. You can do the same job with layers, if you know what you are doing, but it is so much easier with this tool. If, like me, you have version 5 or before, then this has all the things that you hoped 5 would have, like layer masks, vibrance and actions. After that, at versions 8, 9 or 10, an upgrade is less certain to please. The best thing to do is to download the trial version, and see for yourself.


1. The organiser and a edit workspaces in 8, 9 and 10 were getting very cluttered and so it seems like a good idea to simplify them, as Adobe have done. However, they have also made it so different I don't know where everything is! I am constantly having to refer to the help pages and YouTube to find stuff, know it is there, but just can't find it. The edit space I am beginning to understand, but the organizer space is driving me nuts. If you are not used to the traditional Photoshop format, this may not be such a problem. Update 18/3/20013. I am now friends with the organizer and I am very happy with the new setup.

2. Then there is the issue of reliability and stability. Some people have reported Elements has crashed more frequently as it has gone from versions 8 to 10, but I could not get 10 to fall over, no matter what I did to it and the same seems to apply to 11. The reliability problem may be a symptom of Adobe's tendency to bolt on more and more new stuff to the basic Photoshop engine and not take away redundant features, but I have never had a crash with Elements-I have had it happen with other software though.

3. Some experienced Photoshop users complain about the greater and greater reliance on guided edits to access certain features and it has been suggested that it may be time for Elements to become two programs, one for low volume enthusiasts and semi pros and one for scrapbookers, facebookers and the like. This edition seems to answer that problem by making it look more like ordinary Photoshop but with guided edits and photobooks etc, hidden from view. Some will like this, personally I don't. Update. I am now at peace with the new spartan format.

4. Then there is the vexed question of Amazon random number pricing and price matching with other companies. If the price on Amazon was the same now as it was when I bought it (£34.99), I would be saying, to anyone who has been put off buying it from Amazon by negative comments, that it is quite simply the photographic bargain of the year. However the price seems to vary randomly on a daily basis, currently it is £58.79. Over the last year, Elements 10 varied from £34.99 to £50, or even once, £80, with bizarre prices like £60.16p popping up. Other companies follow suite, leading to a dog's breakfast of pricing nationally. I was so incensed by this that I held off buying until the random number generator came up with £35 again! That was one day a few weeks ago, for Elements 11, and I bagged one.


There are still some gaps, like there is no access to Channels or Lab Mode and you cannot create your own actions but you can now load third party actions, if you want. But hell, 95% of the important parts of the full Photoshop is nothing short of brilliant, if you are paying £35; any more and you are being ripped off! If you want more features, then you will have to bite the bullet and shell out for CS6. Update: 'Elements+', is an add on program, which unlocks a lot of the hidden CS6 functionality, including channels, smart objects and scripts. There is no lab mode but there is 'sharpen luminosity' which is one of the main reasons you want a lab mode. A genuine bargain at £10.07 or $14.28.

I have now had enough time to assess this product, and I have to say it is a fantastic piece of kit. There is so much in that saves time and angst that it is worth having it just for the hassle it takes out of processing. I take back my previous caveat about the cost. Even at full price it is well worth the money. If you shop around you should be able to get well below full price but whatever you do get it!
1616 Comments| 376 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 October 2012
I have been using Photoshop Elements since 2004 and have upgraded to the latest version every year since version 4. I have tried every other photo-editing program over the years but Elements has the best combination of power and usability of any. It is ideal photo-editing for digital photographers providing most of the tools from Photoshop plus many features which Photoshop users envy. I also use it for adjusting photographs of paintings for a local art society and Elements is the only software I have found which is capable of refining colour to the demanding standards of artists.

Elements comes with a powerful organiser/gallery application which is capable of dealing with many of thousands or photographs. I have 15,000 photos in the Organizer and every time I upload more photos I use keywords for places, people, events etc. This is really easy to do and together with the timeline function makes sure that I can easily find any photo I am looking for. This version of the organizer has new functions for searching by people, places, events and georgraphical locations which improve the search system even more.

There are four levels of editing available - photofix (quick and easy fixes for common problems from the Organizer screen) , then in the Editor itself there is "quick" for many basic fixes, "guided" which provides step by step guided edits, and "expert" for those who wish to use all the layers/filters/masks etc which are the main reason you would use Elements rather than Picasa or other free software.

Version 11 is fast and it all hangs together really well. There are lots of small improvements - for example, I find the rationalisation of selection tools very welcome and much overdue. The new tools options bar along the bottom of the edit screen is much easier to use and I appreciate the larger size of everything. In a program as comprehensive as Elements it is perhaps inevitable that a small number of bugs will slip through testing but I have yet to find any in this version. The general consensus on Elements forums is that this version has fixed the known bugs from previous versions.

One important point is that Adobe Camera Raw is much improved in this version - it's worth reading the documentation if you wish to use this feature (i.e. you take your photos in RAW format rather than JPG). For example, the old fill light slider has now been dropped and instead the Exposure slider works with the Shadows slider to produce much improved effects with this version.

I have not always felt that the new versions add much to previous versions and last year I came to the conclusion that Elements was becoming too much of a mish-mash of unrelated functions (although it was still the best photo-editing package if you didn't want to go for full Photoshop). I am pleased to say that this year, version 11 is the first upgrade for a long time which I am really pleased with. Its a great improvement on earlier versions. It looks better and feels better - it gives a much better impression of being a fully integrated package with real logic behind the design.

One advantage of using Photoshop Elements is the wide range of training material available. I recommend buying Photoshop Elements 11: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals) (Missing Manuals) by Barbara Brundage which goes into a tremendous level of detail in describing the functions of this powerful software. Also Scott Kelby's book The Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) is also very good for those who prefer a more task-oriented approach.

Finally, if you want to get serious about colour, it might be worth buying a monitor calibrator such as Pantone Huey PRO. This will ensure that your monitor is adjusted for colour and ambient light. Without making sure that your monitor is calibrated correctly you are shooting in the dark when it comes to colour correction.
44 Comments| 321 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 May 2015
I bought this when I upgraded my computer. I've been a Photoshop user for some time, always trailing-edge older versions, but to be honest the older version of Photoshop CS2 (which I adore) still beats Elements hands-down. Familiarity with one doesn't necressarily help when trying to figure out the other, and I admit I didn't persevere for long, but went back to using CS2. Considering that Adobe is now giving away the no-longer supported Photoshop CS2, which is much better for my needs, I'm sorry I bought this. I rarely use it. I didn't find it very intuitive. This is probably my problem, not the software's. I'm not keen on the way it tries to spooonfeed me instead of letting me get on with manipulating the images in my own way. One thing you can't do with elements is convert an image to CMYK from RGB, which is the form you need if you are sending away an image for professional print. If I could have bought CS5 I would have upgraded, but Adobe's new monthly 'rental' system is too expensive for an occasional user like me. I don't use it very often, but when i do I need that CMYK conversion. Adobe needs to rethink. They are losing sales.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 September 2013
After years of using Picasa and Paint.Net and even Gimp I thought it was time for an upgrade. Time to spend some money.

Elements 11 is far better at everything. The others do parts of what Elements can but Elements is far slicker and easier to use.

Don't be put off thinking it might be more complicated. In some ways it is but there is a "Quick" selection for the beginner which is basically a far better Picasa. "Guided" which gives you a bit more choice and tools and "Expert" which allows you to run riot with your photos.

The Organiser is well thought out and you can file your images in a number ways so it is always easy to find them.

Without any help you should be able muddle through Quick and Guided with few issues. Click and see is my strategy. To get more out of Elements 11 I would recommend a relevant "How To" book. Elements for Dummies etc. Adding layers and top end image manipulation needs a bit more knowledge which should be covered in the various books. YouTube is also filled with clips of people showing you how to do various things.

So as my title states, you get out what you put in. It is a very good piece of software. Simple and effective in it's basic form yet put a bit more into it and a whole new world of photo shopping opens up.

Should have bought it years ago.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 July 2013
I probably wouldn't have considered buying this new version if I hadn't recently had Windows 8 installed. My much older version seemed to tick all the boxes I needed for a basic 'point & shoot' kind of guy. But, I also produce and edit a small local cycling magazine and needed all the help I can get, with sometimes rather poor pictures sent in to me for publication.
The new sophistication employed into this Elements certainly surprised me, and I am able to get much better and more detailed fine tune-ups on my pictures. Very impressive.
If it can do that on basics, I am dying to have a go at far more complicated manoeuvring and manipulating, but sadly, not enough time at the present.

0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 September 2017
Went wrong after a few months . Nothing I could do could do to cure it. Maybe its something to do with windows 10.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 June 2013
Photoshop seems to become less intuitive with each passing version; admittedly I upgraded from version 8 so I've probably had to jump up the learning curve quite a bit. It does the job well enough and I'm sure when I get used to it it will be fine. Special discount offer made me upgrade otherwise I may have been quite content with my old version.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 May 2013
I bought this to help me with my photos I must start taking some, the software is great you can pay a lot of money for the higher end stuff but most of us just take the odd snap or two so this Adobe Photoshop 11 will do you can get into making really good pictures using this me I just bought it for the fun of using it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 January 2013
Chose Elements 11 as it covered everything my partner wanted in a photo editing product. I think its excellent value for money. It has everything most photographers would ever want to do with their images.
Certainly recommend it to anyone who wanted a good, value for money editing piece of software.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 October 2017
Very good.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 17 answered questions

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)