What is the Difference Between Photoshop, Elements, and Lightroom?

In photography, photo editing is essential since it improves the quality of your pictures. It would be best if you had the right editing programs to enhance the quality of your images.

This blog post will be looking at the difference between the three software for editing pictures.

What is the Difference Between Photoshop, Elements, and Lightroom?

Which is better: Photoshop vs Elements vs Lightroom

Photoshop is complex editing software that graphic artists use.

At the same time, Elements is simple editing software for first-time photographers or beginners who want to edit personal pictures.

Lastly, Lightroom is for professional photographers and graphic artists editing large sets of photos.

All three are editing programs. However, each is designed for specific purposes and audiences.

Differences Between Photoshop, Elements, and Lightroom

What to use for photo editing, Photoshop, Elements, or Lightroom?

While the three software is the best for editing pictures, they have some key distinctions.

Raw Photo Conversion

The three are capable of raw conversions; however, Elements and Photoshop go through the camera raw to decode the files.

Camera raw’s range of control is limited compared to that of Lightroom.

Lightroom, on the other hand, is intended for raw conversions.

The image of raw conversions is better than that of Elements and Photoshop, but it offers more variation controls, like local adjustments.

File Handling

Photoshop when you want to perform adverse edits.

As such, you will end up with three files separately: the original raw camera file, a PSD, and finally the copy that is in shareable format from the PSD.

Lightroom doesn’t move your pictures in different locations.

Instead, the changes you make to your photographs are kept in another file known as a catalog. A catalog is like a recipe book with instructions on how you will process each photo.

Element has a catalog, too, and it uses AI to organize your images.

The images are grouped by events, people, and places. You can also group pictures, and you can create albums too.


Photoshop features all the color options and CMYK, Multi-channel, Duotone, and lap that allow significant control when printing.

Elements lack critical features for professional print production and can’t export files in CMYK, which rules out profound soft proofing.

Just like the Elements, Lightroom cannot export files into CMYK. It exports them in RGB, and you will need another app to export files.

You can sort-proof your files and print them from the Lightroom.

Editing Tools

Photoshop has an array of brushes, filters, and other tools that allow it to edit and make changes to your images.

It works by creating various layers on which your edits will take place.

Elements let you use five different layers: type, fill, shape, image, and adjustment layers that give control as you edit your images.

Lightroom has no layers, and has few editing tools, and is less flexible. Working without layers doesn’t give you control over how you precisely edit your pictures.


Photoshop offers six workspaces for various creative requirements: photography, motion, painting, 3D, Essentials, Graphic, and web.

In Elements, it divides the editing process into three workspaces: Guided, quick and Expert.

Lightroom only has one workspace that happens in the develop module, and instead of using layers, all changes occur in the sliders.

Ease of Use

Photoshop is complex for first-time users making it only convenient for amateur photographers.

Elements are quick and easy for first-time photographers to edit personal pictures since it does not require intensive editing.

Its interface isn’t complicated, and it is simplified starting from loading your photos to the exportation of the finished images.

Lightroom is for professional work and is for quick access to settings.

It has sliders that help you in flexibility. It does not have textures and shape overlays found in Photoshop and Elements.


Best photo editing software for beginners

Who are the people that can use this editing software?


  • Graphic designers: it allows graphic designers to work as an illustrator that is good for creating clean shapes, and raster-based is for painting and making finishing touches on images.
  • Filmmakers: Photoshop has a timeline window, allowing you to create frames like quick animations like GIFS.
  • Editors: Photoshop is great for editors since it’s easier to adjust photographs and assets to attach to your work.
  • Photographers; it gives control to photographers over their pictures. Professionals can get the most out of their photographs, from masking to layering.


  • People that have never used editing software before.
  • Photographers that want to do swift batch editing


  • It is mainly targeted for landscape, wedding, or fashion professional photographers that want to enhance their work.


To use Photoshop, you need to renew your subscription yearly since it is a part of the Creative cloud.

Elements aren’t part of the creative cloud, making it a stand-alone program. It’s the cheapest option compared to the other two software.

Lightroom is similar to a photoshoot since it’s a part of the creative cloud, making you pay for your subscription yearly.

Final Thoughts

Elements are best suited for you if you are not a professional photographer since they are simple to understand and work with and cheaper to purchase.

If you are a professional photographer, you can use Lightroom or Photoshop, and you can control your images.

With this software, you can ensure that your pictures will look authentic.

Similar Posts