My current software recommendation for real estate photographers are as follows:
- If you want just the bare essentials to do the real estate photography job, PSE is the photo editor you are looking for. It runs everywhere, costs $79 and does everything you need to do as a real estate photographer.
- If you can afford another $200 USD in addition to PSE, purchase Lightroom. It makes your workflow faster, your life easier and you can use it for everything but sky replacement, window masking and garbage can removal. For those last three you'll still need to take a trip out to PSE and back.
OK, given this doctrine, if you already have PSE 9 is there any point purchasing an upgrade to the new PSE 10? The short answer is no. My reasoning goes as follows. There are six photo-editing operations you need as a real estate photographer; call them the big six:
- Tune up white balance, exposure, clarity, saturation and sharpness. Can be done in either PSE or Lightroom.
- Straighten converging verticals. Can be done in either PSE or Lightroom.
- Fix lens barrel distortion. Can be done in either PSE or Lightroom.
- Garbage can removal (or other distracting elements). Can't be done in Lightroom.
- Window masking to get perfect window exposure. Can't be done in Lightroom.
- Sky replacement. Can't be done in Lightroom.
As far as I can see, nothing has been changed between PSE 9 and PSE 10 that effects these six real estate photography editing operations. So unless you like some of the non-real estate photography related added features in PSE 10 I see no reason to upgrade. It's not that there aren't a bunch of improvements, there are but they are kind of fluffy. Here is Adobe's version comparison of PSE over the last 5 versions.
I should point out that that there is plenty that the full version of Photoshop CS5 does that PSE 9 or 10 doesn't do but it's just not an essential tool for real estate photography. All of these six real estate photography photo editing operations are done in a very similar and some times identical way when using the big version of Photoshop.