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Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Is Out: Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Published: 18/10/2011
By: larry

My current software recommendation for real estate photographers are as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:
  1. Tune up white balance, exposure, clarity, saturation and sharpness. Can be done in either PSE or Lightroom.
  2. Straighten converging verticals. Can be done in either PSE or Lightroom.
  3. Fix lens barrel distortion. Can be done in either PSE or Lightroom.
  4. Garbage can removal (or other distracting elements). Can't be done in Lightroom.
  5. Window masking to get perfect window exposure. Can't be done in Lightroom.
  6. 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.

8 comments on “Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Is Out: Is It Worth The Upgrade?”

  1. Larry, I went from 8 to 10. Not certain if 9 has this feature, but 8 didn't and 10 does. For me, worth the cost of upgrade, is the clone guide. It makes it so easy to keep lines straight, etc.

  2. @Paula- I think you are referring to the "align" check box in the tool bar that controls the clone tool behavior. If so that wasn't new in version 10.

  3. @Tad- Elements will do everything. Lightroom will only do 1, 2, 3. But you do 1, 2 & 3 for all you shots (99% of your work) and Lightroom does it faster and easier.

  4. I'm switching to a MacBookPro this week (tracking my computer from Shanghai to Anchorage every 15 mins :-). I have PSE 8 for Windows. Will have to run Parallels for some RE Windows only programs :-(. Wondering if I should just get PSE 10 for Mac and Lightroom 3? Spoke to another Photog friend who said that Lightroom stripped out their Camera Settings on their Nikon D90. Do you or other Nikon/Lightroom users know how to prevent that?

  5. why not PSE10 has a lot of new features that you can use to improve your work and you can use it on other things

  6. At the moment I have only Lightroom 3, and am able to remove most undesired objects (garbage cans, hoses on the lawn, etc.) using the Cloning tool. For windows, I've been using the Adjustment Brush to correct the exposure within the window area..perhaps not perfect, but have not had any negative comments.
    At less than $100, Elements 9 does seem like a good bargain, so will be adding that within days. Thanks for the great article Larry!

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