Digital photo mavens, Paintshop Pro or Photoshop Elements?

My career as a cheesecake photographer is taking off nicely. I was able to get studio lighting to work with a modest camera, will be buying a better camera soon and have offers of paying work coming in. Now I need to pay for some good photo editing software. I can’t justify the cost of full blown Photoshop so I’m deciding between the poor man’s alternatives, Paintshop Pro 7 and Adobe Photoshop elements. I haveent learned to do heavy manipulation with either but find them both easy to use and powerful. I particularly like the multi-thumbnail browse feature in PSP but I can see the advantage of being able to use Photoshop plug-ins with the Adobe product. If you had $100 to spend, which product would you get?

I’m not the maven you asked for, but having fooled around with a couple graphics packages, I have another option for you: What you really want is Photoshop, it’s just the cost that bothers you, correct? Consider an older version or the scaled down LE version. A quick search of Ebay turned up Photoshop 4 (full) and Photoshop 5 (LE) for a fraction of your price. I still have v.4 after getting it bundled with a now defunct scanner years ago and still love it (after a quick patch it now seems to be XP compatible). If you don’t like Ebay, I bet you a donut you could find similar deals elsewhere.

PS Cheesecake? What kind of photos are these?

theoretically, one could find a very nice photo program on a system…say, the internet…by using programs that may or may not turn up demonstration copies of said software. [cough]Morpheus[/cough]

Unfortunately you will end up using photoshop sooner or later. PSP and many other fine programs simply dont match up. It is the industry standard for good reason. That said, I would take Waverly’s advice and try to acquire a L.E. edition, or an older version. The most current version is 6.0 (probly not anymore), so you should be able to get 5.5 or 5.0 on the cheap. I would strongly suggest 5.0, because it was a huge leap from 4.0 functionalitywise, and because 5.5 is basically 5.0 with some unnecessary website features.

The other completely legal and economical option is to use The GIMP. That’s GNU Image Manipulation Program. It’s the Free Software answer to photoshop, and has quite an impressive set of features. It also has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to the idiom you get to like it.

The best part is, it’s completely free. So, go download it and try it out and if you don’t like it, you’re out exactly zip.

Of course, I am also not the expert you asked for, but I have used both photoshop and the GIMP, and have been impressed with both.

You can use any Photoshop plugin with PSP. What you can’t use are the actions. Any plugin with an 8bf extension will work. For the money, PSP can’t be beat. If you’ve only got $100 to spend, I’d recommend the newest version of PSP over an older or stripped down Photoshop, YMMV.

What are you going to do with the photos? The authors of Sam’s How to Learn HTML in 24 Hours raves about Paint Shop by jasc for their ease in editing photos for web pages. They claim they’ve tried just about every software package on the market and this one is the best.

If you go to their website, you can download a demo version. The cost to purchase is about $100.

I have both PaintShop Pro and the full version of Photoshop, both the latest versions.

I use PSP about 95% of the time. It’s easy to learn, use and with it’s vector drawing capabilities it adds the element that Photoshop has been horrible about in the past, meaning you needed something like Illustrator (which I have as well) to really get some good graphics on a photo.

My vote is for PaintShop Pro. Like I said, I use it almost exclusively for all my web design and even have turned out some great print stuff.

Anybody have any comments about ULead’s PhotoImpact?


Though not a photo maven I’m good friends with one who does work for National Geographic photographers. First of all, Elements is better than LE by a long shot. Go for it. Also, for photo manip. Photoshop is the standard and is very good. It also supports color management much better that PSP which is necessary for photo work (this is especially useful on Macs where you can color manage the entire system easily). Also, the prices for PSP and Elements are comparable (I believe that Elements is less) and Elements is better than PSP. Even if they were equal, there is one more major advantage to Elements. If you later find that it doesn’t fit your needs and you need to get the full version of Photoshop, you can upgrade Elements for a lower cost than the full $500 something of the full version of Photoshop.

Short version: Elements is what you want.

The GIMP is a beautiful thing. If you do decide to use it, there’s a very good manual at

This is more of an opinion poll that a General Question with a factual answer.

Off to IMHO.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator

Another PSP7 owner here. I don’t do any professional work, but I do a shitload of photo manipulation and graphics creation with it. Let me just say that I’ve yet to come across something that I couldn’t do with PSP.

What’s more important than an image editing program is knowing how to use it. If you have Photoshop 6.0, but don’t know how to do anything with it, what’s the point? I agree with Techchick… PSP is simple. I essentially taught myself how to use it through casual use over the course of about a week.

Oh no no no. Not PSP. Not that it’s bad, but Photoshop IS the industry standard, and the sooner you succumb, the better. Trust me on this.

And Photoshop Elements is better. I am an emerging Photoshop geek, and I read all the articles and reviews. It wins over PSP. Photoshop Elements only has a few less features than the “full” Photoshop. The Photoshop magazine I subscribe to could not have been more glowing in their review of Elements. (And they are picky!) They say that Elements is a tremendous value for the money. And yes, sooner or later, if you keep up your photo work, you will end up getting Photoshop anyway. Just accept it! It will happen! :smiley: So better to get used to the interface now.

As far as the learning curve - it’s like anything else. Whatever you are comfortable with, and used to. I started out with PSP, and thought it made the most sense and was the easiest. But I decided I had to learn Photoshop. It was tough at first (so weird - weird unfamiliar interface, etc.). But finally I got the hang of it. (Some friendly Photoshop books really helped. I have a whole list I can recommend!) And now I look at PSP and can’t make heads nor tails of it.

I don’t know why people say Photoshop has a high learning curve. I don’t think it’s that hard. However, to get the most out of it, you have to study the manuals. (God Forbid!) But it is all worth it. Photoshop is way cool.

I also think the idea of gettiing an older version of Photoshop has merit. I got version 4 off of eBay for $90. I then could upgrade to version 6 for $200. Sure, not something you would want to do right away, but a far cry from $600! (Beware, though. If you get an earlier version than number 4, you might not be able to upgrade unless you register the serial number with Adobe. Which sometimes you are not able to do.) However, you can upgrade directly to PS 6 from a PS 4 (or above) CD. No need to contact Adobe to have them “unlock” the upgrade. (I called Adobe about this a while back.)

So, another (emphatic) vote for Elements!

SPOOFE will you marry me?

< giggle >

Sorry yosemite hun…PSP wins hands down for those that need photo manipulation software. You are on MAC, I am on PC, for people that are new to photo manipulation, PSP is the best out there for the price and it’s capabilities.

Photoshop requires a degree, for most people it’s very difficult to master. PSP offers easy manipulation with a lot of virgin graphics capabilities.

I am sorry, I have several photo and graphics programs, PSP has been the program that most people can master in a short amount of time. Photoshop is difficult and expensive, it can do a lot but PSP can do just as much with a small learning curve.

I have worked with the greats, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc…and PSP is still my photo manipulation software of choice. And as I said I have done some nice print work that looked like I did it in Photshop but did it in PSP instead.

Let me give you some places where Paint Shop Pro are in use:

That must be the best first line to any post in the history of these boards!! :wink:

The latest full version of Adobe Photoshop does have vector drawing capability. It is a beautiful program. Highly memory-demanding though, make sure you have plenty of ram.

I can imagine photos of cheesecakes would need to be very perfect, glossy, sharp and professional looking: Photoshop would be ideal for this so it could well be worth investing in the full version. Couldn’t you soften the cost by writing it off against tax?

Graphics and image manipulation done in PaintShop Pro…just to show Padeye that you can spend less.

Oh and you were there my friend…

Oh, you know I respect you, and it isn’t as if I think PSP is bad. I’ve seen too many killer graphics made with PSP to think that.

As far as platforms go - I have used PSP on my PC, and Photoshop on both Mac and PC. Photoshop behaves pretty much the same on both. (Though it is more buggy on my PC, which is why I prefer using Photoshop on my Mac.)

You know, I worked as a professional photo retoucher for several years, and I know photo retouching pretty well. I worked with photo dyes and paintbrush (I didn’t do the airbrushing, but another coworker did.) But I had a lot of contact with the “digital” department at work, and they all used Photoshop. Photoshop is it for any photo lab of any merit, as far as I know. End of story. Actually, I got my interest in Photoshop because it was being drummed into all of us photo artists’ heads that our jobs were being phased out, so we’d better jump on the digital bandwagon. Better learn Photoshop. So I did. (I no longer work in the photo biz, but by coincidence, on a whim I just applied for a part time job at the local photo lab. Wish me luck!)

:confused: I have no “degree” in Photoshop - I just like using it. The other Photoshop artists I’ve met have no degree. I’ve taught myself Photoshop. (Am still learning.) There are some great Photoshop books out there that really helped me out. I’ve come a long way, on my own.

Oh, I’m sure that’s true. PSP is a great program.

I wouldn’t know. But - does PSP have Channels? Paths? Adjustment Layers? I don’t know, I’m asking. (I am now learning that I cannot live without Channels or Adjustment Layers! :smiley: )

Of course PSP is very nice. I see some killer graphics sites that use PSP. But it isn’t the industry standard, and there’s a reason for that.

Oh my, the graphics on your links sites are very nice. And you do certainly know what you are doing!

As far as what can be done with Photoshop (not that you asked) all of the graphics on my little digital art page was done in Photoshop or Illustrator. The top picture, the woman’s profile, was done in Illustrator. Illustrator has a completely different feel to it, (being vector based) and in a way, I prefer it to Photoshop! At least as far as drawing pictures go. I just love that “vector” look! :slight_smile: And all the web graphics are done in Photoshop. Easy as pie, too, with Photoshop 6’s Styles and Layer Effects! And I haven’t even begun to learn ImageReady!