Photoshop Elements vs Lightroom

A couple years ago I made the switch from Photoshop Elements to Lightroom. I liked that the Lightroom edits were non-destructive. Also, it seemed much easier to do simple touch ups like white balance, exposure, color correction. I had also read good things about the Lightroom organizer compared to Photoshop Elements Organizer.

Adobe went and made Lightroom part of their subscription model, which I’m not doing. I don’t use photo editing software a lot. I have over 10,000 photos I want to catalog, and I don’t want to do it in one package (Lightroom) and need to redo it in another if my version of Lightroom suddenly starts having problems with operating system upgrades or something else.

Does anyone have any recommendations on what package I should commit to? It doesn’t have to be Lightroom or Photoshop Elements, but I do want it to be something that will most likely continue to get support so I don’t have to abandon my cataloging. I typically tag by people, possibly an event (like a vacation), a location, etc…

The short answer: No, not really.

The long answer: I’m in the same boat as you and I am on LR5 on macOS. For Photoshop-type stuff I use Affinity Photo (which also has a Windows version). I don’t know if Adobe Bridge is free, or if it is also part of CC now, but that could be a DAM solution for you.

The good news with LR, is it the RAW and source image files are stored outside the catalog. So if LR shits the bed, you can still get to the images. However, I’d periodically do an export of the modified files to be safe.

What’s wrong with the online web stuff like Google Photo? It does all the basic corrections most people ever use likes exposures, shadows, colours, rotations, croppings, etc.

And you don’t even need to manually tag, it can already automatically sort into albums by using recognizied face and locations.

Well, my version of Lightroom 6 isn’t going to stop working anytime soon (I’m still using Photoshop 5 which was released 20 years ago, works just fine on Win7 which I’m still using on my desktop PC) so I’ll stick with that for a while. Not interested in the CC model, and my recent experience in Antarctica confirmed this. Two photographers on the ship lost access to their catalogs because Lightroom CC didn’t communicate back to the server in a specific period of time (very limited internet obviously). I think Adobe may have lost a couple of customers there. I still like Lightroom over any alternative, its non-destructive workflow is excellent, but I’ll obviously have to start looking around.

It looks like it is part of Adobe CC.

I’d never heard of that one before. Tom’s Hardware likes it and it is pretty inexpensive.

It seems pretty slick in most cases. I just started playing around with it and noticed I have some photos where it doesn’t recognize a face and I can’t see any way to tell it there is a face there and what the name of the person is.

That’s the version I have. I’d just hate to put in the work on cataloging and have a problem since it probably isn’t going to be supported. It may never have a problem, but then again…

So if you go to Albums/People & Pets it doesn’t show the face there for you to assign a name to? I don’t think you can override it yourself, besides just manually tagging the photo the usual way. But I’ve noticed it only does faces for which there are a couple of photos, I rarely see one-off strangers tagged.

Yeah, there was no face to name. It may be the only picture I have of my niece, at least online.

Also in terms of auto-tagging in general, try the ‘search’ function too - it’s pretty clever.

Nothing’s actually ‘tagged’ per se but it finds stuff in your photos like objects, colours, emotions, etc - e.g. typing ‘frown’ will show frowning faces. :) Basically googling the content of your own photos - it’s not perfect but I don’t think there’s much else out there that has this kind of functionality.

Also note the advanced edit controls live under the dropdowns:

I suppose in my case I’ve already put years of work into my catalogue, so I certainly have zero desire to switch to anything else. I’d always assumed the chances of Lightroom going away were equivalent to Steam being shut down, but I didn’t expect this move to an online subscription model back in 2011.

The only real issue I’ve had lately is weird and bizarre RAW formats on different cameras. Everyone seems to have their own proprietary format these days, and update them regularly just to be really annoying. Fortunately Adobe keep their DNG Converter up to date, so that works fine for me.

I was looking at alternatives, and Capture One seems to be highly regarded as the best alternative to Lightroom (with no subscription model). Plus, you can import your Lightroom catalog, including the non-destructive adjustments. That by itself is enough to take a closer look. There’s also DxO PhotoLab which is also well regarded, but it doesn’t seem to have the same catalog power as Lightroom (although it does integrate with it).

I should have mentioned too that I don’t have a DSLR, so my pictures are in jpg format, so I don’t need things like RAW support.

Yeah, if you’ve already got a lot of work in your catalog there is no point switching until you have to.

I put these things in the “deal with it when I need to, and don’t solve problems I don’t need to now.” category.

When LR standalone breaks I’ll look into something else, but until then I’m not going to sweat it.

Probably a better way to live :-)

I just want to pick the best way going forward since I don’t really have much cataloged yet.

It’s really easy to go down the “what happens if…” road. The problem is, unless you are willing to switch now, so much can change anyway.

For instance if you build a LR catalog in such a way that Capture One can handle it, there is no guarantee that when LR fails that Capture One will still be there.

it’s always good to keep awareness of other solutions, but don’t stress about something that may not ever happen.

I’m OK with switching now if there is a decent alternative that doesn’t cost a lot. I have no idea if the Photoshop Elements catalog is any good - but I can always use that catalog and the Lightroom editor for most edits since it is the catalog that I’m most worried about losing access to.

No, I agree entirely, but it’s nice to know I’m unlikely to be cataloging myself into a dead end.