Photoshop Elements or Photoshop for High Quality Printing?
September 25, 2012 11:44 AM   Subscribe

The question: Photoshop or Photoshop Elements? The job: printing high-quality photographic prints on an Epson R2400.

I have a photographer friend who is about to purchase an Epson R2400 for printing high-quality photographic prints.

They already have Photoshop Elements but they are concerned that managing the color won't be as fine-grained as Photoshop. Do they need Photoshop or will Photoshop Elements do them just fine?

I have looked at spec comparisons of the two but I haven't seen anything specifically about printing and managing color profiles.
posted by jammy to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Not a pro, but when I took a bunch of classes at the International Center for Photography all the cool kids were printing from Lightroom.
posted by shothotbot at 12:40 PM on September 25, 2012

It has been so many years since I've used Photoshop Elements that I can't venture a comparison. However, you can download a 30 day trial of both Photoshop and Elements, so your friend could compare and see which would be the better product for his or her purposes:

My guess would be that Elements would be fine, but like I said, it's been ages.
posted by Kriesa at 12:42 PM on September 25, 2012

Is your friend doing this as a business venture or just for private use? If it's for a business and cost isn't an issue, I'd go for Photoshop with Lightroom over Elements. If they're really serious about it, they might also want to look at some specialist calibration equipment like Spyder 4. For private use, Elements or Lightroom would probably do the job but, as usual, their mileage may vary.
posted by peteyjlawson at 12:46 PM on September 25, 2012

I haven't used Elements in a while, but a quick search leads me to believe it'll handle color profiles from a printer, which is what you'd want to make sure that what you see on the screen matches what will come out of the printer. You shouldn't need the full version.
posted by echo target at 12:59 PM on September 25, 2012

Unless things have changed, Elements respects the color profiles embedded in images. If they already have Elements they should just try prints and see if they're satisfied.

Adobe has a quick summary of Elements Color Management.

As others have mentioned, the color profile of the printer will be a factor as well.
posted by juiceCake at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2012

All three (Lightroom, Elements, Photoshop) use the same means to manage color, either via the printer driver itself or through ICC profiles -- both methods have their proponents. Elements' most notable missing feature is probably the "Curves" tool, which, if your friend is the tinkering type can be approximated. More than sufficient for a beginner, and more than capable of fine art quality prints with some expertise.
posted by Lorin at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2012

Elements has curves, I think since version 7.
posted by juiceCake at 1:05 PM on September 25, 2012

It's not the fully fledged curves tool of Photoshop proper. Not important though! Heck, great prints can be made with nothing but OSX "Preview" and printer management of color + paper profiles.
posted by Lorin at 1:17 PM on September 25, 2012

Apart from the above, you might want to look at Qimage as well.
posted by TrinsicWS at 1:48 PM on September 25, 2012

It looks like Elements allows you to define a printer profile, and epson provides profiles for a number of different media. Non-elements photoshop won't really give any greater control in that regard.

For greater control over digital printing, you need RIP software, such as, and this is not a recommendation, ColorBurst RIP.
posted by girih knot at 9:40 PM on September 25, 2012

thanks everyone!
posted by jammy at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2012

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