Easy Photo Tip: Should I Upgrade From Photoshop Elements 12 to Elements 13?

Adobe announced Photoshop Elements 13 and Premiere Elements 13 earlier this week. Both have cool new features. If you’re a user of version 12, should you upgrade? The answer is: it all depends. Here’s the advice I give my friends.

If you are new to digital image editing and do not have powerful software, or if you’re using a version of Elements older than 12, skip this portion and go directly to your favorite software source and buy Photoshop Elements 13 (if you only shoot stills), or the combo that includes Premiere Elements 13 (if you also want to edit all those darn video clips you’ve been collecting). The combo will set you back a buck-and-a-half ($150) while Photoshop Elements 13 alone is $99. Prices are lower if you’re upgrading from an earlier version.

If you are a sophisticated power user of Elements and always use the Expert mode, strongly consider stepping up to an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. The Photographer’s version includes both Photoshop and Lightroom and costs $9.95 per month. Yes, it’s a subscription-based arrangement, and some people recoil at that. I’m surprised because my cable TV service, internet connection and security alarm monitoring are also subscription based and I have no problem with those.

Photoshop Elements 13 has added significant new features. You can easily create a customized Facebook profile photo that looks like it was made by a graphics arts pro. You can also more accurately composite parts of one image into another—like if you want to add yourself to group photo. And if you enjoy applying special effects—and who doesn’t?—there are now 50 variations to choose from.

On the Premiere 13 side, they’ve added several features but there’s one that by itself is strong enough to make me jump up a version. It’s called Favorite Moments and it allows you to flag the best parts of your video clips and then automatically edits them to create a very professional-looking movie.

So the answer to your question, “Should I upgrade?” is as follows. If you’re even considering it, you’re definitely a candidate to enjoy all the new things you can do. If you’ve read this far, you’ve answered your own question.

—Jon Sienkiewicz