Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022 full review
At £86.56/$99.99, Photoshop Elements isn't the cheapest photo-editor available for the Mac, but it's still good value for money as it's able to use technology from the professional-level version of Photoshop to provide some really powerful tools for editing your photos and adding creative effects.
You can buy the 2022 edition of Photoshop Elements from the Mac App Store for £89.99, but it's worth noting that if you buy directly from Adobe (Adobe UK / Adobe US) you can save a few pounds and also get a two-pack that includes both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements (for video-editing) for £130.36/$149.99. These are one time purchases, no subscription options here. [Read our review of Premiere Elements 2022.]
The key to Photoshop Elements' success is that it manages to combine powerful editing tools with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for amateur photographers to achieve impressive results. That's very much the case with this 2022 update, which uses new artificial intelligence techniques – which Adobe refers to as 'Sensei' – to automatically perform editing tasks that might normally require hours of work.
The app has always had a selection of filter effects that could make photos look like paintings, using media such as oil paints or watercolours, but there's now a new set of Artistic effects that aims to mimic a variety of popular artistic styles, such as cubist and post-impressionist. These aren't always entirely successful – I suspect Vincent Van Gogh is spinning in his grave right now – but they're fun to experiment with.
One nice touch here is that you can apply the artistic effect to the entire photo, or just to the subject or background, which is a nice way of emphasising particular aspects of a photo. If your artistic ambitions are a little more modest, you can apply some simple animated effects, such as falling snowflakes, autumn leaves, or flickering flames to your photos, and then save your work as a short video clip that you can upload to social media.
One of the things that sets Photoshop Elements apart from many of its rivals is its use of Guided Edits that give you step-by-step help in using some of the app's most powerful tools.
One really powerful new Guided Edit is the ability to alter the aspect ratio of a photo by extending the background of a photo. If you've got a photo with an attractive background, such as a beach or some leafy trees then you can clone part of the background and use it to extend the background further – perhaps to turn a square photo into a wider landscape shot, or to lift a sunny blue sky higher for an upright portrait shot for social media.
And, of course, no social media account is complete without some cute pet pics, so Photoshop Elements now has a Guided Edit specifically for refining photos of animals.
You can enhance the lighting and colour in a photo, focusing either on your pet or the background, or add a subtle vignette effect. There's also an option to remove blemishes, such as mud or dirt, and to remove glare from the pet's eyes. You can even remove items such as a collar or lead from the image too.
In recent years, some of Photoshop Elements' annual upgrades were starting to look as though they were running out of ideas, but these new AI features have given the app a new lease of life, and confirmed Photoshop Elements as one of the best photo-editors for amateur photographers.