Simplicity without sacrificing quality:

When creating Photoshop Elements 12, Adobe basically stripped Photoshop CS and Lightroom down to their essence, added a nifty group of consumer-oriented features, and wrapped it inside a crisp interface and simple learning environment. Elements 12 includes several enhanced features to edit, create, and share your photos, and is a near complete package for amateur photographers.

Multiple program modes based on your experience:

There is an extensive selection of features throughout Photoshop Elements 12 so finding exactly what you are looking for can be tricky. Thankfully, you can choose from different levels of assistance, including Quick, Guided, and Expert, which will help you through the photo editing and digital painting part of the program. If you select Quick, this mode strips the icon list to the bare essentials while simplifying and automating functionality for simple, everyday actions. Guided mode takes it a step further by removing the editing icons entirely and replacing them with general topics, such as enhance colors, perfect portrait, and vignette effects. Selecting any of these options will engage a simple tutorial that guides you through the process. Expert mode goes in the opposite direction by adding the full range of options and control. You can change modes at any time in the process, allowing you to match the program to your skills as needed.

Wide array of image sharing and publishing options:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 has new functionality that allows you to easily view and share your photos on your smartphone or tablet. You can even sync the photos on your mobile device to your Elements album, eliminating the hassle of moving photos from one device to another. In addition, you can share a link to your Elements album, giving your family and friends access to your photo collection. In addition, you'll be able to publish photo books, greeting cards, calendars, collages, CD/DVD jackets, slideshows, instant movies, and prints.

Impressive video tutorial library:

If you are a standard amateur photographer, you often find yourself in need of some assistance. Photoshop Elements 12, beyond the guided operational mode, provides a wealth of information in the form of extensive video tutorials located on the Adobe website. They have over 40 videos dedicated to the Photoshop Elements 12 program and many others related to the larger Photoshop line of products. Each video has a run time between three and 30 minutes.

Full set of file management and image organization tools:

The organizer portion of Photoshop Elements 12 has a very simple display that essentially hides many of the features, making the program appear as less than it really is. You can quickly access a full range of tools that allow you to import files, organize images, and create everything from greeting cards and contact sheets to slideshows and HTML albums. From here, it's easy to do all of the file management and organization you need to accomplish.

Includes facial recognition tagging:

Photoshop Elements 12's facial recognition makes sorting through large numbers of photos a breeze. After a brief tutorial, where you 'teach' Photoshop Elements the names of people by using a small sampling of pictures, you simply process the rest and make a few adjustments, which should lessen over time. It is rare for a consumer product of this type to have such a high level feature that is this useful.


Interface can be overly simple:

With three different operational modes some features can be challenging to locate, particularly when switching between them. Also, the size of some icons may be too large for some users, which are not modifiable. These are not overwhelming concerns, but they might annoy some of the more advanced users.

Lacks video processing and editing features:

While you can save slideshows as videos, this is not the same thing as having actual video processing and editing features. The fact that many mobile devices are capable of recording video gives rise for many consumers to need such functionality. Adobe offers a Premiere Elements product which includes video editing and processing, but for a significant additional price.


Free Trial 30 days
Platform Mac, Windows
Price $98.99
Upgrade Cost $79.99


  • 16-Bit Image Editing You can edit 16-bit images.

  • Add Grain/Noise You can add graphical identification metadata to your images.

  • Advanced Color Image Operations You can perform color image operations such as color correction, color zones, color transfer, and vibrance.

  • Black-and-White Conversion You can convert a color image into a black and white image using any number of methods.

  • Blend You can blend areas of an image together.

  • Blur You can soften the detail of an image.

  • Collage You can create a collage of images.

  • Color Adjustment Tools You can use a tool to replace missing color or match existing colors.

  • Color Management You can maintain color quality as an image moves from device to device.

  • Color to Grayscale You can convert a color image into a black and white image using this specific method.

  • Control Points You can use control points, a series of small squares placed on the edges and corners of a rectangular selection, to modify a selection by dragging the small squares as needed.

  • Distortion Control/Correction You can reduce pincushion and barrel distortion effects.

  • Effects You can add general effects to an image.

  • Exposure Adjustment You can adjust the exposure of an image.

  • Filters You can use any of the standard filter types to alter images.

  • Generate Mosaic Images You can create a single large image made from a number of other smaller images.

  • Gradients You can create smooth transitions between adjacent colors.

  • Image Correction You can brighten shadows, fix unwanted flash, and repair backlight effects.

  • Image Zoom You can enlarge or shrink the view of the image, in part or in total, as needed.

  • Layers You can make changes to images on individual sheets that can be stacked to form the combined image. Each layer can be adjusted without changing the other layers.

  • Masks You can protect certain areas of an image from being modified.

  • Nondestructive Editing Environment You can make changes to image without altering the original version.

  • Photo Text Entry You can type right on the image you are working on and see the text in real time.

  • Post-Processing Effects You can create effects after processing to include framing and vignetting.

  • Reshaping, Manipulating, and Resizing You can enhance, enlarge or reduce images, cut images to predefined or custom formats, and measure and mark image content.

  • Retouch Brush You can remove blemishes, dust and other unusual elements from images while maintaining its integrity.

  • Saturation/Warmth You can control the strength and warmness of a color

  • Selection Options Once you have made a selection, you can set aspect ratios, adjust selection sizes, move selections, turn the selection into a mask and/or add feathering to the edges.

  • Selection Tools You can use different tools to select an area of the image to work on, including the circle, square, wand, and/or lasso.

  • Sepia Enhancement You can add a sepia (brown-gray) tone to an image.

  • Shadow and Highlight Adjustment You can control the levels of shadow and highlights in your image.

  • Sharpen You can enhance the detailed edges within an image.

  • Support for Custom Palettes This software supports custom color palettes.

  • Templates You can create project or metadata templates.

  • Text Effects You can add effect to text, such as drop shadows, 3D, perspective, curved text, and path text.

  • Transformations You can trim, skew, scale, flip, mirror, rotate, and/or add perspective to an image.

  • Watermarks You can create savable, personalized, and usually semi-transparent watermarks for your images.

  • Audio Editing You can perform basic audio editing within the software.

  • Color Mixer You can mix and save colors for later use.

  • Custom Brush Options You can change your brush options, including size, shape, and type.

  • Drawing Modes You can enter into different drawing modes within the software.

  • Floodfill Options You can fill in an enclosed area with your choice of color.

  • Layer Blending Modes You can control how different layers blend with one another.

  • Paint Brush You can paint color in several ways, such as airbrush, watercolor, and oil brush.

  • Pencil You can use a pencil tip for more detailed painting.

  • Pen Tablet Connection You can use pen tablets to control specific drawing actions within the software, including pressure, direction, orientation, and more.

  • Shapes You can create different shapes, such as dots, lines, ellipses, rectangles, circles, and Bezier splines.

  • Tools You can use multiple tools such as stencil, crop, panorama, and distortion.

  • Mix Brush You can have multiple colors on one brush.

  • Papers You have a choice of paper options on which to draw.

  • Configurability You can modify and/or expand the overall interface to fit your needs.

  • Create New Transparent Image You can create a new image with a transparent background.

  • Customizable Workspaces You can modify individual workspaces within the interface.

  • Dockable Panels You can dock and undock individual panels from the main interface.

  • Dual Monitor Support You can work on this software on multiple monitors.

  • Editable menu shortcuts You can edit menu shortcuts.

  • Filter Preview You can preview filter changes in real time before applying the filter to the image.

  • Panels The software consists of paneled units, such as a color picker, tools, or gradient panel.

  • Support for Pen Tablets You can use pen tablets to control general actions within the software.

  • Viewing Options You can view images in multiple ways.

  • Change Default Templates The set of templates at startup can be changed.

  • Screen Capture You can capture (save) an image from your screen.

  • Scriptable File Management The software provides a method to script the program.

  • Tethered Capture You can save live images on your camera directly to your computer.

  • Virtual Memory Management The software manages the virtual memory of the computer so as to not over-stress the entire system by taking up too much of the resources.

  • Help Articles A set of detailed articles are available to help learn and understand the software.

  • User Guide A user guide is available to help learn and understand the software.

  • Video Tutorials Video tutorials are available to help learn and understand the software.

  • Webinars Webinars are available to help learn and understand the software.

  • 32-Bit Image Editing You can edit 32-bit images.

  • Animation You can create basic animations from your images.

  • Blur Adjustment Tools You can use tools to perform actions, such as Gaussian Blur and Unsharp Masking, in order to adjust the detail of the image.

  • Compositing You can splice together separate images or parts of images, in order to form one combined image. Panoramas are a specific type of compositing.

  • Histogram Correction You can use the information from the software's histogram to help color-correct your image.

  • Image Post-Processing You can adjust your image after processing through split toning, high pass filters, low pass filters, lowlight vision, and/or bloom.

  • Image Scaling Methods You can resize your digital image with scaling methods, such as nearest neighbor, bicubic smooth, bicubic sharpen, and lanczos in order to address the inherent tradeoff between efficiency, smoothness, and sharpness.

  • Layer Management You can copy, link, edit masks, and/or group layers.

  • Panoramas You can create panoramic (wider) images from a series of individual images attached side by side.

  • Perspective Control You can correct a certain type of distortion where an object that you know to be a straight line appears curved in an image, by automatically adjusting the curve back into a straight line.

  • Professional Color Image Operations You can perform color image operations such as channel mixing and color profile management.

  • Spot Removal You can correct a zone in your image by using another zone as a model.

  • Trim to Shape You can trim, or punch out, the area of the image that you want to work on with a specific shape or edge.

  • 3D You can add 3D effects to your images.

  • Base-Level Image Operations You can perform adjustments to the image, such as demosiac, highlight reconstruction, exposure controls, and base curve.

  • Basic Video Editing You can perform basic video editing functions, such as creating a still image, picture control, trim, and save.

  • Chromatic Aberration Tools You can automatically detect and correct chromatic aberrations, which are colors on the boundaries between dark and light areas.

  • Content-Aware Tools You can use tools that automatically adjust to the content that you are working with.

  • Gamma Correction You can adjust the middle tones of the image.

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) You can combine multiple photos at different exposure levels into a single photo.

  • Image Slicing You can cut up your image in any number of ways.

  • Lens Correction You can adjust your image for lens defects.

  • Noise Reduction You can remove noise and grain from an image.

  • Special Effects Filters You can add special effects to the image through the use of vignette filters, metallic filters, distortion filters, Orton filters, and/or custom filters.

  • Tone Image Operations You can modify the tone of an image through tools such as tone curves, levels, fill lights, zone systems, and tone mappings.

  • Books You can create a photo book with the software.

  • CD/DVD You can save your images to a CD or DVD.

  • Cloud-Based Storage You can publish (upload) your finished images to a cloud-based service for storage or sharing.

  • Preview Your can preview your images before publishing them in some form.

  • Printing You can print your images.

  • Screensaver You can create your own screensaver.

  • Send via Email You can create appropriate images and send images via your email.

  • Slideshows You can create slideshows.

  • Web Galleries You can create HTML or Flash-Player-compatible galleries with your images for upload onto the Internet.

  • 8-Bit Image Editing You can edit 8-bit images.

  • Brightness You can lighten or darken an image.

  • Color Balance You can adjust the colors of your image so that the more neutral colors are correct.

  • Color Depth You can adjust the color range possible in an image.

  • Contrast You can adjust the level of difference between the bright elements and dark elements of your images.

  • Crop You can trim an image to a specific size or focus on an area of the image.

  • Drawing Tools You can draw or paint colors onto your image using a brush, pencil or other tools.

  • Flip You can invert the image either horizontally or vertically.

  • Picture Frame You can add a simple picture frame or border to an image.

  • Red Eye Removal You can automatically replace the red pixels with black pixels in photographs where red eye has occurred.

  • Resize You can make your image smaller or larger.

  • Rotate You can rotate your image.

  • Shapes You can add basic shapes to an image, such as a circle, a square, or a rectangle.

  • Undo You can go back in your process one step at a time.

  • White Balance You can adjust to correct for the effects of different light on the colors in the image.

  • Audio/Video Playback You can play video and audio files with the software.

  • Create Albums You can create albums in which to sort your images.

  • Image Ratings You can rate images.

  • Image Search You can search for an image with a dedicated tool.

  • Image Viewer You can view images inside the program.

  • Metadata Tags You can use, read, create, adjust, and save metadata (text-based information related to your image) that travels in the image file.

  • Offline Photo Management You can manage your software when offline.

  • Thumbnails You can create thumbnails of your images.

  • EXIF Overview Data You can use the image metadata, such as the date, GPS information, resolution, and other camera information that is included with the image file.

  • Favorites Folder The software has an easily accessible, designated folder where you can include select images.

  • Image Labels You can label images.

  • Contact Sheet You can create a contact sheet of your images.

  • Event-Based Image Management You can organize your images around events.

  • Facial Recognition Tagging You can have the software automatically determine the identity of people in your images.

  • Geotagging You can add graphical identification metadata to your images.

  • Image Conversion You can convert images into other file types.

  • Import and Edit RAW Files You can import and edit RAW files.

  • Location-Based Organization You can organize your images around sites or places.

  • Automatic Collections The software uses metadata that automatically determines which collections your images may be sorted into.

  • Batch Editing You can edit files as a group rather than just individually.

  • Create Image Lists You can create lists of you images.

  • Extended GPS Support You can use GPS information beyond simple geotagging.

  • Image Analysis You can perform a detailed quantitative analysis of your images.

  • Image Caption You can caption your images.

  • Side-by-Side Image Comparison You can compare images side by side.

  • Slideshow to Video You can save your slideshows in a video format.

  • File Export Preview You can preview the image before exporting the file.

  • Image File Transfer You can transfer images from multiple sources, such as digital cameras, video cameras, scanners, card readers, flash drives, and/or upload them to the Internet.

  • Automatic Image Backup The software automatically backs up your images, either locally or in the cloud.

  • Batch Processing You can process files as a group rather than individually. Usually this occurs when loading images in bulk.

  • Compare to Last Saved You can compare the current selected image with the last saved version.

  • Renaming Template You can create a template to organize the naming of the images as they are processed.

  • Scriptable You can write scripts to deal with file management.

  • Image Read Support You can use this software to read specific image file types.

  • Image Write Support You can use this software to write specific image file types.

  • Other File Formats You can use this software to read other file formats.

  • Archive Read Support You can use this software to read specific archival file types.

  • Archive Write Support You can use this software to write specific archival file types.

  • Palette Import You can import Palette file types with this software.

  • Video and Audio Read Support You can use this software to read specific video and audio file types.

  • Video and Audio Write Support You can use this software to write specific video and audio file types.

  • FAQ Page The company has a dedicated FAQ page.

  • Live Chat The company has live chat available.

  • Online Forum The company hosts an online forum.

  • Online Knowledge Base The company has a dedicated online knowledge base.

  • Phone The company has a phone number to call.

  • Social Media The company has active social media accounts to post questions or comments.

  • Email The company has an email address.

  • Adobe Flash Player The software can integrate with Adobe Flash Player.

  • Facebook The software can integrate with Facebook.

  • Flickr The software can integrate with Flickr.

  • Google Earth The software can integrate with Google Earth.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint The software can integrate with Microsoft PowerPoint.

  • Twitter The software can integrate with Twitter.


Photoshop Elements 12 retails for $98.99. Adobe also offers a 30-day, full-service free trial.

Similar Products

We recently added comments and we're amped to hear your input. Keep it civil and intelligent, and be sure to peek at our Community Guidelines before posting. If you'd like to contact the staff, our inbox is always open.