Adobe Photoshop Elements 2024 review: Still one of the best

Photoshop Elements isn’t the cheapest photo editor available, costing $99.99/£86.56, but it’s still great value for money as it’s able to use technology from the professional version of Photoshop to provide some really powerful tools for editing your photos and adding creative effects. Adobe also sells a bundle that includes both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements for video editing for $149.99/£130.36, which can save you even more money. Extend background

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. Adobe’s 2022 version introduced new artificial intelligence techniques – which Adobe refers to as Sensei – which could automatically perform editing tasks that might normally require hours of work.

Photoshop Elements 2024

The app has always had a selection of filter effects that could make photos look like paintings, using media such as oil paints or watercolors, but Sensei introduced a new set of Artistic effects that aim 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 emphasizing particular aspects of a photo. If your artistic ambitions are a little more modest you can apply some simple animated effects – known as Overlays – such as falling snowflakes 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, which give you step-by-step help in using some of the app’s most powerful tools. One really powerful Guided Edit that was introduced in 2021’s update 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 extend a sunny blue sky upwards for an upright portrait shot that you can use on social media.

And, of course, no social media account is complete without some cute pet pics, so Photoshop Elements includes a Guided Edit specifically for enhancing photos of animals. You can adjust the lighting and color 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.

The use of Sensei artificial intelligence continued with Photoshop Elements 2023. As well as applying animated overlays to an entire photo, this feature allows you to create moving elements that animate just one specific section within a photo. You could select part of an image, such as a waterfall or the flowing mane of a horse, and animate your selection to make the image look more dynamic and eye-catching. The program’s selection tools can help you to select either the background of an image, or elements in the foreground, and you can simply draw a line to indicate the direction of movement (so the waterfall flows down, rather than upwards). You can also adjust settings such as the speed of movement, and preview the animation effect before exporting the animated image file as an MP4 video clip or as an animated-GIF.

The Guided Edits section of the program also gained new tools for adding overlays, new background images, or enhancing the appearance of the sky in your photos. And, with so many Guided Edits now available, we were pleased to see that this update added a new Search tool that helps you to quickly locate the Guided Edits you need by searching for keywords such as ‘crop’ or ‘sky’.

For Mac users, the most important feature in Photoshop Elements 2023 was its native support for Apple Silicon, with Adobe claiming that the program will now run 45 percent faster on Macs that have M1 or M2 processors. And if that wasn’t enough to persuade you to upgrade, then this year’s new Photoshop Elements 2024 proves to be one of the biggest updates the program has received in quite a few years.

As you might expect, there are a number of new AI features, but the program’s interface and layout have also been “refreshed and redesigned” too. Like the full version of Photoshop, the Elements version now has both Light and Dark modes, as many experienced photographers prefer working in Dark mode, while other people simply find it easier on the eyes. The various fonts and icons used in the main interface have also been updated to improve visibility too. These interface changes are more than just cosmetic, though, with other useful features such as the new Quick Actions panel, which is now available within the program’s Quick editing mode. The Quick Actions panel gathers together a number of existing editing tools, but also gains new AI features, such as the ability to quickly select or change the background or sky in an image, or to smooth out fuzzy artefacts in compressed JPG files.


One of the headline features in Photoshop Elements 2024 is Match Color, which is available within the FX panel in both Quick mode and the Advanced mode for experienced users. In Quick mode you can simply choose a number of presets that allow you to quickly change the colours and tonal balance within a photo, while Advanced mode also allows you to import your own photos and copy the colour settings from one photo to another. And, when you’re working in Advanced mode, you can use a new Search tool to browse through Adobe’s library of free stock photography to find images that you can use in your own work.

This year’s update also gains a new Guided Edit called Add Text, which makes it easier to use the program’s text tools and effects. You can quickly add horizontal or vertical text, apply text to a selection, or make text follow a path that you draw with a freehand pen. You can add drop shadows, graduated colours and other effects with a quick click of your mouse, and even change the angle of lighting that you apply to the text. And, for social media mavens, there’s a new Photo Reels tool, which is similar to an old-fashioned slide-show that flicks through a series of photos, but is very much focused on social media and provides a series of templates for use on Instagram, Tiktok and other services. When you create a Photo Reel you see a simple timeline view that allows you to arrange photos in sequence, adjust the size and aspect ratio of each photo. You can also adjust the playback speed of the photo reel, and add text, graphics and filter effects.


Buying the desktop version of Photoshop Elements also gives you access to its companion mobile app for iOS and Android, and a web app that runs in a browser on any device. The mobile app allows you to upload photos and videos from your smartphone or tablet, and also provides you with 2GB of free online storage for your files. You can then quickly import these files into the desktop versions of Photoshop Elements when you’re ready to get down to some serious editing work. The web app works in a similar fashion, and also includes some simple tools for quickly creating slideshows and collages without having to use the full version of Photoshop Elements. Just remember that both the mobile and web apps are still in their beta test phase, so make sure you keep backups of your photos and files just in case.

All these new features ensure that Photoshop Elements 2024 is a much more worthwhile upgrade than some versions in recent years. Pricing is unchanged, at $99.99/£86.56 when bought directly from Adobe, but there’s a 30-day trial available so that you can experiment for a while before buying.


In recent years, some of Photoshop Elements’ annual upgrades were starting to look as though they were running out of ideas, but the 2024 update breathes new life into the app and is definitely a good upgrade for owners of previous versions. It also confirms Photoshop Elements’ position as one of the leading photo editors for non-professional users.