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Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review

We put the new features of Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 to the test to see if they make the upgrade from 14 to 15 worthwhile.

| Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 in Adobe Elements
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Ease Of Use
System Requirements


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review : Photoshop Elements 15
Photoshop Elements 15


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 is the latest version of Photoshop Elements and with it comes new tools and features along with several enhancements to tools found in Elements 14. You can buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 as a standalone product, no subscription to the Creative Cloud is needed, for around $99 (USD) from today but before you hand over your cash, have a read of our review where we find out how good the new version of this consumer-based photo editing software really is. 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Features


New features of Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 

  • Edit and organise via touch-screen devices
  • Quick edit mode is touch-friendly 
  • Use smart tags to organise images
  • Quick facial feature edits
  • Create word 'cutouts' out of images 
  • Create collages 
  • Add motion blur to images
  • Turn images into paintings
  • Create custom frames


Enhanced features of Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 

  • Improved search 
  • Guided Edits
  • Social and sharing 
  • Batch editing 
  • Find filters easier
  • eLive tutorials 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Ease Of Use & Performance

The layout and UI are pretty similar to Elements 14 but Adobe has worked on further automating the organisation and editing processes to make it easier and quicker to use. This includes the introduction of more Guided Edits and easier ways to search for photos. The Organiser and Quick Edit modes are also touch friendly so when working with touchscreens, users can simply tap the screen to find, sort and make quick changes to photos. 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :

Instant Fix has had a few tweaks so batch photos can be edited faster and filters can be accessed more easily. Other interesting new features include tools for editing facial features and various ways to get a little more creative with your photos. There are also improved tutorials and sharing images to social media is easier to do. 

The software still responds quickly and switching between work areas is also rather speedy as all you have to do is double-click the name of the work area you want to move into. Applying edits, even auto ones, isn't a slow process and when working in the Guided work area you can actually see changes applied in real time which are useful. 

As previously, Photoshop Elements 15 offers several levels of editing, from quick and basic photo fixes and easy-to-use editing workflows to advanced colour correction and composition in the Editor workspace. 

There are plenty of useful tools on offer some of which you'll be familiar with if you've used Elements previously, but there are also new features found in Elements 15, of which we've tested the performance of below.  


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :


New Guided Edits

Initially, if you've not used Elements before, you'll probably take one glance at Guided Edits and presume they are for beginners but this isn't entirely true. Even though the Basic guided edits are probably more aimed towards those new to photo editing, the other guided edits on offer are actually something photographers of all levels may find interesting and useful. Plus, they can speed up workflow which is never a bad thing. 

You'll find the various Guided Edits organised into sections which can be accessed via a toolbar that appears towards the top of the window when working in this area of the software. There are now 45 Guided Edits in total so there's plenty to keep you busy. 

All of the Guided Edits have step-by-step instructions walking you through how to use them and some even have buttons you simply have to click to apply certain effects or part of the edit. There are some great little time savers available and the Guided Edits are also fun to play around with, too. Some do take a little tweaking to get right but generally, they do perform well and respond quickly. 

Here are the new Guided Edits which are now available: 


Pictures As Text

You can now easily create words from your images with a step-by-step guide that makes the process really easy and quick to complete. As well as creating the word with various font styles and font sizes, you can also add drop shadows, embossing and lines to the text. It's a tool that fans of scrapbooking or collage creation will find particularly useful. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :


Edit Facial Features

You can transform frowns into smiles, adjust squinting eyes and make other quick tweaks to portraits with the help of simple sliders. Edits are applied live which speeds the adjustment process up and there's also a quick 'revert' button should you make any changes you don't like. Although, this does remove all of the changes you've made not just the previous edit so you have to start from scratch again. As with most tools in Elements, it's easy to use and quick to respond. 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :

Collage Effects

Photoshop Elements can walk users through collage creation and there are plenty of templates and themes to choose from. The only slight downside to this feature is that it can only be applied to one image. It would be better if you could build a collage from multiple shots rather than just splitting one image into several sections. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :


Speed-Pan adds motion blur behind your subject to create a sense of speed in your shot and it actually works really well. The Quick Selection tool is a little fiddly to use but you can adjust the edit once it's applied to add / remove blur from your photo. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :


Photo Painting

You can now add paint brush effects, textures and colour schemes to your photos if presenting photos as digital works of art is your thing. It's really straightforward to do as all you have to do is select a brush type, adjust the size and click on your image in the place you want to the brush strokes to appear. Don't drag your cursor as this produces a repetitive line that really doesn't look right. You can also choose the colour of the canvas underneath and apply textures and paint effects to give your shot an even more artsy feel. It won't be everyone's cup of tea but we're sure some will find it fun. 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :

Custom Frames

As well as applying the built in frames you can now create your own from images. It's again guided from start to finish and all you have to do is use a selection tool to create the frame shape on your image, the software does the rest. 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Review :


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Sample Photos


Value For Money

Photoshop Elements 15 is now available for $99 (USD)  and unlike Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, you don't need a subscription to the Creative Cloud to use it. It's also a little cheaper than a yearly subscription to Adobe's photography plan which is available for £8.57 a month.

Photoshop Elements is very much aimed at the photography enthusiast and as such it offers plenty of automated options and is a lot simpler to use than Lightroom and Photoshop both of which have much more advanced controls. 

An alternative to Adobe Elements could be Paintshop Pro X9 but this is actually much more like Adobe Lightroom and even Adobe Photoshop. It's available now for £59.99 while the Ultimate version is priced at £79.99. Other alternatives are Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 or On1 Perfect Photo 10, both of which scored well in our reviews. 


Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Verdict

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 has a fair few new useful tools, a lot of which are automated, as well as improvements to existing features and as the price is still very reasonable, it makes it a good choice for those just stepping into the World of photo editing. The software offers far more options and controls than free software that's available and we can't say enough how easy it is to use.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 is ideal for anyone wanting to edit images easily, with the help of the software if needs be, without having to pay a monthly subscription to do so. The software is a doddle to learn how to use and the amount of auto features available means you don't have to apply any manual edits if you really don't want to. 

After reviewing the latest version of Photoshop Elements we are very happy to say that it's still an excellent choice for those looking for basic photo editing software that's simple to use, offers guidance and automated tools for creating impressive results.  It definitely comes Highly Recommended. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Pros

  • Easy to use 
  • Produces pleasing results
  • Plenty of automated features
  • Guided edits are really good
  • Quick to install and use 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Cons

  • Some of the effects won't be to everyone's liking 
  • Collage tool is limited 
  • Price isn't much less than a membership to CC offering Lightroom and PS. 

Ease of use4.5/5
Overall Verdict



Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 System Requirements 


  • 1.6GHz or faster processor with SSE2 support Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1,Windows 8, or Windows 10 (64 bit)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5GB of available hard-disk space(additional free space required during installation); additional 2GBto download content 1024x768 display resolution(at 100% scale factor)
  • Microsoft DirectX 9 or 10 compatible display driver
  • DVD-ROM drive (for installation from DVD)
  • Internet connection required for product activation and content download

Mac OS

  • 64-bit multicore Intel processor
  • Mac OS X v10.10 or v10.11
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation); additional 2GBto download content
  • 1024x768 display resolution(at 100% scale factor)
  • DVD-ROM drive (for installation from DVD)
  • Internet connection required for product activation and content download

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Specifications

Software Features
Required Ram4000MB
Trial Download AvailableNo

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NeilSchofield Plus
16 1.8k 1 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2016 7:55AM
Typos in headings at end of review refer to version 14
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2016 8:18AM
Fixed, thanks
david13 12 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2016 12:18PM
Speed-pan clearly does not work properly - it is a trick that will fool hardly anybody!
In a real panning shot the wheels would be blurred rotationally, while the background is blurred horizontally. Exposure here at 1/500sec.


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