Photoshop Elements 2019

Today, Adobe is releasing its latest version of PSE: Photoshop Elements 2019. I’ll tell you about its new features and conclude with a recommendation on whether you should upgrade or not, just like I do every year.

You might notice that Adobe has changed their naming convention for Elements. It used to be Elements 4, 14, or whatever. But beginning with last year’s release, they name their releases after the upcoming year. That’s why this version is called Elements 2019.

Photoshop Elements 2019: The Background

Adobe’s target market for Elements is memory keepers. Memory keepers are people who enjoy:

  • celebrating life events
  • making creations from their photos
  • getting “Wow!” reactions about their photos and photo projects from friends and family

If you’re reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you enjoy all those things too!

Adobe tells me that those of us in this target market are always looking for tips, tricks, tutorials, and inspiration. And yes, I do believe I agree with them on that!

Adobe’s updates to Elements this year offer features that Adobe thinks will speak to this market and make it easier for us to create with our photos.

Photoshop Elements 2019: New Features – HEIF Support

To me, the most important new feature of the Photoshop Elements 2019 release is its support for importing and editing HEIF images on macOS. HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image File Format. iPhones running iOS 11 and later record images in the HEIF format.

HEIF files are a potential replacement to both JPGs and GIFs. HEIF images take up less storage space AND they look better. Or so they say.  Regardless, if you are an iPhone user and want to edit your mobile images in Photoshop Elements, this update will make the process smoother.

However, even without Elements 2019, you can always convert your images to JPGs when exporting them from your iPhone. And of course, you can edit JPGs in Elements.

Photoshop Elements 2019: Other New Features

In addition to HEIF support, Adobe gave us these other new features this year.

  • A new home screen that features tips, tricks, tutorials, and Auto Creations: You know how Google Photos or Apple Photos sends you messages on your phone saying that it’s designed a new photo book for you to review? Elements will do this too, with a wide variety of projects. It uses Sensei AI, an artificial intelligence engine, to choose the best photos for your projects. Auto Creations would be a great way to get familiar with projects you might not know how to do in PSE. You can also use the Help field to search for tutorials or projects.


  • A Meme Maker: This is a Guided Edit template with text and a selection of frames to create internet memes.


  • Text & Border Overlay: This is another Guided Edit tool. I like this one. The Guided Edits don’t often save me time creating an effect that I’d use, but this one would.  And, like the other Guided Edits, you can customize it in the Expert Editor if you’d like to. 


  • Multi Photo Text: Create letters out of a collection of photos.


  • Partial Sketch: I’ll just leave this one here without comment.

Note: If you know Elements well, you don’t need Elements to do the last 4 above. The Guided Edit provides shortcuts for them so that you don’t need to create the projects from scratch.

Photoshop Elements 2019: Upgrade Recommendation

For 10 years now, I’ve made an annual upgrade recommendation for Photoshop Elements. Just like in the prior years, I’ll give you my honest assessment of whether you should upgrade based on the version you currently use.

  • Upgrade from Elements 2018: Nah. Not unless you’re after a career as a meme maker.
  • Upgrade from Elements 13, 14 or 15: It depends on how comfortable you are with Elements. If you don’t need the new Guided Edits because you already know how to do them yourself, an upgrade won’t be a huge deal. However, if you use the Elements Organizer rather than Lightroom, the added features of the Elements 2018 Organizer are a great reason to change.
  • Upgrade from Elements 12 or prior: With performance improvements and new features, you’ll hardly recognize Elements 2019.


  1. Mr Bill Neale January 17, 2019 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Hi There some photos in Photoshop Elements 2019 are not recognised by the program when I I want to make as facial adjustment such as widening a smile; can anyone help ne resolve this problem
    Thank you Bill N

    • Erin Peloquin January 18, 2019 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Bill. Can’t help without more information. What type of file, for example? The more you can tell me about your situation, the better I’ll be able to help.

  2. Kathryn December 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Hi! I’m new to your site and blog! I’ve got LR classic cc and Ps. I used to use PSE until I switched to the subscription combo. I rarely use PS and have often wondered about PSE and whether I’d use it more…any suggestions? I also am curious about your 365 program… I’m a grandma and wondering if the program is geared to moms with lots of kid access? I’ve been shooting for over 10 years so not a beginner, but would really like to hone my skills and learn new…

    • Erin Peloquin December 30, 2018 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Kathryn, I’m so glad you found me! If you are familiar with layers and masks in PSE, you’ll have no trouble with full Photoshop. I wouldn’t upgrade, if I were you. And my Guided 365 is for everyone – no kids required. In fact, many of my students are grandmothers or retired. I’d love for you to join us – let me know if you have other questions.

  3. mrvriesman November 24, 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Erin,
    I use Lightroom 6 for photo editing. I would like to be able to do some things that Lightroom can’t do such as change backgrounds and swap heads. Is elements good for that?

    • Erin Peloquin November 24, 2018 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Yes! Elements can swap backgrounds and swap heads if you know the techniques. Good question!

  4. Sandy Steffens October 8, 2018 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    I use both Lightroom and Elements and trying to decide which organizer to use. Could you tell me if one slows a Mac down more than another?

    • Erin Peloquin October 9, 2018 at 10:45 am - Reply

      It’s been so long since I’ve used the Elements organizer that I can’t answer this. I will tell you that Lightroom doesn’t slow down my Macs. However, if you are going to use both Lightroom and Elements, you should use the Lightroom organizer. Otherwise, your edits won’t show up in LR. And LR is a more efficient place to edit anyway. Let me know if you have other questions about that.

  5. Loretta October 8, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    You don’t mention the tracking edit for text that is an upgrade. I saw it on another post about whether or not to upgrade. That seemed a helpful thing to add. I still use PSE14 so I’m tempted to jump on this one. Thoughts about the tracking?

    • Erin Peloquin October 9, 2018 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Hi Loretta. You are describing the fact that you can now adjust text tracking in PSE. Tracking lets you adjust the space between characters in a word. That would be helpful for digital scrapbookers or graphic designers. If you think you would use it, then sure, it’s a great reason to upgrade!

  6. maddie October 8, 2018 at 9:36 am - Reply

    I just started using Elements 2018 and love it. Now 2019 is out already. I really appreciate your honest opinion on whether to upgrade or not

    • Erin Peloquin October 8, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      I am glad to help! If you wanted to upgrade, Adobe often givens discounts or credits for recent purchases. But if not, you won’t miss much! 🙂

  7. Susan Pittman October 5, 2018 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Hi Erin,
    Did they switch Elements to subscription like the did Photoshop? I have 13 and can do most of 2-5. Plus I haven’t been doing that much with photos lately. I had a student subscription to the Adobe suite and still went back to Elements for photo processing, because I know it. But after I graduated, the monthly charge was too much. I love your work and even though I’m not doing much photography these days, I want to go back.

    • Erin Peloquin October 5, 2018 at 8:13 am - Reply

      Nope. Elements is still a one-time purchase. I don’t anticipate that Adobe will change that. You might be fine with 13 – probably don’t need to upgrade, as long as it still works on your operating system.

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