Elements is the consumer version of Photoshop. Its ok for minor touch ups, but it doesn't allow exporting of CMYK files, as it needs a third party plug in. It also includes a simplified color management scheme and simplified versions of the more powerful plug-ins found in the CS and numbered versions. As Tim pointed out though, its a great introduction to Adobe's line of photo editing and manipulation programs. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) is very important when printing hi-res images. Its essentially the purest form of an image which has been calibrated to be printed on a professional printer. Photoshop is usually set to a RGB colour scheme (red, green and blue). RGB is mainly used for web based viewing only. There is also Adobe Photoshop Express, which is a free web based editor for blogs and social networking. I'm currently using Photoshop CS2. I have no need for 3D rendering and most of the updates I need are already on the latest firmware update. If you wanted too you could just use versions prior to CS1. There all essentially the same anyway. Just remember, if you are at uni or a general student. You can save around 80% on the RRP of Photoshop products. Most bricks and mortar stores in Australia don't allow the discount, but if you go online to Adobe its still eligible. I only paid $150 for Adobe Lightroom 3 last year. The upgrade to Lightroom 4 is only like $80.