My cousin asked recently in a comment if she really needs to get Photoshop in order to do Digital Scrapbooking. No you don't have to. But.... if you really want to be able to do all the cool things that are out there, create your own papers, use styles, brushes and honestly do all the fun cool things... then yes. You can create basic layouts in Word, which can be really tricky. You can do it in other Photo editing programs as well such as Paint Shop Pro, or Microsoft Digital Image. But honestly... if you want the best and want lots of options and tools then Photoshop Elements is the only way to go.
Many people get confused and think that they need to buy the large Photoshop CS5 for $700.00. WRONG. That program is for designers and people that are creating anything from scratch, do it professionally, and are pro's. If you are just wanting to digital scrapbook all you need is Photoshop Elements.
The newest version is 9.0 and is $79.00 if you get it straight from Adobe. Sometimes you might get lucky and get some version of it with a new printer or other software bundles. But honestly do you need to pay $80.00 and get the newest version?
When I first started, Adobe had released either version 4.0 or 5.0. It was around $79.00 and I could not afford that at the time. We were broke. My boss told me to look it up on the internet and find an older version which would do everything I needed it to, and so I found 2.0 for $20.00. It did everything I needed it to, and I could afford that price. If you don't want to spend $79 then look on the internet for an older version. I just looked up Photoshop Elements 4.0 software and found some on amazon for $30 - new, or $15.00 used. (someone upgraded to a newer version and is getting rid of their older version.) I looked up 6.0 and found some on Amazon for $60 new, or $20 used. There are options out there for cheaper versions if you are on a tight budget. If you feel like you want to go with the newest version because you plan on using it forever and that way it won't become too outdated - go for it.
Photoshop does have a learning curve though, and as my mom found out from getting the digital download version, that there is no instruction book. (Unless she goes to help within the software and reads it on the internet) but even then it won't necessarily tell you how to scrapbook with it.
You might want to consider finding other tutorials, books, or videos that teach you how to use it. One example is Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed: Photoshop Elements that is sold in our store at ScrapGirls. The CEO of ScrapGirls, taught herself how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements, and eventually created a series of 33 videos that teach you all the basics you need to know to create great layouts and use all the tools in Photoshop Elements. It is well worth the money, if you'd really like to learn how to use the program. There are other things out there and available on the internet as well.
At ScrapGirls we also put out a daily newsletter that has tutorials in it to teach you basic skills and fun creative techniques to use in your scrapbooking. It's free and you get free scrapbooking supplies with it too. If you prefer not to get it everyday then you can sign up for the weekly roundup which is a summary of all the tutorials, products, and articles sent out through the week.
It can seem intimidating at first, or out of reach. But there are ways of doing it for an affordable price, and learn how to do what you would REALLY like to do. Honestly, I promise if you were to buy Elements, and then take the time to learn how to use it, you will never regret the purchase. You will use it for everything! Editing photos, creating handouts, making calendars, gifts, and of course digital scrapbooking. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I'm more than happy to answer them!