I'll bet once you get the hang of Photoshop, you won't want to use other programs. It's such a cool program. You know, I don't think it's all that confusing, especially for basic stuff, like adding layers. Every new thing you add to a blank document is a layer, even the type. When you add a layer, you can add all kinds of special effects to each layer. The way you do that is go to the top menu thing where it says, File, Edit, Image, Layer,Select, Filter, Window, Help. To add a special effect to a layer, you click on the Layer, and a menu will open with all kinds of things you can do to a layer. You HiLite "Layer Style", and it will show so you the effects you can add, like Drop Shadow, where you can add a Shadow behind your image, Inner Glow, which allows you to add a glow within your image, Outer Glowe, which allows you to add a glow surrounding the outside of your image, plus, several other special effects. What you want to use to make an outer glow, is the Outer Glow selection. The default colour is sort of a yellowish white. however, you can chose whatever colour you want to use. You can also adjust the way your outer glow will look. Like how strong it is, how much you want and all kinds of things. If you notice on my siggy, I have an outglow plus a drop shadow on each of my cats and Paul Stanley. Each outer glow is a different colour. I think the easiest thing to do when you add special effects to a layer or "layer style" to a layer, is to do the first layer, then click on "copy layer style", and then you can click on paste layer style, and then add that to your other added images. In my case with my siggy, I did that, then went back in and changed the colour of the outer glow for each image. . I then flattened my image, and added the text, and added layer style to that as well.
I have both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, and I much prefer Photoshop. To me, it's so much easier to work with.