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Author Topic: Photo editing software for a new user...  (Read 10056 times)

DeadPixel

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Photo editing software for a new user...
« on: February 14, 2012, 02:35:39 PM »
Hello all!

Im relatively new to taking dslr photos (hobbyist with a t3i) and have just started playing with RAW files.  At a coworkers advice I downloaded the free trial of paint shop pro and have been struggling to get very far.  Most of my images look worse post processing than if I just let the camera make the jpeg. Admittedly I have no formal training on editing photos and wouldn't rule out a class or two.

Is there a particular software that is easy to use and has a lot of online resources that would be a better choice?  Before I start really digging into paintshop pro I'd like to get some feedback as to whether it would be a good choice!  Part of my reason for checking out paint shop was the price, I'd like to stay under $300 if I can.

Thanks!

DeadPixel

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Photo editing software for a new user...
« on: February 14, 2012, 02:35:39 PM »

theqspeaks

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 03:32:33 PM »
I agree that Lightroom is definitely a great choice.  Fairly easy to learn (especially compared to the more intensive programs like Photoshop or PSP).  Download a free trial here: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=photoshop_lightroom.

theqspeaks

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 03:33:23 PM »
And apparently Adorama has a great deal on LR3 for $80: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php/topic,3394.0.html. 

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 04:27:53 PM »
If you bought the T3i new you got a CD with Canon's DPP and other useful programs in the box. You could try DPP. After all nothing is better than free.
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zim

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 05:07:35 PM »
Have to agree DPP is a great place to start and it’s included with your camera purchase. Going further you won't do better than Photoshop Elements, Lightroom is superb though if you have the dosh. If you have no experience of graphics software I honestly would stay clear of freeware, it’s free for a reason.

Happy editing!

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 05:14:20 PM »
Hello all!

Im relatively new to taking dslr photos (hobbyist with a t3i) and have just started playing with RAW files.  At a coworkers advice I downloaded the free trial of paint shop pro and have been struggling to get very far.  Most of my images look worse post processing than if I just let the camera make the jpeg. Admittedly I have no formal training on editing photos and wouldn't rule out a class or two.

Is there a particular software that is easy to use and has a lot of online resources that would be a better choice?  Before I start really digging into paintshop pro I'd like to get some feedback as to whether it would be a good choice!  Part of my reason for checking out paint shop was the price, I'd like to stay under $300 if I can.

Thanks!

DeadPixel

Lightroom is the standard for Pro Photographers, there is also Aperture for Mac Users.  Its hard to go wrong on the today only $80 special at Adorama.  Also order a lightroom book, or borrow one from your library.  You are not going to learn it by experimenting.

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 05:35:08 PM »
Few things are cheaper than free ;-) Try RawTherapee (for editing RAW) to do as much as possible, and then pass the JPG to the Gimp for the finishing touches (afaik Gimp still doesn't do 32bit). I use them in Linux (I need to use Linix as I am a computer geek, it's all about street cred really ;) but both have Windows versions. Less polished, more manual steps, less online help (yup, I'm not a great salesman), but perfectly adequate to get started on. And you get to put your 300 bucks into hardware.

Fellow linux geek here...

CinePaint is a GIMP fork with support for 8/16/32 bit channels.

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 05:35:08 PM »

briansquibb

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 04:36:18 AM »
DPP is the software that everyone seems to ignore. Free and good - the RAW file manipulator

dstppy

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 05:29:00 AM »
I used aperture for a few months and saw little use other than a place to make my photos use up more space.

I bought Lightroom on a deal at x-mas and it's been pretty good for nominally improving images with very little time involved.  The basics are to allow the profile to fix lens issues, then straighten and crop; an image takes under a second.

All editing is non-destructive and fairly straightforward; you can increase/decrease exposure with a slider bar, then undo if you want as an example.

I think I saw it on sale for $80 recently
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dstppy

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 08:33:10 AM »
A pretty important point is being missed here - as is usual when people get the opportunity to shout up their own favourites...

The fact is that PaintShop Pro is very, very good - certainly more than enough to get a beginner deeply into "experienced post-processor" territory (I used it myself for a good few years) and if the OP can't get good results from it, the software ain't the problem.

Recommending an alternative won't change that fundamental.

PP software needs to be learned - true whether we're talking about PSP, Photoshop, Lightroom, the Gimp - and in the situation DeadPixel describes, bouncing from program to program is the worst thing to suggest to him.

Hrm;  are we talking about spending time learning whatever program you currently have, or finding something that fits your needs the best? 

Gimp, Photoshop and PSP all have about the same (ridiculous) learning curve.  At the end of the day,  the only one in that list that has a reasonable number of people that you can ask for tips and tricks in the real world is Photoshop.  Even tutorials and books for Gimp and PS get grossly out of date with the incrementing of a version due to the development fetish of moving and renaming stuff.

Lightroom, Aperture and one of the ACDSee products (pro I think?) are designed for photo management and moderate (but powerful) editing . . . definitely geared more towards photographers.  I don't particularly LIKE Lightroom, but it had the quickest learning curve and I spend less time at the computer.  Some people just become graphics designers and don't worry about the photography . . .

In the end, I guess, I only disagree on two points:
1) Not wanting to spend the time to master PSP, Photoshop or GIMP isn't a cardinal sin or personality flaw
2) The best time to try and switch is when you haven't gotten too used to one program or another

I do understand that the *real* Photoshop fanboys are the reason that PSP gets so little respect.  Of course, those those fanboys are also he aforementioned people that we occasionally have to consult for help. ;)
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theqspeaks

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 09:30:23 AM »
Now LR3 is just $70 on B&H for today only.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/720705-REG/Adobe_65081059_Photoshop_Lightroom_3_Software.html

And the Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements 10 combo is just $70 too.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/822135-REG/Adobe_65136565_Photoshop_Elements_10.html

Here's a good example of how powerful LR3 can be:
SOOC -- http://flickr.com/gp/theqspeaks/a87q5q
Final after LR3 -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/theqspeaks/6665009107/#

I agree with KeithR that the last thing you want to do is bounce around from program to program.  He's right, post processing programs need to be learned.  The key thing, however, is that some programs have longer learning curves than others.  dstppy is right, Photoshop, PSP, and GIMP all are much harder to master than LR and Aperture.  These last two programs also provide a much more streamlined workflow and better photo management tools than the more power graphics programs.

acoll123

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 10:04:21 AM »
I have used aperture 3.0 since it came out about a year and a half ago. If you are using a Mac, you should check it out. In addition to pretty good editing tools, it keeps your photos organized. Don't under-estimate the importance of that. What good is a picture you can't find?
If I need to do significant editing (changing a background for example), Aperture has a direct link to photoshop elements that works great.
I think the most important point made so far is that you should just pick one tool and take the time to learn it.

stabmasterasron

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 10:24:42 AM »
Canon's DPP is where I started.  It is good.  Then I tried lightroom and never looked back. 

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 10:24:42 AM »

PixelReaper

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 11:07:33 AM »
Unless I missed it, I am surprised no one mentioned DxO. I recently downloaded the trial for both DxO and LR4 beta. They are both very powerful.

IMHO for photos that only need "darkroom" adjustments I find DxO to be quicker and more efficient/effective. LR is more robust when you need to adjust more than just color, exposure, curves etc. also the adjustment brush is a huge LR feature missing from DxO and DxO has very little DAM.  But DxO has great NR and highlight recovery. Plus the geometric adjustment I think are more robust in DxO.

My 2 cents anyway. I am definitely not a pro using this stuff all day every day
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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 02:39:52 PM »
Nothing earth-shattering to add but here is my view:

First off, I wouldn't run out and buy anything just because somebody said that somebody said that XY and z are the "standard tools that professionals use". That is not to say that there isn't a lot to be said for software that is widely used and, hence, comes with a lot of good information in books and on the web. This is one of the things where the Adobe products for instance are really great.

But the first thing should be to figure out what your use and expectations are. Or rather what your philosophy around photography is. A good friend of mine (and a very talented photographer with years of experience), for instance, has zero interest in any post processing (or lab work back in the days). His ideal is to come up with a shot straight from the camera that captures his vision. I on the other hand have no issue with manipulation after that fact. That ca be mild exposure and white balance corrections or taking a photo and turning into something completely different.  The other thing to consider may be if you are looking to emulate any lab experience or if you're thinking straight digital. And lastly, do you have any established work flow, backup strategy and/or naming convention already?

I'd say there are generally two categories of programs: those that are mostly for viewing and organizing with limited (but sometimes really cool) editing options, often with really good batch operation control - and those that are strictly photo editing tools, traditionally used for painstakingly editing one picture at a time, using layers and having more or less unlimited options. And obviously the lines are getting more blurry lately. But the first category is great for organizing and batch editing or quickly editing larger numbers of pictures. It's like having a photo database with your own mini lab attached to it. The second category is like having a complete darkroom at home that comes with a free and personal technician.

The common Adobe programs for these two are Photoshop and Lightroom. Both have many advantages and disadvantages. And a lot depends on taste and how you answer the other questions above.

And then there are other suits and open source programs that kind of do similar things - though I don't think there is really a Lightroom alternative - but that being said: yes, a lot of people use and love LR - others just can't stand it. I like some aspects of it and find others revolting. I use it for quick edits of larger quantities. For everything else I stick to Photoshop, partially because I know it better, partially because the "non destructive" database approach of LR doesn't fit my established workflow. In any case, my recommendation would be to figure out your goals and expectations and then start with some of the cheap or free tools to see what kind of software works best for you. For example, if GIMP works for you then it may be worth investing in Photoshop one day. If you're happy with just a RAW converter the Canon software and a cheap or free organizing tool may just be it. And there are probably lots of others far and in between.

If the Adobe stuff becomes a serious consideration I recommend downloading their free full version trials and give them a good spin before putting down serious cash. And yes, the current LR3 offers for a hundred bucks or less are great bargains - and frankly that's about how much worth it really is if you ask me. But again, others just love it and it's all they need. Also watch out for Adobe's unfortunate policy in PC vs Mac versions. Switching is close to impossible if you ever considered working on both platforms.

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Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 02:39:52 PM »