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Old Sep 9, 2007, 3:01 PM   #1
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Hello,

I've only been a DSLR owner for a few months and have been buying the monthly magazineswith interest.

Most of them seem more keen on teaching you how to use computer editing software than actually using the camera, and as the only editing programme I have on my computer is the freebie Picasa, I feel completely lost and avoid reading anything about layers and so forth as it goes WAY over my head!

Can anyone talk me through the different photo editing softwares please? I can afford Photoshop Elements - currently about £64 on Amazon, I understand it is a slimmed down version of Photoshop. But then that programme is hundreds of pounds (£700+), and I'm just a newbie and have no illusions of grandeur of branching out into sending my pics off to be published :twisted:!!

And of course if I had £700 I'd be buying hardware (lenses etc) for my camera NOT a computer programme!!


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Old Sep 9, 2007, 3:21 PM   #2
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I would strongly recommend Adobe Lightroom.

Reasonable price and most of the features you would ever need. Since I have had Lightroom I think I have used Photoshop twice in four months. I used to use it every day.
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Old Sep 9, 2007, 5:39 PM   #3
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... and I, on the other hand, would not recomend Lightroom (unless you shoot RAW, then maybe).

Instead I would go with the latest version of Photoshop Elements. It offers most of what it's big brother (Photoshop) has to offer. In any event, Elements is a very good program to start with (and it does RAW too!!!).
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Old Sep 9, 2007, 6:43 PM   #4
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If you want to go with PhotoShop Elements look for PSE books by Scott Kelby, New Rider Publishing. They are written in cookbook style so you can go to the topic of choice and perform the action without reading the entire book.
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 12:16 AM   #5
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What is it you want the editing software to do? This is the first question that needs to be answered. For most picture editing, Elements is more than enough. You can adjust brightness, contrast and colors, enhance shadows and reduce overexposed highlights somewhat, crop, resize and rotate, reduce noise, remove blemishes and soften skin textures, crop and resize photos. These are the most common things editors are used for, and can be done with any of the major commercial offerings. (Paint Shop Pro, Photoimpact, and PS Elements) Some of these things can be done with free software, such as Picasa, Photoexplorer, Irfanview, and Paint.net

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Old Sep 10, 2007, 7:22 AM   #6
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VTphotog wrote:
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What is it you want the editing software to do? This is the first question that needs to be answered. ...
The first question, and the most difficult. It isn't hard to figure out how to use layers/levels/curves/... It is much more difficult to figure out why you want to use them.

So as Brian implies, don't worry about paying for a photo editor until you have exhausted at least a couple of the free ones. By that time you will have a much better idea of what to get.

I would suggest looking/asking in the forum for your specific camera to find a good free RAW converter/editor. Once you get past working with the free editors, you are likely to want to use RAW sometimes. Perhaps there is a free one that is good enough.
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 10:46 AM   #7
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Lightroom works with raw or jpg or psd files but it is NOT an editor.
It is a librarian, quick develop tool, print tool.

If you need to edit or do more complex things to your image files then PhotoShop Elements is a good place to start and it is not that expensive.

For RAW Many cameras come with a raw converter (Canon DSLR's comes with Digital Photo Professional).
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 1:34 PM   #8
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I'm sure one of the more knowledgeable members will correct me if this is in error, but my understanding is that the two biggest things that PhotoShop handles and Elements doesn'tare 1)preparing photographs for the printer (as in the guy who has a printing press), and 2) supporting 16-bit depth color channels, which is apparently important in HDR photography.

My understanding of PaintShop Pro is that Elements was released to compete with it, so my guess is that they would be pretty comparable.


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Old Sep 10, 2007, 3:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Lightroom works with raw or jpg or psd files but it is NOT an editor.
Well that depends a bit on what you mean by an editor.

You can crop, spot heal, adjust colour, exposure, curves, sharpen, do local contrast enhancement, rotate the image, convert to BW, sepia, fix red eye, etc, etc. It goes without saying it has an excellent RAW converter and amazing cataloging functions. The export to web and print functions are also very good.

IMO it's got most of the functions that you need for photography, as I say - I used to use PS all the time, but now that I have lightroom I don't need to except very occasionally.

It is certainly not a general graphics manipulation package, you can't do special selections and layers and complicated cloning, etc.

If I had to choose just one package for photography I would certainly much rather have Lightroom than PS Elements or even the full PS. (And I do actually have the full CS2 & 3 package.)

But Elements is cheaper than Lightroom and it certainly wouldn't hurt to own it too.
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 3:40 PM   #10
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We are going to need new terminology here :-)

Yes the functions you describe for lightroom could be called developing (the module they are found under in Lightroom)

And editing would involve the more complex functions needing layers/curves and all the other "stuff".
I have both PS-CS3 and Lightroom and use both depending on what I am up to.

Lightroom is much faster if all you need to do is the basic developing functions.

tclune: yes photoshop CS does handle 16bit files but then so does lightroom.
Most printers are still 8bit devices. So while the HDR process does benifit from having the extra data, in the end you are still converting to 8bit for the final printed results.
At least for now.

I have found that Lightroom cannot handle very large files.
My most recent panoramas are in the 64mp range and file size is around 450meg, Lightroom just gives a warning it is ignoring them as they are too large for it to process.
Maybe something to look forward to in Lightroom V2 :G

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