Editing Software Help Please!

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by tylerwind, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. I am to a point with my photography that I am selling a fair amount. Amazingly I have done this without any knowledge of photo editing at all but I think it is time to change that.
    Up until now, I have shot photos in RAW, downloaded them using the basic Canon software that came with my SLR, cropped them and adjusted contrast and brightness using ZoomBrowser, and done nothing else!
    I am hoping for some help in getting started with digital processing so my photos can reach their potential. I have the shooting part down but admit I have little knowledge of getting pictures to my computer, editing them, and printing.
    My first question is do I need photoshop? I want full editing power--fixing lens spots, adjusting colors, levels, contrast, sharpening etc. But I don't care about doing things like pasting object or people into a photo. In short, I want to have the full ability to enhance the photos I take, but I don't need to create abstract graphic design art. If you are just adjust the photos colors, sharpness, brightness, contrast, etc. but want to do so at a professional level do you need photoshop or will another program do?
    Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. I have read endless articles but still don't understand the truth about photoshop, lightroom, aperture, elements, etc. The bottom line is that I want to be able to go out and take a sunset picture and have a program that will allow me to transfer that to my computer and then have full editing power to make it as good as that picture can be before editing. I don't need to paste in a person who wasn't there but I do want professional caliber editing power to adjust my photo. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated!
  2. You definitely do not need Photoshop at this time or perhaps ever. Photoshop Elements 10 approximately $90 is most likley much more than you think your need is at this time. However Photoshop Elements does have the ability to catalog your photos and to add keywords to them - something that you have not mentioned as a need but something you might consider in growing your "hobby". For editing, I would suggest that you look into freeware such a IfanView or Gimp.
  3. I am in the same exact boat. I don't want to get into "digital pictorialism" so to speak. I shoot in RAW but would like my photos to be printed in a somewhat "pure" state (as was seen through the lens). I am willing to stray from that to the point that I would like to enhance some of the colors etc but I do not want to get into layering three or four layers together to make a "perfect picture" etc. Right now I use Faststone Image Viewer as basic as it may be; but it does work for the basics. I think I want to get a little more advanced and have a few more options but don't know what direction to go. I almost bought a copy of Photo Shop Elements today but then thought I would look into GIMP. I am not worried at this point about "managing" my collection, just editing. I am worried that both Lightroom and Elements are more geared toward managing rather than editing. Am I wrong about this? I know almost for a fact that Lighroom is used mostly for management. I am curious to see what sort of feedback this generates. Good Luck.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I know almost for a fact that Lighroom is used mostly for management.​

    How do you know that? Most of the people I know use it for a lot of editing. I do. I do about 98% of my editing in Lightroom. Also, Lightroom is a very sophisticated RAW conversion engine. I suspect most people using LR do their RAW conversion in it.

    Lightroom has a 30 day free trial. I recommend it to everyone not trying to do complex image alteration. You can see the results I get, I have a website link on my profile.
  5. +1 for Lightroom. It does most of the basic editing. It's workflow is much better than CSx/Elements and at the moment it is very affordable.
  6. Adding my two cents worth for Lightroom. I use it for all of my editing and love it.
  7. I find Canon's DPP to be sufficient, and never done anything outside of it, heck you can even do some acne management with it, I don't think you can do watermark with it though.
  8. Ditto, Lightroom. Gave LR 4 the 30-day trial spin a few months ago. It's all that and a biscuit. I used it to tweak this photo into this. That persuaded me of how good the brush tools really are (beats the heck out of my old version of Paint Shop Pro). Even with barely reading any instructions, it was fairly easy to get the hang of the editing tools. I never really dug into the DAM, cataloging, etc., so I have no idea about that. Probably needed another 30 days just to figure out that bit.
    For now I'm using Raw Therapee, which is an excellent raw converter with flexible demosaicing options, noise reduction, and offers good basic global adjustments. I like it better than Nikon's own software for my D2H NEFs, and it handles DNG files too. But it feels very limited after having tried Lightroom. I'd need to output to TIFF and use another editor to accomplish the integrated functions of Lightroom.
  9. I salute your previous minimalist approach. To my mind the majority of photos I see are over-enhanced with sharpening/contrast/colour etc. If you go ahead and get a photo editor, don't get carried away with the possibilities !
  10. In response to Jeff's comment about my comment:
    I know almost for a fact that Lighroom is used mostly for management.

    How do you know that? Most of the people I know use it for a lot of editing. I do. I do about 98% of my editing in Lightroom. Also, Lightroom is a very sophisticated RAW conversion engine. I suspect most people using LR do their RAW conversion in it.

    Lightroom has a 30 day free trial. I recommend it to everyone not trying to do complex image alteration. You can see the results I get, I have a website link on my profile.

    You are correct, I "overspoke" [if I can go ahead and just make up a word] with that comment. I thought it was clear from my post that I do not know too enough about editing software to declare anything as fact. I have however (after reading many posts on here) been under the impression that Lightroom certainly had editing capability but was more geared toward management.
    I was actually about to order a copy of Lightroom before I read some posts on here and other sites. Then I was thinking of instead ordering a copy of Elements because I thought that was more for editing.
    I just want the best editing software that I can get for a reasonable price and I do not need nor want the capability to do anything other than take the picture that I shot and get the most out of what was actually there. I don't want to add any effects etc. I just want to be able to shoot in RAW so I can capture as much detail as possible and then make the picture the best that it can be somewhat "naturally".
    Can I do that with GIMP? Can I do that with Faststone? Should I just get Lightroom or Elements?
    I am not trying to hijack this thread but it seems like I am after the same answers as the original poster.
  11. Justin,
    I have FastStone and Elements as well as Lightroom, and can tell you that, like others have already noted, Lightroom is pretty much my go-to editor. You need to try it and decide for yourself.
  12. Hosteen,
    Thank you. I will download the trial this weekend and give it a shot. I was on board with it until I started reading about people saying it was more geared toward management.
    I can't really tell the difference between Elements and Lightroom. I was starting to feel like Elements was better for editing and Lightroom was better for managing. There is so much information on the internet, which is both a blessing and a curse. Thank you again for the input and I apologize to the original poster for being a little too active in his post (especially for being new!)
    Thanks all.
  13. Tyler, in response to your comment, "I do not need nor want the capability to do anything other than take the picture that I shot and get the most out of what was actually there.", I would like to add one more program to the group. I was recently introduced to DxO Optics Pro and find it does exactly what you referenced in the above quote. It functions well as a RAW converter and allows for the kind of basic enhancements that improve your photos without major modifications. The feature it has that attracted me the most are the camera/lens modules that make corrections based on their (DxO Labs) assessments of the relative weaknesses of your lens/camera combination and corrects accordingly. I think that Photoshop CS and Lightroom also have that capacity as well. I do not use either so I can't comment on how well they function in that capacity but I do like how DxO Optics Pro compensates and manages this feature. DxO Optics Pro doesn't fix blemishes or do layer masks and if you need that kind of editing you will need something in addition to it. There is a free trial of it you can download, like the others. The interface is pretty simple and the learning curve gentle. Just another option to try.
  14. Well, I'll speak up for GIMP. Now my opinion may not count for much as I've never used anything but. I feel Adobe is kind of ridiculous with it's pricing and i don't want to pirate a copy. So I ended up using GIMP.
    I find it lets me do almost everything I want to, and it's constantly adding features. The biggest weakness I find is the lack of tutorials. For Adobe's software there are a ton. With GIMP you need to figure out a lot on your own. Although the website does have a good manual that explains all the features.
    I like GIMP and would recommend it. But I think it takes a certain type to embrace it. You may or may not belong to that set.
  15. +1 for Lightroom. If you are selling photos and shooting in raw it makes life easier once you figure out the workflow. It use the same raw engine as photoshop (so they say). You can easily watermark your photos and resize for web, print and otherwise when you output your work.
    I also use Photoshop, but only for things I can't get done in LR (ie Glamor, where there is heavy editing - you can still do minor blemish removal in LR, but you'll go insane with hair fly-aways or anything complex). I still always start with LR, then edit in photoshop if I need to. I still output photos edited in photoshop from withing LR. For events where I have to process large numbers of photos, LR is the way to go, load them all in, sync what you need to, edit and then output the whole batch.
    I don't save anything in jpg either. I keep everything raw and the LR catalog keeps track of my changes (raw files are never changed). I output files only when needed and for the hand at task.
  16. I was using Canon's Digital Photo Professional but I recently switched to Lightroom. I tried the 30 day trial and decided I liked it enough to buy it. I had tried the 30 day trial of Corel AfterShot Pro, but I couldn't seem to get it to work they way I wanted to. I think one of the big pluses for the Adobe products is the sheer volume of tutorials and books that are available to help you figure things out including free videos on YouTube.
    The one thing I have not gotten used to yet is the need to import the files to Lightroom before you work with them. I am used to working through all the pictures on the memory card, getting rid of the bad ones, processing the ones that need some extra help and then either dragging them to the folder I want or using DPP's batch processing to move them. With Lightroom, you import them to where you want them first before you can do anything with them.
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    You can "get rid of the bad ones" in Lightroom before you import. I always use the import window to remove obvious ones to be removed such as metering test shots, inside of the camera bag, etc.
  18. Andrew makes an excellent point about tutorials for Adobe products. During the 30 day trial period for Lightroom, any question I had was already covered by a good video tutorial.
    Much as I like some free/shareware products, you're pretty much on your own trying to figure out how to use them. There are some good written tutorials, but not as many succinct, professionally produced video tutorials.
  19. I do like the fact that LR is popular enough to where there is a ton of support available. It sounds like the importing will take a bit of getting used to but doesn't sound complicated. Also I am still a bit confused about all the talk about workflow and how LR just keeps track of your changes rather than actually changing the file. I am sure I will catch on to those small details quickly and will rather struggle more with just making sure I am getting the most out of my pictures. I am excited to get started.
  20. Jeff - I'm only about two months in to using Lightroom and as a strictly amateur most of my time with it has been spent figuring out how to get the most out of the develop side of it. I think the change for my workflow (using that term very loosely) is getting used to not working directly on the files on the card. I think it's a good change but I have to remember to clear the old files off the card once I have imported everything I want to keep.
    Justin - After watching about 40 minutes to an hour's worth of video tutorials I find it pretty straghtforward to adjust my pictures in a way I like. I think I am getting better results than I did with DPP. There are still a lot of adjustment options I have not figured out yet, but my pictures are really just for me and sharing with family and friends.
  21. Gudday all,

    This thread is timely and appropriate for me, for I am facing many of these issues/questions. I have a good grounding in shooting, having learnt much from staying with film when everyone was running to digital, but now I want to put myself out there professionally.
    The following is an extract from an email I sent recently, if anyone can add more to this or what has already been posted I would be greatful.
    Note: I'm in NSW Australia, I shoot RAW with a Pentax K-7 and use a macbook.
    2) Workflow etc. (this is where I really want to start to get organised in some way)

    PC or Mac?
    What is your current workflow like?
    What software are you using?
    How do you balance things like light and dark areas in a sunrise/sunset? Like your shot of Sunrise at Bicheno?
    Colour management, monitor calibration etc.?

    I don't have much of a handle on this area yet, I recently bought a Macbook, have Aperture 3 (which I haven't used much yet).
    I mainIy shoot Raw, I generally use Bridge (from CS4 - borrowed from a mate) for it's review mode to cull, which is fast but a bit clunky - I don't know what other programs do the same job.
    Then Camera Raw for basic exposure, white balance, fill and recovery adjustments and then photoshop to process to jpegs then burn to disc (I wouldn't know where to start with photoshop proper at this stage).

    At this stage, I'm looking at getting my own software (don't know what will help me achieve what I want to do yet).
    I would like to:
    organise my filing etc.
    add searchable descriptions (metadata??)
    explore the basic adjustments a bit more plus look at getting better colours
    get a better range of dark versus light areas out of my sunset shots etc. (I have heard about 'blend' mode in photoshop and HDR)
    maybe explore focus stacking for my macro stuff
    I'm mostly interested in getting 'real' results rather than over the top colours or removing stuff like telegraph poles or substituting skies etc.

    3) Output etc.

    What kind of files do you end up with?
    Where do you get your prints done?
    Many Thanks all,
    Dave Robinson
  22. As an alternative Adobe's fine editing software, try the free trial software of corel's software. Corel's Paintshop pro photo x5, the most recent release is very easy to use, has almost all the of the capabilities of Photoshop, more than photoshop elements capabilities, and at the slightly less than the cost of Photoshop elements. Also, look into trial of Corel Aftershot Pro, which is a management and raw editor very similiar to Adobe Lightroom. The biggest benefit I find between Aftershot pro and Lightroom is in Corel's product I do not have to import to the catalog to work in aftershot pro. This means I can work in the same file folder structure (ie windows) that I have always organized my photos ( subfolders in the my photos folder)
  23. I need my daily dose of Lightroom...

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