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Thread: Do I have to get photoshop?

  1. #1
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    Do I have to get photoshop?


    Hello, i'm the shocked and excited new owner of a shiny Nikon D5100 (an amazingly generous present from a friend) and i've been clicking away for a couple of weeks now.

    Am a complete photography moron/ newbie so have been reading up and learning all about how this beautiful machine works. I've managed to work out how to get what I think is the correct exposure using manual - and am slowly starting to get my head around how to take photos that are in focus with the desired depth of field etc etc.

    BUT.
    All my photographer friends keep telling me to 'just find my style'. I would like to but I have no idea how - as far as I can tell my camera's aim is to capture a perfectly exposed image. Even when i'm shooting in manual it tells me when something's under/over exposed. I'm aware some photographers like to overexpose their portraits, and I do think that's a pretty look, but surely there's got to be more to creative use of light in photography?
    My question is this: to get artsy looking photos am I going to have to buy photoshop?

    I'm sorry for how muddled this post is, but my 10 month old baby is trying to kill the laptop as I type.
    Thank you :-)

  2. #2
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    In short No you dont, though others will argue the point, there are lots of free editing software packages out there, im sure someone will chip in shortly on those. I do most of my editing in Light room and im sure to begin with that will do for you, i have photshop but its a steep learning curve and i only use it for merging panoramas, or stacking images. try to remember that people were using light creativity way before Photoshop was ever conceived

    Dont rush into anything your "style" will come with time and if you want to get creative with lights the have fun with them as well. try looking at strobist .com youll find lots of ideas on lighting there.

    hope that helps, and welcome to CIC.

  3. #3
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    No, you don't need to get Photoshop right away, and it really depends on your needs.

    That being said, it you get into serious photography, Photoshop is the "gold standard", and I use it for virtually all my work. It is extremely powerful and that does mean it has two significant downsides, the costs and the very long learning curve. I do have Lightroom, but rarely use it because I find it frustrating to use. I can never get the results I am looking for with it and end up switching over to Photoshop.

  4. #4
    Thlayle's Avatar
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Photoshop: definitely not a must-have. I have used a number of different photo processing programs & had good luck with them. Photoshop is very pricey and, based on my experience, I would say unnecessarily complicated to use. And yes it's true that programs like Photoshop do a lot, including good quality improvements and special effects. There's so much to learn & develop skills though just in the use of various exposures and settings on the camera itself.

  5. #5

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Ласкаво просимо

    You probably got a software package with your camera, including ViewNX, which comes bundled with Nikon DSLR:s.

    For your most immediate desires of photo editing, that might be all you need, but there are caveats. For example, if you do any editing, it might be wise to save your edited images under new names, in order not to overwrite the originals, so you can go back later and correct any errors you might have made.

    Whenever you want something more advanced, there are many software packages around, and one of the very best is Gimp, which is free in most respects of what free means, and rivals Photoshop in functionality. There are also free RAW converters, as UFRaw and Raw Therapee, which operate seamlessly with Gimp. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, with ACR, surely is very good software, but you really won't need them to edit photos. They provide a reasonable workflow and have lots of bells and whistles, but many of us do without them.

    My favourite software for photo editing is Gimp, with UFRaw for conversion. I do all my imports without any package at all, with the file manager. If you want a program to keep track of what pictures you have put on your hard drive, there's nothing to beat Picasa, which is also free. Picasa will show each and every image on your hard drive on one single huge page, and it always tracks anything that you copy to the drive. Then you may eye through all of those images just as if they were prints in a shoebox, although maybe a bit more conveniently and organised. Picasa makes sense even if your hard drive is well organised. Sometimes it is easier to search an image by "eye-grepping".

    It is advisable to have some simple and easily readable structure on the folders with images. Software for picture import, as Lightroom or Photoshop will do that when reasonably configured, and also some other programs, as ViewNX, FastStone, F-Spot and lots of others also do. I prefer programs that are not fully automatic in this respect, but want the option to put my files anywhere I want. That's why I use the file browser (Nautilus) for importing pictures.

    A bonus with using free software as Gimp and UFRaw, is that they come with help files and menus in any language. I guess you might be from Ukraine. At least under Linux all language options come just as you want them.
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 1st November 2012 at 06:52 PM.

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    I agree with the others. You don't need Photoshop. I've never used it and seem to get by reasonably well.

    By the way - Welcome to CiC, Fritha. Great to have you here. Please excuse my ignorance, but where is Vinnitsa?

    The other point you make is about friends telling you to find your style. I would suggest that in 12 months from now you have started to form ideas about what style you wish to develop, you will be making very good progress. Certainly do not even start thinking about that at the moment. Just now is for exploring, learning, experimenting and shooting lots and lots of shots in order to get practice and to get to know your camera.
    Last edited by Donald; 1st November 2012 at 06:45 PM.

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Fritha: you style is how you want your image to appear to you, not others, when you take an image you not only take it for what it is but also for what you want it to be.
    Now on to editing programs, Photoshop's Lightroom is a fantastic program that can breathe life into your images, Photoshop's CS programs do the same but go farther in what you can do, Photoshop's Elements is a light version of CS, can not do as much, however does pack a good punch. As I got my version of CS as a student for a course I got it at a great discount. If I had not gotten the discount I would have went for Lightroom and combined it with Photoshop's Elements, I would have had the power of LR and then elements to finish what LR couldn't. The combined price for this was only slightly less than the student edition of Photoshop CS.
    There are other programs out there, some cost, some are free. I do not use them, however many members of CIC do and produce excellent work with them.
    As you grow you will see the direction that your images take you, they will tell you if you need to change or upgrade your image processing software to achieve that feel and look that says Fritha.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Just to add my 2c worth - (as a Photoshop "power-user") ...

    Short answer is "It all depends on what you need to do with your images".

    As others have mentioned, Photoshop is the gold-standard; yes, it's expensive (having said that though, once you've invested in the initial full copy then you can then purchase annual upgrades for about 1/4 the price), but on the other hand, Photoshop is immensely powerful and can do many things that other packages can't. Having just said that, it's highly unlikely that you will EVER need to do any of these advanced things.

    The other thing to keep in mind too is that it has a tremendous amount of popularity ("inertia") - so if you're needing help to use a post-processing package then you'll probably find more help available for Photoshop than any other package.

    In agreement with others though, it's highly unlikely that you'll need any of it's power at this stage anyway - and you can always invest in it later if you do.

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thlayle View Post
    Photoshop is very pricey and, based on my experience, I would say unnecessarily complicated to use.
    It certainly is a "deep and wide" program, but I wouldn't say "unnecessarily complicated" (that implies they made it more complicated than they needed to). It's an incredibly well-structured program, but unfortunately, some of the very structure and foundation that's needed for more advanced functionality complicates the more basic functionality with the bottom line being that they don't really have a choice.

    I've always thought of it as like having a well-equipped toolbox; a tool for everything -- but nothing says we need to use every tool on every project (but it's nice to know that they're there if we need them!).

  10. #10

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    For some perspective on Photoshop. It's great software, I used it in the nineties, but now that i am retired, I couldn't afford to buy it, and moreover it won't run on my Linux box, scavenged from the electronic junk heap. The price here of the Adobe suit is more than what my dentist wants to put a bridge into my mouth, and I sure need that bridge a lot more than photo editing software. Functionally, Photoshop is splendid, the user interface is reasonably simple to use, and it has more bells and whistles than I would ever need. It is also very well structured. Gimp has all features that I need, but the user interface had a higher threshold.

    So it might be a matter of preferences which software to use. I prefer being able to chew my food well, so I'd rather invest that money at the dentist's, but were I to make a living on photography, my preference might be another.

  11. #11
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    I would say that you don't need Photoshop but you do need Lightroom. Not for editing your photos, though it's good for that too, but for cataloguing them.

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    To repeat what I wrote elsewhere, several threads on this subject currently ... when in the States recently I bought a copy of PaintShop Photo Pro x3 for $15 and discovered it had pretty well all that my more recent copy 'x4' has. That was on Amazon ... P&P extra. Like Photoshop it is a complicated programme and will take time to fully understand but it has quick fixes for starters. There is an x5 version just out but I doubt if there is much difference ...I have used version 8 occasionally which is still in my computer, it doesn't have a limit on the number of pixels it will handle when doing panoramas like the newer versions do..

    edit. .... note x=10 so versions go 8,9,X,X3,X4,X5 ....

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Congratulations on both the baby and the apparent survival of your laptop!

    You've gotten some great advice in general, though most of the responses seem to have overlooked that you asked if Photoshop is needed to produce "artsy" photos. I recommend that you post links to a few images that you consider artsy. Depending on the images that you steer us to, the responses to your fundamental question might be different than those posted so far.

    Somebody mentioned that you should save the images using a different file name so you can always revert to the original. If you shoot RAW files and use Nikon ViewNX that came with your camera to edit them, you do not need to save using a different file name for that purpose. You will always have a minimum of two versions available after saving the file -- the original and the last saved version. If you use the software to name other versions (such as cropped, B&W or whatever), an unlimited number of versions will also be available for recall within the same file.

    Considering that you asked about Photoshop, keep in mind that there is the full-blown version called Creative Suite and the lite version called Elements. I'm convinced that even for the photographers who feel that they need a Photoshop-like product, Elements will meet the needs of at least 95% of them.

    By the way, when Donald writes that he has never used Photoshop and that he seems to get by reasonably well, consider that to be an understatement of huge magnitude. See for yourself by reviewing his images posted regularly here.

  14. #14
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Welcome to photography, Fritha. You are very lucky to have been given a fine camera and you are very wise to start asking questions early on rather than groping your way in the dark.

    As to your specific question "do I have to get Photoshop", I agree with everyone here: no you don't. Not Photoshop CS (Creative Suite) at least. But you do need SOMETHING to manage and edit your digital images, and although you can get free software or use what came with your camera, you have to think about this:

    Whatever software you use will tie you down one way or the other, and you have to ask yourself if you want to be tied to software that may not exist in a few years, or for the next version of your chosen computer operating system.

    I say this because I have been down that road myself. I was a Photoshop user but got tired of incessant, expensive updates, then tried other software and got into the kind of problems I describe. I solved that problem (or at least I hope I have) by returning to Adobe, who are in this business for the long term, but with their much more photograpner-friendly software Lightroom.

    With recent price drops on Lightroom, I wouldn't think twice about getting it if I were you. You can then use Adobe's excellent, free on-line tutorials to really get the best out of the software.

    Of course, if you're a Mac user, you could just start out using iPhoto. It's not much of an editing program, but maybe you don't need that to begin with, and it gives you excellent and very intuitive organising of your photos. You can export your photos and import them to Lightroom or someting else later if you want, as you start filling your photographic boots.

    Your other question is in many ways much more interesting - about finding your style. I wouldn't worry about that right now, because it will take a long time. It has for every single photographer I have ever known, most certainly including myself.

    Right now you should go out and have fun with your camera and learn from your mistakes. Digital cameras are wonderful in that respect - you get to see mistakes right away, they don't cost you anythng, and you are free to have another go. Of course you don't want it all to be hit and miss, so you'll start finding out what you are doing wrong and how to do it better. You'll start reading about photogtaphy, perhaps beginning with the excellent tutorials on this site.

    Once you find your feet you will gravitate towards something or other. Maybe along the lines of things that already interest you - nature, people, sports, whatever is your thing.

    But that comes later. For now just have fun, ask lots of questions and make lots of pictures.
    Last edited by oleleclos; 1st November 2012 at 10:48 PM.

  15. #15
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Oh Fritha, you'll get a lot of lengthy responses to this question and they may run the gambit from 'you don't need to do any photo processing' to 'you only need to be able to address the basics' to 'Photoshop is the only way to go for a “real” photographer’.

    The reality is that it all depends on your goals, budget, and willingness to invest the time and effort to make post processing an integral part of your photography.... and, what you mean by 'Artsy'!

    I am a D3100 owner and an avid Photoshop user but as you are just starting out, I would recommend getting your feet wet with the processing software that came with your D5100. Over time you will be in a better position to decide what is best for your needs.

    If the sticker price for Photoshop doesn’t bother you and you are willing to invest the time to both take and process a number of images, it will work well for you as it has for countless others.

    If you think the photography will be a passing fancy, available to get better than average snapshots, then you don’t need Photoshop.

    The camera is just a tool waiting for you to pick it up and caress it. It is your 'aim' for what you want for a result that really matters!

    ‘Finding your style’ will come over time as you discover what kind of photography you like and what kind of a ‘look’ you prefer your images to have. It is very much a result of what YOU like and not so much whether or not anyone else feels the same way. The more time you invest in photography, the more your ‘style’ will be revealed to you.

    Hope this helps!

  16. #16
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    To repeat what I wrote elsewhere, several threads on this subject currently ... when in the States recently I bought a copy of PaintShop Photo Pro x3 for $15 and discovered it had pretty well all that my more recent copy 'x4' has. That was on Amazon ... P&P extra. Like Photoshop it is a complicated programme and will take time to fully understand but it has quick fixes for starters. There is an x5 version just out but I doubt if there is much difference ...I have used version 8 occasionally which is still in my computer, it doesn't have a limit on the number of pixels it will handle when doing panoramas like the newer versions do..

    edit. .... note x=10 so versions go 8,9,X,X3,X4,X5 ....
    Haha, I have a full copy of PaintShop Pro 7 which came on a CD with a computer magazine i purchased years ago, It works flawlessly on Win 7 64bit and i use it for menial tasks like resizing/cropping
    If it supported raw files i would not have purchased PS CS5

  17. #17

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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    It all depends on how far you want to go. Lightroom can do plenty for you as I'm sure plenty of other packages will, including free software. I was a professional user of Photoshop for 17 years and still to this day I don't know what a lot of the functions are. It will take a long time to learn it all and personally I'd rather be taking pics than messing around in Photoshop.
    Might be worth looking at Photoshop Elements.

  18. #18
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Thank you! And thank you for the Ukrainian welcome, that made my day!

  19. #19
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    By the way - Welcome to CiC, Fritha. Great to have you here. Please excuse my ignorance, but where is Vinnitsa?

    The other point you make is about friends telling you to find your style. I would suggest that in 12 months from now you have started to form ideas about what style you wish to develop, you will be making very good progress. Certainly do not even start thinking about that at the moment. Just now is for exploring, learning, experimenting and shooting lots and lots of shots in order to get practice and to get to know your camera.
    Vinnitsa is in Ukraine, south west of Kiev. It's quite nice and it's close to the orphanages we work in - one of the reasons I've got the camera is to properly document conditions here. So I've also got to learn some cloak and dagger photography techniques!
    And thank you, and thank you to everyone for your encouragement. It's a relief to find out that my lack of instant 'personal style' is normal and just the start of something fun... xxx:

  20. #20
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    Re: Do I have to get photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritstop View Post
    Hello, i'm the shocked and excited new owner of a shiny Nikon D5100 (an amazingly generous present from a friend) and i've been clicking away for a couple of weeks now.

    Am a complete photography moron/ newbie so have been reading up and learning all about how this beautiful machine works. I've managed to work out how to get what I think is the correct exposure using manual - and am slowly starting to get my head around how to take photos that are in focus with the desired depth of field etc etc.

    BUT.
    All my photographer friends keep telling me to 'just find my style'. I would like to but I have no idea how - as far as I can tell my camera's aim is to capture a perfectly exposed image. Even when i'm shooting in manual it tells me when something's under/over exposed. I'm aware some photographers like to overexpose their portraits, and I do think that's a pretty look, but surely there's got to be more to creative use of light in photography?
    My question is this: to get artsy looking photos am I going to have to buy photoshop?

    I'm sorry for how muddled this post is, but my 10 month old baby is trying to kill the laptop as I type.
    Thank you :-)
    I have Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom. A great program for the price is Paint Shop Pro X5 from Corel. Comes very close to photoshop for 1/6 of the price. And, you get Nik Color EfX free with the program. And yes it supports NEF RAW

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