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Thread: Best editing software...easy to use

  1. #1
    michelleh's Avatar
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    Best editing software...easy to use

    I have now spent quite a lot of time reading about editing and PP. As I only have the software that came with my Canon camera i.e. ZoomBrowser and Digital Photo Professional I am beginning to wonder if these are not adequate. Should I purchase Photoshop or do you have any other recommendations. Should I try to master what I have or is this a waste of time?
    Thanks
    Michelle

  2. #2

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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Michelle: you are going to get lots of suggestions as to which software to get ie: Photoshop CS, Lightroom, Elements, etc., etc., they all do an excellent job depending on what you want. As you are only starting here is my suggestion, if possible take a part-time course at a local college or school. Here you can usually purchase a copy of the program at a student price, it also costs the price of the course but you will be learning how to use the program.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    I will go along with Allan. I don't know about South Africa but, here in the USA, if you are a student in a college or junior college you are eligible to purchase many software programs at severely discounted prices. Not only are the Adobe programs like CS6, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements available but, software from other companies such as Microsoft and the wonderful NIK grouping of programs are also available at a student and educator discount.

    BTW: to qualify for the Adobe Photoshop discount, you don' have to be enrolled in a photo specific program. Being enrolled in any college level courses will qualify you for the discount...

    You also don't need to be enrolled full time. Even taking a single course will qualify you for the discount...

  4. #4
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Michelle,

    I'll share with you advice I wish I had received when I started post-processing beyond the most basic: although Photoshop and PS Elements are superb in their capability, they also have a protracted learning curve, and I don't need them 80% of the time.

    I cannot recommend strongly enough getting started in Lightroom. It's highly intuitive and very quick to learn, and you will seek huge improvements in your images immediately. Once you have a good grasp of it, you will want to add software that will let you do pixel work: layers, composites, more involved cloning and image manipulation. I use PSE (elements), and sometimes consider springing for the full photoshop but cant justify the expense. There are other good programs others use to great effect (DxO for example), but as a starter and initial contact point in pp'ing I have been truly greatful for LR, and wish I'd started there several years ago .

    Best of luck

    Kevin

  5. #5
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Im also a big fan of lightroom it is quite easy to use and relatively quick to pick up, also you can find a few videos on you tube on how to use the basic functions

  6. #6
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Hi Michelle, nice to hear from you again.

    Another vote for Lightroom from me. It's quite easy to learn, definitely easier than DPP in my opinion, and unlike some other Adobe products is squarely aimed at photographers.

    Dave

  7. #7
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    I'm afraid that I'm on the LR bandwagon too.

    1) Compared to DPP, it makes sense - I tried DPP for a few months but when I discovered LR that was the end of DPP for me.

    2) It is relatively intuitive compared to others.

    3) There are very many users here and on other forums, and thus much help (there is a Lightroom forum with some very knowledgeable users)

    4) One of the features I like (there are many I like) is that it is non-destructive. You can do anything you want to an image, and if dissatisfied, hit RESET, and start over.

    5) Related to 4) above, it is simple to make virtual copies and process them differently for comparison purposes.

    Glenn

  8. #8
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Another vote for LR, well worth what it cost

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Hi Michelle,

    I don't use LR (LightRoom), but am aware that there are a few 'important' things it cannot do, although there are some other features that approach some of the missing functionality, cloning and layers must be easier to do in Elements than LR. If you start with LR, I suspect you'll need Elements or CS in due course, unless you disadvantage yourself.

    Personally I've never really understood the difficulty people seem to have with PS Elements, that's what I got after running out of features with Picasa.

    If you don't know what you want to do (like I didn't when I started), start with Guided Edit, after a few days you'll want to move on to the Quick Edit, where some of the controls are instantly accessible (the rest are in the menu bar). Then you'll want to move on to Full Edit, where pretty much everything is in the menu bar or the buttons on the left.

    Best editing software...easy to use Best editing software...easy to use Best editing software...easy to use Best editing software...easy to use

    I followed this path, and made use of extensive support online and here at CiC and I didn't have too many problems.

    Personally, I find the Zoom Browser EX most unintuitive. DPP may well be better (for image adjustments, perhaps equalling LR?), but I don't need it, so I don't use it.

    I do recommend only starting on jpgs, using the above interface, before progressing to RAW, which entails using ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and is another interface to learn. Once you understand what all the adjustments do, that (later) transition is much easier.

    Good luck with whatever you choose,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 16th January 2013 at 10:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Sorry to disagree with the Lightroom mob (well maybe not very sorry) but as much as I like and use Lightroom I think anyone seriously taking up digital photography needs to go through the pain of learning about layers, layer masks and adjustment layers. There are plenty of instructional resources available on the internet but do not get so bogged down that you have insufficient time to use your camera and learn as much as you can about actually taking photographs. There are many times when I have gone back to an old photograph and re-edited it with new skills or software but at least I had found the time to take it in the first place

  11. #11
    New Member gtpete's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Michelle, probably the best way to advise on which PP software would be best for you is to first understand what type of photography you are doing and what kind of changes you are wanting to make to your images.
    Once we know this, then I am confident that we can advise something that will suit.

  12. #12

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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    I won't bore you with all the details and the path I took through Elements and ViewNX to get to Lightroom. I will only say that you will more than likely need to do the basic exposure, sharpening, contrast and cropping functions for your photos. LR is the more comprehensive and adjustable solution. I may have missed it above but I didn't notice anyone suggesting you download the 30 day trial versions. Best bet is to hit Youtube and watch a bunch of basic LR editing videos just to familiarize yourself with its capabilities. When you are somewhat comfortable with confirming that is the direction you want to go, watch this http://www.slrlounge.com/guides/ligh...training-198-9 which is by far the best set of instructional videos I came across. After you've gone through the lessons, download the Lightroom 30 day trial and jump right in. Every time you want to try something the slrlounge course is right there for you to confirm anything with. As you grow and need further guidance you will see that LR has more videos on the web specifically for photographers than any other package produced. Good luck.

  13. #13
    Didace's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    This,
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    download the Lightroom 30 day trial and jump right in
    Is the best advice. I have no idea if anyone other than Adobe does this, but you can't beat free for trying something out.

  14. #14
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    I am also a firm believer in Photoshop, even with its longer learning curve and higher cost. I started using Photoshop well before Lightroom was introduced, and have watched the evolution of the product. I certainly see how it is useful in a production environment.

    While I do own Lightroom, I find that everytime I use it, I end up finishing up my work in Photoshop, just because it works better for me. Layers, blending modes, layer masks, etc. are invaluable to my editing workflow and in most cases cannot I live without them.

  15. #15
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    If you have no budget for software purchases and you are a hobbyist, however, you could look at open source alternatives. A bit funkier, perhaps, and less slick on the interfaces, but still plenty capable. And of course, free.

    For RAW conversion, you could use Canon's DPP, or Adobe's ACR software either through Photoshop or Lightroom. The open source analog to this are packages like RAWTherapee and DarkTable. And there are RAW plugins for the Gimp as well.

    For layers/masks and more intense processing or compositing, there's Photoshop, either the full CS6 version or Elements (a more limited and affordable home version). The open source analog to this is the Gimp.

  16. #16

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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    I'm afraid that I'm on the LR bandwagon too.

    1) Compared to DPP, it makes sense - I tried DPP for a few months but when I discovered LR that was the end of DPP for me.

    2) It is relatively intuitive compared to others.

    3) There are very many users here and on other forums, and thus much help (there is a Lightroom forum with some very knowledgeable users)

    4) One of the features I like (there are many I like) is that it is non-destructive. You can do anything you want to an image, and if dissatisfied, hit RESET, and start over.

    5) Related to 4) above, it is simple to make virtual copies and process them differently for comparison purposes.

    Glenn
    I will add 1 more item that to me is pretty important: Lightroom doesn't increase the size of your file. In Photoshop and Elements, after doing all your adjustments and save your file, especially if you want to save all your layers and adjustments as a PSD or TIFF file, your file size will triple or quadruple! In Lightroom, you don't need to save your file in any other format unless you need to send or share your file to somebody else.
    One thing that I have heard people complain most is that Lightroom force you to use the catalog system that requires a little bit of learning.
    I also find out that most old hand at Photoshop will never consider Lightroom, but as others has pointed out, unless you need heavy manipulation on your images, Lightroom is usually sufficient. I personally started with Photoshop 7, then on to CS1, CS3, but I was never proficient in it, to me, there was just too many steps to go through to process your images. I started using LR 2, then LR3. This was the one that made me realize how easy it is to use, and I hardly have to use my CS3 anymore. Then LR4 came out, and this one really sealed it for me. I still bought CS5, and a few months ago the CS6, 'just in case' I need it. Well, to this day, I haven't really use the CS6 at all!

  17. #17
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Quote Originally Posted by pthoutex View Post
    Lightroom doesn't increase the size of your file. In Photoshop and Elements, after doing all your adjustments and save your file, especially if you want to save all your layers and adjustments as a PSD or TIFF file, your file size will triple or quadruple!
    Well that is only because all of your edit information is stored in the Lightroom database (i.e. catalogue), rather than the file itself, so from a computer storage standpoint, you still end up with more storage space being used. One could make the same comment about using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) component of Photoshop; the original file size does not change either (unless you are using Adobe DNG files), but the data is written to a sidecar file, which grows, dependent on the edits that you do. If you use Lightroom, the ACR interface very similar to the Develop Module, and both pieces of software use the same underlying processing engine. If you like Lightroom and own Photoshop CS6, try using ACR, you may find you like it better than Lightroom as it does not carry the catalogue "baggage" that Lightroom has, and the editing tools should feel familiar.

    All that being said, computer storage space is fairly inexpensive, so I would never let that stop me from using the best tool for my needs.

  18. #18
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Quote Originally Posted by pthoutex View Post
    I will add 1 more item that to me is pretty important: Lightroom doesn't increase the size of your file.
    I just went through all of my files (Canon 30D and 5DII); typical RAW file sizes are in the order of 8,000 KB and 23,000 KB respectively.

    Every last one of the XMP files are either 5 KB or 7 KB (respectively), and some of them contain extensive editing data (Adjustment Brush).

    The XMP are very small in comparison to the RAW files, and for practical purposes negligible. A quick bit of math reveals that for the 23,000 odd RAW files I have, the total of the XMP files is about equal to five RAW files from the 5DII.

    Lightroom is very efficient in this respect.

    Glenn

  19. #19
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    ... you may find you like it better than Lightroom as it does not carry the catalogue "baggage" that Lightroom has, and the editing tools should feel familiar.
    I like that baggage: the organisation, searching and workflow are the central features of LR, in addition to the raw processing.

    I think that you will end up adapting your personal workflow style around the tools that you use, so in the end you have to try the tools and decide for yourself.

    I'm in the LR + Photoshop Elements camp. I admit that my PP skills with PSE are not great and one day I will decide to improve them. And I may even upgrade it to PS if I outgrow PSE. But I'll probably stay within the LR "ecosystem" for the foreseeable future.

    Good luck!

    Tony

  20. #20
    michelleh's Avatar
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    Re: Best editing software...easy to use

    Thank you, Everyone. I am quite overwhelmed by the response and the amount of detail that you have given in answer to my question. I like the idea of going and looking at the LR editing videos to get a "feel' for LR and then later trying a free trial version.

    @ Dave Humphries: I presume that the images that you have put up are for PS Elements??

    Unfortunately, attending any courses is not a possible option for me, but thanks for highlighting that as an possibilty.
    Very grateful to all for your input.

    Ciao
    Michelle

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