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Thread: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

  1. #1

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    Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Can someone point me in the right direction please...

    Recently purchased a Canon 550 after much deliberation and am on a steep learning curve generally. Haven't yet purchased a tripod or remote but will do soon to carry on my development. Next on the list is to start at least understand processing...

    The Canon came bundled with 3 software packages but I'm really struggling to see what the difference is and what they do.

    - Can anyone help with explaining those packages and are they what I should use or should I consider something else?

    - Is there a book such as "processing for dummies" ? or similar that I should read as despite reading the no doubt excellent CiC tutorials it still seems a completely different language to me...

    - I often see posts advising others how to process images and giving a string of instructions to achieve the desired result. In many cases I can't see that the original post includes which package is being used - surely the instructions are relevant to each software package or (miracle..) do they use the same text across different providers?

    The whole area is quite confusing - where do I start?

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    This is a common problem, which we all had to undergo at some time, and some of us had quite a struggle in the early digital days when editing software was rather basic and information was somewhat scant.

    But where to start with an answer?

    Which software came with your camera? I assume you received Canon DPP which is a somewhat basic programme by today's standards, although many people find if perfectly adequate for their needs.

    So start by reading the software Help files (print them out if that makes them easier to understand) although I did find the DPP 'how to use' information wasn't that well explained for a total beginner.

    Then try a selection of 'beginner's tutorials' which abound on the internet now (if only all this information was available when I went digital nearly 10 years ago) and have a look for some books at your local library or secondhand bookstore.

    I would recommend any of the starter books by Tom Ang but there is a lot of other suitable literature about now.

    Then keep returning here to ask questions about anything which you don't understand. Even questions which you may consider to be 'silly' and basic will get sympathetic answers.

  3. #3

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Thanks Geoff,

    Yes the Canon came with:

    - Digital Photo Professional
    - Picture Style Editor
    - EOS utility (Understand this one!)

    I started to read the help files but they were not very user-friendly to say the least. Hadn't thought of printing them, good idea...

    I'll have a look at Tom Angs books on line and see what they're like...and don't fear - there will be silly questions!

    Thanks.

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Actually, Jonathan, the first thing I should have said is welcome to the CinC forum.

    I've had a look around some editing advice sites which I have used some time ago (most of my currently bookmarked sites are in the advanced category) and quite honestly I was rather disappointed in what I could find for a total beginner.

    Most of them appear to be attempting to sell top of the range expensive editing software at inflated prices (500+) or selling editing tutorials on CDs, which don't seem like good value to me.

    Some of he reliable sites which I have previously used have 'beginner's tutorials' but I thought their idea of a beginner's basic knowledge was a bit above most total beginners.

    I did find this site http://world.std.com/~mmcirvin/gimp_tutorial/index.html which might be helpful. It concentrates on using the free Gimp Software but most of the basic techniques are similar to the average software.

    Some time ago I did find some information for a friend who was just starting digital editing on www.imaging-resource.com but when I visited the site I couldn't access any of the information. Perhaps the site is overloaded at the moment.

    All in all, I think the CinC tutorials look very good compared to most of the alternatives.

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Hi Jonathan, and welcome.

    This is my first attempt at advice, but as someone who was where you are not so long ago this may be some help.

    i suggest just getting something and dive in. I have Irfanview which is free, and Photoshop Elements which I recommend if you want to spend actual money. I also have the Canon programs that came with the camera, probably the same as yours, but do not use them. I suggest starting with simple adjustments such as cropping and brightness/contrast correction and see what comes out. The next step would probably be selective brightening, or darkening as needed. There seem to be many ways to accomplish this.

    With me, need led to the next stage and more ambitious fiddling, such as when my daughter produced a picture with one colour that clashed. Could I change it? Yes I could, eventually. It was a learning experience.
    Good luck,

    David

  6. #6

    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Hi Jonathan

    Welcome to the forum.

    I see that you have what looks like a busy job, so you probably don't have a lot of spare time. I learnt all this stuff myself about four years ago, and it took a long time, despite a background in software engineering. Mind you, I didn't know anything about photography in general, so I had to learn that as well.

    Your options?

    1. Learn it yourself, by reading books/mags, on-line tutorials, asking here. It's probably the slowest method, but it can be quite enjoyable. You do need the time though.
    2. Sign-up to a locally-run Photoshop course (if you want to use Photoshop). Some of them are quite good, and they should be fairly cheap. You could combine this with the first option. It's normally local colleges that run them in conjunction with the local council authorities. Teaching may be of mixed quality though. It depends.
    3. Sign-up for on-line tutorials (if you want to use Photoshop). You have to pay for these. They may be relatively expensive, but you will learn a lot quicker. There's Scott Kelby http://www.kelbytraining.com/online/...gory=photoshop or Lynda.com http://www.lynda.com/home/ViewCourses.aspx?lpk3=true Our Admin man, Colin may be able to suggest something on this one.
    4. And the last option I can suggest is to find someone who knows the package you want to use and ask them to give you some intensive sessions to get you started (you will avoid a lot of mistakes that way). You might have to pay them, but then you will have to pay for the on-line courses.


    Time, there just ain't enough of it is there?

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Jonathan

    All good advice above. What hasn't been suggested however, is that you stick with the Canon DPP package at the moment.

    What you haven't said is whether you're shooting RAW or JPEG. If not shooting RAW, you should. Doing so then gives you much more in the way of options when you're post processing. If you're shooting RAW, you need something that will allow you to process the RAW image into a useable format for further processing and, subsequently, publishing/printing. DPP will do all of that for you.

    Whether you stick with DPP or go for another package is, some would suggest, dependent on what your budget is and how far you want to go with your learning and ability.

    DPP is Canon's own post-processing (pp) software package. A lot of people are passionate supporters of it. One of the arguments is that it 'understands' the camera on which the image was taken and and that this results in a better 'fit' between what the camera and the pp software.There are online forums of DPP users where you can learn more about it, ask questions etc. It's a perfectly functional and effective tool.

    Canon has recently upgraded DPP and the new version offers more features that previous versions. It will certainly do a job for you and offers you a number of options to learn and implement pp skills.

    Most people (99.9% of the serious amateurs/professionals) are, as you will find, users of Adobe products - Photoshop, Elements, etc etc. I'm not (which maybe says something ... or not!).

    Why Adobe products? Because they offer a much more extensive toolkit. And that's the bit about 'it depends on how far you want to go with your skills and abilities'. If you want to process the photos you take of the kids, pets, holidays etc, then DPP will be more than adequate. If you see yourself producing fine art images that you will have hanging on the walls of your house or that of friends etc, or that you sell, then you may want to have more tools in the post-processing toolkit than DPP will provide. It just means you can do more things in post-processing.

    Me? I use DxO Optics Pro 6 for RAW processing and then the open source package The GIMP for additional processing work.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th November 2010 at 08:00 AM.

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !


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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    I agree,you should work with DPP for awhile.It's a good program.Here's some tutorials to get you started.
    http://cpn.canon-europe.com/search/s...=DPP+tutorial*

    Make sure you download and install the latest version of DPP.

    Here's the link.It's the file at the bottom under Software.
    http://software.canon-europe.com/software/0039356.asp
    Last edited by Jim B.; 14th November 2010 at 11:19 AM.

  10. #10

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Many thanks all....

    You are quite right time is a severe limiting factor for me. The advice above is good and on reflection I think I will stick with the Canon DPP software whilst I learn the basics as this is likely to be a long haul anyway.

    Still not quite sure what "Step 1" is but I will download (and print) the various tutorials and see where we go...

    No doubt be back in touch!

    Jon

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Jon

    Get some RAW images onto the computer, open them up in DPP and start pushing buttons and playing with sliders and watch what happens. In DPP, it's very easy to press that wee circular sort of icon that undoes everything you've done. So do something and then press the 'restore/undo' (can never remember what it's called) and you're back to where you started. So, you can't create too much mayhem!

    Just have fun. The learning will flow from that.

  12. #12

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Meant to say on last post that I took first ever RAW shots on Friday morning. Haven't played with them at all yet but will do so....

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Keep a few things in mind as you play with your images:

    1. Photographing is a highly technical operation, should you wish to get into it deeply.
    2. Creating pictures from your photographs is a very subjective operation, and ONLY you can say whether the finished product is what YOU want.

    The camera is a box in which you store photographs, Its only job is to capture light. It is up to you to train the camera to capture (as closely as possible) what you see. It is then up to you to take that capture and manipulate it into what you like.

    Remember that the advice you will get from other photographers, here and elsewhere, is slanted toward what they like. Most of the time, this advice will lead you to get more of what you like. Sometimes, it doesn't work for what you like. Part of the learning curve is to to learn when to stick some of the advice you receive in a drawer to use later, on other photographs. That process has a very technical term called "developing a style." As a wise photgrapher once told me, "The photograph is in the camera. The picture is behind your eyeballs."

    The trick is to "fiddle, fuss and cuss" as your learn without getting discouraged. It will come to you, if you want it enough to practice and look.

    Pops

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    Keep a few things in mind as you play with your images:
    ......
    The trick is to "fiddle, fuss and cuss" as your learn without getting discouraged. It will come to you, if you want it enough to practice and look.
    Someone should bottle that entire statement and sell it. The student should look no further.

    The topic could never have been so eloquently and concisely encapsulated as it has been here, by Pops.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th November 2010 at 08:45 PM.

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    Re: Where do I start? Processing Help Needed !

    One simple bit of advice about learning processing is to keep a note of everything that you do so that you can return to a 'winning system'. Eventually you will develop a personal 'workflow' that suits you and your style of photography/editing.

    Also, if as a beginner, you find Raw photos to be just a little bit too complicated; forget about them until you gain more processing experience. Although many of us do shoot almost everything Raw now, we mostly started with Jpeg then progressed to Raw as our abilities improved.

    Raw does have some advantages and in reality it is quite simple to use, but it is an additional processing stage which may initially confuse you.

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