A n00b Question

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by Jimbo60, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Jimbo60

    Jimbo60 TPF Noob!

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    Though I am pretty much a total n00b to digital photography. I have had quite a bit of experience in film.

    I've been out of the field for a while and decided to get back into it with a DSLR.

    When I shot film, I primarily shot Ektachrome 100, Kodachrome 64, and Velvia. Shooting transparencies was my way of maintaining control over the final image as much as possible. Using exposure, filters, etc....

    Then you could argue with the lab when it came time to make prints. "make it exactly like the slide!!!".

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is that alot of post production isn't necessary for me. I still want to capture my vision with the best possible image in the camera.

    However, I do want to be able to make an acceptable print (I know that the printer/ink/paper selection is extremely important).

    So my question is what is the best software that will allow, minimum but sometimes necessary, corrections and editing?

    Thanks for your help.

    ............ Jim
     
  2. jedithebomber

    jedithebomber TPF Noob!

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    I am partial to Photoshop. It will take you as far as you need to go. You could get the same stuff done with Paint Shop Pro, or even The Gimp I guess, but you just kinda trial the programs, see what you need and like, and go with it. I have been using photoshop since 4.0 so I am used to it.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Adobe Photoshop it the industry standard for photo and image editing...but it's a bit complicated and quite expensive. Photoshop Elements is a more friendly program that is much less expensive. There are also several others, right down to The Gimp, which is free.

    Another way to go, would be with something like Adobe Lightroom. It was designed as a 'workflow' program...it makes it easier to make adjustment on many images in quick fashion. You can do many of the same basic things that Photoshop does...but for full out image editing, Photoshop is the best.

    While we're on the topic, having full control over your digital images, is a bit different that what you are used to with shooting slide film. With film, you did all that you could, to get it right 'in camera'.
    When shooting digital, you still want to get the shot right, right from the start...but to have full control, you don't want the camera to do any of the processing. This means shooting in RAW, which is basically the raw data from the camera. RAW files do need a bit of processing...but you get to control that processing, rather than having the camera decide for you.
     
  4. MichaelT

    MichaelT TPF Noob!

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    Hi Jim, and welcome to the digital age.

    I went digital in 2000, after 20 years in film. You have some exciting concepts and freedom to look forward to!

    Anyway, in my opinion, the best approach is to develop a system that gives you the right image at the camera. So many photographers spend so much time in post-exposure processing trying to get good color and exposure, when I believe they should spend their time learning how to get it right in the camera.

    You have a distinct advantage in this respect, because you already know how to get the exacting exposure necessary when using transparency film. The new concept will be learning is how to get the white balance that gives you the color you desire. Instead of choosing a film that gives a particular result, you will learn how to set a white balance that gives you similar results.

    Then you use post-exposure processing to refine, enhance and tweak the image, but the exposure, color and cropping will be spot-on in the camera, just as it was when using film.

    The program that you will eventually be using is almost sure to be Photoshop. You can try others, but PS is on a photography pedestal that will be hard to topple. You might as well invest in that program and begin to learn it as soon as possible, saving yourself much aggravation and wasted time. Also, as you begin to experience the incredible flexibility of digital photography, the power of Photoshop will be there for you.

    Like I said though, this is just my opinion.
     
  5. Jimbo60

    Jimbo60 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input thus far, it is greatly appreciated.

    I pretty much concluded that "Photoshop" would be the overwhelming answer to the question. Thanks for the verification.

    I just recently read a review of "Lightroom", and I'm not sure if it really fillls any kind of a niche that "Elements doesn't. What I'm wondering is this;

    Would "Elements" be a reasonable investment to start out with? Say, a good way to learn tha basics of the program? Does it have the features that would serve someone like me well for a while?

    My idea is to use Elements for a dual purpose - 1)as an editing/post production applicatiion -2)as a training ground for the full version and then upgrade only if the need arises.

    Thoughts?

    ............ Jim
     
  6. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

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    Lightroom and Elements are two entirely different programs. Lightroom is made as an organizer with post-production capabilities. It allows me to tag all my photos so I can find them easier, work with the RAW seemlessly, and allows some post-production work such as WB and Saturation and such. I use both Lightroom and Photoshop, as do many, so I don't think you can compare Lightroom to Elements.
     
  7. Jimbo60

    Jimbo60 TPF Noob!

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    Ahh...

    Perhaps I gave the wrong impression with that comment.

    I was thinking in the terms of Lightroom as the only program used, not in conjunction with one of the Photoshop versions. i do see a definate application as you described.

    However, for my needs at this time, I don't think I need both Lightroom and a Photoshop variant.

    Especially learning the new (to me0 technology that comes with digital imaging.

    Sheesh, I'm still struggling with the whole RAW vs. jpeg thing. :wink:

    Thanks

    .........Jim
     
  8. smcaskil

    smcaskil TPF Noob!

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    I tried out both Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. I went with Elements 6.0.

    1. It is far cheaper than Lightroom. I don't know if that enters into your decision making, but it did mine.

    2. Elements offers more abilities to do some editing of the photos than Lightroom seemed to. There may some folks that have spent more time with Lightroom that I did who can offer a different perspective.

    One thing that you will need if you intend to use Elements with RAW is a free download from Adobe that lets you download the RAW files from your camera / memory card. It works with Elements just fine, it is just not something that is built into Elements, like it is with Lightroom.

    As far as the RAW vs. JPG thing:

    When you take a picture with a DSLR using RAW, you get EXACTLY what the camera sensor picked up. It stores all that information to the memory card. That means when you edit the picture, you have not lost anything from the original picture.

    PRO: More ability to "fix" things in post processing. Higher quality original images that can be manipulated farther.

    CONS: More space on the memory card and hard drive. Slower processing when you are taking pictures with the camera which can come into play doing quick action shots like sports where you want to take several quick exposures together (burst shots)

    When you shoot in JPG (JPEG) format, the camera takes the full picture and then drops a certain percentage of the pixels (image data) and saves that to the memory card. This means that you already have lost a little something before you ever touch the picture on your computer.

    PROS: Ability to take multiple exposures quickly. You can download JPG files to your computer and upload them directly to the web or other places without having to touch them with anything.

    CONS: Loss of some of the image data.

    I hope this helps clear up some of your questions.
     
  9. Jimbo60

    Jimbo60 TPF Noob!

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    From what I've read so far (here and elswhere) Elements is probably what I am going to get. Price is only a consideration as far as value is concerned. I don't want to pay for features that I'm not going to use that often, if ever.

    As far as RAW vs. Jpeg .... I'm coming to understand the differences and possible advantages of each format.

    I don't want to sidetrack the thread but, it seems that RAW is something better utilized by a more capable user. I can understand the advantages of the format but, it seems logical to begin with JPG until you have a fairly thorough understanding of what you are doing.

    The analogy I've made in my own mind is that JPG is similar to taking your film to the "one hour lab" and getting your prints, while RAW is more like doing your own developing and printing in a "wet" darkroom. As a former film shooter just really entering the digital world, I have to relate the concepts to fully understand the ideas.

    [plug] This forum is a wealth of information and, I find myself spending way too much time on here reading from the archives :D. The forum participants are a wealth of information and I find that I have much to learn. This seems to be a great place to do it. [/plug]

    Thanks for all your help.

    ........... Jim
     
  10. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    Paintshop Pro X2 handsdown for a fraction of the cost. If you go with a Canon DSLR, you'll have free software to start your workflow rather you shoot RAW or JPEGS.
     
  11. smcaskil

    smcaskil TPF Noob!

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    I think your analogy makes sense. RAW just gives you more options / ability to make changes. Just like being able to "play" in your darkroom would, as opposed to use the local photomat's automated options to get just a general picture.
     
  12. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    I agree, learn RAW now and take advantage of the flexibility it offers.
     

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