Help! User friendly photo editing software?!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Whiteheart, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Whiteheart
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    Whiteheart New Member

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    Ok, I am a Obviously a beginner amateur photographer. I am in the market for a user friendly photo editing software. I don't want to spend a fortune, if that's possible! I am also wanting to be able to use purchased actions in this software. Any suggestions are appreciated!! :)
  2. ballr4lyf
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    ballr4lyf New Member

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    Picasa, it's free. :mrgreen:
  3. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    You'll have to define "a fortune"; is that $1.00? $100.00? 1000.00? There are a multitude of options available. As mentioned above, Picasa is a freeware editor with basic capabiltiy, The Gimp is another freeware editor with very advanced capabilities, but it is not quite so user-friendly.

    Two applications which I recommend for entry-level to intermediate users are PaintShop Pro, and Adobe Photoshop Elements. These are both in the ~$80 - 120 range, and do about 98% of what most people need in image editing.
  4. Whiteheart
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    Whiteheart New Member

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    Thanks! I would like to stay under $150.00
  5. freezeman
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    freezeman New Member

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  6. ghache
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    ghache New Member

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    Lighroom is pretty user friendly. My mom is using it.
  7. PhillyPhoton
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    PhillyPhoton New Member

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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  8. RockstarPhotography
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    RockstarPhotography Active Member

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    I would recommend lightroom. It's like camera raw in photoshop, but with more features. Matt Klawskowski has a wicked website called lightroom killer tips with tons of videos. all free to watch. Sometimes if you have to pay a little more for software its worth it if they have good support. I do most of my camera raw editing in lightroom and then switch to photoshop to finalize. although, when I first started lightroom was all I used.
  9. kaylieannphotography
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    kaylieannphotography New Member

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    Definitely Adobe lightroom, its non destructive so at anytime even if it's three years down the road you decide that any editing you did you want to undo its all saved in your catalog. its in the 150 range possibly a little more but worth the investment, if your a student you can get it for 85$
  10. carusoswi
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    carusoswi New Member

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    Do yourself a favor. If you haven't purchased anything yet, download GIMP, and give it a test run. You didn't specify your operating system. Are you using Windows or something else? Make certain you download the Gimp version for your OS (it runs on almost any OS).

    If you are looking for user friendly, once you've installed Gimp, use it to open one of your photos. With your mouse pointer over the photo, right click, go to Colors, then Levels, then click Auto.

    You'll most likely appreciate what you'll see.

    If not, while still in 'Levels' click reset. Then, use the sliders at the top of the dialog box. Slide the left one a bit to the right, the right one a bit to the left to suit your taste. When satisfied, click OK.

    The above is super, super basic, but also very user friendly.

    . . . and the above is also easily accomplished in PS, but the cost to you in dollars is tremendous.

    If I were you, I would download Gimp and use it for nothing else until you have a chance to get comfortable with the feel of the above very basic procedure.

    Then, explore the other functions.

    It can crop, it offers layers, it offers a quick mask function that allows you to be very precise in selecting elements of your photo, you can cut, paste, content aware fill, smart select, and on and on.

    None of the above is inherently better than or worse than what you can accomplish in the super expensive Photoshop, but probably more than what you can accomplish in Elements (for which you pay money).

    To be fair, you cannot edit 16 bit images, but, UFRaw will allow you to make the most important adjustments in 16-bit before you move on to Gimp to do your final editing.

    If you shoot exclusively in Jpeg mode, then your images start out as 8-bit files. If you shoot in RAW, they are likely 12-bit or 14-bit images. Unless you need to export in 16-bit (for professional publications, perhaps), then you really do not need 16-bit. If you are printing on an inkjet printer, you will be hard pressed to tell the difference. If you are posting to the internet, you would, by necessity, need to convert 16-bit images to 8-bit images anyhow.

    So the 8-bit/16-bit thingy is overblown in my opinion.

    I have Photoshop, Elements, and Gimp, and I prefer Gimp for its more direct, simple interface. Photoshop proponents will knock Gimp for its user interface. That is generally due to religious disdain for Gimp or lack of experience with current versions.

    Cinepaint is a branch related to Gimp that is 16-bit capable, but progress on its development moves at an evolutionary pace, and that interface is (at least to me) truly frustrating. Gimp has undergone some very useful developmental changes that make it, IMHO, very user friendly.

    Those who knock it, generally, are entrenched in the PS user interface (nothing wrong with that except that Gimp gets knocked unfairly) or have not used Gimp since its UI enhancements.

    To sum up, personally, I think you owe it to yourself to give Gimp a fair workout before you invest in something else and embark on an unending and expensive upgrade path that will net you no practical benefit.

    Trying Gimp for free does not close your options to join the paying masses who seem addicted to Photoshop. If you turn pro and need Phtoshop, learning it from a Gimp background is no huge task.

    In the meantime, you get 98% of its functionality for free.

    Just sayin'.

    Caruso
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  11. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Lightroom is an incomplete image editing solution.

    Lightroom cannot run actions.

    Lightroom cannot do layers.

    Lightroom has only rudimentry selection tools.

    Lightroom's main function is image database management, not image editing.

    Adobe Photoshop Elements can run many actions but cannot record them.

    IIRC Paint Shop Pro can't run actions.
  12. AprilEye
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    AprilEye New Member

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    Before I purchased Photo Shop Elements, I was using web based Picnik. www.picnik.com. It has loads of features and for $29 per year, you get the premium membership. Lots of the same editing that I see in Photo Shop. Clone stamping, sharpening, airburush, b&w, sepia, blemish fix, etc. Nice starter program IMHO. :D
  13. ~Stella~
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    ~Stella~ New Member

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    PS Elements (which I use) is usually under $80 from costco.com. I do not think you need a membership to purchase online.

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