Photo editing software

rickp

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im on the prowl for some photo editing software ... i know about photoshop, but i would like to get an idea of how to use one before i put up the big bucks.

so is there any decent free editing software out there that a n00b like me can learn the basics on?
 

Andrew Sun

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Samanax

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GIMP

Photoscape

If you think you'll eventually get Photoshop CS4, take a look at Photoshop Elements 7 (about $90) as it's very similar to CS4 as far as basic editing goes, but it lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of CS4.
 
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rickp

rickp

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thanks guys, i guess ill download gIMp as it was both of your 1st reccomendations.

also i should take the immages in RAW to be able to edit them am i correct?
 

musicaleCA

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Yes. Shoot RAW. Raw rules. You might have to get the hang of understanding just how RAW works, but the benefits are so tremendous that you'll never (or only under very select conditions) go back to shooting JPEG.

I mean, technically you can shoot JPEG and you'll be able to edit them; frankly I have no idea how good GIMPs RAW support is—I know Picasa now supports RAW though. The point is that with RAW, you'll be maximizing your control in post-processing.
 

Bakko

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adobe lightroom is also pretty nice and also beginner friendly =]
 

Samanax

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thanks guys, i guess ill download gIMp as it was both of your 1st reccomendations.
Just so you know, GIMP isn't the easiest program to learn and use. It'll be a good idea to join a few GIMP forums. And you can check this tutorial out: Grokking The GIMP
also i should take the immages in RAW to be able to edit them am i correct?
You don't have to shoot in RAW to be able to edit them, you can edit JPEGs too. But RAW does give you more leeway to work with.
 

Gaerek

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If you think you'll eventually get Photoshop CS4, take a look at Photoshop Elements 7 (about $90) as it's very similar to CS4 as far as basic editing goes, but it lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of CS4.

I second Elements 7. Look for coupon codes online, and you should be able to download it for about $80. If you decide to upgrade to CS4, Elements is part of the upgrade path and will net you (I think) a $100 discount. You won't be disappointed with Elements. It lacks some of the features, and filters of CS4, and you can't do masking natively (though it's easy to 'trick' the program into letting you do masks), but it'll do nearly everything a beginner needs.
 

jbhaferkamp

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Go with Adobe Lightroom. There is a free trial at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom. It's meant to take all of the things a photographer would use in PS and puts them into a more manageable program -- without many of the tools meant for designers. It also comes at about half the price - $300.

It handles everything from organization to web gallery output. It's the complete package. It's the only program I use now and there is a large community out there using the program for you to learn from. If you're just looking for a photography program, then try out Lightroom.

Also, go to my web site (www.jbhaferkamp.com). All of the photos there were shot in RAW format and have been converted and manipulated in Lightroom. You can get a sense of what the program can do.
 

inTempus

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Go with Adobe Lightroom. There is a free trial at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom. It's meant to take all of the things a photographer would use in PS and puts them into a more manageable program -- without many of the tools meant for designers. It also comes at about half the price - $300.

It handles everything from organization to web gallery output. It's the complete package. It's the only program I use now and there is a large community out there using the program for you to learn from. If you're just looking for a photography program, then try out Lightroom.

Also, go to my web site (www.jbhaferkamp.com). All of the photos there were shot in RAW format and have been converted and manipulated in Lightroom. You can get a sense of what the program can do.
While I would agree Lightroom is a great tool, it is not a Photoshop replacement. Lightroom allows you to develop your images using a very solid workflow and it allows you to make minor corrections to exposure, remove a dust spot or two, adjust color/tone curves, sharpen and assorted other useful things. But it can't do more advanced things like remove things from the background, layers and masks, overlaying of different images, or any of the other more creative edits. I use them in concert, I wouldn't replace one with the other - or even compare them to each other.
 

jbhaferkamp

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But it can't do more advanced things like remove things from the background, layers and masks, overlaying of different images, or any of the other more creative edits. I use them in concert, I wouldn't replace one with the other - or even compare them to each other.
I come from a film background so those things aren't quite as important. I learned that you had to move around to get that stuff hidden or out of the frame (the background distractions). And there are darkroom techniques to overlay images.

I would say that for someone just starting out with image editing, Lightroom is a good tool. Photoshop is certainly easier to use than GIMP, though I've used them both. And learning the GIMP after Photoshop is the easier transition.
 

MagicMynx

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I use Paint.net - TBH I prefer it to photoshop...which reminds me...I should really make a signature for here....
 

jbhaferkamp

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@MagicMynx

Never heard of it but that seems like a more intuitive interface than the GIMP. Used GIMP for a while but have found that an old copy of Macromedia Fireworks and Adobe Lightroom are giving me all I need right now. Only rarely do I use Fireworks as I feel my level of photography is at the place where I can get most of what I need in camera.
 

Samanax

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I second Elements 7. Look for coupon codes online, and you should be able to download it for about $80. If you decide to upgrade to CS4, Elements is part of the upgrade path and will net you (I think) a $100 discount. You won't be disappointed with Elements. It lacks some of the features, and filters of CS4, and you can't do masking natively (though it's easy to 'trick' the program into letting you do masks), but it'll do nearly everything a beginner needs.
After I bought and registered Photoshop Elements 6, I got an email from Adobe saying that since I was a Elements user they would let me upgrade to the full version of Photoshop CS3 for half the price (about $300 instead of $600). I took them up on the offer to get CS3 but haven't started using CS3 yet since I'm still learning Elements 6. But when it's time to upgrade to CS4 it'll only cost about $190 or so.
 

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