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dimplez874

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I am sure this has been asked and answered before, but I am trying to figure out a good starting program to do photo editing. Right now I have GIMP 2.8 and a very old version of Paintshop. They are not bad but do not support RAW file types. I have been looking at either purchasing LightRoom or Elements but not sure which direction to go with. Or should I stick with GIMP and just convert to png format to work with them?
 

Big Mike

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Welcome to the forum.

What type of photography are you doing most? How many images are you working with? What sort of things do you usually do when editing your images?

I really love Lightroom and use it for 90% of my workflow. But there are some things that it can't so, which is why I still use Photoshop on occasion.
 
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dimplez874

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I am doing mostly outdoor nature photography. I have started to try to expand into taking pictures of various structures as well and night time photos too. I do 1 photo at a time and mostly what I am doing is touching up the quility of the photo by lightening and sharpening details. I also add a copyright to my pics since I do share them online.
 

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Lightroom is what we like to call a 'work flow' software. It is a pretty good tool to help you organize, catalog, rate and label (keyword) your image collection. It is also a pretty powerful image editing program, but it has it's limitations. It allows you to do most of the global image adjustments like adjusting brightness (exposure), color, sharpness, clarity, sharpening, noise removal etc. It even allows for some targeted adjustments through the use of gradient filters, spot removal and the 'adjustment brush'. It does have an 'auto mask' option, which lets you target some areas while avoiding other areas, but it's far short of what you can do in programs like Photoshop CS (or Photoshop Elements) because those programs allow for multiple layers, layer masks and advanced masking tools.

So if you want to take someone's head from a photo and put it onto another body, or if you want to cut something out and put it onto a different background...that type of thing requires a program like Photoshop CS/Elements (might be able to do that stuff in GIMP).

But that is stuff that I would call image manipulation or pixel editing. If you don't need to do that type of thing on a regular basis, then Lightroom would probably do most of what you need to do, most of the time. As I like to say, Lightroom does 90% of what 90% pf photographers want to do, 90% of the time.

Lightroom also has a great Printing module, as well as modules for creating photo books and web galleries etc. It also has a Map module where you can use or add GPS data to incorporate location information with your photos.

As a 'work flow' software, Lightroom really shines when dealing with a large number of images. It allows easy and efficient editing of many images, without having to go the traditional route of opening and saving each image. But if you don't need to edit large numbers of images, you might be more suited to something like Elements.

But really, the best solution (IMO) is use Lightroom as your main workflow software, and combine that with a pixel editor like Photoshop CS or Photoshop Elements (or maybe Gimp).
 

jwbryson1

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LR rocks. Much easier to learn than PS and much cheaper.
 

table1349

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Have you tried the software that came with your camera???
 

DGMPhotography

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Lightroom also has exporting options for watermarks. Makes it much easier when dealing with multiple photos.
 

tecboy

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Here is a video tutorial. You must install a plugin to use raw files. However, that plugin is not very good. Lightroom is very popular.

 
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KmH

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Lightroom also has exporting options for watermarks. Makes it much easier when dealing with multiple photos.
In Photoshop CS/CC you can record Actions. An Action allows a much broader range of watermarking options than Lightroom provides.

There are 2 ways to run actions in a batch mode from within Bridge (Tools > Photoshop> Batch or Image Processor), which is a plug-in application included with CS or CC..
PS - Advanced Automation (Actions, Droplets and Scripts) | Adobe Evangelists - Julieanne Kost | Adobe TV
 
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DGMPhotography

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In Photoshop CS/CC you can record Actions. An Action allows a much broader range of watermarking options than Lightroom provides.

There are 2 ways to run actions in a batch mode from within Bridge (Tools > Photoshop> Batch or Image Processor), which is a plug-in application included with CS or CC..
PS - Advanced Automation (Actions, Droplets and Scripts) | Adobe Evangelists - Julieanne Kost | Adobe TV

That's true, but as a cheaper alternative, Lightroom does it all. I have Photoshop Elements and the batch processing is very basic, more so than Lightroom. And unless it's something stylistic, I find the simple text watermark that Lightroom can do to be perfect.
 
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dimplez874

dimplez874

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THank you everyone for your help on this. Now a follow up question..does Elements edit RAW files? It seems that many programs I have been reading on have basic tools to convert RAW files but not to edit them..
 

DGMPhotography

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THank you everyone for your help on this. Now a follow up question..does Elements edit RAW files? It seems that many programs I have been reading on have basic tools to convert RAW files but not to edit them..

I have Elements 8 and it does not read my camera's NEF files, but I think the newer versions might.
 

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THank you everyone for your help on this. Now a follow up question..does Elements edit RAW files? It seems that many programs I have been reading on have basic tools to convert RAW files but not to edit them..
Yes, Elements Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) edits Raw files, but it is de-featured compared to the ACR that is Lightroom's Develop module and the Camera Raw in CS/CC.
 

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