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Photoshop, Any recommendations

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Showing 1-25 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Apr 2013 10:27:55 BDT
Hi all,
Have been looking at purchasing some form of Photoshop programme to help edit and bring out some of my pictures,
I have started to use Filters for some Longexposure photos of the sea etc, and wondered what programme people recommended that wasnt to expensive.
Have started to shoot in RAW format in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013 17:04:17 BDT
Johnno says:
Have a look at Adobe Lightroom. It's geared for photographers whereas Photoshop is also for graphic designers so its a lot more expensive and you won't use half of it. Lightroom is also a library management system so you can find photos easily using keywords etc.
There is also Photoshop Elements which is a cut down version of Photoshop. Also use it as a library for your images.
Lightroom is easier to use in my opinion and its a professional software, Photoshop Elements is a bit of a toy with a few gimmicky features.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013 21:07:30 BDT
HP says:
Aperture for Mac OS
Adobe Photoshop for Mac OS/ Windows

Posted on 27 Apr 2013 10:07:12 BDT
ChrisJ says:
Lightroom... And it might be on offer at present, as a new beta has just been made available.

Which probably means you can try the beta for free...

You can always try lightroom for free for 30 days.

Posted on 27 Apr 2013 16:07:04 BDT
Kel49 says:
I would start with Photoshop Elements as it will offer all you need for editing RAW in your initial stages. Adobe Photoshop is excellent but is very expensive for a beginner, in fact it is very expensive unless you are a professional and need all the features. I think all Adobe stuff will come with 30-day trial facility, so try them all. Elements is the most cost effective for an initial punt.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 00:58:14 BDT
You can download Photoshop 6 (CS2) free. Obviously its old and you will need to use DNG for your RAW files

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 01:07:28 BDT
Wingco says:
Have a look at Serif's PhotoPlus X6 photo editing software - British and great support. If you want to do things on a budget buy the previous version X5 second-hand or new on Amazon or EBay. Make sure you get the printed manuals and go through the tutorials in the Resource Guide although they have on-line video tutorials which isn't quite as convenient.

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 21:48:55 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Mr. Winsor,

Many different programmes to choose from. This is one choice that is surprisingly difficult to make, because you can't usually get to try them all out first to see if they suit your work style.

All the usual "candidates" are mentioned and the only one I have experience of is Lightroom, but only up to v.3.6. Since then I've switched to a little known piece of software, Zoner, which I doubt many have heard of, and which I used in parallel with LR for several months in their free version Zoner Photo Studio Free 14. I grew to like its simpler approach to editing than LR, and in particular I was fed up with having to import images into LR before I could work on them, and then finding when I moved the image, LR could no longer find it as it lost it's reference point. It wouldn't, however, work with RAW, so I upgraded to the paid for version 15 Pro, and I am pleased with it.

I doubt that Zoner is unique in that it displays all my image folders in its Management Module, so I have instant access, unlike LR where everything has to be imported first. The RAW module is incorporated into the main programme, so switching between RAW conversion and working on the converted images doesn't involve jumping in and out of different programmes.

It is all very personal, I happen to like the way it works.

I've read that Photoshop Elements is a slightly scaled down Photoshop, it does about 80%, and I think that Johnno may well have his tongue in his cheek when he says it is a toy and with a few gimmicky features. I doubt it is a toy based on what I've read about it, and the so called "gimmicks" are simply one touch operations that make certain operations actually easier than if one tries the same thing in the full Photoshop.

The big advantage of using Adobe products, though, is that most if not all Photomag and book "How to do" tutorials are based around their products. You may wish to give this some thought.

Posted on 2 May 2013 09:10:51 BDT
Shavian says:
It depends on what you want - if you are looking to progress towards a professional qualification, be aware that Photoshop, the latest version natch, is the programme built into, eg City & Guilds. It's also in all the comics - Digital SLR et al - which often give free tutorials, hard copy as well as CDs. If you are attending a regular College course, you can get it hugely, like 80% or so, reduced via their Students programme. It's almost worth signing up for a course, just to qualify for the discount, tho of course that's not free, and about to get more expensive as the ConDems withdraw subsidies. If you are just looking for tweaking family pics for your own amusement, try out several different ones, all available on-line. I like PaintShop Pro, which is extremely easy to use and I find faster than Photoshop. Having said that, if you want to avoid painting yourself into a corner, keep you options open and go for Photoshop Elements or even Lightroom - these things are addictive and you don't know where you might want to take it in the next year or so.

Posted on 2 May 2013 12:25:14 BDT
Derek Nigel says:
Mr Winsor,
You have been given quite a lot to think about so far!!! Points to consider 1) cost 2) your requirements 3) standard and capability 4) future. Adobe Photoshop IS the industry standard. Paint shop Pro and Corel's software layout are all similar to Photoshop, but are much cheaper to buy. Corel, Photoshop and others, are part of a "family" of software, which when "bolted" together form a comprehensive package of graphic editing to use. I use photoshop (CS5) for editing and printing of photographs and posters etc and i use Corel Draw X5/ Zara for graphic design and send it to photoshop assembling and printing. RAW is the way to go, if you want to utilize the available data which JPEG cannot give you, and Photoshop,Elements or CS, gives you the capability to do so. I also have on my computer Lightroom (3), however, not really utilized it as it should be used, ie as a filing system, as I used "folders" for the storage of my photographs. Elements is not a toy, and can be a way for you to "dip your toes" into the world of photograph editing without breaking the bank. You can upgrade very easily.This way, you will know what you need as you learn and gain experience using the programme(s). The only piece of advice (well 2 in fact!!) I will give is this, 1) use a tablet (Wacom) 2) use dual monitors, good luck!!!

Posted on 2 May 2013 14:40:56 BDT
Zelazowa says:
I've never used Photoshop and I wondered if any of the contributors could explain in just a few straightforward sentences what its main purpose is? Is a lot of expense involved?

I have Paint Shop Pro 5 which came with a PC magazine as a freebie about 10 years ago? It still runs very well in compatibility mode on my present PC [5 years old!]

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2013 12:48:44 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Z.

In the absence of any other, I'll try. Photoshop was primarily the result of a need for a graphics programme for graphics artists, and I suspect this is still its primary raison d'etre and which is the main reason for its substantial price. If graphics capability is not one's forte, then its usefulness is a lot less as it competes with equally able, and far less expensive, digital photo editing software from other sources, and including Adobe itself with its Lightroom and Elements software. Indeed, it would seem with Elements that Adobe is virtually offering a paired down Photoshop and in keeping with its more consumer orientated audience it incorporates some user-friendly one-click operations that even Photoshop itself doesn't have.

May I suggest you investigate some alternatives, including Paint Shop Pro itself, as there have been significant improvements since you acquired PSP 5. I still have the discs from the last version I used, PSP 8.2, and if we can find a way to get them to you, you can have them for gratis, free and for nowt.

Posted on 4 May 2013 20:08:51 BDT
Zelazowa says:
Hello TJ and thanks for the straightforward explanation of Photoshop. I managed to find a free copy of PSP 7 and have just been playing around with the software but have decided that PSP 5 does everything I need really. I like the simplicity of the program for basic photography. I'll hang on to the PSP 7 which on first trials doesn't seem far removed from PSP 5. It's amazing that it still runs on my PC albeit in compatibility mode.
The choice of brand name is ironic isn't it? 'Photoshop(s)' disappearing from the high street and 'Lightroom' as Darkrooms dwindle...

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2013 23:47:03 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hello, Z.

Sometimes it can be better to stay with what you are used to and what you are familiar with. PSP 7 was my first imaging software going back to 2002. These older programmes can be fine as long as you don't shoot RAW as hardly any modern cameras will be covered, and modern algorithms will offer significant advances in quality especially in areas of noise reduction.

Posted on 5 May 2013 22:01:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 May 2013 22:02:11 BDT
Zelazowa says:
Hello TJ... I've just discovered on my PC a program called 'View NX2'. I think I downloaded this from Nikon at the time I bought my Nikon D40 a few years ago!? I'd forgotten about it and it's really rather good! I've never used RAW on the D40 but today tried some shots and am just beginning to play around with the software.
Yes for simple, straightforward quick editing PSP5 and 7 are fine. I remember several years ago a program called 'Irfanview'? This was also an excellent uncomplicated program that I used a lot.

Posted on 8 May 2013 21:19:44 BDT
raffers says:

Posted on 8 May 2013 21:21:28 BDT
raffers says:

Posted on 9 May 2013 10:05:01 BDT
Graham H says:
I have Gimp on mine too. It looks very clever. If only I could be bothered to sit down for a few days and figure out how to use it, that is! :-)

Posted on 9 May 2013 15:15:08 BDT
Zelazowa says:
Yes, I think that's the point really. The maxim KISS has never been more needed than in modern photography!

Posted on 9 May 2013 16:09:45 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Z.

Referring to your earlier post on 5th May, if the NX2 programme is indeed from Nikon, I would suggest you try to get to grips with it, particularly if you wish to experiment with your Nikon's RAW files, which will surpass its jpegs in image quality. And you will get better results using it than with any other programme. ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) is not always the best at converting RAW files; where it scores, and hence its popularity, is its cross-platform support for a myriad of camera RAW files and I suspect this is why it is popular with review sites. It allows an even playing field by being the common denominator in comparing RAW files from different cameras - review sites can't be bothered, or really have the time, to try everything out there, so tend to stick with Adobe.

The argument sounds fine, but personally I believe it is flawed. A good example of this is Nikon and, more latterly, Silkypix for Panasonic cameras. Some time ago I read that Nikon does not release full details of its RAW file algorithms to TP developers, so it would follow that any TP converter, no matter how good, will not do quite as good a job as using Nikon's own converter. Owners of Panasonic cameras will be familiar with the Silkypix imaging software that comes with Panasonic cameras. Over the years, I've owned 7 Panny's (talk about GAS!!) and with each came an updated version of Silkypix. Each update would open files from all earlier Panny models, but not the ones following.

Recently, though, Panasonic gave users the option to buy a special version of Silkypix and which will only work with Panasonic camera RAW files and only with jpegs shot with a Panny. The point I need to make is that Panny RAW files from this latest version will achieve higher quality than with any other converter.

Posted on 10 May 2013 11:56:43 BDT
Steve James says:
This is an interesting thread! So thought I would add my twopence... I tend to use a whole raft of programs as I find no single program does everything I want it to. I shoot in RAW and use the Canon software to convert to JPEG and maybe some initial colour editing. However I find Irfanview will also edit most if not all RAW formats and while it doesn't have the fine control necessary to increase highlight or shadow definition independently it is incredibly quick and easy to use. It is also free though donations can be made if you use the program.

I have Photoshop 7, Elements 9 and 10, Paintshop Pro 8 and Twisted Brush (Art Program but useful sometimes) as purchased programs.

A also use Gimp, and I have found a wonderful free program called Shift-N which will straighten converging verticles beautifully!

I often find too that on a PC with a small memory, the Microsoft Paint program is also useful for fine retouching work, as you can enlaege a section easily to work on at pixel depth.

I do agree with T.J. that the NX2 Program for Nikon is excellent for Nikon RAW format, as I have seen the results from both my daughters camera and her friend who both have Nikon D7000 and shoot in RAW processed through NX2.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2013 21:11:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2013 21:13:03 BDT
T.J.Byford says:

Thanks for the link for correction of converging verticals. I can do this in my editing programmes, but it will be interesting to compare the results with those from Shift-N. When I've corrected my images I found that whilst the convergence was corrected, the images become stretched at the top, such that the top was out of proportion to the lower part of the image. This is readily revealed in buildings that have equally spaced and sized windows. I find that at each higher floor the windows got taller. I suspect this will happen with Shift-N, but even if it does, if the programme makes the job easier it will still be worth it.

My only suggestion would be to be careful with the download, not because there is a problem with the programme, but because it is very easy to miss the additional unwanted software that will be downloaded, such as search engines which will install themselves as the default. Many will probably already know that sites such as Cnet, whilst they are fine in themselves, make money by trying to sneak in additional software for the unwary. Make sure you click the decline options as you proceed, and uncheck any other. The custom button should be clicked when it pops up so the options can then be deleted before you proceed.

Posted on 11 May 2013 20:23:57 BDT
Steve James says:
TJ, Hi, Hmmm, yes I can only agree downloading through CNET can be a bit dodgy at times as there is often unwanted software bundled. I actually got Shift-N directly for Dr Marcus Hebel, who wrote the program, and it is on his web site. This was found by going through a website called:-


Which also has some other interesting programs and links to more direct downloads.

I think most programs to control converging verticals have the problems you outlined regarding proportions, but in my experience Shift-N tends to be a little better in this respect, as well as being quicker to use and able to handle batch processing if needed.

Posted on 11 May 2013 21:42:09 BDT
Neill says:
The only downside to gimp is that it doesn't handle greyscales too well.

But for colour photography it's fantastic and free. I would not pay out for photoshop even though it has some really good tools which make things very quick.

For my purposes I use Canon's Digital photo professional for adjusting the RAWs, then convert to JPEG then do whatever with the images on GIMP. It's shocking that so many people are needlessly spending hundreds on photoshop.

I'll make my point again about RAW, if you are spending hundreds on a DSLR, you are wasting your money if you do not use RAW.

I've heard some people on this thread being quite vocally critical of the use of RAW, generally because they haven't played around with it. When I bought my 450d I played around with DPP a couple of times and was really excited about the possibilities, especially things like white balance/contrast/mode adjustment.

Zelazowa, just starting to use RAW? Well, you stand on a cliff, overlooking a creative ocean you never knew existed.

Posted on 11 May 2013 22:26:20 BDT
Neill says:
G.E.Hearn. If you want tips on GIMP just ask how to do whatever you want. I can more than likely tell you how but use the "free" download of CS2 if you're using black and white images.

Oh yeah...GIMP screams displeasure when you're doing big operations to large images like mine with multiple layers...I'll let you know if it's the same on CS2 which I downloaded weeks ago but haven't installed. I'm going to reinstall windows first as my laptop needs tidying up.
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Initial post:  26 Apr 2013
Latest post:  12 May 2013

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