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Photoshop, Lightroom or other?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Ted, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. Ted

    Ted Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2014
    Tasmania, Australia
    Theo B
    Hey guys, my ex-girlfriend used to do all of my photo editing for me in Photoshop (she had the Creative Suite subscription), but since splitting up I'm now going to have to learn how to do it on my own! Right now I've just been using iPhoto on my MacBook Air, but I'd much rather do my editing on my Windows PC as I have a Dell UltraSharp UltraWide monitor and iPhoto is kind of rubbish. Question is, what program should I get and put the effort into learning? I don't really want to pay a subscription fee and only really want something for basic editing. Getting my RAW files nice, fixing the crop, darkening/lightening individual areas, removing any distractions. Maybe more as I advance but that's about it for now. Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
  2. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    Lightroom will cover most of your needs except possibly distractions. I process 95% of my pictures in Lightroom. For extensive stuff I do jump into PhotoShop, but as you can see, that's the exception. If you want more functionality but don't like a subscription, there are plugins like Nik and OnOne Perfect Photo Suite.

    Ps: Adobe has a subscription for only LR and Photoshop at 9.99/month
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    The cheapest and easiest solution for you would be to use Photoshop Elements. Lightroom would offer a more comprehensive means of doing serious editing. They are the two best Adobe programs which don't require a Creative Cloud subscription, and you'll have the shortest learning curve with Elements, as it is basically a good editing subset of full Photoshop. Elements is MUCH better than iPhoto, and it will run on Mac or PC. You can get an earlier but still very functional edition of Elements on ebay, say release 10 or so, for something like $20-25 on ebay. It start with that, and if you need more, then get Lightroom.

    I should add, that I use release 8 of Elements and it does just about everything I need (other than de-fishing), and I've never felt the need to upgrade.
  4. letsgofishing

    letsgofishing Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 21, 2012
    South Africa
    Mike Kaplan
    If you want something totally free, use your included Olympus Viewer 3. It's sluggish compared to LR, but does give great results.
  5. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    It took me a while to surrender, but LR 5 is great. catalogs structure. basic processing. exporting. killer software!

    for better clone control I use photoshop CS2, available for free at adobe.com...
  6. HaViet

    HaViet Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    Hartford, CT
    I am a very novice user, but I absolutely love LR5. Like you, I just want to do the basics. Cropping, WB, exposure, black and white adjustments, sharpening, noise reduction, etc.

    I am sure it has some pretty advanced stuffs, but I am not there yet. You can find it for around $50, and sometimes free with a camera or printer purchase.
  7. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I use Perfect Effects a lot and like it, but when you use it standalone it isn't a raw converter.

    Does Perfect Photo Suite work as a plugin for elements? That could be a good solution.
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    GIMP is mostly photoshop but free. I like free.

    OlympusViewer (if you go Oly). Also free.

    Girlfriends generally are not free ...
    • Like Like x 1
  9. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    Photoshop expensive but if you need it you need it, I have used it for so long I am not inclined to try anything else. Lightroom though will do for 99% of photo corrections and if I did only straight photography I would not bother with updating my Photoshop. There are other alternatives, Googles Piccasa is free and good as a filing system, Gimp works well so I have heard from a lot of people its also free. You can get free trials of things like Capture 1 and other editors that are worth a try. I would before parting with any money at least download the trial version to see if you like it and it works for you, Adobe do this still I think.
  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Lightroom. And just plug your ultrasharp into the Mac if that's the more powerful PC. Dual monitor for the win
  11. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Definitely LR as your digital asset manager (DAM) and main non-destructive editor. With LR you can later add plugins such as Photoshop, PS Elements, Pixelmator (bargain pixel editor), Nik Collection (they has the best B&W editor), Perfect Photo Suite, and many more.
  12. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    My recommendation would simply be to start with Lightroom. Photoshop lets you do a few more things but you may never need to do those things and you need to be able to do what can be done in Lightroom first before you start thinking of using Photoshop so start with Lightroom, learn how to use it, and then after a while if you find yourself needing or wanting to do things that can't be done in Lightroom, then get Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and learn how to do the extra things you need.

    On a Mac you have alternatives to Lightroom. The first of those is Apple's Aperture. It's a good program *BUT*…

    Apple hasn't delivered a major upgrade to Aperture in years and has announced that there will be no further development so effectively it's now pretty much dead in the water as far as the future goes. What it does do, it does do well and there are people who still use it, people who are very good photographers. I swapped from Aperture to Lightroom about 2 years ago because Lightroom had basically reached feature parity with Aperture and then some, and was offering some features I wanted but which Aperture didn't have, and still doesn't. I could have worked around those features in Aperture but I wanted a simpler process so I swapped. I don't regret the swap but I do think Aperture still handles the data management side of your photo library better than Lightroom. In the end, however, the processing side of things is more important to me than a slightly better file management side.

    There is a *POSSIBLE* second alternative for the Mac. As well as dumping Aperture, Apple is replacing iPhoto with a new application called Photos in Yosemite and the release of Yosemite is getting closer. It's still not clear what the full capabilities of Photos is going to be but from the little I've seen it looks like being better than iPhoto and with added plugins it might be able to equal or surpass Aperture. If you're still using iPhoto at this stage it might be worth your while to wait for Yosemite if you intend upgrading your OS and seeing what Photos is like, and what plug ins become available and what they can do, before making a decision.

    You won't go wrong with Lightroom, you can always add Photoshop later if you need to do more than Lightroom allows, but if I were in your shoes at present I think I'd wait a little. I really like Lightroom, I'm happy to recommend it and I have no desire to change processing applications but if I were using iPhoto or Aperture at present I'd like to wait to see just what Apple manages to pull out of their sleeve with Photos. Given what they've done, or rather failed to do, with Aperture over the last few years I'm not wildly optimistic but there is always hope and I would like to see Apple deliver an up to date processing application again. They are capable of delivering such an application but I don't know whether they're interested in doing so.
  13. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I would suggest looking at the just released ACDSee Pro 8 for Windows 7 and 8. I particularly like how it handles my E-M10 orf files. What ACDSee calls the "light equalizer" is very useful in taking advantage of all the Dynamic range your camera offers. Basically it breaks up the raw photo up into between 3 to 9 different lighting zones and allows you to adjust them separately. There are also a variety of masking brushes as well. The level of control is quite good.

    And the new Pixel Targeting and blend mode tools in the bit mapped editor offer some real power. I'm not sure what the Blend modes actually blend with, but if I had to guess I would guess that it blends the edited version with the unedited version. An almost "layers like" tool that offers some interesting effects but in an easier to use UI. ACDSee is showing a burst of inventiveness that makes me wonder what V9 will offer!

    At this point, I would NOT recommend the Mac version of ACDSee Pro (v3). It's been something of a poor step child and isn't getting the attention it needs.
  14. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Another vote for Lightroom here. I'd hold off on Photoshop unless you have a need for editing beyond what you can do in Lightroom. The $9.99 subscription for LR and PS is a good deal if you need/want both.

    There are free / less costly options that can work really well, but LR and PS are the most widely used for a reason!
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I could honestly not recommend other than Lightroom, at the moment (having tried just about all of them). Olympus Viewer 3 is good for some things and Photoshop is overkill for most work. A good combination would be LR and PS Elements, the latter for when you want to do 'stuff' with your JPGs. Onone software can also be very useful for a range of photo work: http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/suite9/. I use some of their modules and they aren't too bad (same with NIK software).
  16. orflo

    orflo Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2014
    I'm not so sure about lightroom, after seeing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wfZ69LqPW0 I have tried photoshop elements, darkroom, rawtherapee, picasa, and Olympus viewer 3 gives the best results for me (on a mac), although some functions are somewhat limited, the cutting tool is awful, you can't play with the WB, the range of some other things is very small, and moreover it's very slow, and I have some other issues with it, which I will talk about in a new thread. But the colours of the pictures come out so much brighter and better, that it's worth having a grumble here and there...:wink: I have to say that I never tried lightroom myself, so I'm just relying on some videos and not on my own experience for this one,
  17. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Forming a conclusion about a product that you've never used on the basis of an example that shows how badly things can be if you intentionally don't use the product to its normal capabilities is crazy. It also needs to be pointed out that neither of the products shown in the video above are the current versions.

    OV3 probably can tease a little more out of an ORF than Lightroom. I know for a fact that CNX2 can tease a little more out of an NEF file than Lightroom. The problem is that OV3 can't do a lot of other things that LR can do, and what it can do can be done more efficiently in Lightroom.

    Lightroom isn't the be-all and end-all of digital photo editing software, but it is a very polished and capable product that can deliver better edits than most people have the patience to produce in a workflow that is much more efficient than any other currently up to date product (ahem, Aperture...). If you really needed Photoshop, you wouldn't have had to ask the question. :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  18. orflo

    orflo Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2014
    Heu? Where is my 'conclusion'? Quoting myself here: 'I am not so sure about lightroom' or is my English so bad? You're right about the 'old' versions though...:redface:
  19. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    This likely has more to do with poorly implemented profile in Lightroom (and depending on camera, maybe not even existent - I use the GH3 and it uses Adobe Standard as profile as Adobe did not add profiles for the GH3).

    There are however very cheap ($10-15) 3rd party profiles out there that are fitted for most cameras that can be added (PS Kiss, and HueLight(colorfidelity) come to mind), and as someone stated, it may even work better in the latest version.

    If I want to be ultrapicky about picture quality, I actually go to DXO9, as I feel they have better camera specific corrections (also in regards to optical corrections, where I feel the built in Lightroom (based on Panasonic raw meta information) is inferior. However, the user-interface is so troublesome to me that I only use it in a few cases, say with ultra wide lenses.
  20. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    All a profile is, is a pre-set created by someone incorporating their view of what a converted RAW image should look like, it doesn't mean that it's correct in any way.
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