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recommendation for newbie to photo processing?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by flamingfish, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    I have a friend who just bought her first RAW-capable camera and is interested in learning to process photos. I use an old (non-CC) version of Lightroom, but don't really want to recommend LR to her because of the CC thing. Or does it make sense to tell her to look for a copy of LR on eBay or somewhere, even though she won't ever be able to update it?

    She uses a Mac -- is Apple Photos good enough now that I should tell her just to start working with that? Is there something else that's reasonably user-friendly to learn (unlike, for example, GIMP)?

    Thanks much.
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Yes, Apple photos is pretty powerful actually. It has some fairly sophisticated exposure and color tools and handles many RAW formats. Half way down this page you can see screenshots with all the controls:

    OS X - Photos - Apple

    Also, what camera brand? Many come with free RAW processing software that is probably a good place to start.

    For more serious edits, Pixelmator is a photoshop alternative (for Mac only) that is only $29.
  3. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Oly TG-4.
  4. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    This is where I expect to be headed when Adobe tries to force me into being a renter: Exposure X | Creative photo organization and editing

    From looking at it (not using it) it appears to be a reasonable LR workalike except that some of the library aggregation features like "collections" are currently absent. Their approach to the library (individual sidecar files) solves the LR problem of not permitting the library to be on a network and of not allowing more than one user at a time, but it makes aggregation more difficult. My guess, without benefit of any data, is that they will improve the aggregation functions in future releases.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that standalone/non-CC versions of LR are still being sold. So she can buy a new copy with up-to-date RAW input filters and use it as long as she likes. That said, for a newbie it might be better to start with something other than LR. No point in learning LR and then being forced to switch.
  5. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    At the moment and probably for at least the next version LR will still be available as a stand alone. We don't know when or if they cut access to it outside of the creative cloud. I currently use it, and I feel that it is still one of the more intuitive pieces of software out there (although admittedly I don't have experience with any other big software out there, except apple photos). Even my parents who might not be the most tech savy of all people got to grips with lightroom quite easily and even advanced options like the HSL panel are within their understanding. It really is for the most part just sliders that do what they say.

    I would recommend lightroom to anyone of any skill level as long as there is still a stand alone version, especially with the option of a 30 day trial on any Adobe product. However, there might be better options out there both in terms of quality (dxo optics comes to mind) or easy of use. It is the industry standard for a reason though.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Thanks, all!
  7. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    DarkTable or DigiKam, both are free.

  8. khollister

    khollister Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    I understand the emotional issue around the CC concept, but I believe the reality is somewhat different. There really is no functional equivalent to LR when you take into account the DAM, printing and integrated non-destructive editing. Throw in Adobe's highlight and shadow recovery on raw files and, IMHO, you are taking a step back with the alternatives. Consider the following:
    1. The current price for the CC photography subscription is a steal considering the ongoing costs of LR and PS upgrades.
    2. Adobe (and LR) will probably be around after most of the competitors have disappeared. I suspect the user base of LR far exceeds any of the alternatives.
    3. Photos may be a good intro, but a serious user will soon outgrow it and Apple's track record with Aperture is not comforting.
    4. You are essentially renting any software package unless you are willing to rev lock your OS (and therefore your computer too). Eventually you will need to purchase an upgrade/update to be compatible with current OS's and hardware.
    5. There is far more training material (books, videos, forums) for LR than everything else combined.
    While Capture One, DXO, Photos and the slew of small-shop imitators all have particular strong points, LR is the big dog for a reason. I get being true to your principles, but this is really a "cut off your nose to spite your face" kind of thing.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Yes. What you have described is basically an example of classical economic pricing power/the ability of a vendor to raise prices without significantly diminishing demand for a product. This is the same thing that is being discussed in the context of drug prices in the US recently, with Daraprim being the most egregious example.

    Adobe's pricing power with Photoshop and, probably Illustrator, is the reason that PS was put into CC-only pricing first. It was an experiment and it worked. Their pricing power with LR is less, but as you point out, it is still significant. So as they have implied in their press releases, that is the next shoe to drop.

    Next up: Windows 11 as a service, paid for by subscription.
  10. khollister

    khollister Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    The only problem is if you need/want PS, the CC Photography bundle at $10/mo is way cheaper than buying PS upgrades the old way unless you had an edu discount. $120/yr for the latest versions of both LR & PS is actually a very good deal by my calculations. Even if Adobe doubles the price in the future, I'm still ahead. The economics are less compelling if you only want LR.

    Adobe is only raising prices compared to buying and using an older version without ever upgrading. What they are doing is essentially forcing users onto the upgrade path. This has benefits to them both in leveling out their revenue stream as well as saving support costs by eventually not having to deal with a bunch of folks trying to run ancient versions on obsolete OS's.
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    What they are doing is essentially forcing users onto onto the upgrade path and locking them there.

    If I drop my subscription I lose the ability to access and use my own property, which is the effort I have put into cataloging and post-processing of my images. Yes, I can export everything to bitmaps but once I drop that subscription I can no longer go into my images and utilize my prior PP efforts as a basis for further processing. I also lose the ability to manage my catalog and it is dead-ended as far as adding new images. None of this is true if I simply skip buying one or two upgrades.

    If they were to say that at the point where I drop my subscription, I am granted an unlimited- duration license to utilize the then-current version of LR, then my objections go away and I'll sign up. I will not, though, willingly be denied access to my own property. And that is where we are headed IMO.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. You can always use DNG converter to take over the XMP sidecar files with your edits from ACR and do a batch convert, not sure about how LR works though.

    You're right that the catalogue would be inaccessible. But then that's why I don't use LR at all - too much reliance on proprietary data. I use Picasa but keep organised based on a strict folder structure, which is fortunate since Google have just killed that too so I won't lose anything if it stops working on an OS upgrade or something.

    I wouldn't TRUST any software company to maintain the status quo. At some point they might just kill the software altogether just like Apple did with Aperture, or Google with Picasa...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Google is dropping picasa for Google photo wjiang.

    LR CC seems to introduce serious bugs with every update. The last one deleted files in a apple system. I have also found LR CC to have memory leaks, where the PC locks up after awhile when LR runs for a long time. I guess something as big and complicated as LR is bound to have serious bugs somewhere: especially if they keep pushing upgrades out w/o extensive testing. I like the LR print module, but now I struggle to get good B&W from my Canon pro 100 printer and am now looking at a pigment printer as opposed to a dye based printer like the pro 100. If I don't sort printing out, I may end up sending photos out for printing. But thats another topic for another day
  14. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    It pays to check if the TG-4 is actually supported by the software in question - that's one of the reasons why Olympus Viewer 3 is not the worst of starting points, however it usually gives you Olympus' own profile as a starting point (instead of a unedited RAW file). You get quite a useful number of tools, though. It's not what I'd do, but it's definitely a possibility that won't cost anything.

    I just checked one thing: Darktable doesn't support the TG-4 yet. While that's probably not really a problem because .ORF files are fully supported, you won't get any lens correction (yet). I think Photivo uses the same library (LensFun), so it'll have the same problem. Both applications are very useful, Darktable is better suited for image management, though.

    Another solution would be RawTherapee, but as good as that application is, its interface is downright daunting in its default appearance. Very powerful, but also enormous ... You can customise it, but that takes a little time.

  15. Raptor7

    Raptor7 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 21, 2014
    Madrid, Spain
    Try Affinity Photo. It is cheap, and it is great.
  16. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Comparing $9.95 a month for LR and PS to raising drug prices 5000% is kind of absurd. For some one who regularly updated, the subscription is actually less expensive then upgrading the programs. There are things about the subscription model I don't like, but the price isn't one of them.

    And FWIW, I think their subscription model was more about stopping piracy than gouging their user base. Be honest here... how many of you have used (or know someone who has used) someone else's PS or LR CD? Especially back in college when the cost of PS seemed HUGE.

    Also, Apple gives away its OS updates, and last I heard Microsoft is moving in that direction.
  17. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    At the current price of Lightroom and the capabilities - it is very worthy of suggesting to anyone that is taking photography seriously. The cataloging portion is worthy of the $150 cost alone. And with upgrade price of $79.00 upgrade pricing - it makes sense to buy the perpetual licensed software.

    For those that have simply upgraded to Lightroom version 4, 5, and 6 vice the CC Photographers subscription - the perpetual license has saved them $250. For those that bought a full version of Lightroom 4.0 and then upgraded to version 5 and 6, they still saved $170.00.

    For those that need Photoshop and don't have version 6.5 or earlier - there is not much choice but to subscribe.

    However if one also needs the Photoshop like editing capabilities of photographs, there are many very good programs out there that are also cost effective, like Corel's $80.00 PaintShop Pro X8 which has been a long time alternative to Photoshop, or a program more slated towards photgraphs such as ON1's Photo 10 - which also can be considered a decent alternative for Lightroom.

    If someone is just learning Photoshop outside of an educational institution, I'd highly recommend PaintShop Pro to begin learning with. Editing photographs in such a program can be daunting with a long learning curve to become proficient and highly skilled at.
  18. Which is like Apple's Aperture being dropped for their new Photos application. It's almost like LR being dropped for Bridge. Neither are anything near as good as their predecessors for offline organisation use. Google's one in particular is all about cloud use...
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Not absurd at all. Adobe's success in pushing customers to CC and the way Daraprim is priced are both examples of the use of pricing power. Go read your Econ 101 textbook. Like putting the frog in the pan of cool water, Adobe is now in a phase of getting customers (like you) comfortable with their extracting money from the customers on an automatic and ongoing basis. The next logical step is to start raising prices, looking for the optimum -- as high as possible but not high enough to kill the frogs, err ... customers.

    Well you can think whatever you want. You can think that the world is flat if you like. But if you read the Adobe 10-Ks filed with the SEC you will see that their goal with CC is to increase revenue per user. There are brief comments about piracy but it is not mentioned in the context of CC, nor is CC mentioned in the context of piracy.

    Well, that nails it then. If you "heard" it then it must be true. My conclusion, based on analyzing Microsoft's behavior with the experience of many years in executive management, is that Microsoft is deliberately and carefully planning to move to a model where their revenue from users is no longer episodic but instead is recurring. The most logical way to do this is to use their pricing power in Windows and Office to move users to subscription models, possibly a combined model. Windows looks like a slam dunk given their 85% market penetration. Office is tougher because there are alternatives like LibreOffice, but they will still try. Have you heard of Office365?

    Subscription pricing is the holy grail of current software marketing and Adobe's success encourages everybody else. The old model, selling upgrades based on offering attractive new features, has run out of gas.
  20. Oruf

    Oruf Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 21, 2015
    Google drop picasa service, not the software. I can be wrong, though.

    The same name for two different things was misleading anyway.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app
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