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It is time for me to choose a photo editor


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I've been using the free photo editor that comes with Canon and I love it.  I can do very simple and subtle edits like lens correction and colour/contrast stuff.  It's pretty powerful and easy to use for what it does do and was great for getting started.

 

But come the new year, I want to learn more about editing.  I can't see doing extreme editing except as fun exercise.  

 

My goals for photography are three:

1. to companion my writing (which has more editing than a forum post)

2. to create a passive income with stock

3. to capture the world that I see so I can share it with others

 

I never learned how to use Adobe and the more I learn about lightroom and photoshop, the more I feel it isn't for me.  There are lots of reasons.  One of the reasons is the first software someone learns tends to govern what they think is "intuitive to use".  I want to try other kinds before finally deciding if Adobe is for me so I can get used to non-intuitive tools first. 

 

What are your favourite raw editing programs?  

 

I want something that I can look at many photos and do quick edits like I do now, but also some more advanced edits like spot removal, clone, burn and the thing that is the opposite of burn which I can't remember the name.  I want to make lines not keystoned and have easy trick for horizontal horizon.  I also want to put keywords in the photo instead of doing them all after I upload.  I imagine if I keyword the photo file then I can search my personal library for these words when I want to find the photo.  Maybe I imagine wrong? 

 

Later on - maybe 2021 - I want to learn about making three exposures into one (has three letters, to expand dynamic range in a picture) and other neat things to do.  But mostly this year I'm still focusing on learning how to make the best in-camera photos (I want good ingredients) and slowly learning editing (I learn better with deep understanding so slow is my speed).

 

There are a lot of programs to choose.  Some are free.  Some cost money.  I don't mind paying money if the program is good, but I would like it better to pay once instead of every month.  But, I also don't know enough to know what words I am looking for when choosing a software.  I'm thinking of Capture One, but I wonder if this will do what I want?  It's hard to know where to begin until after you've already started then hindsight always shows you should have started elsewhere.  

 

(I only have windows 10 pc.  Canon mirrorless shooting raw)

 

Please forgive my spelling and such, I can't seem to make grammarly plugin work with this form and extreme dyslexia means my regular spellcheck goes on vacation for "the program cannot detect what language this is written in so spellcheck is disabled" or some reason.

Edited by CrowingHen
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On 28/12/2019 at 18:35, CrowingHen said:

 

 

The list of the three types above is helping me tremendously!

 

From what I understand, GIMP is like number 3: Pixel-based photo editors.  GIMP is beyond my skillset but I'm muddling through it with tutorials so I think I have enough power there for the time being.

 

For now, I feel that 1 (DAM) and 2 (raw converter with non-destructive mild editing) is what I want to focus on.  This narrows things down a lot.

 

Glad the breakdown helped. I have always loved classifying things. The perpetual (non-subscription) version of Lightroom does 1 and 2 perfectly but unfortunately Adobe no longer sell it as a standalone as far as I know. There are alternative DAMs (news photographers rave about Photomechanic) but I don't know of one at a reasonable price (Capture One is very expensive for the full version). 

 

Photoshop Elements might actually be your best bet as it does all three. It has an organiser (basic DAM), a basic raw converter and a cut down version of Photoshop. Also Adobe Bridge can be used as a DAM for smaller image collections and is free.

 

38 minutes ago, Bryan said:

 

At some future time I may need to find an alernative to LR as my current version won't support the latest cameras.

 

I notice that you have some cut-outs Phil, the kind of thing that I would use PS to produce, using the pen tool. Is there now an equivalent in Elements, and can you now use layers in that program? It's quite possible that Elements could do everything that I would reasonably need.

 

 

Elements has layers but no pen tool, paths or channels as far as I know.

Edited by MDM
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15 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

 

Elements has layers but no pen tool, paths or channels as far as I know.

 

Thanks Mike, thinking about it, my standalone copy of PS would continue to be useful if I switched to Elements, it's the raw converter that I would find most useful.

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9 minutes ago, Bryan said:

 

Thanks Mike, thinking about it, my standalone copy of PS would continue to be useful if I switched to Elements, it's the raw converter that I would find most useful.

 

It is a cutdown version of the raw converter though. You might want to check out DxO Photolab for that instead as the raw converter seems to be very good and the price is reasonable. It takes a bit of a change in mindset for Lightroom users but a lot of the functionality is there. You could still use your older version of Photoshop on the converted files. 

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3 hours ago, Bryan said:

 

At some future time I may need to find an alernative to LR as my current version won't support the latest cameras.

 

I notice that you have some cut-outs Phil, the kind of thing that I would use PS to produce, using the pen tool. Is there now an equivalent in Elements, and can you now use layers in that program? It's quite possible that Elements could do everything that I would reasonably need.

 

You can certainly do cutouts and work with layers - in 8bit only but I've never seen that as a problem.

Most of my recent mineral pics are more or less straight shots with a very bright background, but cutouts are pretty easy with a good choice of selection tools.

I don't know grownup PS very well but I'd be surprised if Elements didn't give you everything you need.

(I've just Googled Pen Tool and no, it doesn't have one of those).

Edited by Phil Robinson
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2 hours ago, Bryan said:

 

Thanks Mike, thinking about it, my standalone copy of PS would continue to be useful if I switched to Elements, it's the raw converter that I would find most useful.

For converting to RAW I use Capture NX-D - a free download from the Nikon website. Elements can do it too.

https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/162/Capture_NX-D.html

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Thanks to both Mike and Phil for your suggestions, there appears to be life after LR !

 

Won't be needed for a while as I am happy with my current camera, the Sony A6500,  that my copy of LR supports, but to be born in mind.

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On 28/12/2019 at 12:54, meanderingemu said:

 

 

Which other one have you tried which you feel are not up to digital imaging standards?

CANON's, NIKON's, FUJI's and a few that I do not even remember. Adobe PS and LR are tools that are in

my opinion required if you want to finish images for license.

 

Chuck

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nacke said:

CANON's, NIKON's, FUJI's and a few that I do not even remember. Adobe PS and LR are tools that are in

my opinion required if you want to finish images for license.

 

Chuck

 

I think he means which other programs have you used.

 

4 hours ago, Phil Robinson said:

For converting to RAW I use Capture NX-D - a free download from the Nikon website. 

 

 

I downloaded that out of curiousity a couple of years ago but it was horrendously slow to use. 

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I've used PS for years, found a thing called FastStone about a year ago and now use that most of the time - far better than PS for basic edits imho - really good for lifting shadows & tweaking contrast, and has an excellent rotate tool. It's free/pay a donation type of thing. Fast, simple and does RAW files.

It doesn't do captions for news sadly, so I'm still using PS for that - unless someone can suggest anything better - would really like to be able to do them in bulk.

Instead of buying the new monthly subscription PS there's loads of the older versions on Ebay, I think the last one that was buy outright was CS2. Still works fine with Win 7 & 10

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On 28/12/2019 at 18:04, John Mitchell said:

 

Thanks for the reply. The catalogue / sessions thing sounds a bit complicated. I'll have to check out some videos.

 

You can just use the catalog, and create different catalogs for different subjects/purposes. Sessions is a bit quicker but I find it messy with creating extra folders.

I have Capture One for Sony and the cost is reasonable for me.

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Back in 2010 Phase One, makers of Capture One, bought Microsoft Expression Media, which in turn was previously IView Expression Media, a Digital Asset Management System. I read a lot of good things about it so it's very disappointing that they haven't done anything to build it into Capture One.

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I believe that Camerabits, makers of Photo Mechanic, have been promising a Digital Asset Management product for many years, hasn't happened yet. I know that Photo Mechanic is otherwise excellent though, but as a way of quickly viewing images straight from the camera and adding pre-defined metadata quickly. Many use it here, especially for News pictures.

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5 hours ago, Scenebyrail said:

I think the last one that was buy outright was CS2

Adobe actually switched off their validation servers for CS2 and all their other products from that era and so effectively provided free downloads together with generic serial numbers. I see it is possible to download CS2 for free from other sites though I've forgotten the Adobe link, it may still be there. I should say that they provided it as a service for users who had paid for CS2 etc. in the past as they could no longer check whether thay had done so or not. I would be wary of paying for it. In any case it is well out of date and apparently won't run properly on current operating systems.

 

Perhaps it was CS3, which seems to sell for good money still, be careful that it's not an upgrade version if you don't own a previous qualifying product.

Edited by Harry Harrison
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6 hours ago, Scenebyrail said:

I've used PS for years, found a thing called FastStone about a year ago and now use that most of the time - far better than PS for basic edits imho - really good for lifting shadows & tweaking contrast, and has an excellent rotate tool. It's free/pay a donation type of thing. Fast, simple and does RAW files.

It doesn't do captions for news sadly, so I'm still using PS for that - unless someone can suggest anything better - would really like to be able to do them in bulk.

Instead of buying the new monthly subscription PS there's loads of the older versions on Ebay, I think the last one that was buy outright was CS2. Still works fine with Win 7 & 10

 

1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

Adobe actually switched off their validation servers for CS2 and all their other products from that era and so effectively provided free downloads together with generic serial numbers. I see it is possible to download CS2 for free from other sites though I've forgotten the Adobe link, it may still be there. I should say that they provided it as a service for users who had paid for CS2 etc. in the past as they could no longer check whether thay had done so or not. I would be wary of paying for it. In any case it is well out of date and apparently won't run properly on current operating systems.

 

Perhaps it was CS3, which seems to sell for good money still, be careful that it's not an upgrade version if you don't own a previous qualifying product.

 

CS6 was the last perpetual license version. Harry is correct about the reason Adobe provided a download and serial numbers - they were not giving away CS2 for nothing and it would be illegal to download and use it without having paid for the license. Works fine is relative as well. It can only access 2GB of RAM for one thing. 

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4 minutes ago, MDM said:

it would be illegal to download and use it without having paid for the license

You're right to stress that of course, but I did find it easy to find a fairly legitimate looking site offering Mac & Windows downloads together with serial numbers (don't know if ithey are the serial numbers gleaned from that Adobe download site). I imagine Adobe could have closed that page down if they'd wanted to, maybe unofficially they saw it as a way to introduce people to Photoshop and then move on to the subscription service, CS2 as a loss leader? Still, now on Windows 10 or 64-bit Mac it would literally be a non-starter I think.

 

As you know, I don't do CC currently but then I don't earn my living every day as a photographer as you do. I've got a paid for copy of CS3 which I use occasionally but if I wanted to do anything involving 'content aware fill' I'd probably use Affinity Photo.

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I am learning so much from this thread.  Thank you everyone for participating.

 

When you guys mention something, I'm looking it up, reading about it, finding tutorials, trying to find the limits of what the software can do.

 

Capture One is still high on my list.  The Perpetual license is expensive, but it's only 2 to 2.5 years (depending on the exchange rate - Capture 1 is in CAD, LR is in USD) of a lightroom subscription.  I have another 5 to 7 years before I need to upgrade components on this PC, so I'm assuming if I like the version then I won't be upgrading for 4 to 5 years.  More financial outlay now, but more affordable over the long term.  

 

I'm not making up my mind yet.  I want to keep reading and watching tutorials.  Next month, I'll probably get a free trial of one of the forerunners to see how well I get on with it.  It will probably be a few months of trials before I settle on a program.  So please keep the suggestions coming.  

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I think most of us use  Adobe products.  With subscriptions, the somewhat cheaper course is to pay by the year.  I don't plan to get Capture One Pro for Sony unless I can no longer use the LR/PS Creative Cloud version.  C1 Express for Sony only allows using one catalogue, so it's okay for learning the C1 system, but not for working with.   Best add-on for Creative Cloud programs is DXO's PhotoLab as Prime noise reduction is very good and some of the other controls are also useful.   Paying for both CC and for C1 strikes me as more expense than I want to deal with.  Pick one or the other if getting C1 Pro or CC for Photography.   Both step on each other.   DX0 PhotoLab plays nicer. 

 

C1 Pro for a wider range of cameras is quite expensive, and everyone is trying to move to a subscription basis. 

 

I've used all sorts of WP programs and text editors that weren't Microsoft Word, but found that everyone I dealt with expected MS Word files.   Shrug.  I also get the annual subscription for MS Office these days. 

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20 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

CANON's, NIKON's, FUJI's and a few that I do not even remember. Adobe PS and LR are tools that are in

my opinion required if you want to finish images for license.

 

Chuck

 

i guess i'm not up to your standards, as i feel Capture One does enough of a good job.  Some people seem to be married to Adobe's products 

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4 hours ago, CrowingHen said:

The Perpetual license is expensive, but it's only 2 to 2.5 years (depending on the exchange rate - Capture 1 is in CAD, LR is in USD) of a lightroom subscription.  I have another 5 to 7 years before I need to upgrade components on this PC, so I'm assuming if I like the version then I won't be upgrading for 4 to 5 years.  More financial outlay now, but more affordable over the long term.  

 

I'm not making up my mind yet.  I want to keep reading and watching tutorials.  Next month, I'll probably get a free trial of one of the forerunners to see how well I get on with it.  It will probably be a few months of trials before I settle on a program.  So please keep the suggestions coming.  

 

 

LR's licensing does have one advantage.  I bought C1 for Fuji when it was on sale last year, but now i have the issue of trying to decide if i want to buy the annual upgrade .  With the Adobe's licensing you don't get that dilemma (note: based in reviews, i am so far skipping the update, but then i get upset at the C1 v12 cropping tool, and wonder 🙂 )

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I just bought Adobe premier elements and noticed that Adobe is offering a free 30 day trial for Premier and Photoshop.  With Premier Elements there is an annoying black stripe across the workspace until you purchase and activate, I don't know what kind of restrictions they put on Photoshop.  Premier Elements was more than my laptop could handle with 4K footage but works fine on my desktop.  Having the trial period should help determine  if your older computers can handle the software.  Here is a link to the thirty day trial.

https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-elements/download-trial/try.html

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I've been playing with the free trial of Capture One for a week now.  I love it... mostly.  

 

The keyhole correction is my new best friend.  I've been playing with some of the fancy tools for my creative work, like heal and layers.  I think this program would keep me happy for years.

 

But, I have having a few issues (which are probably user-caused).  

 

1. when I submit my photos to the other site, I'm suddenly getting noise rejections on ISO 100.  I don't generally have this issue until over ISO 400.  About two thirds of the photos I processed with capture one have this issue, but when I process the same photo with the Digital Photo Professional, I usually get about 5% with this error.

2. the default setting is to have 50% vignetting (dark corners) centered on the crop.  I can't figure out how to change this yet.

 

I processed a batch and double checked at 200% before uploading to Alamy, so we'll see what the quality control has to say here.  I hope I don't loose a star over this experiment.

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On 29/12/2019 at 12:00, Bryan said:

 

At some future time I may need to find an alernative to LR as my current version won't support the latest cameras.

 

 

LR non-support for newer cameras is usually due to Adobe not updating older LR version's RAW processing engine for newer cameras.

 

This usually can be circumvented by using separate RAW processing software to convert the new camera's RAW files to DNG or TIFF.  The camera manufacturer should have the s/w available for no cost or Adobe's free  DNG converter is a generic converter updated for new cameras  but it may not support specific camera/lens profiles, etc.  Use the DNG/TIFF files in LR.  

Edited by Phil
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On 29/12/2019 at 18:00, Bryan said:

 

At some future time I may need to find an alernative to LR as my current version won't support the latest cameras.

 

Phil recommended Iridient Iridient Transformer to me for my Fuji files and so far I'm very impressed with the workflow of using that to convert to DNG and then bringing these into Lightroom Perpetual. I don't have a need for it yet but it could well be a solution. They do a different version for each camera type.

 

Fuji RAW files do have a reputation for being difficult to process and it seems to me so far that Iridient is doing a better job than Lightroom (though Lightroom CC current version may be better anyway). It's $36 for each RAW file type and you can download a free trial that leaves a watermark on.

Edited by Harry Harrison
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