Comparable alt. to Photoshop as well as other must-have software?

Started Oct 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
JoannaR
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Re: Comparable alt. to Photoshop as well as other must-have software?
In reply to JoannaR, Oct 6, 2012

Some photographers I admire admit to doing the majority of their work in Lightroom, which is certainly more affordable, but I'd love to explore my graphic design strength and actually create, not just work on image files.

Photography is a hobby and until I get consistent enough and can afford the start-up costs it will have to stay that way.  I'm currently unemployed and when I do start working again I'm thousands of $$ in debt so if you say "Photoshop, of course!" that doesn't help me a wink, because it would likely be a few years before I could justify it.  So any other suggestions would be very helpful.  I'm of course doing what research I can on the multitude of programs available but I'd love some first-hand accounts of what does and doesn't work for ya'll.

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