Software advice....

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
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EEUK
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Software advice....
3 months ago

Hi,

I've been reading around a little - this site and following links out to others - to try and get a better undertanding of the different photography software applications with a view to making a decision on what to use and then spending some effort on learning and developing my skills in those tools.

Firstly to start with some requirements, always a good place.

  • I need something to help me manage my picture collection - as of today its a mess having collected pictures over many years using different cameras and different import routines and never really spending the necessary time to index them properly.
  • maybe also my video collection - I only have a few short video clips, primarily family events, and have no real intent to do much with them other than minor edits.
  • I'm primarily storing "family snaps" so facial recognition to help me index things is very useful
  • i use multiple devices and like the idea of storing my photos in a cloud service for backup and to allow easy access.  Integration to different services would be useful.
  • I want to develop my photography skills and learn more about postprocessing.  Primarily landscapes and family portraits.
  • From a post processing perspective I may want to make basic correction to the overall image for WB/brightness/and the like, but also in selective areas akin to dodging and burning in.... is that called a selective edit?
  • I also want to be able take out artefacts that I don't want in the picture
  • I'm intrigued by HDR and want to give that a go.
  • integration to google+,  I like sharing pcitures with close family through it.
  • if multiple tools are required, say for the cataloging and postprocessing it'd be good if the tools are integrated to provide a neat workflow.

What have I used before and my thoughts:

  • I've used picassa - I find it quite good at indexing but I'm not impressed with my ability to define a sensible workflow and its post processing seems fairly limited.  In the last couple of years Picassa doesn't seem to have developed much and I've seen quite a few new tools appear on the various google apps sites.... I wonder where's its going but suspect it'll head into the cloud.  I do like its integration to google+.
  • I've tried to use GIMP - its free and I've tried to do some online training and read a book.  I can see its very capable, but its perhaps a tad advanced for me and somewhat clunky to use (for me).  From a workflow perspective its only going to be of use for manipulating the images so I'll need something else for cataloging.
  • I downloaded Rawtherappee - I was less sure what to do with this product and found it crashed quite a bit.

Concerns I have are are primarily around product lock-in... if i spend many hours learning a product and many more hours cataloging and editing pictures.  What happens if that product increases in price and/or falls by the way side.  As far as I can tell there are no real standards, for say the meta data used in cataloging, to enable easy migration.

My current thinking is the adobe products Lightroom and Photoshop

  • LR for the catalog and basic image "tuning" - WB/brightness and the like
  • PS for more selective edits and potentially being a bit more creative on the occasional image.
  • they are available for a monthly fee - at first I thought this was bad... but then i thought about the overall TCO of keep upgrading and I'm thinking its not actually that bad.
  • LR doesn't do facial recognition (to my knowledge)
  • appears to be the industry leader
  • loads of training available online - many of it free
  • many books available - my personal favoured way of learning.
  • I'm not sure about the level of integration with services like google+/dropbox or other cloud storage options.  There is an option with Adobe but my first look I thought it was expensive.

My thinking has moved away from the freeware as that seems to be less integrated and in some cases less clear in terms of roadmap (picassa).

sorry this is a bit of a rambling post but I'd be interested in opinions to get me thinking a little bit more before I make the leap.

thanks in advance for any comments.

 EEUK's gear list:EEUK's gear list
Sony SLT-A57 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Sony 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 Sony DT 30mm F2.8 Macro SAM +1 more
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