New to digital photography...software question

Started Jan 5, 2013 | Questions thread
OP davepic New Member • Posts: 12
Re: A Question of Path & Interests

ProtoPhoto wrote:

When it comes to photo editing software there are many different paths available, and no universal right answers, because the best answer depends on where you want to go. Which you may not know yet...

I've been doing digital photo editing for ten years now, and my path has included Paint Shop Pro, Canon DPP, Photoshop Elements, real Photoshop, some Lightroom exposure, and my current editor of Photoshop Extended CS6 / Bridge CS6.

The basic split is raw editing versus pixel level edits, or both. If you are looking at things like color, contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, shadows, highlights, and so forth, then the copy of DPP that came with your camera is a good starting point for the raw path. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it for the first couple thousand images if I was you, just learn the camera, then start selectively shooting in raw (a few dozen images at a time rather than everything jpeg + raw), and start learning. You really need the basics of the photographic triangle (Bryan Peterson is excellent), before getting into raw processing, IMHO.

The next logical step on the path, maybe after six months or so, is Photoshop Elements, which is the selections, layers, composites and pixel editing path. Some will say try the free 30 day trial, and yeah, there's a case for that, but it is going to take you much longer than 30 days to become comfortable. Get it on sale, or buy a photo printer or Wacom Bamboo tablet or such, which sometimes come with a free copy of PS Elements from 2 or 3 generations back, and you basically get the printer or tablet for almost free compared to the current generation of Photoshop Elements.

Take this path, and by a year or so from now, you will have your camera under your complete control, understand raw, have a much better idea of what kind of photo editing appeals to you the most with very little out of pocket expenditure, and that is where the real decision starts to come in. That would be a good time to post again here, or the Retouching forum, because you will much more information for making the next decision, if any. (DPP and Photoshop Elements is a powerful and inexpensive combination.)

Sounds like good advice. I will order the Peterson book and one of the books I saw on Amazon about the T3i and try to learn the basics with the Canon DPP software that came with the camera.

Once I learn the basics I might switch to Photoshop or some other program. Thank you very much.

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