What retouching software for a beginner.. Mac platform

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
MichaelInGC Contributing Member • Posts: 544
Re: What retouching software for a beginner.. Mac platform

JulieA wrote:

I am venturing back into photography after a long hiatus from being too busy as a mom. Just bought myself a D750 and some nice lenses. Currently I have all my photos just in the apple Photos app on my MacBook Pro. Eon's ago (way before it went subscription) I did use photoshop to retouch photos but was never proficient at it. I still have a version of PS limited running on my computer. I'd like to learn how to use a better retouching software to have more control over my photos. If I'm just starting out with all these options out there now, what should I start with, Lightroom maybe? Normally I only need to adjust color, contrast, highlights, shadows, etc. but I also like to play around with erasing unwanted objects in my shots. Like a photo bomber in a shot of my kids or something like that.

I think that it is worth keeping in mind that there are basically two different kinds of photo software. Workflow tools (Lightroom, CaptureOne, Dxo PhotoLab, Luminar and others) which basically allow you to control the color, light, noise, distortion and other general adjustments) to your photo and pixel editors (Photoshop, Affinity Photo, PhotoLine, Gimp and others) that give you more control over masking, perspective, mesh warp and other adjustments. I think that a lot of people probably keep at least one of each kind of tool to give them the flexibility they want in making adjustments.

You might want to start out asking yourself two questions.

First, what kind of adjustments do you want to make? General photo adjustments (exposure, contrast, color saturation, cropping and the like)? A workflow tool will do that for you without any problem. Or do you wish to get involved in doing layers work, cutouts, selections, content sensitive erasures and the like? Then the second tool is what you would want.

Second, how professional do you want your work to be? Everyone wants their work to be as good as they can make it, but I think there is a difference between the tools a professional might want compared to those a hobbyist might want. I am not a professional, so I use a very good workflow tool (Dxo PhotoLab) and a very good pixel editor (Affinity Photo), but I am not a professional so I do not feel the need to spend a large amount of money of professional tools.

If I were a professional I suppose I would likely use either Lightroom or CaptureOne as my workflow tool and Photoshop as my pixel editor, but instead I use PhotoLab as my workflow tool and Affinity Photo (or PhotoLine) as my pixel editor. The cost of the "professional" choice is not so much of an issue now that Adobe has gone to the subscription model, but many people do not want to be paying every month knowing that if they stop paying they will have nothing left as the subscription software goes away if users drop out of the subscription model. The perpetual model leaves you with your software after you buy it.

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