New to digital photography...software question

Started Jan 5, 2013 | Questions
davepic New Member • Posts: 12
New to digital photography...software question

Hello...just recently purchased my first digital dslr, the Canon Rebel T3i with the 18-55 kit lens. I also have a couple of older lenses from my old film Rebel. I have never used any photo editing software before.

The camera came with the Canon Digital Solutions disk. Is this a good program  to start learning about processing images or should I really try something like Photoshop Elements or Lightshop? Should i start shooting RAW images or go with jpeg to begin with? Also are there any good tutorials online for beginners? Thank you for your help.

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Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5)
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DSHAPK Contributing Member • Posts: 782
Re: New to digital photography...software question
1

There is a lot to learn with your first DSLR.

As far as instructionsals, there is an abundance of information on the interwebs regarding Canon DSLRs...a lot of information applies equally across the board to the t2i, t3i, and t4i. You can find this information by searching.

People recommend Brian Petersons, "Understand Exposure" and then there is the Unofficial Rebel FAQ on dpreview.

I would read the user manual from cover to cover as a start.

The question of software, I think, is too early to ask. You have to get used to the camera. DPP the provided software works well for post processing and is free. The others you mentioned you have to pay for. After two years with the T2i and now the T4i, I only use DPP. I downloaded LR and it wasn't worth for me to learn.

In my opinion shooting RAW at the beginning is a bit of a waste, as you will be throwing away a lot of shots. Out of experience with the camera, comes a knowledge of when you would want to shot raw or JPEG. After two years with the rebel line, most of my shots are jpg. I use DPP for some minor corrections when needed. I know when I would want to shoot raw, which is to say, a shot I want to keep and have the maximum flexibility in post-process with DPP.

Nothing is stopping you from spending money on Elements or LR, but IMO, you want to get a feel for the camera, the modes, the settings, before you even worry about post processing. I would think at the beginning the learning should be about the camera; how do the focal points work, what are the differences in the advances modes, P, Tv, Av, and M, picture styles, metering modes, auto focus points, learning the best way to take a shot given the dynamic range of scene you are trying to capture, aperture, depth of field, shutter speed just to name a few variables that affect the composition.

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Chris Lofty Regular Member • Posts: 249
Re: New to digital photography...software question
3

Hi

In my humble opinion the Canon software is excellent and is worth getting to know. I also suggest that you start capturing in RAW or at least RAW+JPEG.

I started using a DSLR many years ago; initially I just used the JPEG setting,  I switched to RAW once I got more into photography and it became more than just a hobby!

It was initially a steep learning curve, converting RAW files and subsequent PP in Photoshop, but it's now second nature. I just wish I had always used RAW format from the beginning, I could then have gone back and worked on my old files with more knowledge and skill.

I still think you will need a copy of Photoshop or a similar programme to get the best out of your converted images.

The Canon DPP Raw converter does an excellent job and is constantly being upgraded to add further enhancements.

Best of luck!

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OP davepic New Member • Posts: 12
Re: New to digital photography...software question

DSHAPK wrote:

There is a lot to learn with your first DSLR.

As far as instructionsals, there is an abundance of information on the interwebs regarding Canon DSLRs...a lot of information applies equally across the board to the t2i, t3i, and t4i. You can find this information by searching.

People recommend Brian Petersons, "Understand Exposure" and then there is the Unofficial Rebel FAQ on dpreview.

I would read the user manual from cover to cover as a start.

The question of software, I think, is too early to ask. You have to get used to the camera. DPP the provided software works well for post processing and is free. The others you mentioned you have to pay for. After two years with the T2i and now the T4i, I only use DPP. I downloaded LR and it wasn't worth for me to learn.

In my opinion shooting RAW at the beginning is a bit of a waste, as you will be throwing away a lot of shots. Out of experience with the camera, comes a knowledge of when you would want to shot raw or JPEG. After two years with the rebel line, most of my shots are jpg. I use DPP for some minor corrections when needed. I know when I would want to shoot raw, which is to say, a shot I want to keep and have the maximum flexibility in post-process with DPP.

Nothing is stopping you from spending money on Elements or LR, but IMO, you want to get a feel for the camera, the modes, the settings, before you even worry about post processing. I would think at the beginning the learning should be about the camera; how do the focal points work, what are the differences in the advances modes, P, Tv, Av, and M, picture styles, metering modes, auto focus points, learning the best way to take a shot given the dynamic range of scene you are trying to capture, aperture, depth of field, shutter speed just to name a few variables that affect the composition.

I am in the process of reading the manual now....quite a bit of information there. I am somewhat familiar with exposure and the different modes of the camera from my film shooting days, but it has been quite a while. I kind of got away from photography when the changeover from film to digital was taking place.

The post processing part...RAW vs jpeg is rather confusing to me. I'll give the Canon disk a try and hopefully learn from that. Thank you for the information and reply.

OP davepic New Member • Posts: 12
Re: New to digital photography...software question

Chris Lofty wrote:

Hi

In my humble opinion the Canon software is excellent and is worth getting to know. I also suggest that you start capturing in RAW or at least RAW+JPEG.

I started using a DSLR many years ago; initially I just used the JPEG setting, I switched to RAW once I got more into photography and it became more than just a hobby!

It was initially a steep learning curve, converting RAW files and subsequent PP in Photoshop, but it's now second nature. I just wish I had always used RAW format from the beginning, I could then have gone back and worked on my old files with more knowledge and skill.

I still think you will need a copy of Photoshop or a similar programme to get the best out of your converted images.

The Canon DPP Raw converter does an excellent job and is constantly being upgraded to add further enhancements.

Best of luck!

-- hide signature --

Photoshop is a little out of my price range right now but sounds like the Canon DPP converter will do the job at least to begin with. I guess RAW+JPEG is the way to go so I will have one of each if needed. It is all rather confusing to an old film and slide shooter ) Thank you for the information.

DSHAPK Contributing Member • Posts: 782
Re: New to digital photography...software question
1

Hopefully I'm answering the correct concern: RAW is basically a capture from the sensor. DPP has the ability to simulate on screen white balance, picture styles, sharpness and some others, as if they had been set in the camera. And the size of a raw file, CR2, is about 18 megs. This is why people shot RAW, for maximum flexibility in post-processing. There is only one setting, highlight tone priority, which can't be simulated with DPP using RAW.

With JPG the above is not available but basic color correction via brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and sharpness can be applied.

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karl mohr Senior Member • Posts: 1,554
Re: New to digital photography...software question

You could probably avoid reading the Canon Manual if you bought David Busch's book for the T3i/600D - it's a little easier to digest than Canon's manual.

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R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,064
Re: New to digital photography...software question

Chris Lofty wrote:

Hi

In my humble opinion the Canon software is excellent and is worth getting to know. I also suggest that you start capturing in RAW or at least RAW+JPEG.

I started using a DSLR many years ago; initially I just used the JPEG setting, I switched to RAW once I got more into photography and it became more than just a hobby!

It was initially a steep learning curve, converting RAW files and subsequent PP in Photoshop, but it's now second nature. I just wish I had always used RAW format from the beginning, I could then have gone back and worked on my old files with more knowledge and skill.

I still think you will need a copy of Photoshop or a similar programme to get the best out of your converted images.

The Canon DPP Raw converter does an excellent job and is constantly being upgraded to add further enhancements.

+1

And purchase Photoshop Elements when you can.

R2

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ProtoPhoto Contributing Member • Posts: 984
A Question of Path & Interests
1

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.)

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Oilman
Oilman Veteran Member • Posts: 3,374
Post processing is part of the game andpart of the fun

Ansel Adams once said; "The picture is the score, the processing is the performance".

ALL DIGITAL PICTURES ARE PROCESSED!!!!  A digital camera does not take a picture. It takes a whole bunch of voltage readings. If you shoot JPG's the processing is done within the camera, using a lossy 1983 algorithm that removes much of the detail of the picture. If you shoot RAW and use your far more powerful computer and one of a variety of programs to process the photo, the detail can be retained.

Here is an example I shot very early in my photograpy journey to teach myself about RAW and processing. I have reprinted it several times on this forum.

This is a picture of my backyard shot as a JPG. Note that the foilage is under-exposed and the sky is blown out.

Here is the same picture shot a few minutes later using RAW and processed in Photoshop Elements. Notice that foilage is correctly exposed and the detail in the sky is retained.

I agree that you need to learn about your camera. But you need to learn how to process at the same time. You have already made the decision, by buying a DSLR, to take your photography to the next level. Why compromise the quality of photos you may never get a chance to take again by shooting JPG's and not processing?

I am a fan of Adobe products. I currently use both Lightroom and Photoshop. But Photoshop Elements provides 85% of the functionality of Photoshop at 1/10th the cost. You can get free plug-ins on the web that make that 90%  It is an incredible deal. Many people on this forum do very good work with DPP. But it will not give you that same level of versatility as PS Elements

I highly recommend that you read Ron Bigelow's articles on processing, particularly those on RAW. They were of great help to me when I was starting out. They still are and I still refer to them

www.ronbigelow.com

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OP davepic New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Post processing is part of the game andpart of the fun

Oilman wrote:

Ansel Adams once said; "The picture is the score, the processing is the performance".

ALL DIGITAL PICTURES ARE PROCESSED!!!! A digital camera does not take a picture. It takes a whole bunch of voltage readings. If you shoot JPG's the processing is done within the camera, using a lossy 1983 algorithm that removes much of the detail of the picture. If you shoot RAW and use your far more powerful computer and one of a variety of programs to process the photo, the detail can be retained.

Here is an example I shot very early in my photograpy journey to teach myself about RAW and processing. I have reprinted it several times on this forum.

This is a picture of my backyard shot as a JPG. Note that the foilage is under-exposed and the sky is blown out.

Here is the same picture shot a few minutes later using RAW and processed in Photoshop Elements. Notice that foilage is correctly exposed and the detail in the sky is retained.

I agree that you need to learn about your camera. But you need to learn how to process at the same time. You have already made the decision, by buying a DSLR, to take your photography to the next level. Why compromise the quality of photos you may never get a chance to take again by shooting JPG's and not processing?

I am a fan of Adobe products. I currently use both Lightroom and Photoshop. But Photoshop Elements provides 85% of the functionality of Photoshop at 1/10th the cost. You can get free plug-ins on the web that make that 90% It is an incredible deal. Many people on this forum do very good work with DPP. But it will not give you that same level of versatility as PS Elements

I highly recommend that you read Ron Bigelow's articles on processing, particularly those on RAW. They were of great help to me when I was starting out. They still are and I still refer to them

www.ronbigelow.com

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The first camera bag you buy is always too small
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Wow the difference in the 2 photos is quite striking. Looks like I have quite a bit to learn. I have seen some sales of Photoshop Elements online...I know B&H Photo has a 20 dollar off deal if you buy a new lens.

Thank you for the link...looks like some good information and a lot to read.

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.

Chris Lofty Regular Member • Posts: 249
Re: New to digital photography...software question

davepic wrote:

Chris Lofty wrote:

Hi

In my humble opinion the Canon software is excellent and is worth getting to know. I also suggest that you start capturing in RAW or at least RAW+JPEG.


Chrislofotos
http://www.chrislofotos.org

Photoshop is a little out of my price range right now

If cost is an issue why not go for an earlier version of Photoshop Elements? This would provide a cheaper alternative and give you an insight into it's features, you can always upgrade later.

I still recommend saving your best images in RAW, even if you are not planning to work on them yet! I find it most rewarding to go back to images I took years ago and reprocess them the skills I've subsequently attained.

Best of luck!

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ArtMar Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: New to digital photography...software question

Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I find DPP much less intuitive to use than PS Elements.  You can download a trial version of Elements for free.  Suggestion: shoot some RAW images, open them in the Elements RAW converter, and just play with the sliders to get a feel for what they do (there are not that many) -- you'll soon get the hang of it.

Good luck!

Art

davepic wrote:

Hello...just recently purchased my first digital dslr, the Canon Rebel T3i with the 18-55 kit lens. I also have a couple of older lenses from my old film Rebel. I have never used any photo editing software before.

The camera came with the Canon Digital Solutions disk. Is this a good program to start learning about processing images or should I really try something like Photoshop Elements or Lightshop? Should i start shooting RAW images or go with jpeg to begin with? Also are there any good tutorials online for beginners? Thank you for your help.

Y0GI Veteran Member • Posts: 5,230
Re: New to digital photography...software question
1

davepic wrote:

Hello...just recently purchased my first digital dslr, the Canon Rebel T3i with the 18-55 kit lens. I also have a couple of older lenses from my old film Rebel. I have never used any photo editing software before.

The camera came with the Canon Digital Solutions disk. Is this a good program to start learning about processing images or should I really try something like Photoshop Elements or Lightshop? Should i start shooting RAW images or go with jpeg to begin with? Also are there any good tutorials online for beginners? Thank you for your help.

I have found the Canon software, Digital Photo Pro ("DPP") to be very valuable in my photo post processing.  The Canon Digital Learning Center has some really great video tutorials on DPP:  http://learn.usa.canon.com/galleries/galleries/tutorials/dpp_tutorials.shtml   YouTube is also a good source of video tutorials:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OtMl8oxOZk   The Canon Professional Network also has some useful articles on using DPP:  http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/image_download/dpp.do

I hope that the above info is helpful.  You can always come back if you have questions.

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Yogi
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of photography, the results depend on the 'nut' behind the camera!
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lkk324
lkk324 Regular Member • Posts: 364
Re: New to digital photography...software question

karl mohr wrote:

You could probably avoid reading the Canon Manual if you bought David Busch's book for the T3i/600D - it's a little easier to digest than Canon's manual.

I was checking on Amazon for this and saw there is a Guide and a field guide. They only have the field guide for the Kindle. I am impatient haha Is this lacking in info compared to the reg guide??

Lisa

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lkk324
lkk324 Regular Member • Posts: 364
Re: New to digital photography...software question

Good info!!!

So what is the majority?? I am total beginner so below dave here......Should I be shooting in Raw or raw+jpeg? I am reading the manual now.....LOTS to learn. Lots to try and understand.

Thanks

lisa

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Y0GI Veteran Member • Posts: 5,230
Re: New to digital photography...software question
1

lkk324 wrote:

Good info!!!

So what is the majority?? I am total beginner so below dave here......Should I be shooting in Raw or raw+jpeg? I am reading the manual now.....LOTS to learn. Lots to try and understand.

Thanks

lisa

If you will be needing a copy of the photo immediately, say for e-mail, then RAW + JPG.  If you plan to take time to post process your shots, then RAW will do all that you need.

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Yogi
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of photography, the results depend on the 'nut' behind the camera!
See the 'Gear List' in my 'Profile' for my current equipment.
Check out WilbaW's beginner FAQs at - http://snipurl.com/RebelFAQ

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OP davepic New Member • Posts: 12
Re: New to digital photography...software question

Y0GI wrote:

davepic wrote:

Hello...just recently purchased my first digital dslr, the Canon Rebel T3i with the 18-55 kit lens. I also have a couple of older lenses from my old film Rebel. I have never used any photo editing software before.

The camera came with the Canon Digital Solutions disk. Is this a good program to start learning about processing images or should I really try something like Photoshop Elements or Lightshop? Should i start shooting RAW images or go with jpeg to begin with? Also are there any good tutorials online for beginners? Thank you for your help.

I have found the Canon software, Digital Photo Pro ("DPP") to be very valuable in my photo post processing. The Canon Digital Learning Center has some really great video tutorials on DPP: http://learn.usa.canon.com/galleries/galleries/tutorials/dpp_tutorials.shtml YouTube is also a good source of video tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OtMl8oxOZk The Canon Professional Network also has some useful articles on using DPP: http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/image_download/dpp.do

I hope that the above info is helpful. You can always come back if you have questions.

-- hide signature --

Yogi
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of photography, the results depend on the 'nut' behind the camera!
See the 'Gear List' in my 'Profile' for my current equipment.
Check out WilbaW's beginner FAQs at - http://snipurl.com/RebelFAQ

Thank you very much for those links. I have just downloaded the Canon software and plan to do some studying tonight. Have the day off tomorrow and hope to get out and take some pics with the new camera.

Oilman
Oilman Veteran Member • Posts: 3,374
I have not shot a JPG image on a DSLR in almost five years

I shoot RAW only. Why would I want photos that are less than the best I can do?

It makes no sense to me. When I finish processing an image....then I will save it in JPG or TIF format. I do not see the utility of having a second unprocessed JPG. It just clutters the computer.

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