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Author Topic: Newbie Discovers Post Processing Digital Images - Need Advice for Software  (Read 5013 times)
ArticFox
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« on: September 28, 2012, 04:37:36 AM »
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Hello,

I am a newbie in this forum and have just discovered post processing my LX5 images - it has become an obsessive behavior!

I am looking for advice in regards to selecting a processor program.  I download my LX5 images to an earlier generation Apple iMac and simply use its iPhoto processor because it came with the computer.  I have not yet bothered to open the LX5 processor that came with the camera.   

I am curious about comparative reviews or your personal opinion of the various processors. While I am a believer in paying for quality, I don't see myself investing over $500 on processing software, as I take pictures for fun.

I posted this inquiry in the digital processing section of this forum, but was politely asked to move over to the beginner's section.  I felt somewhat taken aback, but maybe I will find a home of friendly folks in the beginners section and just stay here forever.

Beginners have a way of seeing things without bias and don't form a common consensus, so they are a special breed of their own.  I declare myself the rank of a bona fide beginner!

Christian
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 05:55:10 AM »
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Don't be offended Christian.

By the way - welcome to the forum.

This question is now in the correct place.
However the answer I gave before still holds - Lightroom is the best all-round product for your needs.

Nonetheless the suggestion I made about letting us know what you are doing with your photography as well as what you would like to be doing in the future will allow people to guide you better.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 08:47:43 AM »
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Hi Christian,

Tony is right: Lightroom is the way to go.

But it is a very complex and powerful program, not easy to just jump into without guidance. The best guidance I know of is the series of video tutorials available right here at the Luminous Landscape Store by Jeff Schewe and Michael Reichmann. They are thorough, clear, and entertaining as well, and they present topics in small chunks so that you don't get overwhelmed in any one video. I urge you to get them and play them one at a time, with time in between to try things out.

Take it slow and you'll soon be pretty proficient.

Good luck!
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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Rand47
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 09:13:55 AM »
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Christian,

Welcome.  Don't be put off by Jeff's "mode of expression" in suggesting you post here.  Once you get a sense of him in the LR tutorials (which I highly recommend to you) you'll realize two things. He's a genuine source authority on digital photography, and he's a bit of a curmudgeon :-) .  He's also thoroughly modern & hip, which makes for an unusual combination. He's quite warm & friendly in the videos but sometimes comes across as snarky in his writing, when I think he's just trying to be direct.

Lightroom is VERY powerful and worth your time to learn. The LuLa tutorials are worth every penny, and if you want to immerse yourself in the world of photography I also recommend the "From Camera to Print & Screen" series.   http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/tutorials/camera_to_print_and_screen.shtml

A lot of this material may sail right over your head at first (it did mine!) but gradually it will all make sense. Taking control of your photography through post processing is very satisfying and a lot of fun in the process. Beware, though, it is also an addiction. More cameras, more powerful computers, wide gamut monitors, big printers!  :-)
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 01:25:32 PM by Rand47 » Logged
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 10:11:34 PM »
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Lightroom only has to be as complex as you choose to make it. There are lots of options. You might want to start with a book that won't bog you down in the techy weeds yet won't insult your intelligence either. I recommend http://www.digitalphotobook.net/
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Ellis Vener
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ArticFox
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2012, 06:15:43 AM »
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I wish to thank each one of you for responding to my inquiry about a good processing software that can last, yet not require a steep cost investment for now.   It seems that Adobe Lightroom is well supported on this site.  Take care. 

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IanBrowne
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 01:12:49 AM »
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I love my lightroom. Elements 11 would be a handy extra tool to consider later on.

If $ are sort maybe Elements will get you started.

And another tip; get a good book for the program you decide on. I use Scott Kelby's.

The online Lightroom 4 videos offered on this forum could also be a good investment IMO
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kikashi
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 01:31:15 PM »
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The online Lightroom 4 videos offered on this forum could also be a good investment IMO

Not "could": "will". They're entertaining as well as instructive, which is a Good Thing. You'll probably need a reference book as well, though: I've found Martin Evening's to be excellent.

Jeremy
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ArticFox
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 03:48:29 PM »
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Folks, I am the original poster for this subject.  I am deaf, and was so frustrated not to be able to hear that beautiful demo video for Lightroom. 

I need a good book for a nice program, but a budget program is important.  I am investing in a new sensor format (I chose MFT), so I am not paying $500 for processing software right now.

I am currently using the LX5 - great images but using my fingers more than my hands. I may get a flagship Olympus Pen, OMD, or the GH3.  I have read that the OMD is not user friendly in regards to user interface.

I am not impressed with reference books that simply repeat the instruction book, so inspiration would be really helpful, and I would be happy to hear your response, if not more specific than  IanBrown and kikashi.

 
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 04:01:55 PM »
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I am not sure whether you are implying that Lightroom is too expensive but I can assure you that it represents the very best value for money product for your needs.

Obviously videos are going to be of no help to you.
I am going to make two suggestions with regards to two books that you should consider:
1. The Digital Negative by Jeff Schewe - this book concentrates on the aspects of using Lightroom (and Photoshop when required) to 'develop' your RAW images. Absolutely recommended.
2. Adobe Lightroom 4 - The Missing FAQ's by Victoria Brampton - this book covers in detail every aspect of Lightroom especially troubleshooting. A great technical expose.

These two books combined provide excellent complementary information that will allow you to fly with Lightroom.
Look forward to hearing from you Christian.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 04:18:05 PM »
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If you want a photo editing program that is budget priced, you might try PhotoLine, pl32.com. It is full featured with layers and much more, supports the common plug-in architecture, so you can use Photoshop plug-ins, costs only 60 , major upgrades 30 . Only draw back: there is no tutorial literature beyond the manual. There is a helpful forum though. It is my preferred editing program even though I have Photoshop. Comes for both Mac and Windows.
I have no affiliation with the authors.
Good light! - Hening
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PDobson
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 04:37:17 PM »
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You could also try a combination of the GIMP and whatever Raw processor comes with your camera. The GIMP is a free open-source image editor that's surprisingly powerful. While I use Adobe products myself, any time I have to work on a photo from someone else's computer, I'll download GIMP.

It's interesting that you are looking into an MFT system, I am too. I want something lighter than my current DSLR. I was surprised about your conclusion that the OMD looked harder to handle. I thought it looked much easier to access and operate crucial controls than the other Olympus cameras. Dials seem more straightforward to me than menus.

Phillip
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graeme
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 05:23:05 PM »
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Hi Christian

Welcome to the forum.

I finally decided to start using Lightroom a couple of months ago ( since 2000 I've done a lot of photoshop stuff, a bit of Illustrator and some InDesign ) and I'm coming to the conclusion that it may be the best piece of software I've ever used.

The price seems very reasonable for an app this powerful.

It's a shame that Michael and Jeff's videos won't work for you. I have Martin Evenings Lightroom book and can recommend it. Victoria Bampton's book, which Tony recommends also sounds very good.

Enjoy your photography.

Graeme
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Rand47
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 10:32:41 AM »
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LR 4 is about $120 on a very popular on line retailer.
I honestly think the value is unbeatable.  I'd be tempted to scale back your other purchases to make up the difference between a cheaper alternative (you're probably talking $50 or so) and LR.

Getting a great camera and using less than great software is a little like buying a Ferrari and putting 3rd rate passenger car tires on it. You'll not get the performance or control you paid for.  Also consider the learning and experience sharing that goes along with using an industry standard like LR. There's real value in that when you can come to sites such as this for ongoing help. And as a final thought I'll say that improvements in LR's ability to squeeze image quality out of RAW files has equaled or exceeded improvements in camera hardware over the last few years (w/ a few notable exceptions).  Going from LR 3 to LR 4.2 was like having a new sensor put in all my cameras.

Tony Jay's book recommendations are spot on, IMO.  

Good luck and have fun!

Rand
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 11:07:54 AM by Rand47 » Logged
k bennett
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 11:03:16 AM »
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Getting a great camera and using less than great software is a little like buying a Ferrari and putting 3rd rate passenger car tires on it.

Back when the original Canon 1D came out, I bought two of them -- finally, a great camera that happened to be digital! But I was having a terrible time trying to get good raw conversions. The Canon software was bad, and the conversions from an early version of Camera Raw weren't much better. Somebody (I think on this forum) suggested I try Capture One DSLR, which had just been released in a version that would convert Canon raw files.

The conversions were a LOT better, and made the camera completely usable. But the software was $500 and I did not want to spend that much on a raw conversion app, until my wife pointed out that I had spent $11,000 on the two cameras and $500 was essentially nothing in comparison. So I bought the application and used it for a long time.

Now I use Lightroom, which is well worth the initial cost, both in money and in time spent learning how to get the best images.
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2012, 07:59:34 AM »
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LR 4 is about $120 on a very popular on line retailer.
I honestly think the value is unbeatable.
Yes it is, PS Elements is not that cheaper (even quite the same price here in EU), and wayyyyyy less practical, powerful and efficient.
ArcticFox, don't waste your time with pixel editors (PS alone, GIMP, etc...) unless you really know what you are doing and why you need them. A parametric, workflow-oriented software that lets you manage everything is really what one needs first.
You might check Apple Aperture if you're on a Mac.
There could also be Bibble5 aka Corel AfterShotPro, but the development doesn't seems very active indeed (rumors say insistently that Corel ousted the development team).
In the open world, the only soft I know would be Darktable, but it's really lagging behind in terms of features.

I need a good book for a nice program, but a budget program is important.
I'd recommend this about LR and/or that about development in LR and other technical questions.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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ArticFox
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2012, 08:05:05 AM »
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Pixel editor vs a workflow editor?  I don't understand the distinction.  I currently use iPhoto that came with my iMac - each slider change the entire photo.  I did see another recommendation for Aperture but it was equated to LR4.
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k bennett
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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2012, 09:42:55 AM »
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Pixel editor vs a workflow editor?  I don't understand the distinction.  I currently use iPhoto that came with my iMac - each slider change the entire photo.  I did see another recommendation for Aperture but it was equated to LR4.

iPhoto is a workflow application. Here's the difference:

Pixel editors (like Photoshop) make actual changes to the pixels in the photo. When you save your work, the original photo is irrevocably changed. (Unless you always Save As or create a working copy.)

Parametric editors (like iPhoto, Lightroom, Aperture) don't touch the original raw (or jpeg) file; instead, they keep track of the changes you made in the sliders, then apply all those changes when you export the photo. This means the original file is untouched, so you can go back and start over, or do something different if you want.

When you move slider in iPhoto, you are changing your view of the photo, but you are NOT changing anything about the actual original file. You're just making edits that will be applied later.

One cool feature of iPhoto, LR, and Aperture is their ability to manage your photo archive for you, keeping track of all your images and allowing you to organize and search for photos in many different ways.

I rarely open photos in Photoshop any more, unless I need to do heavy retouching -- which is possible in Lightroom, but a lot easier in Photoshop.
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ArticFox
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2012, 04:50:55 AM »
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Thank you so much for enlightening me about different forms of digital processors.  I just purchased a full scale LR4 on B&H Photo for $80 with purchase of a new MFT lens.  

I find myself somewhat addicted to post processing on iPhoto and lose track of time.  I think it is a result of making up for years of disposing failed film processing, then becoming intimate with the digital camera delete button - now I feel connected to the Creator (tongue in check - no intention to offend anyone in saying so).  It will be interesting to see if LR4 will feel more powerful as a post processor.  Given my lack of hearing for video, now I am going to refer back to your book recommendations - that is the beauty of forum threads - they are still there.

BTW, I was at the Catoctin Mountain fruit farm this weekend (Maryland-Pennsylvania border) and discovered amazing bokeh images through post processing.  One image was so amazing I created a cropped abstract art bokeh image by itself.  Note that the natural flower has a crazy neon fuschia color and not far the from original color in this image, as one would imagine - it is an eye burner in real life. LX5 handheld with a strong cool breeze passing by.

Take Care,
Christian
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 06:01:07 AM by ArticFox » Logged
IanBrowne
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« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2012, 01:05:52 PM »
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And a tip Christian that worked for: To learn LR quicker, turn of ALL other editing/filing programs and work only with LR. This will save you frustration of being confused. Any other: buy a good Lightroom book.....I use Scott Kelby's

Enjoy your Lightroom journey and make the adjustment brush our best friend Wink.
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