best software for photography beginner

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by impulse462, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    Hi all,

    Recently, I've been getting into photography and I finally got myself a camera (Leica d lux 109). I've been doing a lot of research on which programs to manage and edit my photos but honestly I have not come to a solid conclusion...

    Originally, I wanted to use aperture but obviously I can't so I got lightroom instead. I read that it was aperture's main competitor. Since I have access to the adobe cloud suite I decided to download it and it seems cool.

    The general consensus for Photos is that it's getting better but its not quite an aperture replacement. What are the real differences between Photos and Lightroom? I'm not opposed to using software with a relatively steep learning curve since I have to do that at my job. Just curious which one to use because I'd rather stick with one if possible.

    As for the camera, I plan on shooting manual as it seems the most fun.

  2. Alexander.Of.Oz, Mar 10, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018

    Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030


    Oct 29, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Take a look at Darktable, a lot of the features Lightroom has are copied from this, and added in by Adobe much later on in the piece! Best thing, it's free, non-destructive in its editing, and continuously evolved by the voluntary collective minds working on it all the time. :cool:

    Oh, and shoot in RAW with jpeg, so that later on you can edit earlier images from the RAW files and all their wonderful detail, colour and light.

    In regards to learning to shoot manually, try starting out on Aperture Priority mode, get to learn what you can achieve with an aperture, then move on to Shutter Priority mode, learning how to control the shutter to freeze motion or capture movement, then tackle Manual Mode. It's the easiest way to really get to grips with it all.
  3. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    For paid software , Photoshop Elements 2018 . It's not a subscription , and you can still get it on DVD . But try Alex' suggestion first . Free is good.
  4. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Jan 17, 2008
    Solon, OH
    I have been using Photoshop Elements for years. It has a RAW editor built in. The RAW editor is not nearly as extensive as Lightroom or Darktable, but it might be enough for now. Most recommend that even if you are using a RAW editor like Lightroom, it is still good to have pixel level editor like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

    Elements retails for $100 but you can always find it on sale somewhere. You do not need the DVD because you can download it as many times as you want. You just cannot run it without the product key.
  5. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    If you have Lr, then stay with Lr for now.

    Don't experiment with a plethora of tools while attempting to learn the craft at the same time. You'll just confuse yourself and slow down your learning. Lr can to great work in most situations. I would not suggest replacing it until you've mastered it.

    The only exception to that would be if you want to abandon the subscription for financial reasons. If that's the case, I would second the Photoshop Elements 2018 suggestion. A very good all-in-on package that functions as a lightweight Ps replacement and a lightweight Lr replacement. It can't do everything that the big guys can, but it can do anything that a novice can learn to do properly without several years of experience.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'd use Lr and Photoshop. They are the industry standards, and sorta what everyone else chases, except maybe Apple (who stopped chasing them, and is sorta all-in on the iPhone-Mac-iCloud thing).

    The biggest reason for a beginner is that if you learn those, you can use anything. And there are FAR FAR more educational materials on just Lr than all the rest combined. Plus classes at your local schools, books, camera club, and on and on. So any question you ask about processing, like "how do I adjust X in post?" is likely to be answered with a reference to Lr or Ps.

    Not that there aren't great alternatives, just harder to find resources.
  7. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
    And I'll second this advice.
  8. impulse462, Mar 11, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018

    impulse462 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    thanks for the advice guys. ill stick with Lr for now since I'm able to get it through my university. ill check out darktable though. nice to see photoshop elements is a standalone software

    now to get good at shooting manually... ill definitely start out with aperture and shutter priority first
  9. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    Check out some of the youtube videos on LR.

    The difference between iPhoto and LR is more adjustments in LR, lens calibration, White Balance is more define, etc.

    Shooting Manually is easy. First think about the Shutter speed, fast moving start around 125, low light start around 80. Shooting outside/daylight Aperture start around f/8. Play with it.

    Although I have a Nikon camera, I used to use Canon learning center just to see what a good start with your settings.
  10. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2014
    I used to use Aperture, went to LR for two years and decided when High Sierra came out to give Photos another chance.

    Photos is great now in my opinion. It’s fast, it integrates properly and with extensions like Skylum and Affinity it can go way beyond LR if so required.

    Especially when you are beginning, I would just use the tools that come with your Mac, are free, and are actually really good.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I tried to like Photos, and use it as my go-to app, but I just couldn't. I still use it for small projects, like creating calendars, but not my main app.

    The issue for me, is how do I manage my images, Photos lacks certain features. I use ratings, flag (or reject), set color label. I have a specific method of organizing my images, which Photos is inacapable. I'm not knocking anyone for using Photos, its just that I tried to use it, and its falling short.

    I'm also concerned about Apple's track record of scrapping an application and starting over.
  12. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2014
    That is exactly the reason I couldn't get on with LR, I was used to Aperture doing it in a certain way. Sure I've adapted my workflow a little by using Photos and when doing that it seems to be fine.

    PS. Adobe also changed its way, hence I used the opportunity to switch. I used to have the full CC suite but no more and haven't missed it for a moment.
  13. nicholasg macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2011
    My advice would be to consider what your requirements for photo management / editing software maybe in the future. Just because a basic photo management/editing program like Photos does what you need at the moment, as you get more into photography you may well find that professional grade software such as Lightroom and Photoshop meets your requirements much better.

    If that happens then you have the challenge of swapping from one program to another, which is not trivial. In fact it generally isn't possible to move your edits to another program as all the vendors store them in proprietary formats.

    A lot of people get very hung up on the $120 / annum for Lightroom + Photoshop without considering the "cost" of the time you put into managing and editing your photographs. Add in equipment depreciation, the cost of traveling to locations etc. and $120 is really a fairly small percentage of total annual photography related expenditure.
  14. Tajhad macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2017
    I would be supporting this viewpoint. When you finish your course you will have to pay for Lightroom. I think Apple Photos is often overlooked. I know I was one. I was so pissed of at Apple for dumping Aperture that I went straight to Lightroom. But for work ( I was doing a lot of photos through my work) I went to Photos. I didn’t want to spend a huge time editoring, it was reasonable for organisation. I could get things done quickly and output quite satisfactorily.

    Lightroom has a lot more features. But it’s like “do I need a four wheel drive for city driving”. Only you can answer that one. While you have Lightroom - give photos a look. You might find it suits your needs ( costs nothing and is going to be there for future updates).
  15. mmomega macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Lightroom for me.
    I enjoy the process and using it. So I am the opposite of a lot of the guys going from LR to Photos. I was primarily an iPhoto-Photos user and switched to LR last year.

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14 March 10, 2018