good photoshop for beginner?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thebro20, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. thebro20 macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2014
    Hi everyone,

    so I'm new to photography and am interested in getting into photoshop. I'm a little iffy on lightroom and aperture's price tags so I'm wondering if anyone has any good suggestions for a cheaper or even free alternative?
  2. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography program is actually a decent price at $10 a month. Yes, it's subscription only, but.....there are far more presets available for Lightroom (both free and paid) and more training for both Lr and PS CC.

    Aperture is on it's last legs, so don't buy it. Photos for OS X (due out in early 2015) will replace both iPhoto and Aperture. If the iOS and iCloud versions are any indication of what the OS X version will be like, it'll be worth the wait.

    For Photoshop alternatives, Pixelmator is a good choice. As to Lightroom alternatives, there is DXO Optics Pro and Capture One Pro - both pricey, both with little third party support.

    I've been using Photoshop since I got back into photography in 1999. I use Lightroom about 95% of the time and only occasionally have to flip an image to Photoshop.
  3. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    If you are new to photography don't bother with editing much at this time, just take photos and get to know your camera. Use iPhoto or any software that came with your camera for starters. Lightroom and Aperture are around $80 - 100 one time expenses and PhotoShop is at least $120 per year on a subscription basis. It also requires something akin to a degree in Nuclear Particle Physics to use fully. No joke.

    Welcome to the (potentially) second most expensive hobby I know of. Auto racing tops it.

  4. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Strongely consider Lightroom as you Digital Asset Manager does does the work of librarian, does basic non-destructive edits, creates slideshows, creates web galleries, and does book design.

    As an alternative to Photoshop as a raster toolset, I highly recommend Pixelmatr as an advanced graphics tool package. It can edit photos and also be used for other graphics design work. It is $30 on the App Store.

    For photo specific editing, I recommend you consider apps that act as plugins to Lightroom. Candidates are: Perfect Photo Suite 9, the Nik Collection, Topaz Labs...etc.
  5. DarrenUK macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2012
    Southampton, UK
    I use Adobe Photoshop Elements to edit all of my photos, it does everything I need it to and more and the price is reasonable.
  6. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000


    Jun 5, 2012
    This is good advice from Dale.

    It's too easy to get caught up in the good, the bad and the ugly of image processing all the while forgetting about what's really important - learning and honing your skills as a photographer.

    iPhoto should be ok for you for now. I'm currently using Aperture and will stick with it for the time being till I see what Photos has to offer.

    I have high hopes that Apple will deliver the goods.

    ~ Peter
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Peter, I have to say I wouldn't recommend iPhoto to anyone other than those that perhaps take snaps with their i-device. We can agree that learning to "see" and shoot is a topic unto itself but learning post processing with a decent software teaches beginners about histograms, curves, noise and more and how to avoid "issues" or rather, work around them with their particular camera. I'll just say we disagree but appreciated your post.
  8. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
    Designer Dale's advice is spot on. Stay away from post processing until you know what you're processing.

    Also, stay away from iPhoto, Aperture or 'Photos'…well, any Apple software. They're a phone / tablet company now, their software is ****.
  9. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Thanks for the support.

    Photography is like baking a cake. First you need a good idea of what you want the finished product to be like (visualization). Then you need to collect all the right ingredients (subject, background and light) and put them in a good container for baking (framing). Then set the oven (camera) just right (exposure) and let it bake. What comes out of the oven should be good enough to eat as is. All the rest (post processing) is just, um..icing on the cake...

    You need something to keep your photos organized and iPhoto or Aperture will do that for you. If you have discipline you can get by with folder structure that makes sense until your library passes a given number. Maybe 1000. Then you need software for help.

    PS: Purchase number one for better photography is a tripod.

  10. Rhei macrumors member

    May 16, 2011
    If you look in the Mac promos thread, there's a link to a version DXO optics pro for free if you just want to try something out. The only thing it doesn't seem to do is manage your photos, but it seems pretty good for an editor.
  11. AlaskaMoose, Nov 9, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    A lot can be done with PS Elements; but LightRoom would be better.

    Also, there is Graphic Converter. This application has been with Apple computers since the Apple GS, and is called, "the poor man's PhotoShop." It costs around $35.00, and the upgrades are free.

    Instead of being online to use the numerous Adobe applications, I decided to have a standalone CS6 installed on my computers. Being online to edit my photos is not for me.

    By the way, most people taking photos want to edit the photos as soon as possible, since they want to see how the photos look among other things. If you used a film camera to take photos, would you just store the film instead of taking it to the lab?
  12. v3rlon macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2014
    Earth (usually)
    (off topic a little)
    As a collector of fine hobbies, I cannot agree the the price assessment. In my experience, ANY hobby is going to set you back $3000 US minimum, once you start taking it seriously. If you take up macramé, you will find that somewhere, somehow, sewing will get very expensive (actually, my wife likes to sew, and sewing machines have the same price points as cameras, near as I can tell - right up to the "good used car" stuff.

    Other than that, he is right that you should not worry about editing at first, just taking better pictures.

    The one caveat is organization. You need to have a good system for keeping photos organized and learn good habits there.
  13. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Adobe Photoshop Element is for starter/novice/beginner. Very cheap than Photo editing king, Adobe Photoshop. :apple:
  14. MiniD3 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    LR is my suggestion

    I've been through the pain, over and over,
    The pain started like this,
    I bought a Nikon Digital SLR,
    Bought Nikon Capture NX2,
    Used that software for many years, became a very confident user and was getting the most out of the software
    -Then Nikon decided to stop supporting the software
    Bought Apple Aperture
    -Then Apple decided not to support the software
    Bought Adobe CC with Lightroom and Photoshop
    happy now

    All of the above sounds OK but there is a giant problem in the transition for every change that is made,
    -all edits made in each software are gone and one has to re-edit every image unless files are changed over to tiff files
    -When you end up with thousands of images this can be a nightmare

    I suggest 2 options,
    1. Buys Lightroom and at least download an ibook on how to use it, or
    2. Get Adobe CC which gives you Lightroom and Photoshop, yes, it is a subscription, but at $9.95 a month, suits me

    you will find the LR does almost everything you need, and importantly, will catalog your images as well
    Plus, there is a mile of training on tube and Adobe TV

    Lastly, if all of the above is not suitable,
    and you have a Nikon, you can download all the software from NIKON for free
    Nikon Capture NX2 is now replaced by Nikon Capture NXD, free software that will get you started for free, but remembering, down the track, if you decide to change software afterwards, you will have to re-edit or change to tiff files

    If you have a Canon, like most big manufacturers, they all have some form of editing software paged with the camera
  15. CaptainZero macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2013
    I wouldn't recommend it right away, but Gimp is free, and it's supposed to be a good alternative to Photoshop. I've only tried it once, so I don't know, but you did say you were looking for something less expensive.
  16. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Krita is being tested on OSX, and I would take that over Gimp any day.
  17. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    How do GIMP or Krita workflows invoke a plugin like Nik, Topaz, DxO Optics, or Perfect Photo Suite app....and get the resulting edited image back side by side with the original?

    I suggest we do not need lots of standalone apps, we need integrated workflows that can use a wide variety of plugins.
  18. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It depends on the tools that are required. Those apps exist as plugins due to photoshop's dominance and that it requires much less development time to produce a plugin than a fully featured app.
  19. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    True. Many apps today have a standalone and plug in option. Often on the pro version of the software. Even those designed to be plug ins can sometimes be used as standalone if you know what you are doing.
  20. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No reason for photography to be expensive. Except that so many people think that if only they owned one more piece of gear then finally their photos would not suck. It ain't the gear.

    You can do well with a $250 used SLR and iPhoto.

    As for expensive hobbies. Auto racing in nothing. I used to have a sailboat that I tried to race.
  21. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Ah yes - Break Out Another Thousand...
  22. v3rlon macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2014
    Earth (usually)
    Have you tried racing airplanes yet?

    And I still want enough money for my own space program. I was really influenced by Rocket Ship Galileo as a chil - er, a while back when I was a bit shorter than I am now.
  23. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I'm relatively new to photography and have been using Lightroom for the past year or so. I got an academic license which is less expensive. If you're in education, or knows someone in education who can get the licence for you, that could save you some money. I'm very happy with what it does. When I did my research, I couldn't really find any good, low cost alternatives.

    I'd also like to nuance the advice you're getting about not bothering with post processing. I fully agree with the point that your fist call is to master your camera, understand exposure, all that stuff, and that post processing isn't meant to cover up for lack of photographic skills. But personally, I have found that working in Lightroom has also helped me understand how my camera works. In a sense, it gives you an extra window on the brain of your camera. By playing around with my images, I have learned more about white balance, exposure compensation, working with colours, etc. So, as long as you don't consider post processing as an alternative to learning how to set your exposure right, I wouldn't 'learn to shoot' first and then learn to post process. Those two things can work pretty well hand in hand, IME.

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