Basic newbie software recommendation

Registered: Jan 30, 2010
Total Posts: 139
Country: United States

Guys i'm new to all this software stuff, i've just taken my photos in jpeg format and view them on my computer in whateve the default picture program is in the computer. As a person who wants to get started sprucing up his photos what software do you recommend to work with the jpeg files.

As I get better then maybe I can learn to work with RAW files (whatever that really means). for right now just something to sharpen them up and make them look good EASILY so I can show them off on my IPAD. Thanks

Registered: Jul 19, 2011
Total Posts: 73
Country: United States

Picasa is fun-

also, the price is right.

Registered: Oct 16, 2009
Total Posts: 746
Country: United States

Photoshop Elements is a very useful program. I ended up with a free copy when I bought a Canon scanner. It won't do all the things that the full PS will do but it will do all the basic things. Under 100 bucks all the way down to free.

Registered: Aug 01, 2002
Total Posts: 614
Country: United States

I second Photoshop Elements recommendation. You can do pretty much all you need to do with Elements. Later when you decide to work with RAW, Elements will handle that also. Have fun!

Registered: Dec 23, 2003
Total Posts: 20923
Country: United States

Photoshop Elements or Lightroom. I prefer LR.

Registered: Dec 06, 2011
Total Posts: 46
Country: United States

First of all, I recommend shooting RAW. There is more information in a RAW file than there is in a jpg since the jpg is only 8-bit while the RAW is generally 12-bit data. That gives you more latitude in changing things. If your camera will do RAW+jpg, start out that way. You get the immediate gratification from the jpg and the editing flexibility of the RAW IF YOU NEED IT. Generally you can do pretty well with the jpg, but I find that 5-10% of my shots need editing, and I prefer to do it from a RAW file.

As far as Lightroom or PhotoShop, they will both edit your photos, but they are really designed for different things. Lightroom is a basic editor. Brightness, contrast, white balance, cropping, tilting, and a few more advanced operations. Pretty much beginner's stuff. But it also provides you with a catalog of pictures. You can add tags to the pictures to help you find things years later. (You can do that with other programs too, but IMHO Lightroom does it best).

PhotoShop is a more advanced editor. It will do everything Lightroom will do except keeping a catalog of images. In addition, you can use layers to combine different photos or edit just parts of an image. It has lots of bells and whistles and takes a lot longer to master. PhotoShop Elements is a simplified version of Photoshop with fewer bells and no whistles, but it might have some horns.

I use both programs. I start with Lightroom (all my photos go into it so they're in the catalog). Do whatever editing is needed, then export the photos to jpg copies. If I want to do something fancy I go to PhotoShop. I then re-import the result into Lightroom so it's in the catalog. Photoshop is probably used on fewer then 2% of my photos, so it's not something that's essential to a beginner.

PS: A RAW file is the data that comes out of the camera sensor. It is not something that you can use as an image directly. You have to convert it to an image format (JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, etc). A jpg is a compressed image that can be shown on a computer. There are different levels of compression, resulting in different size files. The jpg file is generally significantly smaller than the RAW file.

Registered: Jul 19, 2011
Total Posts: 73
Country: United States

You know- I use LR myself, the OP hasn't used ANY kind of photo related software and PS and LR can be a bit overwhelming to a "Basic newbie". Baby steps...he can get the basics of what he asked about with picasa as a free starter (EASILY was mentioned).

Registered: Oct 29, 2006
Total Posts: 7957
Country: United States

Faststone is another that is really easy to use and FREE.

Registered: Dec 06, 2004
Total Posts: 1824
Country: United States

Picasa for simple and easy but look at lightroom, particularly if you are interested in RAW files. PS is too complex to start out with. LR has the advantage of having the same basic workflow no matter what file type you are working with (JPG, RAW, TIFF, etc). Switching to using RAW file with lightroom simply gives you more power in your editing without adding complexity.

Registered: Jan 24, 2009
Total Posts: 104
Country: United States

Try Photoshop Elements as mentioned. Free trial. If you use it and learn it and want to grow into full Photoshop, many of the concepts carry over. It has been a long time since I used Elements but I assume they still have all of the easy wizards for quick fixes plus the ability to manually control edits

Registered: Dec 13, 2010
Total Posts: 4170
Country: United States

I don't use any iPhones but I heard Instagram is free.

Gregory Edge
Registered: Jun 21, 2007
Total Posts: 523
Country: United States

If you have a Mac. I would go with Aperture. Makes viewing them on the iPad real simple.

Registered: Jan 14, 2006
Total Posts: 5627
Country: United States

Photoshop Elements for the carry over learning so you can movecup to photoshop. Sire there are a lot of other programs and many can do some thongs very well-so,e say/ like them bettercthan Ps. But nothing rivals the PS featureset. You can be sure that where ever your photography takes you PS is the most capable and accepts so many 3 rd party plug-ins.

Registered: Oct 21, 2011
Total Posts: 1952
Country: United States

i second the recommendation for Lightroom. it's really quite powerful now, and the brush/gradient/spot tools allow you to make a lot of local adjustments without having to go into photoshop and create layers. plus it can't be beat for keeping your stuff organized and doing batch editing. and it costs 1/2 of what it did two years ago.