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Cameras and Photography: The best user-friendly photo editing program

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DaysDawning
Napoleon, OH

October 8, 2008
3:13 AM

Post #5645554

I hope I'm on the correct thread; I am asking for information on the best user-friendly photo editing program.
I have taken senior photos of my niece and want to work with them before printing.
Two years ago I did her older sisters' pictures by using Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 with limited success.
My new computer has Vista and I'm not sure if this 4.0 program is compatible or will be able to install/upgrade to my system -- have't tried yet.
Any advice, suggestions, insights, recommendations, etc... would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks,
~Dawn

**disclaimer** this is just one of her goofy shots!
\/ \/ \/ \/ \/

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irisloverdee
Lebanon, OR

October 8, 2008
3:26 AM

Post #5645611

First I have a newer adobe and do not like it...way to complicated for me, more like a pro's use.

I love Paint Shop Pro...

D
DaysDawning
Napoleon, OH

October 8, 2008
3:36 AM

Post #5645645

D - Thanks ... I was the same way with the Adobe - I was able to fix some blemishes but couldn't figure out much more.

I'll look into PaintShop Pro.

Thanks again!
~Dawn
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

October 8, 2008
10:31 PM

Post #5648544

I love Paint Shop Pro too, Easy to learn, Great for working on photos! ( I have the older psp version 7, But, there are other versions)
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 20, 2008
5:39 PM

Post #5812613

Dawn, your niece is lovely! I popped into this thread to recommend Paint Shop Pro too... seems to be the tool of choice, LOL.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 20, 2008
10:08 PM

Post #5813391

Could you tell me about Paint Shop Pro? Can it work with a mac? I'm leaning toward photoshop and spending the rest of my life in frustration because it is supposed to be so difficult.
cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

November 20, 2008
10:46 PM

Post #5813502

I tried Photoshop Elements 4 and found it a bit difficult. Although to be fair I didn't work with it long. So I am a bit skiddish about buying Photoshop, it is more expensive too. I like the Fugi and Canon software that came with my cameras but have also found Picasa (free download) to be simple and easy.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 20, 2008
11:25 PM

Post #5813650

Starting with Picasa is a good suggestion... if you decide you want more capabilities, then check out Jasc Paint Shop Pro. I found it a lot easier to use than Photoshop (which a friend installed one time for me on a previous computer)... I don't half use all its capacities, but it did come with a well written instruction book. :-)

I don't know whether it works on a Mac, but it works fine with both Windows & Vista on a PC. I've got version 9, and I may upgrade to a later version at some point, mostly because they seem to come bundled now with album software that seems promising.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 21, 2008
5:32 AM

Post #5814939

I think Picasa is just for PC's. I have the Canon Image Browser stuff and Preview. Both work well but seem clumsy to me; not very subtle. I'll have to check it out. I'm just leaning toward Photoshop because it seems like the most commonly used. Just wish it was easier. I can't seem to find Photoshop Elements for Mac in Santa Fe. May need a trip to Albuquerque!
Methodical
Clinton, MD
(Zone 7a)

November 22, 2008
11:30 AM

Post #5818593

If you get Photoshop it is a must/necessity that you buy a book on how to use it. Don't rely on the instructions that came with the software. The book I have is: Photoshop Elements 6 Book for Digital Photographers by Kelby/Kloskowski. This book shows you how to do things and doesn't get into the boring (at least for me) theories. I just want to know how to do things when it comes to photo editing - point blank. Go to one of the books stores or even a library and give it a test drive. There's a learning curve but like anything else you get better over time of usage.

Just One Man's Opinion

This message was edited Nov 22, 2008 6:31 AM
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 22, 2008
4:58 PM

Post #5819447

Methodical, thanks. That was a timely suggestion as I am probably going to get Photoshop Elements 6 for macs. It isn't nearly as expensive as the Big photoshop ( of course doesn't do as much either ) and it comes with a free trial offer so you can check it out. I suspect they will have a new one for 2009 but I just have a G-4 which is about right for it. I bought a book about my digital camera and it has been much more help than the camera manual that came with it.
Methodical
Clinton, MD
(Zone 7a)

November 23, 2008
1:33 AM

Post #5820945

Yeah Roybird you're lucky they still have the PSE6 for Mac. They no longer sell it for PC - only the PSE7. But the book is still useable for PSE7 as there's only a few changes between the 2. I have the 30 day trial version and am giving it a go. I most likely will purchase it.

I need to get a book for my 50d but they don't have one yet, at least I did not see in Barnes and Noble. I guess the 40d book will have to do as they are pretty similar.

Take care
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 23, 2008
4:22 AM

Post #5821497

Well. Got the 30 day trial installed and now I have to figure out how to use it! I am going to see if I can get the book you suggested A.S.A.P. because the "Help" stuff isn't basic enough for me. We'll see how it goes.
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

November 23, 2008
4:48 AM

Post #5821572

Good Luck roybird, I think when you get the book it will help alot as photoshop has a bit of a learning curve.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 23, 2008
6:28 PM

Post #5822881

Thank you. I had fun playing with PE-6 last night but am not sure how to do what I want to do with it yet! l.o.l.
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

November 23, 2008
9:26 PM

Post #5823366

lol! Takes a while, But I'm sure you will learn. I pretty sure there are free classes on the web somewhere to help you learn photoshop, If I come across them, I'll post a link for you.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 24, 2008
5:01 PM

Post #5826248

I did get the book George suggested and will try to learn this stuff! It seems pretty complex to me and this is the simplified version!
cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

November 24, 2008
10:32 PM

Post #5827332

That is what I thought about PE 4. But with me it is that I need to find more time to work with it. And I have to "unlearn" the old software I am using. I bet you will do very well, just keep on plugging--now to take my own advice!
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

November 26, 2008
7:44 PM

Post #5833598

My first photo editor was Adobe PhotoShop 7. I had no manual and struggled with it for 2 years.
Then I got Corel (no longer Jasc) PaintShop Pro X. I was overjoyed with the ease of use. It even has a built in Help Center to get you going fast. I started doing layers and frames in the first week.
I now have PSP Photo Plus from http://www.corel.com it's often on sale for under $50.
Which ever program you buy ~ order the disk not just the download. If you ever crash or upgrade your PC it will be there for you.
PSP does not work on MACs.
Andy P
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

November 26, 2008
8:35 PM

Post #5833694

I love my psp too! I have an older version, Very easy to use, think I'm going to upgrade eventually and get the newer version, And I totally agree...Much better to get the disk then the download!
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 26, 2008
9:01 PM

Post #5833742

More good advice but I already have the download on a trial basis. I wonder if they can sell me a disk instead? I am progressing with it but have no idea of what I'm doing.
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

November 26, 2008
9:31 PM

Post #5833805

Awww roybird, I know exactly how you feel! I have had other programs that I have tried where I was totally lost on what I was trying to learn and when I finally did figure a few things out, When I got back to it, I forgot how I did it to begin with!!!
Very Frustrating!
I don't know how if you could get the disk seeing as it's a trial basis, But it doesn't hurt to ask...I wish you luck on whatever you decide!
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 26, 2008
9:35 PM

Post #5833817

Thanks, Iris. I meant if I do decide to get it. On the other hand, it is already downloaded so easy to get online.
Methodical
Clinton, MD
(Zone 7a)

November 27, 2008
9:57 AM

Post #5835176

If you are talking about PSE, you can get the disk even if you downloaded the trial version. You will just have to input the codes into the software. Plus with the disk you can load the program onto 2 computers. If you have to remove and reload the program without a disk Adobe will charge you for a replacement disk. So get the disk if you decide to go with the program.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

November 27, 2008
8:56 PM

Post #5836465

Thanks. I appreciate the good advice. I hoped I might be able to do that. I have plenty of time left on the trial. I think I will go with it as I am starting to get used to it.
grits74571
Talihina, OK

December 1, 2008
4:22 PM

Post #5847425

I think the easiest to use is Picasa and HP photosmart with the quality nod going to picasa and they are both free..i say if it is free that is my choice...
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 1, 2008
4:29 PM

Post #5847457

No Picasa for Mac's.
cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

December 1, 2008
4:42 PM

Post #5847513

I just reloaded my PSE 4 and decided I would read the book and try one thing each day. It is easier than I remember. I think I just didn't have the time to focus on it and now that we have cold weather again I can learn it. It is more difficult than my simple camera software or Picasa--but not too difficult. And the things one can do are amazing. I especially like how I can lighten just a bit. This photo was too dark, the Picasa auto made it too light, and with PSE I got it just right! Yeah, sounds like Goldilocks huh? LOL! I ordered this book
http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Photoshop-Elements-Digital-Photographers/dp/0240519906/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t to keep me enthused!

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cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

December 1, 2008
4:53 PM

Post #5847571

Oh yes, another way I have learned from others is by joining flickr. They have groups that do challenges in PSE, all the softwares cameras etc. It is free membership but I did the paid one, only $25 a year and you can store all your photos there, plus get great feedback.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 1, 2008
4:57 PM

Post #5847587

Very pretty! The editing functions on P.E.6 are fun and not difficult. What I am having more trouble learning is Adobe Bridge functions. So the organization and storage of pictures is not as easy as Preview. The editing functions are far better. On the other hand, I don't want to get in to the habit of thinking,"Oh, I can fix it in Photoshop." It's a slippery slope! I removed a power line from a picture the other day and although the picture was better it wasn't quite as real. I still feel guilty! Of course some shots are fun to make as crazy as possible and the manipulation is part of what's good about the picture. So, we each have to be own "decider".
cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

December 1, 2008
5:05 PM

Post #5847620

Yes, I want to use it to remove things like lines and spots but not do the "unreal" manipulations. Well, of course I will try them. I think I will still try to take the best photos, I have been into photography a long time and the less time spent on computer, more with camera is what works for me. I know what you mean about viewing as it is the same with PSE 4. I do like the side by side view to compare photos. I have just started though and you are farther into it. Check out flickr, I would love to see your photos and viewing there is so much easier than here at DG!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/quiltdiva/
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 1, 2008
9:53 PM

Post #5848438

flickr looks very nice, as do your pictures! I just gave it a quick glance but will check it out more later. I like the side by side view, too. And no, I am not further in to it! I got my first camera in March 2008. So, I am a newbie on all this stuff. I have, however, been a painter/printmaker artist for many years so that is somewhat helpful.
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 2, 2008
11:36 PM

Post #5852236

Cactus, are you saying you don't want to do stuff like this?

Thumbnail by Sarahskeeper
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Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 2, 2008
11:37 PM

Post #5852240

Or this?

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Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 2, 2008
11:39 PM

Post #5852254

These were all fine images to start with that became fodder for the editor, lol.
Try doing a five in one melange like this with a free editor.
Sorry, I love my PaintShop.
Andy P

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roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 3, 2008
3:13 AM

Post #5852934

To each his own! l.o.l.
Hostanquilts
Tremont, IL
(Zone 5b)

December 3, 2008
10:21 PM

Post #5855633

Sarahskeeper, do you have the Adobe or Jasc PaintShop Pro? I had Jasc Paintshop Pro on my old pc that got zapped by lightening 5 or more years ago, but I struggled to use it... seemed too techy for me.
Jan
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 4, 2008
1:26 AM

Post #5856257

Roybird, you're absolutely right. Sorry, I got carried away last night. But editing is fun for me.
Jan, Adobe PhotoShop came with my first PC. I never could figure it out. I found Corel (no longer Jasc) PaintShop easy in comparison. Different tools for different folks. I understand the flow of PSP, somehow.
"Techy" is up for discussion, lol. PSP is looked down on by Adobe users. "Second rate, limited". The best program is useless if you don't understand it. The more I use it, the more I learn and winter is coming up fast. That's when I'm stuck indoors and 'play' in PSP.
I know most people just want to do basic editing, cropping, red-eye and maybe leveling the horizon. Fine. Learning a new editor takes time which is in short supply. I get bored with TV, work gets slow in winter, social web sites are repetitive. Editing is a distraction and I'm not all that good, yet. Step by step, inch by inch.
I have a fledgling on-line gift store that needs imaginative products. PSP helps.
Here is my Twisted Amaryllis as a T shirt.

Andy P

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Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 4, 2008
1:54 AM

Post #5856381

Looks like I got carried away again.
There is an editing discussion going on in Photos if anyone is interested. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/908336/
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 4, 2008
4:09 AM

Post #5856887

Oh, I don't know. I think its good to see different kinds of photos. I like the T-shirt very much. I also thought that the more manipulated photos could be great for commercial applications. It all depends on intent. Nice work, Sarah'skeeper!
cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

December 4, 2008
11:09 PM

Post #5859336

Those are really nice images, I just meant that for myself I am wanting to learn to improve lighting, make cards etc. I work on my computer daily and don't want to spend more time on it--my eyesight can't take it! I am sure that if and when I find the time I may dabble with some manipulations, but my main focus isn't there. Thanks for sharing yours though Sarahskeeper. ; )
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2008
12:43 AM

Post #5859633

You are correct again, Roybird. Intent...
Spending lots of time manipulating an image for a few 'Atta boys" is not a good use of your time.
I've enjoyed editing since I figured it out but my interest waned until I found an outlet.
Now-a-days we can have images printed cheaply, make calendars at Staples or Walgreens for a fair price. They make great gifts.
If your editor can make adjustments to brightness/contrast, adjust the horizon level, increase pixels per inch to 300 and add text, you should do OK.
Andy P
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 5, 2008
3:34 AM

Post #5860236

Yes. Not a bad idea. PhotoShop Elements can do quite a bit. However, what I really want is a better camera because I can't shoot Raw files on this one.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

December 5, 2008
2:00 PM

Post #5860989

Shooting RAW files takes you to a whole new level of possibilities, I guess.. but it seems to me you can do a lot by manipulating an "ordinary" photo file if you want.
cactuspatch
Alamogordo, NM
(Zone 7b)

December 5, 2008
3:05 PM

Post #5861205

My camera will shoot raw, but I really don't have a need for that. I mean I get some great shots and the enlargements are very nice. I think that RAW is more for keeping the file intact. Although after reading an article on that idea, I wondered why that is so necessary. I mean I have photos that I have opened several times and they still made lovely enlargements. I may be missing something though?
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2008
4:01 PM

Post #5861403

Roybird, I'm confused. The main reason to shoot in RAW is greater flexibility to edit and RAW works better for HDR. Why would someone who feels guilty about removing power lines want to shoot RAW?
RAW is way above my head, it looks cool but requires a thorough understanding of a good editor.
I still have a hard time adjusting hue/saturation, lol.
Andy P
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 5, 2008
5:34 PM

Post #5861691

My understanding is that JPEG loses pixels when it is reproduced, made larger. RAW files take up a humongous amount of space but do not lose pixels. Also, RAW can be changed to JPEG or TIF. JPEG stays JPEG. If I photograph my art work for the web, JPEG is the one. But, if I send an image to a gallery, or for a competition, they almost always want TIF or RAW. Why, I don't know. In the old days they wanted slides or transparencies. I am trying to figure out What I intend to do with my photos and I lean toward "fine art". However. I think there are lots of "arty" opportunities for JPEG. I have only been using a camera, ever, at all, since March. I always considered myself a painter. I don't love computers but I Love my camera. I have taken one class (intend to take more), read some books. The editing tools on Photoshop Elements are not so different from the old editing tools on the i-mac draw and paint programs which I enjoyed playing with and used for graphic designs without photographs. Does that explain? ( sure is a lot of words! )
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2008
10:57 PM

Post #5862649

It explains fine, Roybird. PaintShop can convert Jpg to TIF (I think) which also makes huge files.
You might consider starting a thread about RAW. I'm sure there are many with experience to advise you.
We seem to be drifting away from the "Best user friendly editor" theme.
stellapathic
Cambria, CA
(Zone 10a)

December 7, 2008
7:08 PM

Post #5868091

I use several editors, each with functions I like better than in the others. My default is IrfanView...when I move photos from my camera and put them in my photos I go through them in IV and delete any out-of-focus and otherwise not wanted ones, rotate them and eventually resize them here too. Next time I open Picasa those will be added and I then go through and use their auto contrast, straighten and crop functions. I just find it easier for these functions. I have PhotoShop 7 as my default external editor and if I want to do something beyond the above I open that photo in PS7. That doesn't happen often though, unless I'm feeling creative. Here's a photo from the other day of Rupert...I had been taking shots of him and must have closed the flash and forgot to open it again. So dark it was basically worthless.

Thumbnail by stellapathic
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stellapathic
Cambria, CA
(Zone 10a)

December 7, 2008
7:10 PM

Post #5868097

After straightening and cropping it in Picasa, I opened it in PhotoShop and played with it...eventually getting this, which saved the expression on his face and actually turned out looking like a painting. Oh, and when I have what I want and have renamed it and saved it in my photos, before I send it anywhere I reopen it (which will then be in IrfanView since that is my default) and resize. Works for me...sounds complicated but the only program I actually have to import a photo into is PhotoShop it's really easy.


edited for typos

This message was edited Dec 7, 2008 11:11 AM

This message was edited Dec 7, 2008 11:15 AM

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Hostanquilts
Tremont, IL
(Zone 5b)

December 7, 2008
10:07 PM

Post #5868534

I went & did it... Office Max had Corel Paint Shop Pro Ultimate Photo X2 reg. $89.99 for $49.99, so I bought it. On the pkg back it says it'll fix brightness, color, contrast & sharpness, rotate, resize, crop, straighten & remove red eye among other things, too numerous to mention here. I sure hope it does the job for me.
Jan
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 8, 2008
1:38 AM

Post #5869116

Cool, Jan.
Go to the Photos forum and jump in the Photo Editing thread. Lots of tips there,
Andy P
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

December 8, 2008
5:54 PM

Post #5871044

Hostanquilts, I think you will be quite happy with it! Mine does all you wrote above , And mine is the 'old version', So you should be able to do even more with the newer version you got! :)
Hostanquilts
Tremont, IL
(Zone 5b)

December 8, 2008
10:23 PM

Post #5871956

Thank you, your comments make me feel better... haven't loaded it yet or even open the box.. been busy & gone most of the day. I just hope it isn't too techy & hard to learn to use. I know the Jasc one I had was way over my head.
Jan
Sarahskeeper
Brockton, MA
(Zone 6a)

December 9, 2008
12:10 AM

Post #5872345

Jan, the built in Learning Center is a huge help. It will come up automatically at first, you can always find it under the Pallets tab.
You're more experienced now, it will come.
Don't be shy to click the 'drop down' arrows next to tools or in the tool bars. Run your cursor slowly over everything. The second horizontal tool bar changes according to the tool you are using.
Load up a full size copy of a pic and go for it.
Let us know if you get stuck.
Andy P
Hostanquilts
Tremont, IL
(Zone 5b)

December 9, 2008
1:12 AM

Post #5872551

Thanks Andy, will do.
Jan

Dinu

Dinu
Mysore
India
(Zone 10a)

December 11, 2008
3:11 PM

Post #5881300

For those who desire quick and easy editing. with simple steps, try Picasa3. 3 is an updated version of 2 and I find it useful for as layman as me with editing. In the new version, many useful features are added. You can add text too, to the image. This is sufficing to me and when I tried PhotoShop, I did not know how to go about it. Then there is Neat Image for fine tuning of images. For resizing in batches, I use Fast Stone Image resizer.

Dinu
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

December 11, 2008
4:56 PM

Post #5881703

I am really enjoying Photoshop Elements for Macs. I have Preview and Canon Image Browser, too. They are o.k. but not as subtle as Elements for say, exposure or highlighting.
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

December 13, 2008
12:34 AM

Post #5886107

How about user friendly with GIF animation?

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