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06-21-2013, 01:00 PM   #16
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Lightroom is not exactly noob-friendly but once you get the hang of it, its pretty easy and efficient.

Just buy Scott Kelby's book along with it. Otherwise I would have been lost.

06-21-2013, 01:22 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by yygomez Quote
There is nothing more complete (for a reasonable price) than Lightroom, Now you can get LR4 for ~$79
Be aware that with Lighroom 5 about to hit the market updates for Lightroom 4 will be limited. Also from what I can tell Lightroom 5 requires Windows 7 or 8, and I've been happily running Vista. Thus is the Way of Adobe....

BTW, Martin Evening has excellent books on Lightroom. He apparently worked with Adobe on the program's development.

Last edited by grhazelton; 06-21-2013 at 01:30 PM. Reason: Added info
06-21-2013, 01:50 PM   #18
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If you're on a mac, then Aperture is very easy to use with RAW. In fact, there's nothing to do; it imports and displays RAW just as it does jpeg. You just have more flexibility for adjustments. Also, the general workflow and file organization structure is excellent and very easy to use. I particularly like that all adjustments are non-destructive and trivially reversible. At the moment, we're on Aperture 3.4. Lightroom is ahead of it in photo editing features, but hopefully Aperture 4 is not far off (there are rumours, but with Apple products, there are always rumours, and very little hard information). Aperture can use plug-ins. In fact, I have Photoshop, BorderFX, PTlens, ... installed as plug-ins for those rare occasions when I need something Aperture can't do. It is about half the price of Lightroom.
06-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
I'd also recommend Lightroom
+1 on that, I use Lightroom for almost everything, except the heavy lifting which is still done in PS.

06-21-2013, 02:53 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Be aware that with Lighroom 5 about to hit the market updates for Lightroom 4 will be limited. Also from what I can tell Lightroom 5 requires Windows 7 or 8, and I've been happily running Vista. Thus is the Way of Adobe....

BTW, Martin Evening has excellent books on Lightroom. He apparently worked with Adobe on the program's development.
Got news for you, lightroom 5 is already out for almost 2 weeks.
07-10-2013, 01:10 AM   #21
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If you are on Mac or Linux

I would recommend giving darktable a shot. It is a free, open source program that is very similar to Lightroom. I think it is pretty user friendly and quite powerful. One really great feature are the user generated noise profiles for a huge range of cameras. There are even lens corrections for a few Pentax lenses, such as the 18-55 kit lens many of us have.

I use it almost exclusively, but no where near its potential.
07-10-2013, 06:47 AM   #22
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You may want to start with Picasa.

Its free and will take you a long way. The main downside compared to Lightroom is that the options for local adjustments are very limited.

You could jump into Lightroom straight away, but depending on what you want to do with your images, you may be able to avoid the learning curve without any real detriment.
07-10-2013, 06:51 AM   #23
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For free you can't beat FastStone Image Viewer. Has a nice set of fast tweaks for processing your images and can handle a range of batch tasks quickly. Certainly something you can jump into quickly and for not cost. I haven't tried any of the paid programs so I can't tell you how much more you can do with them rather than FastStone.

07-10-2013, 07:38 AM   #24
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And to add to the confusion - Photoshop Elements. It is attractively priced, uses the same Adobe Camera RAW as both Lightroom and Photoshop, and its editor is capable of nearly anything Lightroom can do to a single image (ignoring LR add-ins) and has some of the tools from Photoshop which LR doesn't have (like built in HDR). For me, the biggest drawback to LR4 is the enforced workflow. I'm not saying it is wrong to first import everything into a LR catalog before you can work on an image; it is just not how I want to work. PSE allows me to directly open an image file in its editor, bypassing the cataloging tool.

For what it is worth, I probably do 90% - 95% of what I do to my images with the Adobe Camera RAW tool before I even move on to the main event.

I have Picasa and Faststone. They are lightweight enough to run off my dinky netbook, but compared to the Adobe products, they are in my opinion less efficient in their editing tool designs, and therefore it takes more work to come up with an image comparable to what I can achieve in PSE (or LR, or PS).
07-13-2013, 01:08 PM   #25
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I had not been shooting RAW because my computer was old and slow. A few weeks ago, my husband built me a new computer, and of course, I bought Photoshop Elements 11 (upgrading from PSE7) and Lightroom 4. So now it's time to shoot RAW if I want to.

I agree with Jim, above, in that Photoshop Elements is more to my liking than Lightroom only because I want more control in cataloging and working on images. I probably need to grow into Lightroom, but I use it every now and then. It's great for just viewing your photos and moving your sliders to improve the captured exposure. What I don't like about it is that it makes folders upon (hidden) folders of your images even if you don't necessarily want that.

I believe that any Photoshop Elements program (even the older ones that are easy to find on EBay) can process RAW images. So can Lightroom.
It's time to try RAW.
07-13-2013, 04:33 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by timmijo Quote
I want more control in cataloging and working on images. I probably need to grow into Lightroom, but I use it every now and then. It's great for just viewing your photos and moving your sliders to improve the captured exposure. What I don't like about it is that it makes folders upon (hidden) folders of your images even if you don't necessarily want that.
Lightroom only does what it is told. One thing that trips up new users is the sheer amount of configuration that can be done. Don't want your pictures in folders in folders? Then change the way it is set up. I have it set to put all files in a single folder for each day within a folder for each year (2013>2013.06.30) then it adds my copyright info, basic metadata, makes a second backup copy to a different hard drive, and applies a default develop preset that gets me close to what I want for 80% plus of files. But if you want something else, just tell it what you want.

There is a large learning curve to Lightroom, and it works different than PS or PSE so people with a lot of experience with those sometimes struggle to get the concepts. The real key to Lightrrom is that when you figure out something (how you want it to handle file import for example) you make a preset for that and make the preset your default.
07-14-2013, 08:16 AM   #27
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LR Import Preset

Jatrax, thanks for the explanations on LR flexibility. I have also found it formidable from a newbie perspective. I'm intrigued with the description of your Import Preset - is this something like an excel Macro file that you could share? I'd love to be able to have LR do the steps you describe for the bulk of the 4,000 or so shots I just took on an Alaskan vacation, and let me invest the learning time on the images I want to get deeper with. I'll order a book on it and I'll research the web as well, but wondered if there is/could be a collection of various presets stored here in the forum?

regards
john
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07-14-2013, 08:44 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote
I'm intrigued with the description of your Import Preset
These are just simple settings that can be applied at the time of import (import screen right top corner).
07-14-2013, 09:21 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote
is this something like an excel Macro file that you could share?
No, as Kerrowdown noted it is just the settings. I don't think they can be exported and transferred, but every time I think I have LR figured out I find something new I did not know it could do.

Here are my import settings:
On the right is a series of panels:
File Handling:
  • Don't Import Suspected Duplicates: - checked
  • Make a Second Copy To: - checked and select your external backup drive or storage server or whatever, this is just a backup of the original files and they will not show in the catalog.
File Renaming:
  • Rename Files: - checked and in the Template box fill out how you want the renaming to be. I use: {Date(YYYY)}.{Date(MM)}.{Date(DD)}@{Hour}.{Minute}.{Second}.Filename}
  • Extensions: - Leave as is
Apply During Import:
  • Develop Preset: - the develop preset I built in that module (Clarity +20, Vibrance +20, slight contrast boost, some other stuff)
  • Metadata: - the metadata preset I built in Library module. (Copyright information, etc)
  • Keywords: - blank, but if everything from a shoot should have a basic keyword (Alaska) then add it here during import, but not as part of the preset
Destination:
  • Into subfolder: - not checked
  • Organize: - By Date
  • Date Format: - 2013/2013-07-10 (this creates a year folder (2013) if it is missing, and then creates a day folder (2013-07-10) if it is missing and puts each file into the day folder it belongs in. This means even without LR I have all my images in an organized system.
When you have everything the way you want, look at the bottom of the page there is a section marked "Import Preset", It likely says "None", open this and select "Save current settings as new preset" Name your preset and then just use that for each import.


You do have to build the develop and metadata presets first but they can be simple at first, just so they exist. As you figure things out you can go back and add or change those, and the changes will flow into the import preset because it is just looking for the preset name and does not care what is in it.


Seriously, the most important thing about LR is learning how to build presets and templates.
07-14-2013, 01:35 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have LR figured out I find something new I did not know it could do
+1 on that, it's just so simple and powerful at the management side of things.
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