Photo Processing Question

George KGeorge K Super ModeratorPosts: 9,965 Senior Member
I've outgrown the simple post-processing software that came with my cameras, and want to step up a notch.

I shoot mostly jpegs, occasionally raw and am not looking for the capabilities of the Photo Shop full version, or it's learning curve. The choice has come down to Lightroom 5 ($109) and Elements 12 ($49).

Anyone use both? Any advice on which would be better for me. In particular, can anyone explain what "non-destructive" means in terms of the differences between how the two save edited files? LR5 has that feature, E12 does not.
Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.

Replies

  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    I use both, daily, and they are quite different tools. Lightroom is oriented around conventional editing (no adding or removing elements, cutting and pasting, etc) and at least in the version I have doesn't support layers. But it is without equal for quick editing of lots of photos and it will convince you to shoot in RAW all the time (there's no good reason not to, IMO). probably 80-90% of the photos I post are edited in Lightroom only, and never go into Photoshop elements.

    Elements is a stripped down version of Photoshop but is still very powerful and allows you do to things like swap a face from one photo into another (which I had to do on family photos the other day) or selectively brighten just certain tones/areas in a photo. It also has a version of Photoshop's "liquify" tool which is invaluable if you shoot photos of naked people and occasionally need to modify their body outlines to match their aspirations with their reality. ;-)

    Non-destructive means that all edits in lightroom are done as entries in a database -- the original image is never touched. Very handy because it allows infinite levels of restore points -- you can back up to any point in an edit sequence, branch the photo out and take multiple editing paths and compare the results. THAT is very very handy.

    If you only have time/budget for one of the tools, get Lightroom, without question.
  • MikeAMikeA Senior Member Posts: 4,024 Senior Member
    I use both, daily, and they are quite different tools. Lightroom is oriented around conventional editing (no adding or removing elements, cutting and pasting, etc) and at least in the version I have doesn't support layers. But it is without equal for quick editing of lots of photos and it will convince you to shoot in RAW all the time (there's no good reason not to, IMO). probably 80-90% of the photos I post are edited in Lightroom only, and never go into Photoshop elements.

    Elements is a stripped down version of Photoshop but is still very powerful and allows you do to things like swap a face from one photo into another (which I had to do on family photos the other day) or selectively brighten just certain tones/areas in a photo. It also has a version of Photoshop's "liquify" tool which is invaluable if you shoot photos of naked people and occasionally need to modify their body outlines to match their aspirations with their reality. ;-)

    Non-destructive means that all edits in lightroom are done as entries in a database -- the original image is never touched. Very handy because it allows infinite levels of restore points -- you can back up to any point in an edit sequence, branch the photo out and take multiple editing paths and compare the results. THAT is very very handy.

    If you only have time/budget for one of the tools, get Lightroom, without question.

    I'd offer the same advice. Though I am having issues with LR 5 and Mac.I have the free trial and I'm not going to upgrade for awhile. I think there are bugs to be worked out yet. Some of the issues I've had were with importing slowly, to not at all. Also the program closes itself for some reason. It's never running when I open the laptop and I never close it. Not a big deal but it shouldn't be doing that.

    Another little piece of amazing software that you can add as a package to lightroom is the Nik collection. I'm using the trial version now and I'm pretty sure I'll be buying it (rather then the LR upgrade). I've been wanting the Nik tools for awhile but they used to be much more expensive.
    http://www.google.com/nikcollection/

    Scott, have you ever played with these^? You should check them out if not.
  • GoldenladleGoldenladle Super Moderator Posts: 3,897 Senior Member
    If anyone is interested, Adobe is offering both Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 a month with a year subscription. Offer ends Monday.

    http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html?kw=semgeneric&sdid=JTGIR&skwcid=AL!3085!3!34421170218!e!!g!!adobe%20photoshop&ef_id=UpVfmQAAANiDBNiX:20131129181158:s

    Moved to Montana, gonna be a dental floss tycoon.

  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    MikeA wrote: »

    Scott, have you ever played with these^? You should check them out if not.

    I've seen them advertised -- I am just old school enough that I have a hard time bringing myself to use "style in a box" tools to automate a look -- which is one reason my post processing is always a bit clumsy looking and never very consistent, I insist on doing it from scratch or pre-sets that I've made myself.

    I probably ought to get over it, but for now, I find that I'm still learning a lot by trying to emulate certain looks on my own. I'm sure sooner or later I'll buckle under and pick them up.
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    If anyone is interested, Adobe is offering both Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 a month with a year subscription. Offer ends Monday.

    http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html?kw=semgeneric&sdid=JTGIR&skwcid=AL!3085!3!34421170218!e!!g!!adobe%20photoshop&ef_id=UpVfmQAAANiDBNiX:20131129181158:s

    yeah, I've been weighing that option in the past few days. It's a good deal, actually, if you trust Adobe to keep the price somewhat constant. my problem is that I don't trust Adobe much at all, but I am tied to their tools for better or worse....
  • GoldenladleGoldenladle Super Moderator Posts: 3,897 Senior Member
    yeah, I've been weighing that option in the past few days. It's a good deal, actually, if you trust Adobe to keep the price somewhat constant. my problem is that I don't trust Adobe much at all, but I am tied to their tools for better or worse....

    I have been highly skeptical of Abobe's "Cloud Program" but my version of Photo shop is kind of long in the tooth and being a geek and knowing Photoshop as well as I do, I took the bait and signed up. I am also with you on the trustworthiness nature of Adobe, but... if it goes up $5.00 a month next year, I don't find that a horrible price to pay.

    The price they are offering this is very hard to pass up.

    YMMV

    Moved to Montana, gonna be a dental floss tycoon.

  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,965 Senior Member
    Thanks, I'll go for LR5.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • WetdogWetdog Senior Member Posts: 5,149 Senior Member
    George K wrote: »
    Thanks, I'll go for LR5.

    George before you....hope I am not too late. I have elements and lightroom. What Scott says is pretty much true except I disagree with him on the use of lightroom for the common everyday edits. It's fine for NEFs but when playing with simple jpegs I'd rather use Picasa, it's really fast and free. For NEFs and stuff requiring a little extra I use elements. There certainly is a learning curve but it's not that bad. For me lightroom was a waste of money on normal everyday jpegs, Picasa does pretty much everything LR does (and a lot that is found in elements). If you aren't shooting NEFs, lightroom is a waste. Some like it but I really don't have a lot of need for it on my computer anymore and am thinking about removing it.

    note to Scott--i shoot a bit more in NEF--with an accompanying fine jpeg
    I find the assault on free thought disturbing,
    I find the willingness to give it up frightening.
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    I guess I don't follow your logic, Wetdog. LR treats RAw (NEF) files the same as JPEGS - the editing tools and process are identical. In both cases the original image is untouched

    But your post does point out that as with cameras, there is a fair degree of subjectivity regarding which tool to use.
  • WetdogWetdog Senior Member Posts: 5,149 Senior Member
    just saying if you are only processing jpegs or NEfs, you don't "need" lightroom. Other things are faster....for me at least. I can see the reason for the confusion. Elements is more useful if you want more options in your editing.
    I find the assault on free thought disturbing,
    I find the willingness to give it up frightening.
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    Lightroom excels when you have many photos to work on, and expect to apply similar editing operations to many of them (for instance -- I shoot 150-300 photos in the typical baby portrait session. The lighting doesn't change very much so the corrections I make to color balance, sharpness, etc will pretty much be applied to all of the photos at least to begin, then I may experiment with other "looks" on a few.

    In lightroom, unlike any other tool I am familiar with, I can apply the edit to one photo, then synch up the edits to every other photo in the batch. Viola! a 15 second editing operation on one photo is now applied to the other 150 shots in the batch in about 5 seconds.

    If every shot in the batch is different, or will be edited in different fashion, then Lightroom loses some of its advantage.
  • swizzswizz Senior Member Posts: 2,559 Senior Member
    Someone recommended Photomatix to me recently. Does anyone have experience with that software?
    All of your Trout are belong to me.
  • NZ IndicatorNZ Indicator Senior Member Posts: 10,115 Senior Member
    Lightzone...Free alternative to Light Room.

    http://lifehacker.com/lightzone-is-a-free-awesome-photo-editor-and-alternati-1445640040

    ****...Free alternative to Photoshop

    [url]http://www.****.org/[/url]

    DP review put a small list together also that contains some free software.

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51472832


    Sent from my $.97 Smartphone
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,023 Senior Member
    Yes. I have photomatix. Easy to use and you can adjust settings to a more realistic look if you want it.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Is anyone using Picasa? It was recommended by the salesman where I bought my camera..

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    swizz wrote: »
    Someone recommended Photomatix to me recently. Does anyone have experience with that software?

    it's a one trick pony -- it helps you put together HDR photos in a variety of looks ranging from fairly subtle to full on, over the top "that looks like a painting (or a cartoon)" landscapes with the alien looking clouds -- but it does the job it's designed to do pretty well If you do a lot of HDR work, it's worth the price -- if not, it won't help you do anything ELSE other than HDR.
  • MikeAMikeA Senior Member Posts: 4,024 Senior Member
    Lightroom, Lightroom, Lightroom. Skip the free stuff, pay the very reasonable price, and get something that has a well established track record with pros and amateurs alike.


    There are a TON of presets you can create or upload. There are plenty of plug in's that you can purchase that can take it to a another level. The way it stores your images and edits is nothing short of amazing. It's like you have a personal assistant keeping track of your work. Considering what it can do, it's worth every penny. Hands down one of the most important purchases anyone considering getting into photography can make. IMO
  • WetdogWetdog Senior Member Posts: 5,149 Senior Member
    ricinus wrote: »
    Is anyone using Picasa? It was recommended by the salesman where I bought my camera..

    Mike

    I use it quite often, super user friendly. I would recommend it, it's real good place to start. It even allows you to do simple layers.
    I find the assault on free thought disturbing,
    I find the willingness to give it up frightening.

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