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Perfect for my beginners needs ?.

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by Myke Humberstone, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. After receiving responses to my first enquiry thanks, i wonder if anyone out there would kindly recommend some free? photographic software that would be ideal? for a complete beginner just starting out, or if necessary software that i can pay for. It has to be easy to understand and use nothing too complicated. Please bear with me on this i have looked and there seems to be a whole lot of software a minefield for someone like me.
    I have a new Nikon DSLR,
  2. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I've never used it but whenever anyone mentions 'free photo editing software', GIMP seems to be the most quoted source. You can read a review here and download the software here:


    The other one that I do have is the NIK collection, also mentioned in that article.

    I currently have photoshop, using a student discount which has made the entire package relatively affordable. However, I barely use any of it so once I'm no longer a student I will need to re-evaluate what I'm actually prepared to pay for and the answer may well be 'nothing'.

    As I said, I don't know much about GIMP but with all these programmes, the problems usually arise because you don't know what it is that you don't know how to do. I have found google and youtube videos more use than an instruction book. My only other advice is that whichever software you end up using, always ALWAYS work on a duplicate of your original file so that if everything goes south you haven't ruined your only copy, and save as a TIFF so that you can open it in something else later if necessary.
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    It depends what you want (as always).

    1. Are you looking for something which can develop a RAW digital image and create JPGs
    2. Are you looking for an image cataloguing product so you can tag, keyword, group, manage your images
    3. Are you looking for something which can do pixel based editing of images

    Your camera probably has #1 for free (I don't have a Nikon so I'm not sure what it's called), but there are other free options. However, the free options do not fit your 'easy to understand' and 'nothing complicated' requirement. RAW developers tend to be quite 'rich' with a steep learning curve.

    I think Adobe Photoshop Elements covers all 3 above, to one level or another, but is paid for software (~£70), but a number of people here use it.

    The 'go to' free offering for #3 above is GIMP (https://www.gimp.org/) but again, I wouldn't describe it as simple to get into.
  4. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    GIMP is a very powerful editor however it can be a bit clunky in use and the help function is limited - although there is an online community support site. There are other such as Darktable but like GIMP they are open source programs with very similar issues at times.

    Simpler free options are FastStone or Irfanview. FastStone is quite comprehensive and can do a lot (including reading raw files) but lacks a certain amount of finesse while Irfanveiw may be a bit too limited (I haven't played with it for ages so don't knw what the current version can do).

    Nikon's own software (View NX2 or View NX-i?) can certainly convert the cameras raw files if you choose to use them and can do a reasonable amount of editing although again there's certain lack of finesse.

    Adobe's Photoshop Elements is still available as a standalone product and offers both simplified guided editing and a more comprehensive advanced editor and also includes a slightly simplified version of their raw converter too - reseller prices are generally cheaper than Adobe prices too. For a similar price you could also try Serif's Affinity Photo - I have played with their earlier PhotoPlus software which worked OK and was similar to Elements so Affinity is probably quite good albeit it is a new product...
  5. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I would have though that Photoshop elements is the ideal way of getting started in photographic processing.
    By the time a beginner has mastered it they will have a good Idea what can be achieved, also have a good idea what they may want to achieve.

    It is only then that even more advanced programs like photoshop and lightroom ar the difficult to learn Gimp, would make sense them.

    Most of the other so called beginners programs are dead ends that do little more than apply preset filters to apply "styles" in a pastiche sort of way... the teach nothing and lead nowhere.

    Photoshop elements is not free but it is exceptional value, and sets anyone on the right road. But most photographers will at some stage feel the need to move on even further, but by then will have all the basic understandings to know what they need next.
  6. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    Yes Elements is one of those programs that are great value and imho essential for photo editing. By stand alone if you can should not be to expensive. You always have the option of the 30day trial from adobe... Or at least I think that is still possible.
  7. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I normally use and recommend FastStone - it's free, very good and intuitive, It does not do catalogues so that is a down point but for general editing (including RAW file ) I like it very much
  8. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    For raw conversion then I second Faststone.

    For effects then Google Nik Collection is excellent.
  9. Thanks once again for your comments Gentlemen very useful.
  10. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    MJB, DaveM399, RogerMac and 1 other person like this.
  11. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I'm not familiar with Glasgow etiquette, but around here 'Oi!' would be considered unbecoming of a lady. :p
    Geren likes this.
  12. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Surely one might protest one's inclusion with the good gentlemen of this forum without going so far to confess to being a lady?
  13. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    'Good' and 'gentlemen'?
    Geren likes this.
  14. ;)OK Then change that to everyone!!..............must get a crystal ball.:(
  15. elmete8

    elmete8 Member


    I'm late to the party, but this may still help: Nikon's Capture NX-D (free) is good for everything from Raw on in. You can get the download URL and help with it from Nikon's website.

    A good much cheaper Photoshop alternative is Affinity Photo, at £49 with no ongoing subscription. Available for Mac or Windows. (Usual disclaimer applies.)

  16. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    And there's always Paint.net - Microsoft's very own. It has improved considerably over the years and is now a reasonable, easy to use and free editor.

    And PaintshopPro is an excellent editor and cheaper than Photoshop by a factor of ten.

  17. dan marchant

    dan marchant Active Member

  18. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Paint.net - "originally mentored by MS and intended as a replacement for Paint". Though it seems not actually by MS.

    I get confused easily. Either way, it's simpler to use than GIMP, has a reasonable control set, including levels and most things the majority are likely to need. Not as sophisticated as Photoshop or even PaintshopPro, but just a bit cheaper!

    I downloaded it originally as a free and easy to use programme for my step-daughter who is trying to start in photography.


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