I am wanting to get more into photography, which software should I buy?

Question by Renee E: I am wanting to get more into photography, which software should I buy?
I love taking pictures of people! I am doing my first wedding in 2 weeks and I want to buy some software to blur out the backgrounds in some and things like that. I have looked at the Adobe Photoshop Elements 8, Roxio Creator Plus, and Corel Pain Shop Pro Photo x’s 2 but I am undecided on which would be the best. I love taking pictures of children in bright colors and would like to do some of those in black in white except the bright colors they might be wearing. Any suggestions on what to buy? I have a great camera, just need some good software.

Best answer:

Answer by DairDubh
Get rid of photoshop and use Gimp.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “I am wanting to get more into photography, which software should I buy?”

  1. With my personal experience in the field of photography I would recommend investing in Photoshop CS3 or CS4. If this is something that your wanting to do for a long time, the investment would be worth while. Photoshop Elements is just a restricted version of Photoshop CS3 & 4.

    Good luck at your first wedding!

  2. I would spend more time learning to get it right in the camera and less about the software. You can enhance a good shot but you can’t turn a turd into a brick of gold. The fact that you’re more concerned with software than getting it right has me hoping you are a second shooter and not the primary. Weddings are very difficult and without strong in camera knowledge you’re going to be up a creek…and possibly in hot water.

    If you want something decent that won’t break the bank then stick with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. Photoshop is most commonly used among professionals and using Elements is more than enough for a photographer. I use it regularly and it’s been a good investment for my work.

    Lastly, don’t do the cheesy color splash you’re talking about, please. It’s overdone and so tacky these days.

  3. I would not touch any software until you have used your camera for a few months. Get that down first.

    I use Elements 6.0…it’s all I need.

    Regarding the wedding. You might want to consider declining. Do a number of weddings with a mentor before you try to go out on your own. Especially if you are being compensated.


  4. Adobe Photoshop is great, although can be a little overpriced especially for someone just getting into photography. I would suggest a similar adobe program called Lightroom.

    Firstly, it is best for those who do want to focus on getting it right in the camera. There are not a large amount of special effect filters(like the ones photoshop has), but you can do everything you have just asked about with it.
    Secondly, it grows with you. Even as a beginner it will help you, and as you get better you will find more and more functionality that will help you on every step of your professional photography journey.

  5. “I love taking pictures of people!”
    **So far so good.

    “I am doing my first wedding in 2 weeks”
    **Yikes. I hope you aren’t the main photographer.

    “I have looked at the Adobe Photoshop Elements 8, Roxio Creator Plus, and Corel Pain Shop Pro Photo x’s 2 but I am undecided on which would be the best.”
    **You’ve done your homework. Good job. It’s all a matter of preference and what you think you’ll need. Photoshop is the most popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best for YOU.

    “I love taking pictures of children in bright colors . . . .”
    **How about just saying you love taking pictures of children? The other qualifiers aren’t needed, I don’t think.

    “would like to do some of those in black in white except the bright colors they might be wearing.”
    **That’s all fine and dandy (you can do that with photoshop, as well as other programs), but you should focus on composition and facial expressions rather than on all the fancy two-tone jobs you are gonna do later (you’re losing focus here)

    “Any suggestions on what to buy?”
    **I recommend getting a good flash if you don’t have one already (the built-in one on the camera doesn’t count) and a book on general photography. If you can afford a second book on wedding photography get that too.

    “I have a great camera”
    **A great camera is irrelevant. It’s the person behind the camera that is important (I have taken nice wedding pictures with a point&shoot and bad wedding pictures with an SLR. go figure.)

    “just need some good software.”
    **Not really. You need more than good software to get good pictures (see my comments above). I’ve taken good wedding pictures (on film and digital) without any kind of software.

  6. The fact that you have included Creator Plus in the list of software tells me you are very new at this. It is a completely different class of software to the others, with another purpose in mind. Others have recommended Photoshop CS4 and Elements. I am a professional wedding photographer, and I rely on PaintShopPro; it does virtually all that the full version of PhotoShop does, but at an Elements price, and it is extremely easy to use, What is more, it takes up a lot less space on your hard drive. The latest version is X3.

    Blurring backgrounds is not difficult in post production, but it is time consuming and fiddly, and it is far less predictable, composition-wise than doing this in-camera. It seems you thought that software was the way photographers achieve this effect; it is not. It is done by the application of differential focus in camera, requiress a basic understanding of aperture control. This makes me wonder if your judgmentt of your camera (“a great camera”) is based on anything more than tat it takes nice photos.

    To do a wedding justice you need a camera with a large sensor which can produce low-noise images in dreadful lighting conditions. It has to have manual controls to deal with the situations where auto produces just adequate results; it must be able to handle quick movement in bad light (like the bridal waltz, throwing the bouquet) without flash, and where flash is acceptable, it must be able to bounce flash, use flasshape rsrs and modifiers. A FAST telephoto option is important for things like exchanging rings, and wide angle for the details, cramped rooms where the bride is dressing etc. The photos need to be of sufficient quality to enlarge to at least 16X24 inches (they may not want this NOW, but later it will become important). You camera should shoot in RAW mode.

    This means either a large-sensor compact with interchangeable lenses (like the Olympus Pen) or a single lens reflex. If what you have is a super zoom, bridge camera or similar, go and hire an SLR and use it for as long as possible before the day. That is even more important if your compact camera has more than 12megapixels as the image quality under “wedding conditions” (church, reception center) will be very unsatisfactory except for outdoor shots.

    My information under http://www.qondio.com/photographing-a-wedding may help you do the task better if your camera really is up to the job.

    Everyone has to start somewhere, but please be careful: you cannot ask them to do a second first dance; there is no such thing as “another” first kiss and if you run out of memory or battery power you may be embarrassed, but they will be devastated!

    I often shoot 3000 photos at a wedding; if you have mastered RAW and developed both skill and speed with the chosen software, you still have two weeks work ahead of you processing your files. And then do you know the appropriate files types and sizes to ensure that the kinds of uses the couple will put them can be done? Please get help.

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