Photoshop recommendations

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by Neil Jones, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Neil Jones

    Neil Jones Guest


    I am amateur photographer, only up to the point of taking pictures. For
    the pictures I shoot, I do not process the pictures or enhance them with
    touch ups etc. The pictures that turn out good are printed and the rest
    are saved.

    I am planning to purchase Photoshop to enhance the photos. It appears
    that Photoshop has a religious following in the photo processing area.
    To tell the truth, when I went to the Adobe site I was completely lost.
    They have tons of products with varying price ranges. What Photoshop
    version(s) are used by the community at large to process and enhance
    photos? What would be the price range?

    Thank you in advance for any help.

    Happy Holidays!


    PS - What are plugins? Do you need to buy them separately from Photoshop?
    Neil Jones, Dec 24, 2008
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  2. Go cheap. Photoshop CS2 (if you can find it) or CS3 will be
    sufficient. There's a ton of plugins which make things easier, but
    I've never needed them. I've retouched photos, created 3D art and
    much more with just the basic package.

    You can find a lot of tutorials on YouTube as well.
    Always Has An Opinion, Dec 24, 2008
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  3. A "plugin" is separate piece of software which has the ability to
    attach itself to the target software, in this case Photoshop, which
    will then appear as an additional menu selection in Photoshop to
    perform a task. You can invoke the "plugin" software directly from the
    menu of Photoshop.

    More detail here:

    Some of the plugins are free. Some are not.


    wannabesomeonecares, Dec 24, 2008
  4. Neil Jones

    Neil Jones Guest

    Great idea! I went to Amazon and looked up for CS3 but found that it
    costs as much as CS4 (even in the used section). They were listed at
    $649 (USD). Some of the craigslist sellers listed it for $100 to $150.
    I don't know if these are bootlegged packed with trojans in them. I am
    suspicious because of the price difference between the new version and
    used version.

    What are some good sources to buy cheap/used software like CS3?

    Thank you once again.

    Neil Jones, Dec 24, 2008
  5. Neil Jones

    harikeo Guest

    Howabout Photoshop Elements 7 unless you want/need the full-blown PS CSx?

    <mind the rap on the earl>
    harikeo, Dec 24, 2008
  6. Neil Jones

    harikeo Guest

    harikeo, Dec 24, 2008
  7. Neil Jones

    tony cooper Guest

    No one can really tell you what is best for you because we don't know
    your skill levels or how much time and effort you will put into
    learning a new program.

    However, based on what you've said above, I would recommend that you
    use Adobe's Elements and not the full version of Photoshop. Elements
    7.0 is $140 retail, but you can purchase Elements 5.0 or 6.0 for half
    of that or less.

    Elements will do almost everything that the full CS Photoshop version
    will do. The difference between "everything" and "almost everything"
    is in the use of some features that it takes a year or more of
    experience to learn to use. I've been using the full version for
    several years, and there are *still* features that I'm not proficient

    I also have Elements 5.0. For most editing of family photographs, I
    use Elements instead of the full Photoshop. I switch over to the full
    version when I have a real problem photograph or want to do something
    extra creative.

    You can download a free trial of Elements 7.0 at

    This might not be of interest, but you can buy a Wacom Bamboo Fun pen
    tablet for $80/$90 on Amazon, and this *includes* Elements 5.0 plus
    Nic Color EFX (great filters!) and Corel Painter Essentials. Each
    individual program alone is worth the money, and you get all three.
    tony cooper, Dec 24, 2008
  8. Neil Jones

    Neil Jones Guest

    I do have GIMP 2 but haven't done much with it. Photoshop seems to be
    have a big following and easier to get some help.


    PS - My digital camera also comes with some software which most people
    (including myself) haven't heard of before. The software seems to be ok
    but difficult to get any help.
    Neil Jones, Dec 24, 2008
  9. Neil Jones

    ray Guest

    Suggest you try GIMP first - it's free. It will probably do everything you
    need. There are several online tutorials.
    plugins are basically code that folks have written to do additional things
    inside the main program - added functionality.
    ray, Dec 24, 2008
  10. I would suggest getting Irfanview, which is shareware and will do many
    of the things that photoshop will do. Then when you see what you need
    and if Irfanview can't do it, then start looking at photoshop again.

    If you do get it, please pay the shareware fee, its well worth it. 10
    euros is suggested. Thats 15-20 US$.
    Rich Greenberg, Dec 24, 2008
  11. Neil Jones

    Matt Ion Guest

    Hey Neil, lots of good suggestions here, but something I haven't seen
    mentioned yet, is that you should be able to download free demos of most
    of this commercial software, and see what suits your needs.

    From Adobe, there's Photoshop (for the hardcore), Elements
    (Photoshop-Lite), and Lightroom (different workflow, might suit you
    better). AFAIK there are free time-limited demos of all of them.

    From Corel (bought PSP from JASC a couple versions ago), there's Paint
    Shop Pro (latest version is 12, aka Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 -
    time-limited demo downloadable), or if you dig around, you can find a
    freebie version of JASC Paint Shop Pro 7.

    There's tons of freeware/open-source/shareware out there that will
    probably also do most of what you need - take a look at IrfanView,
    Picasa, the latest GIMP, Paint.NET, or Pixel32.

    Long and short of it is, there's no reason to shell out money for a
    solution without trying a bunch of different ones first and seeing what
    suits you best. Don't worry about what's "most popular" - there's lots
    of users and lots of support out there for all the different options. A
    lot of Photoshop's "popularity" is people who, like you, simply think
    Photoshop is the way to go because that's all they've ever heard - they
    won't be a lot of help to you :)
    Matt Ion, Dec 24, 2008
  12. Neil Jones

    JR Weiss Guest

    Start with Photoshop Elements for $100 or less. Once you get used to what it
    can do, then decide whether you want or need all the power of the full
    JR Weiss, Dec 24, 2008
  13. Neil Jones

    Guest Guest

    i would suggest photoshop elements for around $100. it's unlikely you
    need the full version of photoshop.
    third party add-ons that add features to photoshop (or to other apps).
    some are free, some aren't.
    Guest, Dec 24, 2008
  14. Big following does not necessarily equate to being the right software
    package for you. Photoshop and GIMP are both very powerful packages in
    the right hands. GIMP is open source and FREE. It has a huge following
    in the Linux world and there is lots of support. It lacks some of the
    capabilities of Photoshop, but I doubt you would notice.
    Some other Free, donation supported, or open source packages are:
    Faststone viewer: combines
    viewing and simple editing functions. Better functionality than
    irfanview for most things. Both should be
    part of your toolkit.
    If you shoot RAW, consider Raw Therapee This is a relative new donationware
    package that is under heavy development. The latest beta release is
    very stable and very competitive with commercial packages.

    The above packages are FREE, but that should not be equated with low
    quality. Even though they are FREE, if you find them useful, please
    consider making a donation to help the developers.

    Clair Johnston, Dec 24, 2008
  15. Neil Jones

    Matt Ion Guest

    Similarly, I find the Photoshop interface rather unintuitive, at least
    compared to Paintshop Pro. That's why it's nice that there's options
    out there... and also why all these packages offer FREE DEMO VERSIONS so
    you can try them out before dropping your money on them.

    As with choosing a camera, the package that's best FOR YOU is the one
    that you're going to use... and that will be the one you're most
    comfortable with.

    Take all the suggestions here with a grain of salt... then give them all
    a test drive and see which YOU prefer.
    Matt Ion, Dec 24, 2008
  16. Good morning everyone...

    As a Linux/Gimp-User I can't stand back here...

    I know that Photoshop has tools and possibilities that Gimp does not
    have... but in my daily work with gimp I dod not realize that i'm
    missing a lot...
    Can't argue that since I don't know Photoshop Elements...
    fun... I sometimes have to work with PSP. And I have to say: I just
    can't work with this stuff. It's unintuitive in a way for me that I just
    can't work with it! Maybe my intuitivity is crippled by using The Gimp
    too much :)
    Maybe it is, that many people are refering to older versions of The Gimp
    which has made huge steps forward in usability since the last few
    Right. And really try all possibilities. Just because you struggle with
    the first one you try, it does not mean that the others are better.
    Photo-Editing is a bit of a pain in the beginning with every software I
    I can only agree on that. Finally some wise words in a NG. Thanx!
    And most important: Enjoy your pictures! Do not beat the fun down with

    Marco Tedaldi, Dec 24, 2008
  17. Moreover, if you're familiar with Elements, you'll have a headstart
    when, if, and as you move up to Photoshop. It is also [- both of them;
    they are - ] cross platform, which is one reason to recommend against
    Paintshop Pro and Apple's aperture.

    Thus, when if and as you move to a better OS, you'll be up on the
    learning curve there.
    John McWilliams, Dec 24, 2008
  18. Neil Jones

    Dave Cohen Guest

    PS is a very expensive product with a steep learning curve. It's the
    standard for professionals, particularly if final output is for
    professional publication.

    I've never used elements but understand it's all the normal amateur
    would need. I've used PhotoPlus and now use PSP9. The latter is almost
    given away if you can find it. Later versions are distributed by Corel.
    All the above are really adequate. You can get lots of free stuff, but
    at some time or other you'll discover layers and for that you will need
    something a little better than a freebie, which is not to knock the
    latter. FastStone is great for quick fix ups and cropping.

    One last point, there is a free and quite powerful product known at The
    Gimp. Some people seem to love it, I don't. You would need to download a
    copy and see for yourself.
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, Dec 24, 2008
  19. Neil Jones

    Leo Lichtman Guest

    I started with Photoshop Elements 4, and I was fortunate that just at the
    right time, a retired UC professor in my area offered weekly lessons on it
    in his home. I want to emphacize this: using a program that is popular has
    its advantages. You can find people to talk to, ask questions and compare
    experiences with, like I did. We still meet in this professor's home and
    discuss our work, even though the instructional part is over. Being with
    others who share the same background and experience is very rewarding; you
    never stop learning.
    Leo Lichtman, Dec 25, 2008
  20. Neil Jones

    Dave Cohen Guest

    I agree. I use PSP9 because I got it for around $12, but not only your
    experience is relevant, anytime I see a 'how to do it' type article in
    Photo magazines, it invariably illustrates using PS, but my
    understanding is this is more easily translated into Elements than
    other, although most of the time I can translate into PSP. Earlier on
    someone included a link for Elements 6 for $28, which is very tempting.
    The point I would emphasize is one shouldn't jump into the full version
    of PS until he knows that is really what he needs (unless money is no
    My local library has a whole slew of books on PS and a reasonable
    selection on elements. Not much on PSP
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, Dec 25, 2008
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