Lightroom and Photoshop photography

 
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After getting your photogear you should be very pleased with the steps you have taken from your point and shoot days. However, for most it doesn't take long before you realize that your pictures are quite amateurish in comparison to the pros. The big difference at this point is probably not the gear. It wouldn't hurt to have a full-frame camera costing a couple of thousands of dollars as opposed to a camera with a cropped sensor.

What really will give your pictures that extra, however, is post-processing. The best option is to use Photoshop together with 3rd party plugins. Problem with Photoshop has been the steep price. Recently you can start using Photoshop paying a montly fee. This is particularly useful if you are starting out, but can make sense for most people since you will get access to more products than you actually would buy. Even so it adds up if you are to use it for an extended amount of time. A much cheaper alternative is Adobe Lightroom which is particularly made for photographers. This product alone will really make a huge difference in your photos where you can add the contrasts and adjustments that your out of camera jpgs lacks.

Which software and plugins you will need depends heavily on what kind of photography you engage in and to what extent you plan on turning into a pro. Of the more popular plugins are Nik Software and OnOne software. Particularly Nik Software is something the many pros has as a regular part of their workflow. Particularly Silver Efex is famous for Black and White photos. But also their Color Efex pro can make a huge difference. Nik software used to be an expensive plug-in, but after Google took over the company you can get their whole selection at a very reasonable price.

Using Photoshop can be quite confusing in the beginning. Particularly looking at videos it can be difficult to understand everything that is going on. The best is to get used to Adobe Lightroom first and then later start with working with layers in Photoshop as this has some huge advantages. This is particularly true if you are prepared to work for a while on individual photographs.

If you spend more than US$2000 on camera with the aim of publishing pictures, I would highly reccommend that you also invest the time and money in Photoshop, or atleast Adobe Lightroom and shoot in RAW format.


Learning videos for Lightroom and Photoshop

One of the best sources for free learning videos is the well know Youtube.
If you want more full length instruction videos I would highly reccommend the two premiere sites in online training, Lynda.com for everything technical and Kelby Training for photography and Photoshop.