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Bob loblaw

Selecting the Right Post-Processing Program

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Dear Wetpixel community,

 

I am a newbie to the world of underwater photography, I have recently bought an Oly tg-4 with pt056 housing. I have gone on a few snorkelling trips and after reading in several forums decided to shoot all my pics in RAW. As you can probably tell from my choice of camera I have decided to go for a not too price heavy introduction to this world. I would now like to fool around with some post processing, I have tried out the program that comes with the olympus camera (olympus viewer) but I have found it to be quite slow and not particularly good at balancing the colours when compared to what I have been shown by friends such as photoshop.

My pictures were shot between surface and 20 meters, without any stobes lights or filters in the med, so I am sure you can imagine just how blue they are :).

I have done some research online and have found many sources making a case for adobe lightroom. As I understand it this would be very much on the higher end in terms of quality of tools for post-processing. My issue is that being very much a beginner and only managing a few photo trips a year, I am not sure that it would worth it for me to buy such a program.

Otherwise, Gimp looked interesting but it seems that it is not compatible with .ORF (olympus raw format).

What do you use? Do you know of any program that is more affordable or dare I say open source, while still having a decent range of functions and not being too slow?

 

Also if you have any tips for someone that is new to post-processing, I would be very grateful to hear them!

 

Thanks in advance,

Giuliano

Edited by Bob loblaw

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Let me offer some food for thought. Rather than start with the basics and plan to upgrade/evolve as you get better, it is worth thinking about starting at the high end. Here's why.

 

The program you use to edit RAW files will save the edits in proprietary format. Most will allow you to output high quality JPG or PNG or TIFF, which you can save to any library structure you like and will be permanent, but the edits to the RAW file stay locked to the program. Thus moving from one post-processing program to another is a huge pain, as you lose your RAW edits and your library structure.

 

I was hugely reluctant to move from Aperture for these reasons, but had no choice when Apple killed if off, and it was very painful when I did. I placed a bet on Lightrooom as the program most likely to stick around the longest, and after the initial learning curve am now very happy.

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Yes I see your point troporobo, I have already had this issue to a small extent after trying a few different programs out. I have decided to give the trial version of lightroom a go prior to making my final decision, although I imagine after trying that out it will be difficult to settle for anything less!

 

Thanks for your input!

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I use a combination of Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere Pro (for video). After a good few weeks of learning, Lightroom turned out to be a fabulous bit of software that makes my life miles easier. The workflow is well thought through and the ability to tweak white balance is so easy that I can get rid of blue colour cast in a whole dive's worth of shooting in well under 5 minutes. My total edit time is usually less than 20 minutes to end up with perhaps 5-10 great pictures.

 

I'm sure you can do similar in other programs but for me it's worth paying for the premium look and feel of the Adobe stuff.

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I use a combination of Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere Pro (for video). After a good few weeks of learning, Lightroom turned out to be a fabulous bit of software that makes my life miles easier. The workflow is well thought through and the ability to tweak white balance is so easy that I can get rid of blue colour cast in a whole dive's worth of shooting in well under 5 minutes. My total edit time is usually less than 20 minutes to end up with perhaps 5-10 great pictures.

 

I'm sure you can do similar in other programs but for me it's worth paying for the premium look and feel of the Adobe stuff.

 

Totally agree with you, Jeremy - and with Robert above.

 

I've been using LR since v1.0 and, for me, it gets better and better. For photography I reckon its more intuitive and simpler to use than PS. I do 95% of my post-production work on LR only using PS for perhaps editing which needs finer control than the Spot Removal tool can provide. Key wording, titling and outputting I find really good and make life much easier for uploading to agencies. I'm not a big user of the Web module but do use the Slideshow a lot - and, although not massively flexible, it's usually enough to produce something pretty good.

 

The other good thing about LR is that there is lots of support and advice available. There are several blogs and websites which really offer terrific tips and short cuts - e.g., Lightroom Killer Tips and The Lightroom Queen.

 

Although LR might seem a bit daunting to start with (but nowhere near as bad as PS!), I do think it's worth persevering.

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