Fast351 wrote in post #17457314
So I have been shooting for about a year and a half with my DSLR, and for the most part I use the JPGs SooC.
When I do post processing, it's usually to do the basics (crop, fine rotation, resize, occasional brightness correction).
For most of the processing I use IrfanView which does a good job for those basic functions.
It feels like sometimes I'm leaving some things on the table. Especially when shooting outdoors with non-ideal light, it seems like the color saturation could be better to really make images pop.
So my question is really pretty basic. What do you do, besides the things I mentioned above, to make your images be all they can be, and what tools do you use, and why?
I am trying to figure out what I need before spending a bunch of money on it. I do have a PC with a decent monitor on it (HP zr2440w IPS monitor) that I use for photo editing.
I started out like you, mostly shooting JPGs. I had heard about shooting raw and using those files for fixing white balance and recovering highlights, but didn't know how to go about doing that.
Then I moved to Lightroom, found out that all these things are real easy to do in that program, and switched to shooting raw only.
JPGs are poor to work with, both because they are lossy and because there is limited dynamic range. Fixing brightness in Irfanview is okay if it is just a small adjustment, but anything bigger causes contrast problems. Any large changes in color balance look weird when done in Irfanview. I still use Irfanview as a small-footprint viewer, but practically never to edit pics.
The transition to Lightroom was not an easy one. I find it a breeze to work now, but in the early days, I remember it was a struggle. But persistance pays off big. With LR you can do all the things we used to do in the darkroom like cropping, rotating, fixing color and density, dodging and burning and so on. But you can go beyond the traditional darkroom tools and do stuff like modify contrast and saturation, and optimize sharpness and noise. I rarely have to go outside of LR for additional editing.
LR also does sophisticated cataloging, but I don't use it for that.
Lightroom is cheap and worth a try.