Monday, September 21, 2009

Contrasting Photoshop Elements with Photoscape (EDITED)

A year ago, I received a very nice camera for my birthday. I piddled around with it in the beginning, but became very discouraged as I felt that my pictures were not as cool as my friend Kristen, who owns the same camera as I do.

I came to the conclusion that I am photagraphically challenged and set the camera down except for special occasions in which I would just use the automatic program and just point and click. What the heck is aperture, shutter speed, lighting, composition and white balance?

Has this disappointment ever happened to you?

This year, around my birthday again, a series of events motivated me to pick that camera up and start shooting again. The greatest inspiration came from the Pioneer Woman in which she has tutorials on her website on how to take pictures and then how to edit them with a photo editing software. I cannot express the gratitude and appreciation I have for PW that she broke it down into basic terms that I could understand and be able to apply to my photographically challenged brain.

May I first state that I do not desire to be a professional photographer. I merely want the pictures that I can take at any moment of our lives not look like my 5 year old daughter took all the pictures. Well, ok, I will be honest! Even she can take better pictures than me. And so I started taking my own pictures again and edited my photos with 2 different softwares to see which one I liked better.

Today, to share my photo-epiphany I will share with you what I have learned using Photoshop Elements and Photoscape. 2 different softwares and 2 different options for photographically challenged beginners like you and me. I will compare, contrast and hopefully help you decide what may be a photo editing software that will work best for you!

First, Photoshop Elements. Pioneer Woman tutorials on Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS4. She uses the CS4 which is the much nicer version, but costs about $700 to purchase. PPWWAAHHH! Not in the budget for a beginner like me. Photoshop Elements runs about $149 for Photoshop Elements. You can go to the Adobe website and get a FREE 30 trial download and that is what I did.

Photoshop Elements 7 can be very overwhelming when first opening. I can imagine that any of these softwares with all their capabilities can have a lot of options and hence overwhelm the first on looker. Thank goodness I had PW with her photoshop tutorials. I would click on the photo editing effect that I wanted to do and follow her directions in the software program.

I had a ton of fun dinking around in this software. There are so many cool things you can do. With Photoshop you do a layering effect where you edit different layers of the photo and then when you put them all together, you have a beautiful picture. Lots of different options to make the little details of the picture stand out and look crisp and clean.

I won't go into the details of the different editing options. That would make this a long post. What I can tell you is that if you want the beginner to be able to do the magical things a professional does to your pictures, then learning Photoshop Elements 7 is where you need to start. At the end of this post, I will show you what pictures I used with Photoshop Elements.

One bonus extra I found with Photoshop Elements is that you can also do graphic design. See the banner up above with the title of my blog?

That was all created with Photoshop Elements. Cool huh? And that is just the beginning of what you can do for a banner.

Alas, my 30 trial is over and my exploring has ended for a time, so I am sure that there are a lot more options to Photoshop Elements that I haven't even touched.

Second, I played around with Photoscape. This is the program my friend Kristen (remember the better photographer with the EXACT SAME camera) uses. The best thing going for Photoscape is that it is FREE!!! You can't beat that!

Photoscape is a very user friendly program. It has set templates in its editing process that you select and it gives you options to the degree you want that edit to happen and then you are done. Very easy and simple. When I am in a rush, I would use Photoscape simply because I could edit within 2 easy steps and be done. However, the editing does not have quite the polishing look as Photoshop Elements. And it does not have as many editing options as does photoshop elements. However, if you are clueless like me, why give me more options than I can handle at the time?

The other wonderful option in Photoscape is that you can use an option called Page where it combines your pictures into one page. Reminds me of the cropping that happens in scrapbooking. If you don't want 20 pictures to take forever to view because you scroll down forever to see them all, you can combine them into one page and view all the pics at once.

(Kristen, my friend brought to my attention that I did not display Photoscape with its full potential. She edited the pictures below to show that Photoscape can be quite as nice as Photoshop Elements. Thanks Kristen! Now you must teach me your Photoscape ways)

Below, I have given you some examples of different pictures I have edited with the 2 different softwares. See if you can see the difference:

SOOC (Straight Out of Camera) Shot

Photoshop Elements (boosted the contrast)

Photoscape with the boost in contrast

Photoscape Edited by Kristen

Picture edited by Photoshop Elements

Picture edited by Photoscape

Photo edited by Photoshop Elements

Photoscape edited by Kristen

Photo edited by Photoscape

I recognize that this was a very brief compare and contrast, but people, I have things to do! So if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will happily answer the things I know with the little knowledge I have!


Ann Marie said...

Ok.. So I'm going to check into this.. and have Chad read this too. :)

I like taking pictures.. and I adore the Black and white and vintage look to shots.. so I guess I better read up on it all!

We'll have to call you if we have questions!

Cherie said...

Photoshop is hard. I have had it for a couple of years and I still don't know the half of it.
My daughter took a semester class in college and became an expert. I totally think I need to take that class.
The editing stuff can be pretty tricky.
For me, I don't like it when people overdo it on the photo editing, I really like natural photos.
I am glad you are learning. I had never heard of Photoscape so I will have to check it out.

Atherley Crack Ups said...

i love these kind of demos! i had started doing photo and video editing a few months ago (i am a novice as well). we researched what was the most user friendly and bang for your buck. we found Corel made a great product that was user friendly. i got a good deal on a package deal that included both photo and video editors. Paint Shop Pro is the photo editor, and it came with 3 different editing programs from very easy to more complicated. i have liked them so far, i haven't gotten into layers on it yet. but it has been pretty user friendly. the video editor VideoStudio Pro has been very user friendly. there are 30 day trials available on them as well, if you want to play around with another product.

Clarke and Kamie said...

I keep telling myself "SOMEDAY" I will learn how to properly use my camera to the full ability it has. I'm scared to start--its overwhelming. but you've inspired me!

{Mo} said...

I've been using Photoscape a tiny bit, but I really need to sit down take some time and really play with it....or maybe I just need to BEG Kristen to give me tutorial?!?! I'm just not willing to invest the $$$ in photoshop at this point.
Now I'm off to the Pioneer Woman to check out her tips....Thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

I need to read up on this too. I want to take pictures of Ayla and I want them to look professional some what and I don't want to have to pay for it every time.

jill said...

These pictures are SOOO CUTE!!! She is seriously darling!!! You two look great!!! She's a very lucky girl to have a mom like you.


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