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Need your recommendations on image manipulation software


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Hi Fellow Shooters,

I'm currently using Windows Photo Gallery for storage and minimal manipulation. I find it pretty good for categorising, sorting etc. but not very good for displaying - it won't use the full screen for example.

I got Corel Paintshop Pro Photo XI (cheap) with the PC originally but find it virtually unusable. The sort of tweaks I want to do are the usual exposure, sharpening, noise removal, straightening up type adjustments. Ideally also ability to remove the odd object which isn't wanted (ie. due to my lousy photography).

I know PhotoShop does all this but I don't want to fork out that much, and there seem to be various lesser packages such as Light Room, Elements etc. I find the descriptions of functions opaque, so I thought I'd ask the forum experts.

All views gratefully received.


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Iam no expert on manipulating photo,s ,and i don,t use light room ect because of cost .What i use for processing RAW images is nikon,s capture nx2,it does everything i need and dosn,t baffle you with science ect,of coarse it would be no good if you don,t have a nikon!! about 120 pounds if bought.

i don,t use it all the time though Piasa 3 can be just as good....if the shot is decent enough,or i have faststone image viewer on the laptop aswell..both are free.These will let you "tune" your image simply,but produce lesser quality fixes,only a pixel counter could normaly tell,or your trying to do large prints..a4 or above.

give them a trial after all thier free

cheers Trev

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Just to be clear Pat, Lightroom is not a "lesser" programme than Photoshop - it has a different purpose. Many pros and serious amateurs use both.

To answer your question, I agree with Mark that Photoshop Elements is probably the best choice for you. However, if you shoot a lot of photos and can run to the extra cost, look at Lightroom, which does everything you want and much more.


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I'm certainly no expert, Pat, but from my limited understanding, Lightroom is a combination of a cataloguing tool and a method of enhancing photos. It enables you to alter things like exposure, sharpness, white balance, add grad filters etc and also convert from RAW to various other formats. What it isn't is a full blown image manipulation package, so I don't think it's meant for things like pasting objects into photos that don't exist, or creating layers and masks.

I understand Elements to be something of a cut-down Photoshop with some of the image manipulation bits, as well as a way of tagging photos to make them easier to find. I'm afraid I haven't really used it properly though, although it looks quite pretty!

I also have Paint Shop Pro X2, which is similar to photoshop, but I found it a bit of a pig to use. But that's probably just me!

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