Don’t get me wrong I love Photoshop. I’ve used it for years both at work and at home. I love it. But it’s complicated and it’s expensive and let’s face.. not that easy to learn unless you’re willing to sit down and spend a lot of time with it. As the guy who does the You Suck At Photoshop videos likes to say “You’re only using about $70.00 worth of Photoshop” if you’re the average Joe.
I also have Photoshop Elements which is the scaled down, less expensive version. And I like it too. I especially love the drag and drop photo tagging feature. And it’s ability to organize your tags into groups is awesome. That right there was worth the price of admission for me. But I still used Photoshop proper for editing my actual photos because I felt like Elements was a little limiting when I had the full deal at my disposal.
Then I discovered Microsoft’s Live Photo Gallery and I’ve found myself converted. First off the best part was that it’s FREE. Free. No Money. Nada. Zero.
At first I just looked at it as a possible alternative to Elements for organizing and tagging. In that arena it stood up okay, not great but okay. You drag and drop but in the opposite direction (photo to tag rather than tag to photo) so that was just something that took a little getting used to. A big drawback was that you can’t organize the tags and I use ALOT of tags. Again something I had to get used to.
But it did do something things better like navigation and the fact that it writes the tags to the file automatically where as you have to remember to do that as an extra step in Elements. In the end I found myself using it more and more rather than opening Elements. But I was still cleaning up my photos in Photoshop.
Then one day I just needed to correct a quick red-eye issue in a photo that I wanted to quickly email and I had Photo Gallery already open. I thought to myself.. “I bet there is a quick red-eye tool here somewhere let me look”.. and for the first time I clicked on the “Fix” button.
A handy little menu opened up on the right and I’ve been giggling every since. See I’m a mom, and I have a fancy Nikon D50 with lots of fancy options that I never use because well I’m a mom. And my kids don’t stand still long enough for me to tinker with exposure and shutter speed and what not. If I did that I’d miss the shot. I leave it on Automatic and hope for the best. I depend on Photoshop or something like it to correct lighting, exposure, red eye and a whole host of other sins in post production.
So I’m pretty good at Photoshop, I’ve taken classes and I have lots of fancy Actions that help me along the way. But what I found in Photo Gallery has kept me from having to even open Photoshop unless I’m just in the mood to play around.
Check this out. It has Exposure and Histogram adjustments controlled by little sliders right there on the screens so you can adjust the Brightness, Contrast, Shadows, and Highlights with just the click and wiggle of the mouse. So Before SOOC:
After: All I had to do was move the sliders on the Histogram (minus the 6 or 7 clicks this would have taken in Photoshop and viola – way better shot of the butterflies in the cage. AND.. this is HUGE to me .. you can set it to so that once you’re done playing it will automatically saves your changes when you click over to the next picture. Gone of the dozen freaking steps/clicks it takes Photoshop to save the changes you’ve made. WHOOT!!
Let’s try it again of a different photo
Before SOOC – dark and yucky right..
Blam – without extraneous menu selections .. ON ONE SCREEN I’ve just adjusted the histogram and also opened the detail option and increased the sharpness with a little slider as well.
There is also a color correction tool, a cropping tool, and a red eye tool all right there in one place. Easy to use and requires very little experience to master. And remember it’s free. And I love the fact that you can move from picture to picture with just a click of the arrows at the bottom.
Can I erase the bruises on her arm? No. If I wanted to do that I’d need to go over to Photoshop but you know what. Those bruises are part of her charm, Pudd is always banged up from play, and I do stuff like that about 2% of the time. (Generally it’s a snot issue with the 2 year old)
So I’ve now found my routine is to dump my card into the computer into the appropriate folder (I organize by year and month) and then do a quick run through with Live Photo Gallery of each photo tagging and making orientation, exposure and other adjustments quickly on the fly. I can do 50 pictures in just a few minutes versus the hour or more it would have taken with Photoshop. Let’s face as Mom’s we just don’t have that kind of time.
Do I still open some up on Photoshop and do fun things… absolutely. But that just it, it’s now for fun. I don’t “need” it for average everyday edit and correction. And that makes it all the more fun to play with when I have time to sit down and use it to it’s fullest.
So yes for Snot Removal you need Photoshop but for average everyday pump up the volume make my pictures look better editing…. Live Photo Gallery rocks.