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Those starting out in digital photography may feel daunted by the clever things that are being done in Photoshop by some club photographers. Fear not, there is no need now to make a large investment, both in time and money, in attempting to become a Photoshop guru. There is LIghtroom. Also an Adobe program, Lightroom seemed at first to only offer a chance to organise your photographs but it is now far, far more and many photographers make it the central part of their workflow. It is the ideal starting point for beginner and expert alike. It does all the basic processing you need and you can easily send your work over to Photoshop or other software to do any twiddly bits if you must.

Of course it still needs a bit of effort to get into but with  patience you can soon get going with it. When you have it will help you enormously, not just in improving the presentation of your pictures but keeping track of them, making prints, books, everything for the web, even tagging them to show where they were taken. After the excellent level of control you have in processing your pictures the thing I value most is the facility of never having to worry about where and how to store pictures you’ve worked on. You can just stop. You can return after answering the phone or a week, month, year later and just pick up where you left off. No more searching for files and wondering which was the version you last worked on. If you want you can apply the same adjustments to masses of pictures and have them ready to view, finished, in a few minutes.

You still need help to get started and I can recommend visiting Laura Shoe’s website and perhaps buying her videos. Laura explains things so clearly. Laura has a friendly rival, Victoria Bampton, or the Lightroom Queen who is also very, very good. She has a free guide which is a great start for you I also use Piet van den Eynde’s books which are available through Craft and Vision Piet is good on the finer details. Also superbly well presented are the Adobe tv videos, especially those by the wonderful Julieanne Kost!

Other picture processing programs are available and if you already have a favourite you can bet someone in the club will be using it and can answer that burning question.