Tag Archives: lightroom 4

Find Photoshop expensive? Consider leasing.

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Currently on my computer I have these digital photo editing programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe Lightroom 4.1
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X4
  • Corel Photo-Paint X6
  • CorelDRAW! X6
  • Word 2010 (don’t underestimate it!)

I have had Photoshop, Photo-Paint, CorelDRAW!, and Word since their initial releases decades ago.

When I went to upgrade Photoshop, I discovered the steep price. I also discovered Lightroom, so rather than the steep price for a Photoshop upgrade, I opted to continue using my very old version of Photoshop and learn Lightroom.

When I went to upgrade my very old versions of Photo-Paint and DRAW!, I discovered PaintShop Pro. The price was very reasonable, so I bought it.

I use all of those programs for various purposes, but my current goal is to see if I can get Photoshop to do everything. If I can, then ultimately I’ll be migrating my skills in all the other programs over to Photoshop.

I think that Photoshop is the most powerful individual programs, but if I combine DRAW! X6 and either Photo-Paint X6 or Paintshop Pro X4, I can do in them anything that Photoshop can do. The question is, “How easily?” or “How much time is involved?”

For example, I use CorelDRAW! X6 to do the Zoey the Cool Cat approval stamp at the end of each post. It takes me about 15 seconds. To do it is Photoshop would take several layers and lots of time, and I haven’t found that Photoshop Actions can really automate everything for me yet.

I use Word 2010 to create quick frames, like the one I use for my wise old grandmother:

My wise old grandmother

That took about 15 seconds in Word 2010.

I use Lightroom 4.1 to give me quick JPGs from RAW files and to do quick adjustments for exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, and clarity (sharpness). Five sliders takes about 30 seconds. The same tasks in Photoshop takes several minutes due to having to go through Adobe Camera Raw first and then into Photoshop. Minimum of five layers in Photoshop.

I use Photo-Paint to create GIFs. It’s the easiest program I’ve found for that:

You could learn a lot by paying attention here

PaintShop Pro X4 is very similar to Photoshop, and I’ve found it much easier to use. However, simply because Photoshop is the defacto standard throughout the world, Photoshop is where I’m dedicating my time. When you have a defacto standard, you have a lot of people doing tutorials and creating plugins and such. So Photoshop it is.

One you have created certain effects that you like in any of the programs, you can either save the file as a template and then just replace the picture as needed (that’s what I do in CorelDRAW! and Word) or you can create actions, scripts, or macros in the other programs to automate tasks. As with anything, it takes time to set it up initially but then the ROI on your time is returned each succeeding time you do the same thing.

If you’re considering Photoshop and find the price too steep, consider leasing it, which is what I do. I have a one-year lease with Adobe that costs me $19.99 a month. Considering that the full program is $699, it would take me 35 months of leasing to pay for the program. That’s three years. During those three years, Adobe will come out with two upgrades, costing you $199 each, another $400. You’ll never be able to stay up to date with the latest and the greatest. With a lease, you can.

Twenty dollars a month is less than any of my other individual bills — gas, phone, cable, mortgage, electricity, etc., and something I can easily afford. Coming up with $699 all at one time, and then $199 every 18 months, can often be difficult for the 99%.

If you’re considering a Photoshop lease, when you go to buy the product, in the dropdown box, select “Subscription” instead of “Upgrade” or “Full.”

Once you have any of these programs, if you have a question about how to do something, ask me. If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find out. It helps me learn, and real-world examples are always much more fun than reading through a book or watching a tutorial.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos


SNIPPETS — #5: Taking sunset pictures when there is no sunset


#5: Taking sunset pictures when there is no sunset


We are fortunate that we have a lot of sunshine here in San Diego….


Lots of sunshine often means that pictures come out harsh, sometimes overexposed, sometimes with parts of the picture blown out, especially the whites and reflections.

When I’m in that situation and don’t want to go home yet, I’ll often take sunset pictures.

I was downtown recently and the morning sun was out and bright, without the typical early morning marine layer that is prevalent…. just a few swirls of clouds here and there. So I took sunset pictures. It’s not hard to do. Just set your exposure compensation (EC) to the negative side.

The following five pictures were taking at normal exposure, -1 EC, -2 EC, -3 EC, and -4 EC:


Downtown San Diego at dawn


Downtown San Diego at dawn


Downtown San Diego at dawn


Downtown San Diego at dawn


I really like silhouettes, so I like the last picture best. However, I can put some building detail back into the picture in a digital photo editing program; I used Lightroom 4:

Downtown San Diego at dawn


SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will also have a picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.


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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Two birds cropped in Lightroom 4

SNIPPETS — #4: Photoshop or Lightroom?



I really like photography. I like taking pictures, but I freely admit that I have as much fun at the computer modifying those pictures as I did taking them. To that end, I have lots of digital photo editing programs: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta, Adobe Lightroom 4, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Corel PaintShop Pro X4, Corel Photo-Paint X6, and Corel Draw! X6. I also will occasionally do something using Word 2010’s photo functions; they are more powerful than you might think.

I don’t have the free programs like Picassa, Picnik, Gimp, etc. I have tried them but either didn’t like how they took over my computer or didn’t like how they worked. I think if one of them happens to be the first digital photo editing program you ever use, you’ll probably do fine with it.

My favorite program is Lightroom 4. I like its layout, its functions, how easy it is to use the functions, and how easy it is to return to any specific editing point. It’s even easy to start all over without losing the history of what you did previously.

I will also admit that I’m trying to make Photoshop my standard bearer since it’s the industry standard. I’ve been making that effort for eight months now, but I’m failing. There are things that I just don’t like above Photoshop, such as how it handles cropping and the result of that cropping.

As an example, here is a picture from a February birding expedition that I wanted to crop:

Original picture of two birds


The picture was taken with a Canon 550D at its highest resolution, so it’s a
5184 x 3455 pixel image with lots of cropping room.

In Photoshop CS6 Beta, I cropped the image and then applied Properties, Levels, Lighten Shadows and got this:

Two birds cropped in Photoshop CS6 Beta


It’s a little washed out, but does document the birds I saw since this was a birding expedition.

In Lightroom 4, I cropped and then moved the Basic, Shadows slider from 0 to 25. That gave me this:

Two birds cropped in Lightroom 4


I like the Lightroom 4 picture better. I’m 100% certain that I can make the Photoshop CS6 Beta picture look identical to the Lightroom 4 picture, probably better. However, at what cost, in terms of time and money? Photoshop CS(x) is $699. Lightroom 4 is $149.

For pictures that are just documenting something, and are not actually very good to begin with (in other words they won’t appear anywhere on the Internet), Lightroom 4 comes out the winner in terms of money and time.


SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will also have a picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.


This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Train tracks and protea double exposure

A digital double exposure

Bob Willis, real estate agent with Prudential California Realty in Whittier, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Bob Willis, a real estate agent with Prudential California Realty in Whittier, California. I have known Bob for about three years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend him for anyone needing real estate services in the Whittier, California, area.

Dedications are my way of trying to provide a little extra Google juice for people I have come to know and respect over the years.

Picture of the moment

A few decades ago I had a Canon A1. I loved that camera even when I goofed and created a double exposure. Sometimes double exposures were pretty neat. Accidentally taking a double exposure with my Canon Rebel XSi or my Canon 550D is virtually impossible. I’ve tried. However….

I’ve been thinking that creating a double exposure with all of these wonderful digital photo editing programs should be relatively easy to do. Well, it’s not relatively easy to do, but ultimately I did succeed.

Using Adobe Photoshop CS5, I was able to take a picture of some train tracks and a picture of a beautiful protea flower and superimpose one on the other to give me this beautiful double exposure:

 Train tracks and protea double exposure

I have Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Lightroom 4, Corel PaintShop Pro X4, and Corel Photo-Paint X5. As with probably 80% of the population that has any one of those programs, I have never learned how to use layers. This evening I sat down with Photoshop CS5 with the sole purpose of being successful at doing something — anything! — with layers. That’s how I got my double exposure.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat