Total "newb" question about software

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
The more things change, the more they remain the same. I remember folks buying really nice film cameras and lenses only to buy a cheap enlarger to print with or send the film out to the local drug store.

Still, the greatest enlarger in the world is no good if you don't have the skills.

I just wish there was a place I could buy talent!

Cheers, Jock


Aug 19, 2012
Southern California
Gary Ayala
There is free pp software which will help you get your feet wet. I hear that 'Gimp' works very well and it's free. And most pp software have a 30 days free trial period. Photoshop Elements is quite good and much cheaper than CS6, both Lightroom and Aperture are under $100.


Old Codgers Group
I can confirm that GIMP mirrrors much of what Photoshop can achieve. I've used it under Linux, I'm not sure if the development work to get it running under windows is still a work in progress or if there is a version available.

Here are two typical links from a quick internet search that will give you some idea of techniques available to you. The first details methods that can be used in a photo editor such as Photoshop Elements, and indeed GIMP. These techniques are universal and would be no more nor less than anyone could submit to a thread here, however the work has already been done by others and is clearly stated, so saves time and further explanation.

7 Black and White Photoshop Conversion Techniques

The second contains tutorials about Silver Efex

Silver Efex Pro 2 – Tutorial « Photography Improvement

I hope these provide you with a starting point for further research. I would suggest that the first set of methods would provide you with a greater learning experience than just selecting from a set of presets contained within a plug in, however inexpensive.



Dec 22, 2010
Hey All,

Here is what I use.


The list at the bottom of that link shows some of what the program can do. It is a raw converter with full image adjustment ability, filters, frames etc and powerful hdr ability including image combining and tone mapping. One important ability the program has that is not mentioned on the site is the ability to combine layers through brushes or erasers. It does have all the lasso tools as well however they are not as intelligent as those in photoshop. I'm not sure everything works exactly right or it is operator error (more likely) . It is also kind of clunky at times but still very powerful. The only negative I have found is that the rotate function isn't as sensitive (small increments) as I'd like and so I use an old freeware version of 20 20 for that and sometimes sharpening as well.

Here is a gallery if you would like to see some images. Note the black and whites.


I recommend this to those who do not want to spend a lot but want a very complete package including real hdr power. All that said it is only $45.50 US and has all that it does. I have no affiliation with the product other than being a happy user who hasn't found a reason to justify the expense (what like 10 times the cost of this program?) CS6 or some such.



Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between

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