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Any good tutorials for learning how to post-process images?

Though I have been trying hands on photography for quite a while now, I want to learn post processing of photos now. I have been going good with my DSLR, which is a Canon 550D with 2 kit lenses- 18-55 and 55-250. I have also recently ordered EF85mm-f1.8 and at some point will get my 50mm too :)

Now to learn post processing effects 1) Which is good and easy to learn post processing software for a newbie? I have heard of GIMP and Photoshop, but never have worked on either

2) What effects/fundamentals one should learn to begin with? And if you have any place from where I can start on my own on web?

Thanks a ton!

  • @dpollitt thanks, I guess I should have searched both my questions before asking...will keep in mind – vishal.biyani Feb 12 '12 at 18:45

1) I'm a Gnu/Linux fan, but I don't recommend GIMP, because it have some limitations (See https://photo.stackexchange.com/a/7691/1943) So, I recommend you to use Photoshop. Also, don't think too much about easy-to-learn and easy-to-use. It's not the software you want to learn, it's the post processing. So, start with a professional application, so you're not limited to what application provides.

2) An excellent book to start learning post processing with Photoshop is "The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers 2010". Google it for more info!

  • 2
    I disagree. Gimp can be used for professional work. However, it is helpful to know what the limitations are. See: photo.stackexchange.com/a/7691/1943 – mattdm Feb 12 '12 at 15:51
  • @mattdm: Thanks for the comment and the link. I edit my answer to reflect that. – Aidin Feb 13 '12 at 11:56

Consider trying out http://www.darktable.org/ too (which is analogous to Lightroom, while GIMP is analogous to Photoshop). In other words, it provides workflow features for organising your photos and making routine changes (white balance adjustments, sharpening etc).

  • @vishal.biyani you want to process a photo not manipulate it. So James is right, you realy need Lightroom (Paid) or Darktable (Free). Both are powerful and easy to learn. – dialex Apr 23 '14 at 8:47

Considering the level of post processing you want to get into, I'd recommend Lightroom over Photoshop. In some ways it's not as flexible as Photoshop, but the organization capabilities, develop tools ("post processing"), and available plugins (to do things like HDR) make it a really great tool. Since Lightroom and Photoshop both offer 30-day free trials you can get a taste of each yourself.


Since you are a beginner in post-processing I suggest that you use Lightroom or Darktable. If you do not want to spend a penny on a post-processing software then Darktable is a good choice. Unfortunately, Darktable is not easily available for Windows users. I suggest that you spend a little bit more for a post-processing tool... get Lightroom. (It is available for Windows and Mac OS). Lightroom is so easy to use. I'm not saying that Darktable is not easy to use but I'm not comfortable with its flow. (Or maybe I'm just more used to Lightroom than any other tool including Photoshop). If you want to venture into more advanced post-processing, Photoshop or GIMP is the option. I highly recommend GIMP if you are not familiar with Photoshop. GIMP is free and, unlike Darktable, has a Windows installer.

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