Editing Software

I am a very amateur photographer and so not in the league which would allow for buying expensive editing software.  To be honest, even if I did purchase it I would need a whole new training course to learn how to use it.

With editing software in mind I asked the question in my closed photography course group asking what my fellow students used.

Some folks in the group are professional photographers and most use Lightroom. However, there are a few hobbyist photographers in the group who are like me and pretty clueless when it comes to the expensive software. The recommendations came in to trial a number of different options before deciding on one to buy. OR to go for a free option and the two top suggestions were iPiccy and GIMP.

Not being one to do anything by half I decided to go for both!

GIMP has been downloaded and saved onto my computer ~ as has the user manual. It has to be said after having a play around with it, that I will have to shelve using this for editing until I have had time to go through the massive user manual and play around with a photo editing it as I learn each aspect of the software.

IPiccy on the other hand isn’t a downloadable programme but one that you access via your browser. So for this I just saved it on my browser toolbar for fast and easy access when I need it.

So far I have only played around a little with iPiccy ~ and found it extremely user friendly and quite simple to use. It doesn’t have all the various options for editing that GIMP has but for me, with my cognitive issues, iPiccy is perfect.

At some point in the future I will dip in and out of the GIMP user manual and learn how to use its features as and when I can. I think as my photography improves that this will be the better editing tool for me to use because members of my group likened it to the closest free editing software to Lightroom.

As I progress I will share with you my thoughts on the features and uses of both iPiccy and GIMP.

I ventured forth once more the other day visiting my husbands work place to take more photos in manual mode. Being a place full of car spares most of the photos were of bits of metal in various states of repair.

After taking the photos I then used iPiccy to play around with them. Plus I learned how to add a watermark to boot!

Here they are, I hope you like them…



Lesson Two//How to shoot in Manual Photographs

I surprised myself!

After spending the morning and early afternoon lying on the sofa reading up on how to shoot in manual I had a spurt of energy.

Now any spoonie knows that energy spurts are not to be trusted, they lull you into a false sense of security. However, I was on to energies game and decided to pootle about the garden between rain showers and see what I could come up with.

All the following shots are in manual, playing with altering ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed ~ so although in some cases the subject is the same the settings aren’t.

I need to continue to practice photographing in this mode throughout the week to cement in the lessons learnt.

But for now, I share with you my first attempts..

So there you go, my first ever attempts at playing with Manual settings ~ the rest of the week I will mostly be seen with camera around my neck photographing everything in sight to practice this mode.

Ultimately I would like to be able to go somewhere to photograph landscapes in manual to really see a difference in the settings.

So it’s goodbye from me now until next week ~ when I will be learning how to use focal points!


Lesson Two//How to Shoot in Manual

This week the lesson is all about going manual!

Today I am having to make a compromise. According to a pre~arranged agreement with my family, my photography day is on Mondays. However, today I woke up feeling as if I have literally been hit by a bus. I have so much pain I can’t even work out where it starts and where it finishes.

This means I will have to separate my photography day into two sections ~ theory and practical.

Throughout today, I will be looking at the theory, looking at my lesson and reading of the “Going Manual” book by dividing my time into small blocks to read and then rest between.

I hope this way I can mentally get my head around it. According to the lesson you can switch the camera into manual mode, press your finger down halfway on the shutter button and a menu should come up to advise on settings. Then I have to change my camera settings to the ones shown and try to take the shot.

I can be trying this lying on my sofa, so hope to practice looking at different subjects in the room and changing settings as a warm up to going outside and taking shots.

Then, hopefully, later this week I will be able to find some time to go out and try taking some photographs using the manual setting and altering according to the camera suggestions.

For some reason the thought of going manual terrifies me ~ although I am sure if I concentrate and set my mind to it I should be able to master it.

Hopefully later this week I can share with you some images and the settings they were taken in. Both good and bad!

Until then, wishing you all a great week.


Lesson One//Light and Focus

Today I completed my first lesson which was looking at light and focus. How playing around with Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO can affect how quickly your camera takes the picture and how much in focus the image is and how light or dark.

So, in order to do my first assignment I had to have access to running water (used my hot tub and later a fountain at the park), plus locations in various levels of light and shade. Then using a tripod take shots in TV mode going up and down the settings to see how the various settings affected how the water looked in the image.

Then, once those images had been completed, I packed up my camera, crutches and slipped on my delightful compression stockings to visit the park and play around with the various settings  AV, TV and P modes and take images switching between the various settings on each mode, as per my assignments directive.

Note to self: when out and about taking photographs take your glasses to review images on the camera screen afterwards, then tweak image settings until get the perfect shot!

Unfortunately as mentioned above, I forgot to take my glasses and so had no idea what the images looked like after I had pressed the button! Had I been wearing them I would have seen many potentially great shots were horribly blurred and out of focus due to the settings not being right.

SO, although I had to learn the hard way I think now I fully understand the different settings and how they work when looking at a subject in different light conditions and distances from myself and the background/foreground.

It is because of my vision error that I don’t have many comparable images to share with you, so instead I will share the ones I have passed as “okay”. Looking at them there isn’t one image in all of them that I think is a “good” image, but that I guess, is very much part of the learning curve.

For the rest of this week  I will be pottering about the house (as Mondays park venture broke me) taking images of everyday mundane objects, using the tripod and working up and down through the settings. Hopefully by doing this the different settings relevant for different occasions will sit in my memory banks ready for retrieval when I am out and about without access to my notes.

Also, I am keeping in mind that photography, like art, has no right or wrong (with exception of course of horribly out of focus images) and that every person viewing the images will have differing opinions, critiques and thoughts on what it conveys to them.

So here are some samples of yesterdays trial and error images, first off the running water assignments, seeing how the different settings on the TV mode can make the water look frozen or blurred.

The remaining images were taken in the different modes AV, TV & P. As I said previously I’m not particularly fond of any of the images but then that’s the whole point of the exercise, to learn.

I struggle cognitively so will need to practice throughout the week in each of these modes to try and retain the information for future excursions. Hopefully it will lodge itself somewhere within my memory banks so that if out and about I can quickly set the camera up and take the shot without missing opportunities for a good photograph. Frustratingly I missed a flock of geese flying in front of me onto the lake because of just that issue!

So that’s it, nothing particularly fantastic but some not too bad images although if had a school report have a feeling it would say “Could do better”.

I am going to tootle off now, pick up my camera, make sure I am wearing my glasses and practice this weeks lessons playing with the settings in AV, TV and P mode.

Next week it’s “How to shoot in manual”, which will be interesting as it’s something up until now I have avoided!

I think now is a good time to retreat, and bid you farewell ~ wishing you a great week ahead and I will catch up with you next week.




Preparation~Finding My Student Head

Yesterday I cleared and sorted my desk area in readiness for starting my photography course. I now have ample space to move around and work on my theory and assignments.


In preparation for Mondays study I checked through my course work folder, which has all my theory lessons to read around and my practical assignments.

Noting lesson one is all about aperture, shutter speed and ISO then lesson two is about shooting in manual ~ I have decided to read the four downloaded books on each of these four subjects so that I am prepared for the lessons relating to them and hopefully result in some good photographs on my practical assignments.

Cognitive issues may require regular rereading of these books to ensure that the information is successfully filed in the memory banks ~ but I am determined to understand these fundamental basics inside and out, so will do whatever it takes to get there. I am seriously considering recording myself reading them to listen back to whenever I can which would be easier for me.

Looking through the lesson plan ~ each lesson module comes with assignments relating to them, so lesson one has 3 assignments but lesson two only one. However if a lesson has less modules the assignments are bigger.

The course is laid out as follows;

Lesson Plans & Assignments

Lesson One:
Understanding Aperture
Understanding Shutter Speed
Understanding ISO

Lesson Two:
How to shoot in Manual

Lesson Three:
How to use Focal Points
Shooting Sharp Images
Using EXIF Metadata to become a better photographer

Lesson Four:
The main differences between JPEG / RAW /TIFF
RAW / NEF File Format – Why Shooting in RAW / NEF is a useful learning tool for beginners

Lesson Five:
White Balance
Exposure Compensation
Metering Modes
Natural Light
Into the Sun
Low Light

Lesson Six:
Camera Settings for Vibrant Colours
One Simple Green Rule that will change your photography

Lesson Seven:
Cropping for Print

Lesson Eight:
Flower Close-ups
Sweet Spot
Intentional Blur
Car Light Trails

Lesson Nine:
HDR Basics

Lesson Ten:
Crystal Clear Images
Noise Reduction
Black & White Images

Lesson Eleven:
Camera Gear

Lesson Twelve:
Stock Photography
Learn What Images Sell Well
Selling Your Own Prints
Printing Your Images
Preparing your Images for Print
Business Of Photography – The 10 Essentials

I have also realised, that due to my health issues some of these lessons and assignments may well lead into more than one week. This is because I am not always well enough to venture out to different locations in order to successfully complete the assignment. I will have to try and be flexible and kind to myself when a lesson takes longer to complete than I would like.

I am beyond excited to get my teeth into this course, I love photography and wish I had realised this when I was younger ~ perhaps if I had my working life would have followed a different course.

Having said that, photography is a perfect hobby for me in my life right now. My daughters are at the point of adulthood and requiring my input far less than previously. Also a hobby I can afford to take slowly, enjoy the process and not have to worry about deadlines or grades.

If you are interested in looking at the course for yourself you can register here. I found it by sheer luck via a google search and am so happy I did.

The Open University course I completed was very brief ~ only 12 weeks long and to be honest I didn’t really fully understand the process or what I was doing because I was on the clock. I was hugely surprised to have passed but feel that it doesn’t really reflect any real knowledge ~ how could it over such a short time span?
letter with address blocked outThis time I aim to go slowly, read around each topic and assignment so that I completely understand the information and photographic settings required for different shots and environments.

In the future I would love to be able to share wonderful photographs of my family, friends, pets and places I visit.

As for lesson twelve ~ you never know, perhaps I may manage to sell a few prints on cards or something, who can say. My focus though is purely as a hobbyist photographer and not making money or turning it into something that feels like work.

So, off for some pre~lesson reading, see you again after lesson one.