Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Best straight-forward photo editing software for the Mac

810 views
10 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2019
  • 25 posts
Best straight-forward photo editing software for the Mac
Posted by Nevin Wilson on Sunday, January 12, 2020 2:23 PM

I've decided that photo backdrops are the way to go for my new layout and learning to use a photo editing application would be a good idea.  I'll probably use it to print surfaces for stuctures a la Mindheim too. 

I'm looking for suggestions for a good straight-forward Mac program that doesn't have a steep learning curve.  About 5-6 years ago I tried a program and it was basically undecipherable for me so I got rid of it.  It is time to try again.  Any suggestions about photo printers for backdrops would be appreciated too.  Thanks.  

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 10,071 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, January 12, 2020 2:56 PM

I use Adobe Elements and it does everything I want to do for both hobby and family photos.

Although I use the Windows version I don't see why the Mac would be much different. You can choose between three levels of complexity and switch between them as needed while editing a single photo.

In the "expert" mode there is a "photostitch" utility that allows you to make broad landscapes by merging photos.

https://www.macworld.com/article/3454298/adobe-photoshop-elements-2020-review.html

I mostly use older version 11 but I recently "upgraded" to the 2019 version.

I bought the "program" on a DVD (some call them apps, now?). I don't use the monthly "cloud" subscription. I believe the licence allows me to have it on three computers.

I believe there is a 30 day free trial you can download. The list price is around $90 but if you watch for discounts you can find a street price closer to $60.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 7,581 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 12, 2020 3:33 PM

My youngest daughter, whose life literally revolves around her Instagram account, also loves Adobve Elements.

.

She has tried to get me to use it, and even teach me, but I have never taken the plunge.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • 166 posts
Posted by OldEngineman on Sunday, January 12, 2020 10:22 PM

You're gonna need a pretty BIG printer to print a "backdrop".

Big printer = big bucks.

Have you tried Apple's "Photos" app?

Free with every Mac.

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • 1,260 posts
Posted by trainnut1250 on Monday, January 13, 2020 3:39 PM

Nevin,

Note: I come at this from a fine art photo background that might not be applicable to how you want to do your backdrops.

Most of the photo editing software works in a similar fashion. I would suggest photo shop elements (probably the same as the previously mentioned Adobe Elements). It is a less fully featured version of Photoshop. Once you get the hang of Elements, you can easily step up to regular Photoshop if you need any of the advanced features. Google any questions you have about the software rather than using the photoshop/Elements help section - you will get better answers more quickly.

BTW: One overlooked issue with many of these programs is file management (especially true of Lightroom). Make sure your file tree is rock solid and consistent. Decisions made at the beginning of the process are a hassle to change later. Especially once you have lots of images in the system and are having trouble keeping track of things. The first decision is whether to store the images in I photo... Opinions vary, but I personally don't use it.

Back drops of any quality will likely require very large files - especially if you stitch several images together. These may choke a basic desktop, so your expense may extend to a new computer (or upgrade) depending on your current machine.

I would send the files to be printed on a comercial printer. Purchasing and maintaining a quality printer (Epson and the like) is lots of expense and time for just a few prints. Printer inks dry out when not in use and are expensive to replace. I have found Costco to be good for inexpensive testing of large prints for resolution issues before coughing up big bucks or the final print.

Good luck with the project.

Your mileage may vary,

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • 56 posts
Posted by danno54 on Monday, January 13, 2020 5:54 PM

I use Pixelmator on my iMac Pro. You can download a free trial version. I think the license price is around $30.

  • Member since
    February 2019
  • 25 posts
Posted by Nevin Wilson on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 6:47 AM
Thanks for everyone's comments so far. To clarify what I am planning to do, I am modeling the Maryland Midland. I have a shelf layout with a 14 inch backdrop all the way around it that is already painted sky blue. Most of the trees will be painted on the backdrop, but I would like to use photographs that I have taken along with Google Earth downloads to be able to print out area-specific things like background buildings, rivers and roads that would be cut out and glued to the back drop. A photo printer that could do 14 inches long should do just fine (I hope!).
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • 56 posts
Posted by danno54 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 8:26 AM
I use a Brother ink jet printer scanner fax that handles 11x17 paper. If I need a longer section my local Fed/Ex Kinkos can print out my spliced together photos from a thumb drive.
  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 102 posts
Posted by Brammy on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 8:27 AM
Affinity Photo is very good as well. it is close to a Photoshop clone for $50.
  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 7,581 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 1:12 PM

Can the basic (Elements) version work with green screen?

.

The photo below shows my current photo taking set. It is in one of the bedrooms previously occupied by my youngest daughter.

.

We painted one wall green so she and her friends could "green screen" themselves into other photographs.

.

If I take a train picture without a backdrop, how easyis it to use photo editing software to replace the green with a suitable background?

.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • 45 posts
Posted by wolf10851 on Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:29 AM

I am surprised at the lack of recommendations for Adobe lightroom.  for a photographer this has become a pretty much must have tool

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!