I started with Picasa when I began taking more photos one year ago. When I got James in June, I used the Canon Digital Photo Professional software that came with the 500D. I’ve heard about Photoshop, of course, and the layers totally freaked me out! When PSPJ friends talked about Adobe Lightroom and after seeing the interface, I thought I’d give it a shot. I liked it almost immediately. For starters, the Recovery slider – it helps to recover (of course) details that I thought had been lost. On top of the crop tool, I can also straighten my pictures in Lightroom. And I love how it works with RAW images. So I downloaded the free trial software and started to play.
As a newbie, it helped me to start with listening to my trusted friends’ experience with their favorite application. Next, experiment. After the basics (straighten/crop), you can start with the more obvious sliders before moving on to the color curves and the dropper/brush correction tools. I found that focusing on 3 or 4 creative/style elements helps me to see the impact of the changes better.
The image of the old steam engine in front of the house is an example of my Lightroom experiment. I moved the Recovery slider almost all the way max. Next, I moved the Fill Light slider up. It made the picture almost like a painting. Moving the Blacks slider up helped me to get more dimension and depth.
The image of the train coach is a result from my Canon DPP experiment. I moved the sliders for Contrast, Highlight & Shadows until I found the combination that I liked most.
Finding the combination that works best for you could be a good place to start. Learning has got to start somewhere, right?