Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tools for the Job

New Workstation!February was a lousy time for blogging, simply just had too much stuff going on. (that never happens to you does it?)

So I thought I would kick this month off with a brief post about tools for the job.  Photography can be an amazing pursuit that can teach you about yourself as well as sharing something about yourself to others, but it is an expensive passion!  Lenses, cameras, bags, lights, stands etc. can really take a chunk out of your pocketbook and the industry doesn't make it any easier on us poor photogs by constantly bombarding us with new gear and telling us we must have the latest and greatest to achieve our photographic goals, but when it comes down to it, what do you really need to do your job or follow your passion?

I'd like to think that I for one, am not a gear hound, but in relation to others, I'm sure I appear to be one.  Sure I have a few cameras, a few lenses, a ton of lights and various other tools, but I feel like I have just enough to enable me to create the photography that I want to achieve be it personal work or job related.  I've dropped some serious dollars over the years to fulfill my collection, but I still find things that I need ...or think I need.

For example, for the last few years I've been using the same computer and software to process my images.  I'm not a Photoshop wizard by any means and merely use Photoshop when I feel like I need to.  Personally though, I prefer to create images in the camera as much as possible without having to rely on editing to get the look I want.  However there are those times when I shoot something knowing that I plan on rolling that image through some heavy editing to get the desired look.

Over the last year or so, I've been noticing some really cool features that Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3 can give so I thought, well maybe its time to upgrade my old system.  Realizing that the latest version of Photoshop is such a resource hound, I figured its time I upgraded my old system.  So I did some thorough research to see what both of those applications require from a hardware standpoint and then set about finding a new computer that would meet those requirements but still work within my budget, allowing me to get the latest Adobe products as well.

For the first time in many years, I found a good deal on a quad-core system that already came preassembled, in other words, it works straight out of the box.  Every computer I've had up until now, I built myself (with a little help from time to time).  So this was a good deal and now that I have it up and running, I've realized that my new system is a lot faster than my old one and multitasks quite easily with resource consuming programs.  So now it was time to upgrade my version of Photoshop and to finally try out the new Lightroom ...I've never used this software so was looking forward to the learning curve.

So I got on Adobe's website, entered my current serial number and guess what I found out?  That my serial number for my current version of Photoshop is actually an invalid number and can't be upgraded!  Long story short, I called several reps at Adobe to try to make sure this was the issue, and it is indeed so.  I purchased my current version of Photoshop years ago on EBay.  The seller assured that it was a legitimate copy and that it would work perfectly.  Well, the seller was half right.  It came to me looking just like an unopened legitimate version of Photoshop with a key and still wrapped in cellophane so I thought at the time, great!  I've used this version for years, and even updated it a few times.  Now however, it looks like I'm stuck with this version until I can afford a full blown new version of Photoshop.  I even thought about contacting the seller on EBay to complain to him or at the very least, to leave him a scathing, negative review, but after doing some research, I realized that I had a friend purchase this for me through his account and not on my own.  After some deliberation, I finally decided that it really wouldn't do any good to try to find the seller anyways, seeing as how his product has served me well for many years without issue and I seriously doubt the seller is even on EBay anymore anyways.

So this development leads me back to what I was originally thinking when I started this post.  Do I really need the latest version of Photoshop and the addition of Lightroom to do my work?  Honestly, I don't think I do but I just really had my heart set on it.  My old version of Photoshop (even though apparently illegitimate) still does all I need it to do and has been a valuable tool in following my work as a photographer.  Does it have all the latest and greatest bells and whistles?  Nope it sure don't, but it does what I need it to do.  As far as Lightroom goes, I've never used it so I guess I won't know what I'm missing, but it certainly calls out to me in sleep and waking dreams.  I guess I could get the latest version of Lightroom anyways, but I'm not sure if it would play nice with my older version of Photoshop or even if that matters.

So I guess what I'm getting at is, I REALLY REALLY would like to upgrade but I guess I don't really need it.  Hopefully a few more jobs down the road will allow me to complete my upgrade but until then I'll just have to froth at the mouth.

This post was really just a pity party and I promise to come back with something more informative and useful in the next post!

If you've read this far, I'd be interested to know if any of you are in the same boat and what you're feelings are about it.  Thanks for listening ...err reading!


GrayJack said...

Lightroom 3 plays very nicely with CS3. Great for batching profile conversions, and color calibration, with X-rite color card. Of course, I'm shooting fabrics and the colors have to be precise.

Mike Melosh said...

I have often used several-generations old imaging software because it met my needs and I could not afford to upgrade. Now that I am in Adobe's world, I feel the push to upgrade constantly - not from them but from photo magazines who primarily only give editing tips for the most current version on the market. They make the newest version sound so much better than what I am using even if it is only one or two new tools or tweaks which are the real differences. Is driving the previous model Ferrari really so bad? :)

Anonymous said...

If you have kids, buy the educational copy of the software
in their name. Only $200.