You say you are new to photography. I think you might find the learning curve for CS3 a little steep. You might be better of starting with something like Elements. The nice thing about Elements is that most of the tools carry over to CS3. When I started I took a course at a city college in Elements. That made the transition to Photoshop much easier.
My favorite author is Scott Kelbey..
I use Gimp but have photoshop. I find the gimp to be far superior for all my uses thus far...
Don't let CS3 scare you. It is a long slow process to become an expert user. But the basics of it are no more difficult than any other image processor, and easier than some..
You will have dozens of features that you never use. You won't even understand what some of them are for. That won't be a problem..
Some day you will have some unusual problem to fix. You will ask around or search through the help file, and discover that just the tool you need is there. Gradually, you will come to know it..
It is entirely possible that no single person on earth is completely familiar with all of the features, but we have each discovered what subset of features is useful for us..
If you can get it at a good price, Go FOR IT.Joel Orlinsky.
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I would agree that if you can get a copy of Photoshop CS3 to go for it and I also agree that there is a tremendous learning curve. The program can be overwhelming. Before getting to that point, check out the dozens of books on Photoshop CS3 or the online videos. I think the online videos are a wonderful tool, as you can learn by watching a pro. However, every book and video on the subject of Photoshop will make assumptions about what you know. But the vast number of these online videos, many of which are free, can be watched over and over.
Then, in I-Tunes, do a search for "Photoshop" and look for the video podcasts and start watching those. And I also recommend Scott Kelby's books. Check out his website, too, athttp://www.kelbytraining.com.
Photoshop is a tremendous program. I started using it on the Mac back when it first came out and it just gets more amazing all the time. Eventually, most every digital photographer will get to Photoshop..
Very much like asking a diverse, world-wide group what flavor of ice cream they recommend!.
If you can get CS3 for little or nothing, GET IT!.
Then, go to Costco and buy Photoshop Elements 6 for $50..
[This is like a bicycle. If you don't know how to ride, you need a small bike (so when you fall, it doesn't hurt as much) and probably training wheels. Then when you learn to stay on the bike, you can consider a grownup set of wheels.].
Learn PSE6. There are MANY good books (the one that comes with PSE6 is NOT one of them...Adobe wants to sell you the full manual). My advice is to ignore the Organizer that comes with PSE6 (Organizer is a separate program, but they are linked)..
When you find something you can't do with PSE6 (this will take YEARS), then start converting to CS3..
There are other "flavors" of photo editors...some even free...but if you need help learning how to drive one of these beasts, you'll be REALLY glad you have some "flavor" of PS, as there is a lot of help available..
Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..
And get the Photoshop. After two or three days you will either be back here asking which of the other programs would be best or you'll be at the bookstore buying books on Photoshop because sitting at the computer is more fun than taking pictures.Patrick T. KellyOaxaca, Mexico..
Might be worth looking at something like this before you get too bogged down in PS, it's free, as in beer, and quite simple to get into..