I love Photoshop. My 7.0 is perhaps the program I use 2nd only to Firefox! I'm still a complete beginner photographer so it saves me immensely sometimes. Well, most of the time if we're being honest...
I finally made the "I'm really gonna learn about photography" commitment and just bought myself a speedlight and a prime lens. The Nikon SB-400 and the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D to be exact. I've been doing a lot of research and was having a hard time deciding between the 1.8 and the 1.4 but ultimately decided the 1.8 fit my needs best - and it being $160 less than the 1.4 didn't hurt either. I've been finding that my biggest challenge when photographing non-people (which I do more than I ever expected to, now that I'm blogging!) is lack of natural light and I despise flash. So a large aperture lens was necessary. And of course the main reason I despise flash is that I don't currently have a way to bounce it. So I'm really looking forward to this little guy who can be angled 0, 60, 75 and 90 degrees up. My multi-purpose dream lens was bypassed this time. The Nikkor 18-200mm with VR....*DROOL* will have to wait for perhaps the September bonus check.
Dad lent me his old-school 50mm 1.8 which won't auto-focus on my D40 but still (obviously) gives me a really good idea of what a 50mm f/1.8 will do. The manual focusing takes some getting used to - and I find that I'm still positioning the focus boxes on my subject and pressing halfway before re-composing. Well, it's good practice until I have my own! Dad's lens on my camera took all these peony photos this morning.
So why am I talking about Photoshop followed by my lens/flash purchases? Well - I've been using Photoshop a lot to mess with the white balance, exposure and contrast after taking pictures. The kit lens takes 'em sharp but I have a lot to learn about getting all the colors and brightness right. To help me along - I'm making the 2 purchases and hope that my shooting will improve a lot. But if it doesn't - I'll always have Photoshop.
On a final note - gotta give credit where credit is due. Mom grew these peonies in our backyard at "home". They're UNBELIEVABLE. She has over 50 buds on her plant (and probably 5000 ants - they too love peonies for some reason). She brought me this amazing bouquet when they came over for Mother's Day dinner on Sunday and totally put my lilies to shame.