I wrangled with this too when I started here. I happen to work for the fruit so trying Aperture didn't require a investment on my part except for time. It was difficult to work with and no one here could give me any advice. Plus, as CPD mentioned, there are a plethora of books on Photoshop.
I'd recommend you get Photoshop Elements. It's MUCH cheaper than the full blown photoshop and has all the capabilities you'll need to upload shots here.
I'd also highly recommend this book:
Here's the way I do my thing on my mac...
- Import all photos into iPhoto. (It has RAW support)
- Go through the photos one by one using the edit function and zooming in to actual pixels.
- Throw out the bad quality ones (soft, blurry, noisy, etc)
- Move the ones I really want to edit into a album called "Roughs"
- Leave the ones that are OK
quality that I might want to have a go at if I have nothing left in the roughs album.
- Tag all the photos with the reg of the aircraft in case I need to search my "db" for a particular aircraft later.
- When I'm ready to edit a photo, I select it in the Roughs album and export it as a original (RAW) into a directory on my HD
- I'll then fire up Photoshop elements and open the RAW image.
- I get my edit on and make the adjustments I need to make.
- I save the file as a psd file when I'm done editing in a directory called Processed
- I use the save for web to save a JPEG version of the image and place it in a directory called "Holding Short"
- I then copy the image to my iDisk so I can post the image in my pre-screening topic in this forum.
- If I feel the image is ready I upload it here from the Holding Short directory.
- If it's accepted I move the jpeg to a folder called "Accepted"
- Then I move the original in iPhoto from the Roughs album to the completed album.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
This process works for me, it might not be for everyone and people might even think I'm nuts doing it this way.
But, I find iPhoto to be a really easy program to triage my photos and sort them in a way that works for me.
Anyways, I hope this helps.