Once you have learned a bit about your digital camera, you will be ready to take the next logical step, post processing your photos. This is done with computer software programs. Photo editing software comes in many different skill levels and at a variety of price points. With this specialty software, you can edit your pictures a little or a lot. Suffice it to say that about 100% of the pictures you see in magazines have had some form of editing applied to them. Therefore, if you want your photos to look like those that you see publicly displayed, you will want to get started with photo editing software on your own pictures.
Unless you are serious about jumping into photography with both feet, or you have no cost restrictions, you will want to start with something basic and inexpensive. If, on the other hand, your goal is to compete with the pros right away, you will want to get one of the more complex and costly options. This article will discuss the capabilities of free, cheap, and expensive applications.
What Is Photo Editing Software And What Does It Do?
As mentioned, there are different levels of image processing, but at the basic level, each one alters the images by acting on the pixels to change what the picture looks like. This can be as simple as correcting red-eye to completely overhauling an image. The tools inside each program are different, so each one needs to be examined with care to discover its advantages and disadvantages with respect to your particular needs.
The key is to start with good images, then your experience with photo editing software will be much more rewarding. The best editors can't do much with an image that is not decent to start with. The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to set your camera's image quality setting to its highest value so that you are using all the pixels your camera can capture.
Photo Editing Software Choices
When people speak of changing something about a photo or adding to it, they usually use the term "photoshopping" and image, whether the "Real Photoshop" is used or some other photo editing software. This is true because everyone recognizes that Photoshop is the standard by which all other image editing programs are judged.
There is practically no limit to what a skilled Photoshop user can do with this application. And, Adobe is always upgrading its product with new and exciting ways to fix or enhance your pictures. They are now on version CS 5.5, which costs about $700 for an individual license.
There is another version called Photoshop Elements which is a very basic application. It has some of the capabilities of its big brother. In fact, for the layman photographer, it has everything one would need for editing and touching up your pictures. The good news is it costs only a fraction of the price of its much more powerful sibling.
Another possibility is to get a different product made by Photoshop with lots of input from photographers about what they wanted in image editing software. Adobe Lightroom is a unique software application that is extremely user friendly, yet it produces outstanding results. Again, it is quite a bit less costly than Photoshop CS 5. Arguably Adobe's most serious competitor would be the Corel Corp. They also produce photo editing software, and many folks have had excellent experience using it. One of their best post processing applications is called Paintshop Pro. It has many of the capabilities of Photoshop for an extremely affordable price.
Of course, there are free products as well. The photo editing software that comes with your camera may be all you need to get your pictures up to your standard as "printable" and "Facebook worthy." You can also use a few online resources for processing your pictures. Google's Picassa is an excellent, free software program that is great for minor editing. The strength of Picassa comes in its organizing capability. If you have thousands of pictures on your computer, Picassa will help you get them organized.
Other free online editing software includes GIMP and Picnik. Again, these are limited in their scope, but you can make some very creative photos with their help. If you pay for a premium upgrade, you can do a lot more than you can with the free version.