Top 5 photo-editing packages



Christmas probably brought a new camera onto quite a few households up and down the country, and there’s probably the odd budding-photographer lurking somewhere!

Professional photographers generally shoot RAW (that’s a file format – it doesn’t mean that they shoot without any clothes on!) which gives greater latitude for adjustment, but even JPGs (the “standard” data compressed files) can benefit from a little post-production! Digital cameras these days are set to deliver quite vibrant results when you look at the screen on the back, but printed images will usually look better if you invest a bit of time (and please remember that shops and Labs now usually print exactly what you give them, so that’s something to bear in mind!).

Which photo-editing package is best?

As I said, there are a number about, so I’ll some which will suit different levels of photographer (from professional to the occasional “snapper”) and in different price brackets:

  1. Adobe Lightroom – I’d recommend this for all professionals and anyone who’s really serious about getting the best from their images. It’s much more user-friendly than the full version of Photoshop (which is really aimed at graphic designers and comes with a HUGE price tag!) and it’s certainly made editing large jobs, such as weddings, easier. To get the best from it I’d advise photographers to shoot RAW as you get to benefit from a much greater range of controls. Price c. £ 180

  2. Photoshop Elements – This is a stripped-down version of the full-blown Photoshop and Adobe release slightly upgraded versions from time to time (currently it’s version 10, although you can still get earlier versions discounted). It’s got a great range of controls and photographers can now use layers to make adjustments, although I don’t think it allows you to clone (which is where you can get rid of annoying items like wall plugs in the background etc.). Price c. £65

  3. Pixlr – A new breed of photo-editing software … web-based, so you log onto the website instead of installing software on your computer, and it’s free! It’s quite powerful – like Picasa it doesn’t support RAW images, but you can make lots of adjustments and it gives the traditional software packages a run for their money. One downside is that being web-based it’s dependant upon your brower’s connection, so working on a lot of images could take some time. Price £ free

  4. Picknik – A free application, from Google which, like Pixlr, is web-based. Lets you perform simple adjustments easily but lacks features for advanced users, and again like Pixlr is dependant upon your internet connection speed. Price £ free

  5. Picasa – Another free application from Google, and allows you to make a decent range of adjustments, including brightness and contrast, sharpness plus some intersting effects. A reasonable little package and well worth looking at if you’re not going to be doing a lot of post-production editing. Price £ free

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but these applications will suit a variety of users and it all comes down, really, to how much you want to work on your images (and how much time you want to invest!).

If you’ve got any questions, please put them in the Comments Box and I’ll try to help you as much as I can. If you’d like to learn more about how to edit your photos I offer tuition, so please get in touch.

Ian

Dorset wedding and portrait photographer

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Ian Hamilton - ianH photography - 07575 567408