Editing Photos

The tweaking you can do to a digital image is almost endless.

GIMP, a free photo editing program, that does the work of Adobe CS. (Source: monsoonhub.org)

You have many choices when it comes to photo editing software but finding the right one for you is not always easy.

Not every photo editing program is right for everybody. Editing images is a skill. It takes time to learn.

Some programs provide a lot of help. These are great for beginners. But they tend to be light on features and tools.

Using more full-featured programs is like diving into the deep end. These are meant for serious enthusiasts.

I also use Picasa to edit my photos. Try it before putting out money for more complicated photo editing software.

Other photo editing software programs to consider follow:

Paint.net is a FREE image and photo editing program for computers that run Windows. This software performs many basic image editing tasks, works quickly, and mimics the tools and functions that are found in other image editors.

Paint.NET is free image editing and photo manipulation software designed to be used on computers that run Windows. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. (Source: avaxhome.ws)

It started development as an undergraduate college senior design project mentored by Microsoft, and is currently being maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a FREE editing program that is very complex and powerful; and is similar to the full version of Photoshop. But be forewarned—it’s not for beginners.

Photobie is a FREE program that has tools for nearly any editing function you can think of. Photobie is image editing software that combines features amateurs can use with advanced tools professionals will appreciate.

Photobie is free for personal use with no Pro upgrade to pay for—all features are free. You can work with layers for more precision. And it can handle tons of file formats. Also, it has many preset filters. You can tweak images with just a few clicks. And the results look really good.

Purchase your own software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, Adobe Photoshop CS6, or Apple Aperture.

Now, a comment on Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is considered the gold standard in photo-editing software. It is so well known that Photoshop is often used as a verb.

Photoshop is high-end software aimed at professionals and other advanced photo enthusiasts.

You may be tempted to splurge on it. But, Photoshop is overkill for the average user. In fact, I would discourage most from buying the software.

The learning curve is steep. It is packed with all kinds of fancy features. You can use it to transform a photograph completely. Even some professionals struggle to master it.

That said, Photoshop may be the right program for you. It offers plenty of filters and correction tools. You can also work with layers. Layers let you stack different photos or multiple copies of the same photo. You can apply effects and settings on a layer-by-layer basis.

There are no other programs in the same class as Photoshop. However, GIMP comes close. And, GIMP is free!

The first thing to consider is ease of use.

The new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 software will not work with Microsoft Windows XP or older 32-bit versions of the Apple OS X operating system. The new software requires a very modern operating system.

Before you pay money for a program, download a trial version. You’ll see exactly what you’re getting before you spend a dime. You can also test ease of use.

Try editing some of your photos. As with any program, there will be a learning curve.

If a program is difficult to use, the features don’t matter much. You’ll become frustrated with the program and won’t use it. Pass on any programs you find too difficult.

If a program seems easy to use, experiment with the features. Color balancing and light correction are essential. These will help you correct problems that are typical to digital photos.

Please Note: This is the thirty-fourth in a series of stories on Digital Photography and RVing

Worth Pondering…

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

—Imogen Cunningham

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