Great photography doesn’t end on the click of the shutter. Once you’ve captured all your pictures on the day you’ll need to use an editing software that will help you to get the best and most effective results from your shoots.
There are hundreds of software applications out there for you to choose from, ranging in price and efficiency, so it’s important to find a programme that suits your needs and abilities.
When considering which software package to opt for you will need to think about several criteria:
- Ability to store, organise, manage and easily access your photos
- Ability to tag, keyword, rate, sort and search your photos
- Ability to perform simple edits like cropping, straightening, sharpening and so on
- Ability to perform local edits (on specific areas of the photo) to improve tone and so on
- Ability to re-size and output the image in various file formats for web and print
- Ability to print images in various layouts and sizes
I have put together the top 3 photo editing tools and how they can help you in your journey to fantastic photographs. Note they are all produced by Adobe. Adobe is the clear market leader for photo editing software and has offerings for the amateur and hobbyist through to the professional. Whilst there are cheaper and other alternatives out there I would argue that they simply don't compete with Adobe products or provide the same rich functionality, customer service and support or have the depth of tuition/articles that are available on the web or in magazines to help you learn.
The All-Rounder: Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular image editing software packages around.
It’s database-driven, image management software that automatically reads image metadata and writes information about each photograph in a catalog. This then gives you the ability to organise, view and edit your images in one place no matter what their format.
It is my personal number one choice and whilst I use CS and some other plug-ins everything starts with Lightroom for me and enables me to do most of what I need for most images.
It certainly ticks all the criteria listed above and does a lot more too. This no-fuss, easy to use software is the perfect all-rounder for any photographers that have a large bank of imagery to edit and store.
Price wise its a value busting package for less than £90 and also available as part of the Creative Cloud subscription for photographers at £8 per month when bundled with Photoshop.
The Industry Standard: Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is a great editing tool with a wide choice of controls that will allow you to do whatever you want to your photographs.
Want to stitch multiple photographs into a single panorama? Photoshop can do all this and much more. The term ‘photoshopped’ has become part of our daily vocabulary for one simple reason. It’s the industry standard choice across the board for professionals.
However the interface, tools and techniques required to perform adjustments are not intuitive and straightforward to learn. If you decide to go down the Photoshop route then be prepared to invest time and lots of it learning how to master the tools and enormous array of functions available.
The Novice Friendly: Photoshop Elements
This product is much more than a simplified version of Photoshop, it’s completely reconfigured to be more understandable and easy to use for a novice photographer.
It’s perfectly adequate for adjusting brightness, contrast and colour, and anything else can be done within Elements’ Editor section - which allows you the use of layers.
If the extensive catalogue of controls that Photoshop offers are a bit daunting for you, Elements may be the option for you.
The most important thing to remember when choosing an editing software is to consider your ability and needs. No two photographers are the same and what may work for one, could be a disaster for someone else.
I can provide tuition for Adobe Lightroom as a 4 week set of evening classes - The Lightroom Course will teach you how to setup your library of images, import and tag them, perform global and local edits to an image and master the tools to enhance, print and export your images.
If you want tuition on Photoshop or Elements then I can provide this as private 1-2-1 tuition for you.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07817017994.