9 2015 Oct

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

Professional Photo Editing Software

In this, the final segment in this series on how to choose photo editing software, we’ll take a look at the grand daddy of all photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop CC. I find this to be overkill for most of my photo editing needs, but I do have a copy of Photoshop on my computer for those rare occasions when nothing else seems to work for me.

Adobe Photoshop CC is a massive program which invented the genre of powerful layer-based image manipulation. It can be purchased together with Lightroom for $9.99-a-month with a Creative Cloud Photography subscription. For a professional maker of images for Web or print, this is a must have package that offers the most advanced tools, including camera vibration reduction, content-aware move and fill, automated action sets, and 3D image manipulation.

If Photoshop is either too much of an investment for you or too steep a learning curve, you can check out the free but surprisingly powerful GIMP summarized in an earlier segment. Although it is not as powerful as Photoshop and the user interface is not as user friendly, many believe that it is the next best thing. Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

2 2015 Oct

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

You can also find Web-based photo editing software, if you want quick photo editing but can’t or don’t want to install any software. There are websites online that will serve your needs for free. LunaPic is one ambitious option that can apply a surprising number of effects to your photos, and it makes online photo sharing simple. Autodesk’s Pixlr Editor promises similar abilities. Fotoflexer is easier to use and offers layers and many special effects. For a professional Web photo editor, Adobe’s Photoshop Express will fit the bill.

For professional workflow software look to Adobe’s Lightroom (requires a small subscription fee) to handle the whole process from inputting raw camera files through the editing process and outputting your professional prints. This software uses lens-based profiles for adjusting lighting, colors, detail, geometry, and perspective. It also includes apps for iPad and iPhone, allowing you to work on synced photo files between the mobile devices and the full-power app on the desktop.

Other options for workflow software include ACDSee Pro, CyberLink PhotoDirector, DxO Optics Pro, and Phase One’s Capture One. The latter will provide you with the best possible initial image from your raw camera files.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

25 2015 Sep

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

If you’re looking to do quick photo edits on your phone, there are lots of apps for that. Most well known are Instagram and Flickr, but there are also some lesser known (and mostly free) apps such as; Aviary, Photoshop Touch, iPhoto, Snapseed, and Lightroom Mobile that provide more tools for image corrections.

To spruce up your photos with overlays, retouch them, add retro effects, or combine multiple photos for a mini-collage, there are options as well. Apps like Repix handle overlays with gusto, and there’s no shortage of apps that give you the ability to retouch your picture or give it nostalgic effects. Along with Instagram, there’s Hipstamatic Oggl, EyeEm, Instant (Polaroid look), Wood Camera, and VSCO Cam. These apps make it easy to share images from your phone to your favorite social networks. For collages, turn to Picture Collage Maker, PhotoCanvas, and Pic Stitch.

For a mobile phone or tablet, save your photos to the cloud as you shoot them with Adobe Revel, Dropbox, and Flickr apps. Or just use the mobile operating system’s built in way to do this, via Apple’s iCloud, Android’s Google+, and Windows Phone’s OneDrive.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

18 2015 Sep

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

I said in our last installment that we would get into a more powerful photo editing software toolkit, with a better user interface today. So let’s get right to it!

Paint.net

Paint.net was originally created as a student project at Washington State University. It has since evolved into a photo editing software toolkit whose power is comparable to GIMP (and perhaps even Photoshop), while sporting a user interface that is a dream to work with for any Windows user.

Paint.net provides full layer support and offers many of the essentials found in GIMP and Photoshop, such as; a clone tool, magic wand, and all basic photo editing tools.

Its individual toolbars and property windows, each relegated to specific areas of the screen, are easily interpretable by Windows users. They are clearly labeled for users and only those tools deemed essential are displayed by default, allowing for custom personalization of your software.

Paint.net does not currently sport as many tools as GIMP or Photoshop, but it is still relatively new to the market and growing. It is well worth a try, especially if you find GIMP or Photoshop difficult to use.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

11 2015 Sep

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

Another photo editing software application that is freely available to all users of Microsoft Windows is Microsoft Paint. You will find Paint under Accessories in the Start menu.

Microsoft Paint is great for making quick, basic modifications to your photos such as: crop, rotate, resize, and annotate images. It is also great at dumping the contents of your clipboard. It outputs an image sharp enough for posting, as long as you are initially capturing the image with your phone set to Large photos. There is, however, no layer support in Paint.

Another freebee that’s been around for a long time is GIMP. This is an extremely powerful photo editing tool, but you will discover that it takes some time to learn its user interface. Patterned after the Photoshop interface, it assumes that the user is already familiar with photo editing tools and their icons. GIMP also supports a wide range of formats, like Photoshop. It’s got full layer support, a packed toolbox with staples like the Clone Tool, Healing Tool, a magic-wand style Fuzzy Select Tool, and is supported with a huge library of add-ins.

We’ll take a look at a full-service photo editor with a better user interface in our next segment. Until then, Happy Shuttering!

4 2015 Sep

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

My first selection of photo editing software (Windows Photo Gallery) did not give me the control that I was seeking when using the Edit menu, but it does contain many options for the casual user to quickly improve the quality of personal photos. I want to list a few more of these options before moving on to the next tool that I want to check out.

In the Edit menu, you can make changes to a single photo or to a batch of photos. This would be helpful if you had a common issue, such as lighting, with several photos. And in the last segment, I mentioned the Auto adjust tool for quick adjustments to photo quality.

There are also several Manual adjustments that can be made including; exposure, color, straighten (rotating a tilted image to the horizontal), adjust details, crop, fix red eye, apply a black and white effect, and resizing (changing a 350 x 350 pixel photo to 700 x 700, for example).

In the Create menu; create a collage, a panorama, email your edited photo, assemble your photos into a movie project, or attach your photo to a blog post. I would certainly give these tools a try before spending money on expensive professional tools. You may find that this is all you need. Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

28 2015 Aug

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

Windows Photo Gallery

I chose this software to begin with because it looked quick and easy to download and install. I also thought that I might be able to use the included Movie Maker software at a later date.

Windows Photo Gallery is included in Windows Live Essentials. So if you have downloaded this whole package, Windows Photo Gallery is already on your computer. If not, here are the simple instructions to get it.

  1. Type “windows photo gallery” into the search box on the start menu and select “Go online to get Windows Live Essentials”.
  2. Click Download.
  3. Select the optional programs you want to select. I chose Photo Gallery and Movie Maker.
  4. Click Install. Enter your Microsoft ID (or create one) and password.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the download.

I noticed right away that it has some nifty tools in the Home menu for tagging, managing, and sharing photos with others, but I was more interested in the Editing menu. The first tool I tried on my test photo was the “Auto adjust” tool.

This tool actually did improve the visual appearance of my photo, in small increments. All I had to do was just keep clicking the Auto adjust button until I was satisfied with the photo. If I went to far, I just clicked the back button a few times, until satisfied.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

21 2015 Aug

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

I have to admit that I rarely use photo editing software to correct photos that I take casually on my smart phone, but maybe some of you do. When I did the research for this article, I was complete blown away by the number of choices out there (and most of them are free).

My photography these days is mostly limited to taking photos of items that I am going to list on my website or in my eBay store. And, until now, I havn’t needed to do much to use them as intended.

But recently I purchased a custom layout template for my listings in eBay. This addition created a whole new set of problems with my images that I wasn’t expecting. So now I’m really digging into photo editing software and guess what? You get to go along for the ride.

My goal is to list at least five new products a day on eBay, which means editing at least three to five or six photos for each item. To accomplish this, I need something that will make these photos meet the necessary quality standards for the layout template with just a few clicks.

I also work with various sources for my photos: some from my smart phone, some from a digital camera, and many from my suppliers right off the web. I’ll report my results of my first choice next time. Until then, Happy Shuttering!

18 2015 Aug

How to Choose Photo Editing Software?

Coming soon, how to choose your photo editing software?