How to Choose Photo Editing Software

Digital photography is
everywhere these days, from smartphone snapshots to DSLR artworks and everything in between. No matter your level,
photo editing software can improve your final image result. There are several categories
of photo software, so choose an app that fits your level. At the entry level are apps included with your operating system or available as free downloads. The OS-included apps have
gotten surprisingly powerful in both editing and organization features. Apple Photos on Macs and Microsoft Photos on Windows PCs are the prime examples. Both offer tools for cropping, lighting, color, blemish fixing, and sharpening. For that backlit shot, the Shadows adjuster in these apps can turn a bad photo
into an acceptable one. Those programs, along with
the free Google Photos, are also great at organizing
your photo collection, even automatically generating
albums and slideshows. Each has a face-recognition feature so you can see all your
shots of Aunt Suzie together. The next level of photo software targets the hobbyist/enthusiast. This group includes
Adobe Photoshop Elements, CyberLink PhotoDirector,
and Corel PaintShop Pro. These programs do what
the entry level does but add the ability to
elaborate your photos with effects, text, cutouts, borders, blurs, and more. They cater to this audience’s penchant for advanced techniques like HDR and 360-degree photography. These products have a
one-time purchase price in the $50 to $100 range. Then we get to the pro level, with its two subcategories: workflow and raw editing. The prime example of a workflow
app is Adobe Lightroom, which handles the entire process from import to edit to output. It also does raw editing, but DxO PhotoLab and Capture One are more about getting
the best possible image from the raw file format
produced by a DSLR. These products include
geometry corrections based on your specific lens and camera. All but the Adobe software comes at a one-time price in
the $150 to $300 range. In a class by itself is Adobe Photoshop. Like Lightroom, this software requires a monthly subscription
fee starting at $9.99. Photoshop includes all of
Adobe’s latest image technology, but it’s not just for photographers. Designers love its drawing, layers, and typography tools. It even includes 3D image editing. Anything that can be done to
an image, Photoshop can do. But it’s not an end-to-end
photo workflow solution, so pure photographers
as opposed to designers, are better off with Lightroom and its ilk.

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