Digital Photography Basics – Types of Photo Editors

For anyone who loves taking pictures, it’s worth while getting acquainted with photo editing software as they can make a big difference with how your pictures turn out. Image editing software to a digital photographer is what the dark room is to a film photographer. The big benefit of photo editing software is that it’s easier to do than setting up a darkroom.

Plus, with photo editing software you can do both standard image editing, such as cropping and adjusting color, and with the right software, you can also try your hand at photo manipulation.

Image editing refers to all changes that are made to a photograph. Photo manipulation refers to what film shutterbugs used to call “trick photography” – switching backgrounds and such. (For some fun examples of photo manipulation, look up the “National Geographic Photo Foolery” page online.)

Before you choose a photo editor, you first want to understand the type of image editing you want to do. In this article, we will highlight the most popular types of photo editing software so you can understand the differences between each of them.

Picasa:

Google’s free photo editor. If you are just starting to learn the digital photography basics, then this will serve you well for a while. It is really designed to be more of an online photo album or photo manager but can also handle basic photo editing. Picasa offers basic editing tools such as retouch, which helps you remove blemishes, scratches, etc. Like most editors it has red eye removal. It also has fun applications like creating screensavers with your photos and integration with Google Earth.

If you’re ready to advance from digital photography basics and do more with your images, consider one of the other photo editors.

Adobe Photoshop Elements:

The market leader in photo editing and manipulation, it’s more user-friendly and less costly (approximately $90) than its big brother, Photoshop CS4. It’s good for the photography enthusiast plus there is a free trial version.

Adobe Photoshop CS4:

This has everything you could possibly need as a professional photographer or graphic artist. It sells for about $700 on their website, but you can find it half that price by some vendors or look for a free trial version.

Paint Shop Pro:

This is a close competitor to Photoshop Elements and also runs about $90. They also offer a 30 day free trial.

The GIMP:

An odd name for such a powerful program, the acronym stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. This photo editor is open source (aka freeware) and continues to improve and has a good community of users if you need help. It is available for Windows (NT4, 2000/XP/Vista), Mac Operating Systems (OS X) and even Unix/Linux platforms. It doesn’t quite have everything that you get with Adobe Photoshop CS4, but it has more than Elements or Paint Shop Pro and is used by some professionals.

No matter what photo editor you have, read through the guide or help sections so you understand what you can do with it. It takes time to learn but you will be impressed with what you can do with your images. For example, here are a just a few of the things you can accomplish (the top 5 even with just Picasa):

  • Crop
  • Resize
  • Lighten or darken shadows, highlights, and midtones
  • Correct Colors
  • Remove blemishes, a stray branch, a logo, or anything else you don’t want in the picture
  • Blur Backgrounds (Photoshop Elements, Paintshop Pro and The GIMP all offer background-blurring applications. Picasa can’t do this.)

You can also create all sorts of special effects with a photo editor. For example you can turn your photo into an impressionistic painting. You can also convert a color picture into a black and white image to better capture the tones and highlights. Or for a more vintage or antique look, you can choose sepia.

Even if you don’t care about special effects, learning the basics of even the most basic photo editor will allow you to fix mistakes made in photographing. Just cropping alone can do wonders if you couldn’t get a close enough shot or you’ve got too much clutter in the picture. That is why photo editing is an important part of learning the digital photography basics and why it’s important that you learn it. Before long, you will be editing and producing quality photographs that you will be proud to hang on your wall.

Choosing The Perfect Photo Editor Software

Making good photos requires lots of skills, professional cameras, perfect weather conditions and most importantly a good photo editor software. If you visit news websites, popular online photo galleries or even view a photo magazine, you will notice that their images are of the highest quality, professional and are really good looking. How do you think they achieved this? After taking photos with their cameras, these photographers use professional and cutting-edge photo software to retouch their images.

There are hundreds of photo editor software available on the market. While many of them are available free of charge, you will need to purchase a license for the most professional ones. Choosing the perfect photo software can be a difficult task especially if you are new to photo editing. Which software to buy will also depend on the level of editing you want to achieve. If your photos are going to be used online or in magazines then a professional software will be required else if it is just for personal use, a free or low cost software will be the best choice.

I’m sure before you purchase a product online you look for reviews and testimonials from other users. That’s a great idea! You should do the same before selecting a photo editor software. Most software authors provide a list of their software’s features on their website. This makes it easy for you to compare the features of several photo software to see which one will best suit your needs. There are also several photography blogs and forums from where you can find reviews and testimonials from other users.

If you are going to purchase a commercial software then it might be a good idea to download a trial version first. Most commercial photo editor software come with a 30 day trial or limited amount of use. This gives you ample time to try all the features of the software and also make sure that it can run on your computer. You will also be able to see if the photo software meets all your requirements.

There are some basic features that you need to look for in a photo editor software. You should be able to level or rotate your images, crop, resize, remove red eye, sharpen, remove noise, adjust color, saturation, brightness, contrast and add special effects to your photos. Moreover the software should have an easy to use and friendly user interface. An accompanying documentation on how to use the software will be a plus for you. There are endless options of photo manipulation software but before selecting one, make sure you compare their prices and features offered. And most importantly, make sure the photo software meets your requirements!

The Best Photo Editing Software Revealed – How to Choose the Perfect Photo Editor

The first step to choosing photo-editing software is determining how you want to manipulate photographs. In part, this will depend on your level of skill. If you are an amateur and just want to “mess around,” you would just want the most basic photo-editing software. If you are an experienced user, you may want more features like creative effects. Next, you will need to decide on a budget. Photo-editing software can be quite expensive. If the software is for a student, find the academic versions. These versions will provide everything a student would need and they offer a very large discount.

Once you know what you need and the amount you can afford start comparing programs. Consult the following list to begin your research:

The Top 5 Photo-Editing Software Programs

Adobe Photoshop Elements 7

Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 is an easy to use program that offers a wide variety of features for both the beginner and the expert. Some of its more unique features include a beginner’s guided editor and online functions through adobe express.

Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2

For years, Paint Shop Pro has been and excellent choice for beginners and professionals alike. The easy to use interface makes it perfect for beginners and the reasonable price appeals to professionals. Paint Shop Pro X2 is almost as powerful as Photoshop Elements 7. However, it does not offer some of the less popular features.

Serif Photo Plus X2

This is the perfect program for someone just starting out editing photos. It is easy to use and offers sound assistance. The program contains all the necessary features for beginners but offers some of the more advanced features also. The beginner will not easily grow out of this program.

Ulead Photo Impact X3

This program is a little more difficult to use as Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. However, once the basics have been mastered the program becomes much easier to use. The program can be used in two modes – expressfix and full edit. Ulead Photo Impact X3 also has the ability to make web pages.

ACDSee Photo Editor 2008

This program combines photo editing, graphic design and presentation projects. It features How-To projects to help the novice learn some of the more complex features. However, it does not offer much in the way of sharing or organizing.