Choosing a Photo Editing Program That’s Right For You

Anyone in the world is able to take a photograph, but whether or not it looks good is debatable. Unfortunately not all cameras are built alike in quality and price and photo editing won’t ever fix every issue, but with the help of certain software, people have a second chance to make their photos look great.

Get to know your camera. Do not rely on these photo programs alone. The more you know about your camera the closer you can get to capture the photo that you want and make the editing or post process easier. Most cameras have the option to automatically and manually change settings but branch off to something other than auto modes and scene modes. Experiment with your camera by taking photos in the auto modes and try to recreate them in a manual setting.

Once you’ve discovered and learned a little more about your camera, explore your options with editing software. There are hundreds of photo programs to consider, and if you ask around, you’ll hear people saying many of the same things: Photoshop, Aperture, iPhoto etc. How do you know which one is best for you? To start, decide if you are a consumer, pro-consumer, or professional and ask yourself where you would like to go with your photography and your editing.

People tend to follow trend, but you need to focus on what you are planning on doing with your photos. When you’re planning on editing for the first time, look for programs that will give you at least the basics. Simple editing tools would be to crop, resize, flip, remove red-eye, auto-enhance and change images to black and white. Some digital cameras come with their own editing software, but you may be limited to one auto-correcting feature, or one cropping feature. Compare different effects that the different programs offer such as special effects, brushes, filters and graphics. There are some artistic tools that allow you to paint, draw, and erase digitally.

What’s your budget? Photo programs are great, but some can cost you $1,000 bucks! For those who are not interested in going “Pro”, look into Adobe Photoshop Elements. Photoshop Elements is designed for simple use, while still giving you the ability to manage, edit and share your photos all while costing $99.

When the research on each of these programs is complete, it may still be hard to decide which program you want to use, but “try-before-you-buy”. A good majority of these programs will have trial versions that you can download and explore. There’s no better way to find out which photo program is right for you than to use them first hand. The trial versions can last a few days to a month or two. Take a bunch of photos and try the programs out. Pick a photo that you would like to work on and give it a shot. Of course the program will be completely new to you, but there is a help menu and there are video tutorials everywhere. The controls have images on them to give you an idea of what they are, but to figure out how to use them, there are websites like and there are podcasts on iTunes. These are here to help you find different beginner to advanced effects and techniques. The ease of use of a program is important because if you keep getting frustrated with a program, you’ll start to care less about its features.

Managing your photos is just as important as it is to have the right photo-editing program. Your photo collections will grow, and if you ever want to get back to a previously edited photo you may find that it’s a needle in a haystack. Thousands of photos in one album is messy, hard to find, and can discourage you from wanting to locate one. Along with staying organized, once trial periods of programs are over, get rid of them. They take up space on your computer and unless you purchase them, they wont be usable.

Again, do your best to get the shot you want right in the camera. Even though there are programs as high end as Adobe Photoshop CS4, photos that are blurry and out-of-focus can’t be fixed. The learning never stops, and you’ll find more than one program will work for you. There’s never a problem with using a combination of two programs, just be sure to familiarize yourself with what you’re doing in order to help you understand how to take better photos, and edit when you wish.