AmSnaps - Digital Photography Basics For Amateur Snappers

Which Digital Photography Software Is Right For You?

You will usually get a CD packed with assorted digital photography software, when you buy a new digital camera.

You can also buy numerous additional image editing software packages on the internet. Great!...but what software do you actually need and what should you use it for?

For some people, digital photography means just taking your memory card to the nearest high-street lab and getting the pictures printed.

For others, it means editing their pictures on their home computer for storage or printing themselves. Many have started uploading their pictures to personal web galleries on the internet as well.

So just what can imaging software do for you?

Most digital photography software packages have the same basic editing features available, with the more expensive packages, such Adobe Photoshop having them all plus many more.

The features are:
  • Resize images for printing or use on a webpage
  • Improve colour, brightness and contrast
  • Correct exposure problems
  • Remove redeye from portrait shots
  • Crop an image to improve the composition
  • Sharpen an image that is slightly blurred
  • Add special effects
  • Remove unwanted elements from a scene

What To Look For When Choosing Software

Is it a download or CD? Many smaller programs can only be downloaded from the internet, but if you are considering a more powerful application, this can be time-consuming.

These bigger programs usually come on a CD, which makes it easier for you to get the software and also means you have a backup copy, if something happens to your computer. If you purchase software online and download it, you should always make a backup CD as well, just incase.

What do you need it for? Use the software which is most appropriate for your needs. For example, if you only want to remove redeye from some of your pictures, then you don’t need to waste a lot of money on a package such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw. You could use a simple, free application such as Google Picasa or The Gimp for the same task.

What type of computer system do you have? When buying software, you should check what type of computer system it requires. Some image editing packages are only available on either PC or Mac, not both.

Also check that you have a powerful enough system to run the applications. Some require specifications such as a certain amount of RAM, high spec graphics card or a powerful processor.

Possibly The Best Free Image Editing Software Available

The Gimp - A good alternative to Adobe Photoshop, offering a good variety of basic tools and filters. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Unix.

Google Picasa - An easy to use personal image library with editing functions. Excellent for basic tasks such as redeye removal. Available for Windows.

IrfanView - A fast photo viewer that’ll open nearly any image that you can find. It also has editing functions, but is more useful as a photo library. Available for Windows.

Adobe Photoshop Express - A free image editor that offers a superb array of editing tools straight from your web browser. It also offers 2GB of image storage. It is currently only available to the United States.

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David Coote
Wedding Photographer
Northern Ireland