There are two school of thoughts one that says ‘a perfect photograph is one that doesn’t require any adjustments‘ and another school of thought that insists ‘all photos taken with a digital camera needs sharpening‘. In my opinion one should use a good photo editing software, but the purpose of using the software should be to enhance the image but not to alter the original image.
There are thousands of features in modern photo editing software and selecting the right software is a difficult job. No matter how many software are available in the market, they all fall under three categories;
- Purchased software that can be installed in your computer
- Freeware that can be installed in your PC
- Web based programs
The best best programs in these three categories are
1) Purchased Software – Adobe Photoshop
For several years now Adobe Photoshop is the benchmark, based on which every photo editing software is measured. It is the most popular photo editing software but it comes with a hefty price tag (about $699 and Photoshop Extended Version is $999). This software is so popular that it is now a verb ( The picture is Photoshopped). However for those who don’t require all the tools provided by Photoshop, Adobe is offering a cheaper and lighter version named ‘Adobe Photoshop Elements” which costs about $149.
Adobe also offers Photoshop Lightroom with less functionality than Photoshop at a lower price point . Lightroom is ideally suited for organizing photos (for professional photographers, who manage a huge number of photos).
2) Free Software – GIMP
GIMP is a free software and is highly versatile in editing graphics. GIMP is often considered as the best open source alternative for Adobe PhotoShop. It is truly cross platform and supports a huge number of file formats. One can work on photos, icons, fonts and even layered graphics using this software. Despite being a free software GIMP over delivers and it is head and shoulders above any free software in the market. The quality and features are on par with most paid software in the market.
3) Web Based Program – Picnik
My pick is Picknik when it comes to web based photo editing programs. The major advantage of Picnik is the ability to edit photos that are already uploaded to a photo-sharing site. It also provides a library of special effects and the touch up tool, editing a photos online is now very easy. Picnik has both free and premium versions. If there is one downside to this program then it is the compression of images, for making their server more responsive they compress the image size.