What photo program should you use if you want to fix, edit, or improve your photographs? A great question!
For those that know me, you know my favorite price is “Free.” If I can find a free tool to do something, and do it sufficiently well, I will take that route. That’s why I recommend Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides (if you don’t need the power of MS Office) and I recommend FreeNAS to build network storage (if you have the skill sets to be able to do that yourself.) I even recommend “OwnCloud” to build your own cloud storage (like DropBox) if you have the skills and hardware to support running your own storage. Each of these solutions comes with their own (non-monetary) costs. Some require hardware, while others have a technical learning curve. And many of them have a powerful toolset that may be missing a few of the more complex tools that may be required for more complicated solutions. It’s always a question of “what are you trying to do?”
When it comes to photography there are many good free tools. The photo tools from Google are quite good. You can store your photos in the cloud, the tools Google provides let you do basic corrections, and even apply many of the filters we have come to expect from photo apps. Including HDR effects. SnapSeed is another great tool (but the line here is blurred–Google now owns SnapSeed). All at the best price possible–free!
But–as with every other free solution, there are limits. Limits to the filters you can apply. Limits to the corrections you can make to “bad” photos. And limits to the degree you can mix and edit photos. That’s why I use the Adobe solutions of Photoshop CC14 and Lightroom. These two tools, together, allow you to do almost infinite editing and correcting to photographs to include, for instance, the “shake removal” highlighted in the last post.
It used to be this was the “high end” solution with the high end cost. But that is no more. While it is not “free” like the other solutions, Adobe now has a “software as a service” monthly pricing scheme that I believe makes their solutions reasonable for the photographer seeking a bit more “power” in their tools. They currently offer the “Photography” plan for only $9.99 a month. Yes–I realize that is nearly $120/year (and with taxes, it will be a bit more) but you are guaranteed to latest version, with updates and improvements rolling out almost every month. They even offer a one month free trial. On top of all this, if you are an iOS user, you can actually get Lightroom for the iPad!
Interested? Want to see the power for yourself? Download the free trial and see for yourself–then come back an let us know what you think, and what tools YOU prefer to use, in the comments below!