Image Editing for Enthusiasts and Beginners

photo editing

Picture Credits: Van Dragt

Most of the products in this roundup fall into this category, which includes people who genuinely love working with digital photographs. These are not free applications, and they require a few hundred megabytes of your disk space. Several, such as Lightroom and CyberLink PhotoDirector, are strong when it comes to workflow—importing, organizing, editing, and outputting the photos from a DSLR. Such apps offer nondestructive editing, meaning the original photo files aren’t touched.

Instead, a database of edits you apply is maintained, and they appear in photos that you export from the application. These apps also offer strong organization tools, including keyword tagging, colour-coding, geo-tagging with maps, and in some cases face recognition to organize photos by what people appear in them.

Using Fashion Photo Editor at the back end of workflow is output. Capable software like Lightroom Classic offers powerful printing options such as soft-proofing, which shows you whether the printer you use can produce the colours in your photo or not. (Strangely, the new version of Lightroom—non-Classic—offers no local printing capability at all, though the latest update lets you send an image to a photo printing service.)

Lightroom Classic can directly publish photos on sites like Flickr and SmugMug. In fact, all really good software at this level offers strong printing and sharing, and some, like ACDSee and Lightroom, offer their own online photo hosting.

Table of Contents

Programs and File types

The programs at the enthusiast level and the professional level can import and edit raw files from your digital camera. These are files that include every bit of data from the camera’s image sensor. Each camera manufacturer uses its own format and file extension for these. For example, Canon DSLRs use- CR2 files and Nikon uses- NEF. (Raw here simply means what it sounds like, a file with the raw sensor data; it’s not an acronym or file extension.)

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Working with raw files provides some big advantages when it comes to correcting (often termed adjusting) photos. Since the photo you see on screen is just one interpretation of what’s in the raw file, the software can dig into that data to recover more detail in a bright sky, or it can fully fix an improperly rendered white balance. If you set your camera to shoot with JPGs, you’re losing those capabilities.

Enthusiasts want to do more than just import, organize and render their photos: They want to do fun stuff, too!

Content Tools

Content-aware tools in some of these products let you do things like move objects around while maintaining a consistent background. These edits don’t involve simple filters like you get in Instagram. Rather, they produce highly customized, one-off images.

Another good example is CyberLink PhotoDirector’s Multiple Exposure effect, which lets you create an image with ten versions of Johnny jumping that curb on his skateboard, for example.

Most of these products can produce HDR effects and panoramas after you feed them multiple shots, and local edit brushes let you paint adjustments onto only specific areas of an image.

Affinity Photo has those features, but its interface isn’t intuitive, and it lacks management and lens profile corrections. Zoner Photo Studio X combines Lightroom and Photoshop features in a lower-priced subscription, but it’s just not up to the level of the Adobe software. Capture One, Paintshop Pro, and Lightroom offer more-precise tools for local selections in recent versions.

For example, they let you select everything in a photo within a precise color range and refine the selection of difficult content such as a model’s hair or trees on the horizon.

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