Thursday, February 11, 2010

Image Editing On A Budget: Part I

Powerful Photo Software Programs That Won’t Break The Bank
By Brendan Keenan, Penn Camera Tysons Corner

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This is a great topic that I couldn't resist giving you lots of detail about, so this post will be delivered in two installments. Check back next week for Part II!

You've done your research. You’ve read and read, visited website after website, store after store, and you’ve made your decision. You’ve bought the best camera for you, and your budget. You’ve added the right lenses, or accessories. You have digital photography covered. Except for one thing; you have thousands of photos on your computer, on your memory cards, and you don’t know what to do with them. It’s time to take the next step.

There are powerful, easy to use imaging programs that will allow you to edit, organize, print and share photos for much less than you might expect. Isn’t it time to organize, enhance, and get the very best out of all those photos you’ve worked so hard to take? It might surprise you to learn that there are several very powerful and easy to use imaging programs that will allow you to quickly and efficiently edit, organize, print and share those memories without spending a bundle. For less than $200, there are several programs that will suit almost any photography enthusiast.

Don’t worry about which camera you have, or what type of computer. There is something out there for everyone. Let’s start with perhaps the easiest, and best all around bargain software program, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. You’ve probably heard a lot about Adobe if you’re into digital photography. Both Photoshop CS (Creative Suite) 4 and Lightroom are highly touted programs known to every graphic artist and pro photographer. However Elements offers the non-professional many powerful tools for hundreds of dollars less than these professional programs.

Photoshop Elements 8 (at a price point around $100) offers some great options. Included are simple, but effective modification tools like red-eye correction, teeth whitening, and skin tone correction. It also offers an option for automatic online back-up of image files, which will enable users to eliminate the risk of losing their photos in the event of a hard drive crash. In fact, Adobe offers a version of Elements 8 called Elements 8 Plus, which includes 20 gigabytes of online storage(as opposed to 2), as well as delivering tutorials directly to your software, almost like a software auto-update. But don’t worry, there are tutorials available online that cover almost all your editing questions and needs. Elements 8 includes a range of high-end features, such as people recognition; you can tag a face, and the software will locate all other pictures in your library in which it detects the same face. When it comes to easy organization, nothing beats the “smart tag” system employed by Elements 8. Add the ability to use graphics and effects, share online or e-mail, and create interactive online albums, and Photoshop Elements 8 may be the best all around, simple program that offers true control over your files. Do you also shoot video clips? Adobe Premiere Elements 8 might be right up your alley. Think of all the editing features of Elements 8, and apply it to video.

Check back next week for Part II! More image editting programs that give great results for a good value.