Most of us spend a lot of time reading & learning about fundamentals of lighting, exposure & composition to get that perfect image. Then there are others who spend hours on giving the final look and feel to the image in post production.
If you have ever being through the wedding photographers’ workflow, you will realize how important it is to retouch the final photographs to get the results you want. Cropping, color correction, spot healing and attention to fine details during the finishing stage contributes to making impressive images.
Post processing is thus an important part in delivering high quality photos. We’ve decided to put together top five post processing tools and their primary features. Each has its own USPs.
1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Lightroom is a great post processing tool & remains the first choice of professional photographers. It’s various modules come in handy for smooth workflow. It lets you organize and manage the images prior to switching to Develop Module. And once you are in the develop module, you have to simply use the sliders for making the basic adjustments. You don’t need to hunt for the options. Everything is just there – basic adjustments, tone curves, lens correction, Lightroom presets and not to forget the social sharing options. You can instantly upload your photographs to Flickr with all copyrighting and watermarking stuff. Unlike ACR (Adobe Camera RAW), you don’t need a dedicated plugin for RAW files. RAW editing is a wink of an eye with Lightroom and recovering the original RAW parameters is just a click away. You just need RESET. We can go on and on – graduated filters & adjustment brushes, masking, chromatic aberration, noise reduction, luminance, split toning, vignetting, shadows tinting and a lot more. Lightroom is easier to learn as compared to Adobe Photoshop. Check out some beginner tutorials here.
2. Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is one of the largest selling software tools preferred by graphic designers as well as the photographers. It can do almost everything that Lightroom can and beyond. Other than that it can also be used to design new graphics. Cropping, slicing and manipulating artworks is possible with Photoshop. Photoshop has got all the tools to retouch the images, though it has a learning curve for using layers and masks to achieve the desired effects. The good news for photographers is that it has a dedicated workspace for photographers to play around with basic photo adjustments. Many still prefer to lean on the side of Lightroom’s ease of use and they have reasons for the same. Check them out here.
3. Apple Aperture
Aperture is an image processing tool developed by Apple and targeted to Intel based Mac OS. Despite running only on Mac OS, it is highly popular among photography enthusiasts. It supports the reduced size RAW from many Canon DSLRs. If you shoot through your iPhone, this tool can be a real help as it can pick the GPS metadata of the image. Some of the special features that would be an added advantage are: chromatic aberration filter, halo reduction and support for video file formatting.
Picasa is an image organizer & viewer for organizing and editing digital photos. It can be downloaded from here. It also features Picasa Web Albums which allows you to share photos online. If you accidentally copied same photos twice on your hard disk, Picasa will find the duplicates for you even if they don’t have same file name. Picasa can match people (images) by their faces, you simply have to tag the face and search with the tag. Moreover, you can search images by colors, so if you are looking for a naturally green landscape, search by green, all green (maximum content) photos will come up. Though not a robust application for editing the images, it has some basic retouching tools to get you going. Picasa is simple, easy and a no-nonse photo management software by Google.
5. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
The GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is free and open-source image editing software. It also happens to be the default image editor on Linux. GIMP has all the features one can find in Photoshop. It is in fact a good alternative to the costly image editors. GIMP has approximately 150 standard effects and filters, including drop shadow, blur, motion blur and noise. GIMP operations can also be automated with scripting languages. GIMP is a bit complicated for a first time user and is usually preferred by advanced computer users. You can download GIMP here.
What is your primary photo-editor?