Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Photo Tip #1 - Basic Software

Each week, I'll bring you a photo tip that will help take your photos to another level. The most common question I get about my photography is..."How did you do that?" Eventually, I'll share that secret, but there is much to learn along the way.

Whether or not you own a "Point and Shoot" camera, a DSLR, shoot Canon, Nikon or other brands, there is one thing in common...no camera takes a perfect picture all the time. There are many variables that determine a good shot. Lighting, weather, camera type, lenses, and many more things that can all play a part in how images turn out. No matter what kind of camera you have, owning some basic editing software is a must! 

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get some good editing results. Here are a few good options.
1. Google's Picasa (http://picasa.google.com/)
This is a free download and does a good job of organizing your photos, while giving you many basic editing features. It is a great program to email photos, and you can order prints online right from Picasa! You can also share your photos online using Picasa Web Albums.

2. Photoshop Elements is a "baby" version to the CS family of Photoshop. Don't let "baby" fool you. You can do lots of great editing from this program. As a matter of fact, this is what I use. I tried the big version of Photoshop, but Photoshop Elements did everything I needed it to, so why spend hundreds of dollars more. You can pick up Photoshop Elements for $79 to $99. I believe Costco sells it for $79. You can download a free 30 day trial from the Adobe website at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopel/.

3. Adobe Lightroom 4.x is a great program for editing, especially if you shoot RAW images instead of jpeg. It does a great job on jpeg too. You have tons of editing control in this program! You can edit individual colors, spot edit certain portions of a photo, and a ton more! I own this program too and it is simply AWESOME! You can download a free 30 day trial from the Adobe website at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/.

4. Photoshop CS4 or CS5 are the big players in photo editing. They are expensive and you'll probably need to take a class to learn how to really use them well. That said, if you are a serious graphics person, you'll eventually buy this. I don't own these programs as I can do most everything I need with choices 1, 2, and 3.

So, if you don't have any of these, you need to get some software, even if you just start with Picasa!

Stay tuned as each week we'll learn more about your camera, and your software. It's my goal to help you really enjoy your camera and your photos! You can ask questions in the comments section of this blog. I'll do my best to answer them.


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