Everyone feels differently about editing images once they get the photos into their computer. Some consider it cheating or a waste of time and don’t do any editing at all. Others people will add a few tweaks to every image to “develop it” or completely photoshop the crap out if it. Personally I like to tweak every image I deem wothy of display in order to show them in their best light. I belive this is a critical step especially when using a DSLR. Most DSLRs are set up by the manufacturers to give a fairly dull and muted final image as they assume the sort of person who buys one of these cameras will also be the sort of person who likes to edit their images. This is the reason some people are initally disapointed with the results when they upgrade from a P&S.
Here is an example of a before and after. The first shot, the before, is quite dull and washed out. The colours of the shot don’t stand out and the crop doesn’t really do anything for the the shot.
And here is the after. Approximately 5 mins spent editing in Photoshop Elelments 6 has left me with a brighter more vibrant and appealing image. I also took the oportunity to crop to a different aspect ratio the accentuate the compositional elements in the photo.
There are loads and loads of different image editing software packages available so here is a summary of a few that are available (I won’t attempt to provide too much detail as I haven’t used them all)
Free and Easy – These editors are free to use, fairly basic but will allow you to make simple adjustments to make the most of your images.
Your camera’s bundled software – Often a cheap and easy way to get into image editing
Picasa – Free software from Google that allows you to orgainse and edit your shots.
Picnik – Free online editing on Flickr.
Cheapish and Powerfullish – These programs won’t cost the earth but you will need to pay for them. They will be able to cope with fairly advanced techniques such as regional edits on only parts of photos etc.
All singing all dancing – These editors will be all you will ever need as used by most pros. Not easy to learn due to huge amount of tools and techniques. My rule on these is if I don’t know why I need it then I shouldn’y buy it as I won’t be using it properly.
Photoshop – Currently version CS4. If you can do it in PS it can’t be done. Need a mortage to buy
Photoshop Lightroom – RAW editing and organisation from the Adobe lot. Expensive but good. Not a replacement for photoshop.
GIMP – Free open source editing software. Very powerful editor but not that easy to learn and use.
To wet you appetite further her is another before and after. The shot of some nice light in the Peak Distric was a bit grey and bland.
After another 5 min edit the main feature of the photo, the light mountain has been accentuated and the photo overall is more vibrant.
Have a go, you will soon be hooked