Your camera can only do so much of the job. You can make a huge amount of difference to the finished image with the right editing software. This picture to the right shows what even a minimum amount of editing can do to a photograph. Obviously you want to get the picture as "right" as you can inside the camera, but editing can work some miracles on top of that - especially if your lighting isn't perfect (which it is unlikely to be outside of the studio).
With editing you can correct and enhance so much. For example in the before and after screen capture from Lightroom to the right:
White balance is corrected.
The detail hidden by the shadows is now visible.
The picture has so much more "punch".
In our opinion if you are at all serious about photography you will be wanting some kind of editing software. Below we discuss some options.
Adobe Lightroom 6 Or Later
Hand on heart we do most of our editing in Adobe Lightroom. It is only for the more complex editing that we have to move onto Photoshop (such as working with layers and filters).
It allows for all the basic editing, plus some local adjustments such as spot removal, or making a whole list of changes to parts of your image using a "brush" tool.
On top of it's rather fantastic editing capabilities it has a brilliant library function so that you can store, catalog, and keyword all your images. It is in our Lightroom catalogs that we sort and store all our images. You also have options to export images from your library into different formats, sizes, with or without watermarks, and even directly onto social media platforms
We also love the "print" module, which enables you to "print" to PDF or a printer. You have various templates so that you can print all sorts of contact sheets, or arrange photographs as you want them on a specified size of paper. We wouldn't be without our Lightroom. Ever.
It is possible to buy an unlimited (in time) version of say version 6, or buy a time limited licence to the creative cloud (see right), which will always include the most up-to-date version, plus the most up to date FULL VERSION of Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Or Later
Elements is a "watered down" version of the massive full Adobe Photoshop software. To put this into some context for you, when Photoshop was available outside of the creative cloud (see right), it could set you back up to 10 times the cost of Photoshop Elements. Elements gives you the basics.
You are able to edit with layers in Elements and there are some filters, but if you want lots of bells and whistles you may want to consider the cloud option to the right - the full photoshop CC offers far more power and control.
You can also buy a bundle which adds "Premiere Elements" to the basic elements programme which gives you basic video editing functionality. If you want more power and control you will need the full version of Adobe Premiere.
Elements allows you to do a lot of things in either of 3 modes "quick", "guided", or "expert", depending on your experience level. It is a great introduction to Photoshop. Certainly before the creative cloud was available you would really have to think hard if you were going to go for the full version of Photoshop against the latest edition of Elements. Now the cloud is available - if you are someone who likes to update their software every 2 years - the creative cloud can offer better value for money - with far more bells and whistles in addition. We have used both the full version of Photoshop and Elements. We have found Elements to be quite limiting, but to be fair we are quite demanding users. For basic layers and filters, Elements should see you right.
See right for the Cloud Options.
Creative Cloud Photography Bundle
This bundle includes the most up-to -date- version of Adobe Lightroom, (see left), and the most up-to-date version of Adobe Photoshop (the full version NOT just Elements, offering a massive amount of photo editing power).
To be honest, this is really where the options to the left are headed. The idea is that you buy a licence to use the creative cloud software (here Lightroom and Photoshop) for a limited amount of time (e.g. 12 months for a fixed fee, or pay monthly). For that you will always be using the up to date version of the software, because updates are included in the package. If you use the options to the left, there is a one off fee and at some stage you will want to upgrade to a newer version of the software. At the speed software develops this may be relatively soon.
If you don't already own an unlimited (in time) licence to use software such as Lightroom 6 (which at the time of writing in the UK this is £97.44), and or Elements 14 (which at the time of writing in the UK this is £68.46), buying the cloud may be the most economical way to buy, and has the bonus of a FAR more extensive and powerful version of Photoshop.
At the time of writing one year's licence to the creative cloud in the UK is £99.99. You are basically looking at buying the software separately being equivalent to the cost of a just under 2 year licence for the cloud. In the cloud you get a hugely more powerful version of Photoshop, and you're automatically on the latest versions.
Need Something to Guide Your Through Your New Software?
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