Digital Photograhy Editing Software

Mar 4, 2007 by

I switched to digital photography several years ago and have really enjoyed the freedom and versatility that digital photography provides. But along with that freedom and versatility comes the burden of digitally editing the photographs. With film all you had to do was drop the film off at a processing facility and hope that what you got back was something close to what you expected. But with digital photography it is up to me to develop my photos which pretty much ensures that the results will be what I expect but at the cost of a lot of time spent in the processing. Thankfully there are many tools available to assist me in processing my photographs while at the same time making it as easy as possible in the least amount of time. With film photography the cost of film and development inhibited the number of photographs I was willing to take. With digital photography the only limiting factors are the processing time and the cost of printing the photographs. Of the two factors the processing time is the primary limiting factor.

Of all the editing programs available the most powerful and most expensive is Photoshop CS2. I have Photoshop CS and it does everything I need and more. But Photoshop is also very expensive. Photoshop CS2 is the current version but it is too expensive for me to upgrade too. Another very good program is GIMP. GIMP is an open source editor and will most of what I need to do for editing. Unfortunately the GIMP interface is not very intuitive and somewhat difficult to use. As an answer to the difficulty of using GIMP, GIMPshop was created. GIMPshop is based on GIMP but has an interface which resembles that of Photoshop. GIMPshop would be the answer for me except it does not handle RAW or DNG images very well. I do all my shooting in RAW and convert to DNG. Another program from Adobe is Photoshop Elements, the baby brother of Photoshop CS. As I have never used Elements I cannot really comment further on it.
So the program I have finally chosen as my editing program is another program from Adobe called Lightroom. Not only does Lightroom do RAW and DNG but it manages the workflow, creates albums, and provides me with all the basic tools I need plus many more. I have been using Lightroom for some time now as a beta product and I love it. I prefer it over Photoshop and GIMP. Now that it is out of beta I have had to purchase it for $199.00. That is still much less than Photoshop and does everything I used to do in Photoshop. Photoshop was actually overkill for me as it had many tools I would probably never use. I hope to write a more detailed posting about Lightroom once I have the 1.0 release and have used it for some time.

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