How to Choose Photo Editing Software

As we have mentioned on many of the pages of this site, photo editing software can be used to correct or enhance many of your “questionable” shots.

In recommending any specific photo editing software we looked for the following characteristics:

  • Supported Image File Formats. The photo editing software had to support the most common camera file formats as a minimum but the ability to handle some of the more unusual ones was a bonus.
  • Ease of Use. Not only easy to install but easy to learn. As with any technical field there is no getting around learning new terminology and image editing software is no exception. We were looking for software that was as intuitive as possible for the new user but also not so simple that it excluded a powerful feature set.
  • Stability. Many people think of “stable” as a feature of the software showing an ability to run on a wide range of computers. That is one way of looking at it and it is one aspect of the photo editing software we took into consideration. However we extended the definition of stable to also include whether or not the software has been around for a long time and whether it WILL be around for a lot longer.
  • Editing. Any photo editing software we chose must have a good feature set to allow you to improve on any shots you have taken (within reason!) and allow you to manipulate your images in a wide variety of ways.
  • Organization. This one is VITAL. If you are going to start following our advice a take LOTS of shots then pretty soon you are going to have a sea of photos on your computer. Unless you get organized from the beginning very soon you will have no idea what you have and where it is! Any good photo editing software must have a good module within it to allow you to conveniently and logically organize your photos.
  • Sharing your Photos. We looked for image editing software that easily (preferably wizard driven) allowed you to adjust the file size, resolution or image size of your photos for the particular sharing method you use. Whether you are going to send them to friends by email, transfer over mobile devices or post to online galleries etc.
  • Output. In addition to the controls offered under the label of sharing we were also looking for software that allowed you good control over how you saved your images as well as intuitive controls for home printing. This is quite an important point especially given the wide variation that can occur between what you see on a computer screen and what you get when you use a printer.
  • Help, Tutorials and Support. We were looking here for good documentation of the program, online support from the developer including available tutorials as well as active user forums for tips and advice from other users.

We narrowed it down to two photo editing software packages that we feel confident in recommending.

They are most suited to the person starting out in photography because of their ease of use but are fully featured so that as you grow as a photographer they will continue to serve your needs.

Just remember, the camera is a tool, it does not take photos…you do.  Similarly, photo editing software is also only a tool.

The two photo editing software programs we have chosen offer a slightly different feature set to suit your particular needs.

At number one we have Adobe Photoshop Elements. Excellent image editing, organization and control offering an upgrade path to Adobe Photoshop should you decide to do that.

At number two Corel Paint Shop Pro. Similarly good image editing and organisation with the added advantage of powerful graphics features.

Click Here for our Image Editing Software Reviews

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Photo Editing Software Reviews

Adobe Photoshop Elements

adobe-photoshop-elements-9-boxThis is the little brother of Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop holds such a dominant place in the pro market for photo editing and has held that position for such a long time that it has now entered the language as a verb. “That picture has been photoshopped!”

We think directing the beginner photographer to Adobe Photoshop as a viable choice for image editing software is a bit of an overkill!

However Adobe offer a simplified version of Photoshop called Photoshop Elements and it is currently at version 9. Photoshop Elements 9 offers the photographer just about any feature you are likely to need or use and to be honest, if you do need more then you need to take better photos or move up to Photoshop!

It is easily the most advanced of the software we recommend and has the additional advantage of placing you on the upgrade runway to the full version of Photoshop should you decide in the future to approach your photography at a professional level.

It is easy to move around in and use, has wizard based guided editing systems for the beginner and gives you access to Adobe Express for online storage. There are lots of great auto cleaning, blemish removal and scene merging functions as well.

This new version of Photoshop Elements has been totally re-worked along with it’s video editing equivalent, Premiere Elements 9 to seamlessly work together.

Premier Elements 9 is their consumer video editing software and would definitely come in handy if you foresee incorporating images into some video or creating video slide shows.

The two are usually offered at a steep discount when bundled together.

You can read a full review here of Adobe Premiere Elements.

Click Here to See Adobe Photoshop Elements

Corel Paint Shop Pro

corel-paintshop-photo-pro-X3-box At a slightly lower price point Corel Paint Shop Pro has long been an alternative to the Adobe product range especially for those who place no importance on bragging rights afforded by owning the latest edition of Photoshop!

Paint Shop Pro X3 pretty well matches Photoshop Elements 9 feature for feature and extends it functionality over into the area of graphic design as well.

Although it is no Photoshop it does offer greater flexibility to the amateur photographer who wants to apply more artistic effects to images.

It has has a very comprehensive help system and given the wider range of graphic features and the image editing features there is a lot to learn before you can fully utilize its full power.

Corel also usually offer a discounted package for Paint Shop Pro when combined with their video editing software Corel VideoStudio Pro. You can see a review here of VideoStudio Pro.

Click Here to See Corel Paint Shop Pro