Post production was a new term to me when I first started taking photos. I thought that what came out of the camera was as good as it got. I was not alone. In fact I know people who have been shooting for a long time, who think of themselves as good photographers, that haven’t delved into the world of post production.
Post production, or what some call it the “digital darkroom,” can take an average photo to a great one by using in phone apps or editing software on your computer. Here is one of my photos right out of the camera in Raw Format. Doesn’t look so great does it?
Using Apple’s Aperature software for my basic editing, and utilizing the filters in Nik Software (a plugin that works with Aperature, Lightroom and Photoshop), I was able to draw out the picture I had in my mind when I took it.
But the challenge is how to choose the best option for your needs at the lowest (or free) cost. There are many options available, as my research found out, but here are some of our favorites.
The first place to look is inside your computer. If you have a Mac, you automatically have iPhoto available to you. It is a great photo editor and library and you can make books, slideshows, cards and presentations. I started with iPhoto then moved up to Apple’s Aperature for my photo library and editing. PC users can use Microsoft Office Picture Manager or their newer Photo Gallery with an easy download.
There are so many other free and low cost options depending upon your interests and budget. Google offers Picasa and a version of Snapseed for Desktop through Google+. Snapseed was developed by Nik Software, which Google bought this year, and is a very user friendly and sophisticated choice.
Another option is PicMonkey, a free online photo editor that is user friendly and does the job. I have used their free version; their paid upgrade gets rid of the ads and gives you more effects, fonts, overlays, and textures for a low fee.
There are others that we like including Fotor, which gives you an option to edit photos and create a collage, which we like. Here’s a photo that I used Fotor to create a collage.
If you want to step up to a more sophisticated photo editor consider Photoshop Elements 12. You don’t have to use Adobe’s complete Photoshop editing software to achieve great photos. Elements offers a lot at a very reasonable price.
For those of you who want more robust options, Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop are the obvious choices. I have graduated from Photoshop Elements to Photoshop Creative Cloud, and I am slowly working through the steep learning curve that comes with being a newbee to Photoshop’s full version. I expect it will take me some time, and as Rick Sammon, my photo workshop leader advised, “learn one new thing a week.” I have found that counsel helpful as I plow through the process.
I am sure that you all have favorites that would be good to add to our list, so share them with us either by commenting below, on our Facebook page, or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .