Being a photo editor is not rocket science. All it takes is a lot of creativity and a mastery of some of the best photo editing software available in the market.
Photoshop Elements 3
This is almost like a primer for Adobe Photoshop—so beginners, don’t feel intimidated. Elements does have some of the features that Photoshop is well known for, which comes quite handy when you’ve decided you’ve like to try your hand on something more upscale than cropping and resizing.
It’s so easy to use this program, what with it being simple and easy to navigate. And talk about user-friendly—at start up, a “recipes” palette asks if you’d like a step-by-step tutorial of the program.
Elements can also import stills from video clips, as well as PDF files. And when you’re feeling a bit lazy (or is just plain ignorant about how to use some of the tools), a “Quick Fix” wizard can help you adjust the essentials: lighting, focus, color, and rotation of images.
For those who like their photos in widescreen editions, Elements’ Panorama Tool helps you seamlessly put together photos to create a panoramic photo. It blends in the colors, as well.
And when it’s time to print and show off your photography skills, you can pick one of the “picture package” templates to automatically print them in a specific size.
A little bit more technical than Photoshop, PhotoImpact needs a lot of patience to master. This program is best for eager learners with a lot of time in their hands to figure out the “too-technical” features that would scare away first time photo editing users.
However, PhotoImpact does have its gems. An ExpressFix features shows you several options to fix exposure, color, saturation, focus, and skin. It also comes equipped with a 360 panorama program. Probably the shiniest gem in the package would be the “Beautiful Skin” effect, which removes red patches and evens out your skin tone. Can you say airbrush?
While PhotoImpact doesn’t support PDF files, it does allow you to grab images off the internet. Type in the URL of a webpage, click on the image you want to get, then edit away.
It’s a little tricky to use at first, but once you get a hold on PhotoImpact’s tools, you’ll be thankful you took the time to learn.
Digital Image Suite 9
Microsoft’s own photo editing software is like digital spoon feeding.
Image Suite 9 is a very basic image editing software that hardly requires a tutorial. While it does work wonders for those who only want to share pictures online, it could be quite frustrating for those who want to flex their creativity muscles a little bit more.
Image Suite 9 lacks some features that you might want to use later on. That said, there still are a bunch to keep you happy. While there’s no auto color fix option (quite essential to fix the crappy lighting most digital cameras capture), there are still the basic features of cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, and removing red-eye. The most advanced this software can get would be removing blemishes, whiten teeth, and eliminating wrinkles. The layering option is hardly even handy—you can layer on photos, but it’s virtually impossible to unlayer them.
This program will work perfectly if you want hassle-free, basic photo editing.