If you're embarking on a journey in photography, selecting the right photo editing software is crucial to enhance and refine your images. This blog post will navigate you through the top 5 software choices ideal for beginner photographers, elaborating on the advantages and drawbacks of each. These tools not only aid in perfecting your photos but also complement the skills you might have picked up in photography courses. Understanding each app's unique features is essential, whether you're a novice just starting after your initial photography courses or a seasoned professional honing your editing prowess. This guide aims to assist photographers at all levels in choosing software that aligns with their skillset and editing requirements.
So whether you’re a beginner or a professional looking for new software to practice your editing skills, this is for you!
#1 – Adobe Photoshop
The first editing software on our list is Adobe Photoshop. Published by Adobe Inc., Photoshop is widely considered the industry standard for photo editing. It is used by professional photographers, graphic designers, web designers, and artists around the world.
Photoshop is a very powerful editing app for photographers. It has all of the features you need for an image editor to produce amazing photos. It includes layers and channels, selective editing options like brush tools or pen pressure sensitivity on objects’ surfaces.
Photoshop also has a wide variety of filters and effects that you can use to change the look and feel of your photos. It also has a a number of tools for adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, and other aspects of the photo. You may also use it to remove blemishes, change colors and add effects. You can also freely manipulate images, create collages, and do so much more.
However, Photoshop can be difficult to learn unlike any other photo editing software. It can be expensive if you’re not a student or teacher. So if you’re just starting out in photography, we recommend trying other software on this list before investing in Photoshop.
Pros: Wide range of features, industry-standard photo editing software, has advanced photo editing options. Supports any DSLR camera, supports Adobe Photoshop Elements, great for beginners and professionals alike
Cons: Can be expensive, subscription-based pricing, paid software, no free version
Price: Starts at $20 per month.
#2 – Adobe Lightroom
The second one on our list is Adobe Lightroom. Much like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom is another professional photo editing software developed by Adobe Inc., back in 2007, as an offshoot of Photoshop. Adobe Lightroom is a great alternative if you want to use a more beginner-friendly software that has similar and more impressive features specific to the needs of photographers.
You can use it to edit images, manage a large collection of media quickly and easily through batch processing. Aside from that, you can edit images in any file format, create keywords tags on the fly while editing in camera, or export them as desired.
Some key features of this software are: You can develop your photos in different settings, such as adjusting the color balance or exposure/ISO settings. There is also an auto tone detection feature that uses special algorithms to help you get the perfect photo without needing to do any manual corrections. Plus, IPTC data information management systems let you set copyright information and manage contact details for your photos.
Although Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard, Adobe Lightroom is a great alternative photo editor for beginner photographers. It has all of the features you need for editing photos and managing entire folders at once. It is also not an issue for either Windows or Mac users as it boasts smooth workflow regardless of what computer you use.
Plus, it is a powerful photo editing software that offers unique features that are specific to the needs of photographers. So while it may be pricier than some other photo editing software options, it’s definitely worth the money if you’re serious about photography.
For us, this is by far the best photo editing software on the list!
Pros: Great for managing large collections of photos, easy to use interface, can convert raw files, supports any digital cameras. It has an intuitive interface, perfect for portrait editing, and has a wide range of photo editing features specifically for photographers.
Cons: Can be expensive, subscription-based pricing, paid software, no free version
Price: Starts at $15 per month.
#3 – GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
The third software on our list is GIMP. If you are looking for more basic photo editing tools where you can edit your photos effortlessly, then this is for you. GIMP is an open-source and completely free photo editing software. It has a wide range of features that are used for image retouching and photo editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and so much more.
GIMP has been around since 1996 and is developed by a worldwide community of volunteers. It’s similar to Photoshop but it’s much easier to use and it won’t cost you anything. Some might even claim that GIMP is the best free alternative software out there. However, GIMP doesn’t have all the same features as the other more professional photo editors such as Photoshop and Lightroom. But it still ranks better than most free photo editing software.
Let’s talk about why GIMP is considered one of the best photo editors for beginner photographers. GIMP has tons of features for photographers and these include tools to help your editing process like layers and masks, and color balance adjustments (including warm/cool). This editor also features sharpening techniques, including unsharp masking which helps make your picture look more detailed while keeping the image quality intact at ALL sizes – even small ones!
This photo editor supports advanced features as well such as working with16 bit per-channel images, editing raw files, or saving in Adobe Photoshop (.psd) format. This is great if you need finer control over how something looks when printed big than what’s possible on screen alone. It sounds complicated but there are online tutorials everywhere that will help you as a beginner.
Pros: Free to download and use; wide range of features and plugins, easy to edit photos with, great for beginners.
Cons: Can be difficult to learn at first; not as many features as some of the paid editing software
#4 – Picasa
The fourth on our list of photo editing software is Picasa. Picasa is a free photo editing software developed by Google and was originally released as an offshoot of GIMP. Picasa is built with advanced and basic features specifically designed to meet the needs of photographers.
It has tools like a light meter, color balance tuner, and defect removal options that will help you take better pictures without any hassle or confusion on your part! Picasa is easy to use with its very basic photo editing features that will help you organize your photos faster and more efficiently.
Picasa is very friendly to use. But it doesn’t have all the similar and more advanced features that you can utilize in Photoshop or Lightroom. However, Picasa is a good option if you’re looking for a lightweight, free, and easy-to-use photo editing software that is perfect if you are always on the go.
Pros: Free to download and use, easy to use interface, great for beginners.
Cons: Not as many features as some of the paid photo editors.
#5 – Paintshop Pro
The fifth and final software on our list is Paintshop Pro. Much like Photoshop and Lightroom, Paintshop Pro is also a photo management and editing software that is great for beginners. It was developed by Corel Corporation and was first released in 1991. PaintShop Pro is designed to be a powerful yet easy-to-use graphics editor with a very user-friendly interface and a wide range of features.
The PaintShop Pro app has been designed to make your life easier as a beginner photographer. This software’s photo editing tools will allow you to control colors, lighting, and exposure which will help produce more professional-looking shots with just a few clicks!
Pros: Wide range of features, great for advanced users and professional photographers.
Cons: Can be difficult to learn at first, not as many features as some of the other photo editing programs.
Price: Starts at $49.99.
Paint.net is another free and open-source photo editor with a variety of features. It’s similar to GIMP but it’s easier to use and it has more tutorials and support available online. However, Paint.net doesn’t have all the same features as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom and might fall short when it comes to more advanced editing needs.
So there you have it, the five best photo editing software selections to complement your journey in photography, especially if you're building on the foundational skills acquired in photography courses. Choosing suitable software can seem daunting for beginners, often fresh from photography courses, but each option we've discussed offers unique features and advantages tailored for those new to the field. This comprehensive guide aims to simplify your decision-making, guiding you towards software that enhances the skills developed in your photography courses. We hope this article steers you towards the right tools to elevate your photography to new heights. Should you have any queries, feel free to leave a comment.
Happy photo editing, and best of luck applying the techniques you've learned in your photography courses!