first, a bit of background…
*i used to date google. no really, i did. all of my friends knew this and would, in regular conversation, refer to “asking gwyn’s boyfriend”…we’re not together anymore, but the whole thing still amuses me endlessly.
*i am a kickass googler. (googler?) my friends and family know that when they have exhausted themselves searching in vain on ye olde interblags…the time has come to turn to gwyn. something in my very…special…brain helps me find awesomeness. either i’m just more savvy when it comes to search strings, or my attention span and perseverance are a little out of control…either way…it’s one of my talents/crosses to bear, and my friends know this.
fast forward to today…my good friend matthew emailed me because his wife becky’s laptop is a mac. he knows i know more about macs and photo editing software than he does. matthew also loves google and all its (well, really “his”) minions, but unfortunately, picasa doesn’t work on macs. (which, incidentally, is false information. it DOES work on macs, but only the newer intel macs.
so i flexed my fingers and began googling. and i hit the jackpot!
i’m posting this here because i do semi-regularly get questions from other photographers, friends or clients about cameras, lenses, photo-processing…and i thought this might help someone else.
first i guess i’ll mention the software i use, the price, how i use it, and then the FREE alternative.
adobe photoshop lightroom (LR): $299 (less if you qualify for an educational discount!) i shoot in RAW format, which is sort of like film in that i have a negative that needs to be processed before it’s in any sort of usable state. i import all of my photos into this extremely powerful program, use the library mode to decide which are keepers and which aren’t, and then i do exposure and colour adjustments in the develop mode. probably THE main reason i love LR so much is that it is geared toward batch processing…i can do individual tweaks, or i can apply the same change to 500 images with one click. there are entire books written about this program, so i’m going to just leave you with the free alternative. blue marine
adobe photoshop (PS): $699 (less if you qualify for an educational discount!) this is the gold standard for digital image manipulation. again, books upon books have been written, and there’s basically no limit to what can be done w this program. i use it mostly for retouching and sharpening…giving images that extra bit o’ love. this blog post lists several free alteratives, which platform they work on (mac vs windows), and what their strengths are.
i’ve heard good things about iphoto and picasa, which are both included/free. i am a mac girl, so i started off using iphoto, and immediately fell in deep, deep hatred. now, when i get a new computer, the first thing i do is delete it. that said…i have different priorities and do different things w/ my photos than an average user, and it IS pretty intuitive and well-organised (except for saving 17 versions of a photo if you make 1 measly little change thereby eating up hard drive space.)
in digital photography, the software used is a huge part of the overall process. working on an image after you release the shutter can take it from “eh” to “wow!”, and having the right tools makes that a much more pleasurable process. the really good tools cost a lot of money, so if you’re just an enthusiast w/o a trump-budget, hopefully these free programs will enrich your photographic experience!
if anyone has any geek-side-of-photography related questions…leave ’em in the comments, and i’ll either answer them there, or write another post.