It is important to remember that no matter what you take photographs with, processing your images is an art form – it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be and there is no ‘one and only’ way.
When you decide you would like to do more than just add a filter or simple modifications to your image, it is essential when evaluating which editing software to use, to consider the following key elements :
- Your budget – be realistic about the total cost of ownership – hardware including upgrades and an other additional costs, subscription fees.
- What happens to your files in ‘cloud’ subscription models if you cease to subscribe ?
- Are there limits to the file types you can process (especially if you shoot in RAW / DNG) or file sizes ?
- Are there limits in size / type to the files you can export ?
- How easy does it look to use.
- Can you save / store repeated activities – generally known as presets, actions or similar ?
- Availability of training materials such as videos.
From a more technical standpoint are the following required / available:
- Correction to camera / lens issues such as distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration etc
- Cropping and levelling
- Adjusting the tonal range of the image.
- Global adjustments – that is those which affect the entire image such as
- Exposure and Saturation / Vibrance.
- Conversion to black-and-white.
- Colour filters, borders, backgrounds
- Local adjustments – those which can be targeted to specific areas of an image such as
- Dodging and burning.
- Selective colour adjustments.
- Removal of dust spots, stray leaves, cigarette packets etc.
- Noise reduction and sharpening.
- Any special effects required to meet your artistic goal.