How to Choose the Right Photo Editor

editing software

Cost and learning curves can be huge factors when selecting photo editing software. Evaluate any applications before buying to be sure they meet your needs and skill set.

Amateur photographers in the age of digital photography sometimes spend more of their time in front of the computer screen than behind the LCD screen or viewfinder of their camera. With a bit of research and evaluation, all digital photographers can find a photo editing application that meets their needs.

What to Look for When Selecting an Application

Experts at suggest the following criteria when choosing the photo editing application that will best meet your needs:

  • Cost – the least expensive or free applications are really the best solutions for some photographers
  • Learning curve – some products have a steep learning curve. Adobe Photoshop, an application used by professional photographers will take longer to learn than the simple editors.
  • Trial period – with paid applications, it is always a good idea to try before you buy. If the manufacturer allows, download a trial version of the software and test it out. If you know others who use a particular application, you might be able to test an application on a friend’s PC.
  • Usefulness – editing applications come in all shapes and sizes, you need to work with several to find the one that fits your needs.

Pay-ware or Freeware: Which is the Best Tool?

Both categories of application can suit the needs of a particular photographer differently. Many free applications provide image viewing, resize, and crop functionality while the professional paid products allow photographers to create new versions of the photos they snap while sitting at their computer.

Some digital cameras today are even packaged with software for editing photos.

When purchasing an application for photo editing, keep in mind that there will often be more features included in these editors. This can provide more detail to the photographer while editing, but will also raise the amount of learning needed to use the software to its potential.

Regardless of the type of license that comes with the software and /or the amount of money spent on the application, if it doesn’t get used because it is too hard to learn it may not have been a worthy investment.

What About Support?

While paid software applications will typically provide email and telephone support for customers who have trouble with the application, many free and paid applications have support groups that allow other users to assist in solving a particular problem. Before selecting an application you might wish to ask questions in an online community or support forum to see how others feel about the product. This can provide useful insight into the kind of assistance that can be expected when using an editing application.

When evaluating a photo editing tool, be sure to try several applications before making a choice. Use any and all trial-ware available from the publisher to make sure you can perform the tasks needed with any editing application. This step may save you money in the long run by allowing you to use a free application or in support/learning costs due to the amount of help available at trial.

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