Friday, May 10, 2013

Photo Editing Software - which one is for you?

Let me start by saying, I'm not a Photoshop user, I've used a trail version, and I've used it at work once or twice, but I don't own it and I don't know how to use it. But, when I started off, and found how much I enjoy photo editing, once you know what is available, and whether or not it is any good, that can open up a lot of doors. I didn't turn into a shutterbug until my first son was born. I thought it would be important to take regular photos of my little tiny guy, I didn't have a fancy camera, and I sure as heck didn't know what I was doing. At the time, I started with a Canon point and shoot my mom got me during college, and I barely used it, until the boy was born.

A couple of months later, I thought, there's got to be more to this (I discovered all of this in 2011, and I've been hooked since). I didn't have any software, nor did I want to buy anything, mostly because of how big the programs were. I know my computer wouldn't be able to run all that large software. So I did some research, check out the available programs on cnet.com, and made my selection.

Photoscape. It's pretty great, and it's pretty free. I like great, and I like free. I'm going to show you multiple edits of the same flowers, just to demonstrate the differences.

Here's the original.

So, Photoscape, has a lot to offer. I mostly use Photoscape when I am creating page layouts, combine photos, or doing minimalist edits. I use this program, when I know I don't have a lot of creative editing to do, and when I want to apply text to photos, because it is crazy easy.

As with all programs, you can change the temperature, saturation, sharpness, white balance, crop, resize. That's all quite standard. In this photo, I played with the curves a little bit, and added some "special features",  you can see the 'filter' tab, there are a bunch of  different filters to use, I like Cinema, so that is all I did with this photo in Photoscape. As you can see, to the left, you can see your file explorer to pull up any photos you may want to edit.

The next photo editor is the Smart Photo Editor. I actually won this program in a giveaway last fall, and have been having a lot of fun with it. I haven't used it to it's capacity yet to create my own overlays. But this program has a lot of fun features and effects. One I particularly like is the oils brushes, it makes your photos look like oil paintings. Very neat. As you can see in the middle photo, I made six adjustments to this photo to get the end result. You can do image treatment, or area treatment. You can also do overlays or underlays, but doesn't allow you to do layer masks.


The next editor is GIMP. Gimp is most comparable to Photoshop. GIMP is a fun program, but for me, it takes me a little more time than the others, because every step requires multiple steps, so it isn't as simple as those other editors, but it can do a lot more. And, GIMP is free. One of the main reasons I use GIMP is for my textures. It's quite easy to create layers and layers masks in GIMP, once you know your way around, creating textured photos will be a breeze.

I also use it for any digital scrapbooking, whether it's putting pages together, or creating papers or alphas, this is the program I use. I'm not so good with creating elements yet, but I'm not a designer, I'm just trying to learn things as I go.

As you can see with this photo, it contains three layers, the original, and two textures.

The next two editors I use are online editors I've become fond of. The first is picmonkey (I still miss picnik.com), which is a free, or not, depending on what features you want. You get many more features if you choose to pay for it, but the free one suits my needs. As you can see you can do basic photo editing, and there are a number of overlay features you can select, like the bokeh, that I picked. Picmonkey is also great for applying text to photos, they have a pretty good assortment of text options.

Though, if you use a downloaded program like Photoscape, it will load all the fonts you have loaded onto your computer.


And, finally, I've become a big fan of befunky, lately, they have a very large assortment of fun features (I'd say more than picmonkey free version), that I have been having fun with. You can use it for free, or a monthly plan, but I use the free version. Befunky has the same features with respect to basic photo editing, and you can pick from the 'effects' tab, to change your photo, or 'artsy', or both for that matter. I picked the watercolor edit for this photo, this time around.


And, finally, one of my favorite edits I did with this flower from befunky. A charcoal edit.


As you can see, there are a lot of options out there, and there are some other ones I don't use so frequently like pixlr.com, and fotoflexor.com, I just usually forget about them.

Have you used any of these? What are your thoughts about these programs?

4 comments:

Kaeley said...

My husband bought me Adobe Lightroom for Christmas last year and I love it. I don't think I use it nearly to its capacity, but I am always learning something new.

I also love PicMonkey when putting together collage or trying to dress a photo up a bit.

i am mama lola said...

great post! pinned it for future reference too!

i tried GIMP, but it's pretty time involved, which is fine for some things. i use picmonkey quite a bit.especially for blog stuff. but, i'm curious about be funky!

thanks for breaking it down!

KT @ OneOrganicMama said...

I am going to pin this so that if I ever decide to pay for a program I have the info somewhere... I just use free Picassa now... haha.
Thanks for linking up with us this week!  Stop by One Organic Mama Thursday for THE Pin it Party and this weekend for the Weekend Block Party!  Hope to see you again!!  <3

Cindy Rowe said...

I haven't heard of most of these editing tools! Thank you for the post! Found you from the Creative Geekery PIN It Party!
I'll be pinning this for future reference (when I have to time to play with my pics!)
Thanks!
Cindy @ crazyloucreations

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