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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo Editing Software

SOC or SOOC = Straight Out Of the Camera
I've seen many amateurs and professionals tout their pictures as being SOC.  (I, and apparently others, are too lazy to type that extra O) I'm not sure they're being absolutely honest.  In digital photography, I think nearly every pic you see has has some kind of post processing.  Certainly nearly every picture you see of mine has tweaked with photo editing.  I wax my upper lip too.  Some things are just necessary!

How?  Ok, I could give you lots of tutorials on how to do post processing, but if you didn't have the software, it would be pretty meaningless.  So for now we're just gonna talk about 3 kinds of photo editing software.  You'll have to decide which is best for you.  THEN if you want tutorials on the way I do it, let me know.  There are MANY other types of photo editing software out there.  These are just the 3 that I know about and would recommend.
  • - We'll start cheap.  And by cheap I mean free.  That's pretty darn cheap!  But also the most limiting.  Here you can crop, resize, turn to black/white, fix red eye, add text or borders to a pic and do many other things too.  You can do a lot with Picnik, and it's a great place to start.  If you're just starting out, I'd give it a go, and if you find there's something you can't do with Picnik, then you can shell out some hard earned moola for something else.  If you look at the pics on Kiddos of the Crazy 8 Picnik is what I used to put the text and borders on the pictures.  You can also adjust the exposure and contrast and such.  It's a great free tool!  
    Adobe Photoshop CS5Adobe Photoshop Elements 8
  • Photoshop - This is the program that I see most folks, using, ok almost all folks.  As far as I know, it is pretty limitless.  Photographers who have used it for years, are still learning all it can do. I find it very intimidating and am simultaneously drawn to it at the same time.  Yet, it scares me.  I could create for hours on end, and I have laundry to do, noses to wipe, and PB&Js to make!  So in the beginning, I decided to stay away from Photoshop.  I wanted to focus on editing photographs, which Photoshop does well, but I didn't want to get sucked into the "so much more" it also offers.  There are different versions of Photoshop that have different capabilities, ranging in price from $80-$800+.  This also scares me!  I own the cheapest version of it, and hardly ever use it because I don't very much about it.  I'm trying to learn.  It's not working.  Aside from being photo editing software, Photoshop also enables the user to create really neat effects on pictures and create things above and beyond great photographs.  This is another a reason I did not get Photoshop.  As a beginner, I didn't want to get sucked into another time sucking vortex of creation.  I am prone to do that already.   Rather I just wanted to perfect the images I had taken.  Here is a project I'm working on, when I used Photoshop, that I'm going to make note cards with.  Notice the textures around the outside.

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3
  • Lightroom - AKA Crazy 8 Mama Crack - The latest version is a little under $300.  Lightroom has a wonderful organizational system for all your photos.  Then you'll be able fix your photographs and tweak the initial photo, but you will not be able to "layer" textures/effects on your photographs like Photoshop.  Simply, Lightroom lets you edit your photos.  Not create other things.  I know many tricks for Lighroom.  I have many "presets" for Lightroom, (similar to Photoshop's "actions") that give photos an effect with 1 click.  But I don't add "effects" too often.  On most of my pics, I crop, then slightly adjust the white balance and/or exposure, bump the contrast and clarity a tick, and/or maybe turn it into a black and white.  It takes about 1-2 minutes per pic.    
So, again, I really don't know a whole lot about photo editing, except for the program I use, Lightroom.  And like I said, most folks use Photoshop, so giving tutorials on Lightroom is pointless unless y'all have it.  If anyone does, holler, and we'll go there.  If you have Photoshop, I suggest going The Pioneer Woman.  She has LOTS of tutorials on using Photoshop that seem easy to follow.   I however only have the cheapest version of Photoshop, ($79 then I had a rebate too) and most tutorials use CS3 or CS4, which is $600+

Melissa-I hope this is a good start.  How're the pics coming.  I want to see!
Staci-You asked for some of my favorite post processing tricks.  They are all in Lightroom.   I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no Photoshop images!  Do you have Lightroom? 
Anyone who uses Photoshop-Help!  Anyone want to offer instructions to a destitute Crazy Mama?  I need guidance.

Blog Trailer-Tomorrow I'll do a walk through of a pic I've edited, from SOOC to the final product, so you can see more specifically the editing steps I use with Lightroom


  1. For anybody using a Mac, Aperture is a program worth looking at. it does all the usual stuff you would expect from a photo-editing program. has the 1-click preset option. has a face detection tool so it will attempt (usually rather accurate) to sort your photos by who is in them automatically. also has "places". if your camera has GPS tagging on it, it will use that information, or you can pinpoint them on a map. most importantly, i have found it very easy to use.

  2. i use lightroom too, but an older version i think. i definitely feel limited. i feel like technology is leaving me behind and i need to learn photoshop soon.


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