Saturday, June 8, 2013

Post Processing - Your Options Are Not As Scary As You Think!

By:  Karra of IslayCornersPhotography

So now that you’ve read your manual, got a workflow/backups set, you are shooting and are finding wonderful light in your home, what’s next?  

Why am I suddenly, I’m hearing the Jaws theme song....ah yes, it’s post processing!  Oops, there you all go, running for the beach!  

Post processing, scary words huh?  I know it puts the fear into you doesn’t it?  It shouldn’t.  Really, it shouldn’t.  And nor should it scare your bank balance.  Yes, you might opt to spend some cash or maybe you are happy just doing a few minor tweaks for free.

Please stop running away while, shaking your head no and covering your ears.  Let’s look at what your options are.  Yes, there are options.   I like options, don’t you?

Firstly, when someone asks me about what software to use, I ask the same question, what do you want to do and what do you want to spend?  Yes, comes down to that.  What do you want to do and how much time/money do you have?

Every time I think I need to buy something editing related when I know I can create it myself, I ask myself this -  How much time do I have and how much can I spend?  I could spend 10 hours creating x template or action and learn the whole way or I could buy a finished product from someone else and spend the rest of the time with my kids.   What is more important?  

So now ask yourself this:  

1) Do I want to pay for software that might give me a better end product?

2) Do I feel comfortable possibly paying for a course or searching online for tutorials to learn any new software?

3) What do I want my end product to look like and if it requires a bit more work/cost, am I willing to pay for it?

4) How much time do I have to devout to learning something new?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and come up with some answers, here are some options.  This is by no means an exhaustive list but it’s a place to start.  

These are in no particular order and while I’ve used only Picasa and PSE/PS, I’ve heard good things about all of these programs.  

Are they always user friendly?  Sometimes not.  But anything worth doing, often requires a little effort, right?

Free Editing Software 

* Picasa (this also doubles as a media library) -
* Aviary - (
* GIMP (open source application that is fairly similar to PS) -

Paid Editing Software

* Photoshop Elements (PSE) -
* Photoshop (PS) -
* OnOneSoftware Photo Suite 7 -
* Corel PaintShop Pro X5 Ultimate -

I will add a note of caution, before you slap down your hard earned Etsy cash, try out the product.  You don’t buy a car without taking a test drive, please don’t buy software without testing out the trial version first!  Most if not all editing products that you have to buy have trials.  Say it with me...try before you buy....try before you buy....try before you buy....

Where Can You Buy Software

* Directly from the manufacturer

You will also likely be given the option of buying a CD/DVD copy or do a direct download.  If you opt for the direct download...back it up!

Where To Find Tutorials on Various Software...

* Youtube
* Google your question - there are copious numbers of tutorials online. 
* User/newsgroups forums 
* (this is a personal favorite, yes I am a proud cL addict)

Until next time I hope this helps!



  1. Great information! I love your light-hearted conversational writing style. You make things seem very doable for us non-professionals. :)

  2. thanks so much for all these tips, it is really great to get new ideas. I appreciate the encouragement, too!

    I use ACDSee for most of my editing needs. It is very simple to use. I think they have a free trial.

  3. This is very interesting and I am definitely your audience. I dislike post processing because I am so unfamiliar with how the programs work. I think I'll try some of the freebies you've suggested and maybe bribe a friend into showing me the ins and outs of PS

  4. I got photoshop elements for free with another purchase. I think it has made me cry. Photographers, such as yourself KARRA are so generous though so it's easy to find step by step tutorials for absolutely everything online. I am able to zip through it now and get exactly what I want but I am sure I am only using about 5% of the product!!!

  5. Great tip about trying out software before you purchase. They come with a learning curve so it's nice not to have to spend hard earned money first!

  6. I started with Picasa because the price was right, but now I've found my photography skills have progressed enough that I don't need much more - most of the time, LOL! Thanks for the encouragement and lists of programs/aids.

  7. So much Great information! Thank you!


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